Call Them Ugly, But Xolos Rule as Mexico’s Top Dog
Xolos - Mexican hairless dogs (Dogs 101/PB)
The beasts are brown and hairless except for a wiry mohawk. Their bodies, warm and slightly waxy, call to mind a hot water bottle with four legs.
They routinely win dog shows — in the ugliest category. Far from man’s best friend, they’re notoriously aloof and cunning.
The Xoloitzcuintle — pronounced SHOW-low-ITS-quintley in the indigenous language of Nahuatl — is a marvel of breeding by the Aztecs more than 3,000 years ago. Today, the dog is enjoying a resurgence among upper-class Mexicans as both a status symbol and a nod to their indigenous roots.
At up to $5,000 a puppy in a country where the average daily wage is less than $20, the breed is most likely to be spotted in wealthy enclaves such as La Condesa, in Mexico City, or Sayulita, a bohemian resort town on the Pacific Coast.
Although the people who can afford Xolos, as the dogs are affectionately known, may often be more closely related to Mexico’s European conquerors than to its native peoples, they are helping fuel a renewed interest in the country’s pre-Hispanic past.
The trend can be seen across Mexican culture, in the clothing of Carla Fernandez, a designer who transforms the textiles of Mexico’s indigenous communities into contemporary styles, and in the palate of chef Enrique Olvera, whose Michelin-star restaurant Pujol features dishes that pay homage to classic Mexican street food and indigenous cuisine.
Mexico’s national dog, whose population dropped so low in the 1950s that there was an organized effort by the World Canine Association to find purebreds and breed them, is suddenly everywhere.
Read the rest at The Los Angeles Times
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