Posts Tagged ‘hairless dogs’

Boston terrier/xoloitzcuintli (Mexican hairless) crosses!

boston xolos

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This is not caused by the same mutation that makes “Chinese” crested dogs and Latin American hairless dogs bald.

Pretty freaky, eh?

Deerhounds are supposed to be wire-haired as protection against the elements and running in rough country.

These dogs don’t have that advantage.




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From Recollections of my sea life … from 1808 to 1830 (1883) by John Harvey Boteler:

Captain Graham sent a party to the village and secured all canoes, so as to prevent the escape of any of the miscreants, and Chadwick some time after was sent over to Cuba for two bloodhounds; they were of a dull leaden colour, had smooth leather-like skins, no hair, the size of a common spaniel, but with longer legs, not very ugly, only very fierce eyes (pg. 116).

These dogs don’t sound like the mastiff-type dogs that were used to catch slaves in Cuba, the West Indies, and the American South.

Indeed, these dogs sound like they are part of the New World dominant hairless dogs that were ubiquitous throughout Latin America.

It is possible that the hairless dogs made it to Cuba before the Spanish conquest, but it is probably more likely that they were introduced to Cuba after Mexico became part of the Spanish Empire.

This dominant hairless trait originated in Mexico 4,000 years ago. All dogs with this gene have some ancestor that was living in Mexico at some point, which means the Chinese crested dog isn’t Chinese. However, the Portuguese and Spanish Empires did spread these dogs throughout the world.

But hairless dogs did make it to South America before the Spanish Conquest. The earliest depictions of hairless dogs in Peru date to 750 A.D., so it might have been possible for hairless dogs to have reached Cuba during the Pre-Columbian Period.  There are references to hairless dogs of Mexico and Cuba, but I cannot find any suggestion that Taino of Cuba had them. The only indigenous breed of Cuba was the so-called “mute dog.”

There are hairless dogs in Cuba today, which may or may not be derived from more modern xoloitzcuinltis.

Hairless dog in Cuba.

(Source for image)

Note the variance in type with this dog and the one pictured above it.

(Source for image)

These dogs are much more robust in build than the typical xoloitzcuintli.

(Source for image)

Although these dogs were not of the type usually called Cuban bloodhounds, they were quite successful in there pursuit of pirates, who were using the Isle of Pines (La Isla de Juventud) as a base to attack British ships in the West Indies. Boteler wrote of these bloodhounds  that they were quite useful after they began to kill pirates in skirmishes, and they began to run and hide from their pursuers:

Several very stirring encounters took place, I have no clear recollection of them as told me by Chadwick, they were every one most thrilling. It was not till after the death of ten or more that the bloodhounds were sent for, and a few more scented out. The last found was the captain, one evening a marine had taken his kettle to a stream among rocks some distance off, and there came upon a man washing the wounded stump of his arm. He started to run, the marine fired and missed, it was late and getting dark but they were sure of him now, and the hounds next morning were put on his scent and instantly took it up and with one sharp bark or yell, silently set off in pursuit. In a short time they were heard baying, and when the party came up there was the captain lying dead and stiff, most likely worn out with fatigue and mental agony as well as exhausted from his wound. What became of the hounds this deponent sayeth not. But what of the schooner itself, where could she be? The “pilot” led the way to the “lagoon” and after picking about with a pike or boat-hook, struck upon the vessel for there she was sunk, her masts cut away; she was raised and turned out a very beautiful craft (pg. 117).

This might be the only account of hairless dogs being used against pirates.

But it is still pretty interesting.

When I first came across this piece in my Google search, I thought it would lead me to Cuban bloodhounds, as we would normally know them in the historical literature.

However, the text revealed a very different story– and a very different kind of dog.




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I don’t know if these are truly African dogs or not.

It is possible that Portuguese traders could have introduced hairless dogs from Latin America to southern Africa.

These dogs look very much like xoloitzcuintli.

And it is just as possible that these dogs are as African as the Chinese crested is Chinese.

I believe one of theories about the Chinese crested was that it was from Africa.

All hairless dogs of this type are derived from a single mutation that occurred in Mexico 4,000 years ago.  All of them are derivatives of Mexican dogs. (The American hairless terrier’s baldness is caused by a different gene.)

The Messy Beast website has a discussion about “African hairless dogs“– including a taxidermy– but I think the information on the page is mostly inaccurate.

What part of  “this gene comes from a mutation in Mexican dogs 4,000 years ago” do people not understand?

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ET in dog form:


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The picture above comes from Mason’s Dogs of All Nations (1915).

The entry on the Chinese Crested dog goes as follows:

Height: 12 in.

Weight: 20 lbs.

This is a hairless breed, except that he has a silky top-knot or crest, and some feathering or tuft at the root of the tail, which feature is considered very typical of the breed. It is difficult to assign its origin, but they are found freely in the South and Central American States, Mexico, South Africa and China. The ears should be carried erect and are never cut. The conformation of the body is like that of the black and tan [Manchester] terrier, but the head is shorter and the skull more rounded. The skin always feels cold [Not true, hairless dogs were used as “electric blankets” because so much heat escapes their naked bodies] and is of the color of the hide of an elephant. Some are mottled with flesh colored patches, and sometimes the skin is of a pink color with grizzle patches.

This dog has  strong xoloitzcuintli affinities.

I am waiting for my Chinese crested expert to provide some more detailed analysis.

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I’ve never understood why so many people think any species of dog without hair is a chupacabras (and that’s how it is spelled, with an “s” a the end.) I suppose it’s good for ratings.

But I think it helps ensure that people are just a little bit dumber when it comes to the native creatures of this continent.

On another video, I explained that these animals were not coyote/hyena crosses. Such animals don’t exist. In fact, a coyote/hyena cross is about as likely as a cat/golden retriever cross.  Hyenas are Feliform carnivores, which means they are closely related to cats, mongooses, civets, and all the animals that were once classified with mongooses and civets. Dogs are Caniform carnivores. They are more closely related to bears, raccoons, skunks and stink badgers, weasels (all the Mustelids),  the red panda (which is classified in its own family), and the Pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, and walruses).

You may have intergeneric hybrids (like the Wholphin and cama), but you will never have inter-family hybrids. It’s not going to happen.

Now,  I do have some questions about these hairless foxes and coyotes.

I suspect that most of these have mange.

However, it’s also possible that because these animals live in tropical and subtropical conditions at realtively high densities, they have developed a hairless or balding adaptation as a way of controlling the ectoparasites that infect them. The hairless dogs of Latin America are thought to have developed hairlessness as a way of controlling these parasites.

Now, I don’t think that if this were the case that the coyotes got those genes through hybridization. The genes that cause hairlessness in Latin American hairless dogs also cause weak tooth roots. A coyote would be at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to feeding itself. However, there are street dogs in Mexico that crossed with coyotes and gave them this gene. No one has tested them for the hairless gene, but at least one of these animals was part or fully domestic dog.

However, I think it’s much more likely that they are nothing more than some species of known canid with mange.

But calling them chupacabras is good for ratings and getting everyone excited.

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I’d never seen a Chinese crested hairless that was solid black,  but there is one in this video:

From ytmad.

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Hairless dogs can be found among the general dog population of some Peruvian cities.

Hairless dogs can be found among the general dog population of some Peruvian cities.

     Hairless dogs have existed in Mexico for nearly 4,000 years. They also exist in the Andean region of South America, even though their history in that part of the world is a bit more recent. Hairless dogs predate the Inca civilization, and their descendants can be found in various forms.
Early depictions of hairless dogs in both Meso-America and South America show dogs that greatly vary in type in appearance. Some have pug noses, while others are built like greyhounds or beagles.
     If you would like to see a wide range of hairless dogs from Latin America, have a look at these dogs on this site. This “breed” is called a Khala, but the Khala is more of a type than a standardized breed. There is a wide range of types that can produce hairless dogs, which shows that these dogs can exist to a certain degree within the street dog population.
     It is thought that the lack of hair is a adaptation the common parasites of this region. It is also very likely that hairless dogs were given a bit better treatment than fully coated ones. In the Meso-American civilizations, dogs were clearly a major food source. Maybe being a little strange kept these dogs from the stew pot a little longer.
     All hairless dogs are of Latin American origin, even the so-called Chinese crested. This dog is a creation of a few enterprising breeders, including Gypsy Rose Lee. This dog is of a modern crossbreeding between the small Xoloitzcuintli and various toy breeds. It has nothing to do with China.
     The Xolo is clearly of an Ancient American breed type. The standard xolo is a mid-sized dog that closely resembles a Carolina dog (the “Dixie Dingo.) If you don’t believe me, have a look at this coated Xolo juxtaposed with a hairless one.
     Now, here’s the Carolina dog, or “Dixie Dingo.”  This breed is believed to be very similar to the first dogs that accompanied the first humans into the Americas from Asia. It survived all the centuries of interbreeding with other types of Native American dog (which varied greatly in appearance and utility) and European dogs.
     We have a very poor understanding of what good dog breeders Native Americans were. All we have are accounts of various sorts of dogs in the journals of earlier explorers. The wool-producing dogs of the Pacific Northwest are gone for good, as are the “canoe dogs” that once were used to rouse beavers from their lodges. The Tahltan bear dog is also gone . It was once used in very much the same way that Norwegian elkhounds and various strains of laika are used in Russia.  It would hold the bear at bay, using it loud barks to alert the hunter of its location. These dogs are gone, replaced with the dogs of the Europeans. Their genes might still exist in some of the dogs that live on Native American lands, but one study, which I can’t find right now, suggested that all of these dogs were predominantly of a European ancestry.
     They may just be gone forever, but the hairless dogs are truly a beast of this hemisphere.

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