American Hairless Terrier
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AHT or Xolo?

Personality - same or different?

 

I have received emails from site visitors wanting to know the differences between American Hairless Terriers (AHT) and Xoloitzcuintlis (Xolo). Currently, very few people own both AHTs and Xolos. Here's an example question.

Question:

I wanted to ask your opinion. I noticed that you have both an AHT and a Xolo. I'm stuck between the two. I've contacted breeders but no one has both so they can't tell me "for real". I am looking for one that I can show so she has to be outgoing. I would like an outgoing, friendly, playful dog. We don't have any kids and allergies are not an issue. I love them both and think they're great! One AHT breeder told me that the Xolo skin feels "gross" and because they are primitive they are unpredictable and favour one person so won't likely be outgoing and enjoy outings. I definitely prefer the toys or minis (depends on the standard) of the Xolo. Also, I'm a little worried about the health concerns with the Xolos. Well, what do you think? I know if would be hard to pick one or the other and why? What qualities do you like/dislike about them. Thanks! I appreciate it!

My reply:

After living with American Hairless Terriers and Xoloitzcuintlis for over ten years, here are some of my observations.

Both breeds are wonderful, but they do have different temperaments. Their skins are also somewhat different. Xolos have thicker skin that protects them well. AHTs skin is a bit thinner, softer and scrapes easier. Fair skinned dogs of both breeds need to be protected from sunburn. Both breeds can have good skin or not so good skin. Xolos may have pimples and AHTs may be prone to skin allergies.

Xolo skin does not feel "gross." In fact, some people have told me that they like to pet Xolo skin better than AHT skin. Xolos also have a tuft of short hair on their heads, so you always have a small patch of hair to pet. :o)

Xolos have more of a working dog temperament. Xolos are extremely intelligent, intense, loving, and devoted to their owners. Xolos LOVE to spend time with their master, go wherever he goes, and do whatever he does. If possible, all the time. They love participating in any dog related and non-dog related activities. Being sharp-witted and athletic, they excel in any dog sport. They tend to be more of a one person or one family dog. If well socialized as a puppy, they will enjoy, or at least accept, being handled and touched by other people. But their true love is for their owner. At home they are pretty quiet and laid back unless they hear some alarming noises (an intruder?). They are very good watchdogs and protect their home and family with duty and devotion.

Xolos are extremely expressive dogs and they use their ears, eyes, facial expressions, body language, and voice to get their feelings across. Xolos usually have a close emotional bond with their owner and communicate well with him.

Xolos come in three sizes from small toys to large dogs. If you love outdoor activities, a dark skinned standard size Xolo makes a great companion. They are large enough to participate in all demanding physical activities and sports, and their dark skin tolerates sun better. Your Xolo will be in heaven if he's your only dog. This means he will get all your attention and love! Having several Xolos in the house may result in squabbles over leadership among the dogs.

American Hairless Terriers are little terriers. They tend to be more social with strangers than Xolos, especially if well socialized as puppies. They are more lively than Xolos. They like to run, play, and have fun. Being terriers, they also tend to bark more than Xolos. Although, some Xolos are vocal as well. Having strong prey drive, AHTs like to chase any animal that moves, like squirrels, rabbits, and cats. AHTs are quick learners and do well in all dog sports. They enjoy activities if it's fun for them. They are very loving and love to snuggle up on a warm lap. They are smart, entertaining and affectionate companions for all.

If you'd like to have a pack of small, fun indoor dogs, the AHT is a good choice. They are small in size and usually get along well in a pack. They do not tolerate sun well and thus are not a good choice for an outdoor sports enthusiast.

I can't say which breed I like better, they are different. I adore my Xolos' deep intelligence and devotion, and I enjoy my AHT's fun personality and lovingness. Generally, both breeds are healthy.

Hopefully you can meet both breeds in person and see which one fits in your lifestyle. But since you want a "friendly, outgoing, playful dog," the AHT might be the better choice for you. However, even the AHTs must be well socialized. Being terriers, some can be a bit aggressive. AHTs also like to use their mouths a lot (unlike Xolos who like to listen), so they must be taught at a very early age never to put their mouths on human skin.

 

Notes about kids and allergies:

It's important to socialize your AHT or Xolo well with people and other dogs.

AHTs need to learn at least the basic obedience commands, and a dog obedience class is a must for novice Xolo owners. Xolos, especially large size dogs, can be serious troublemakers due to their high intelligence and strong personalities. Xolos tend to train their owners, if allowed. :o)

AHTs are terriers and may snap if teased or mistreated by children. If you have kids and AHTs, be sure to train both of them. :o)

If you are allergic to dogs, you might be able to tolerate both AHTs and Xolos. Or you might tolerate one of them or neither of them. Many people with dog allergies are fine with Xolos, but more people are less allergic to AHTs than Xolos. Based on dog allergy sufferers' experiences, the AHT is the least allergy causing of all dog breeds. Unfortunately, some people are so allergic to dogs that they cannot tolerate even the AHT.

 


 

Comments from another AHT & Xolo owner:

March 2006

Hello, I added my thoughts. I don't think it would be appropriate for me to use myAHT Jack with Xolo Mora experience with AHT's and Xolo's to help other to choose between them for two reasons. I am new to dogs in general. We got Mora-Xolo at 6 weeks old just last April and Jack-AHT came to us at 9 months old in September of 2005. Jack has had a really hard time adjusting and I would hate for anyone to feel discouraged by our experience. Feel free to do what you want with my comments and thanks for asking for my opinion. I think both breeds are incredible.

"Xolos usually have a close emotional bond with their owner and communicate well with him."

I love Jack so much and think AHT's are wonderful but Mora is my baby. I connect with her on a level that I don't know I will ever achieve with Jack.

"Both breeds can have good skin or not so good skin. Xolos may have pimples and AHTs may be prone to skin allergies."

Mora-Xolo gets pimples and she has blackheads too. She tends to have more skin irritation then my AHT. Jack-AHT does chew on his feet, a bit which is a sign of allergy.

"Xolo skin does not feel "gross". In fact, some people have told me that they like to pet Xolo skin better than AHT skin. Xolos also have a tuft of short hair on their heads, so you always have a small patch of hair to pet."

Many people have opted to pet Mora on her patch of hair as they feel odd petting skin but is definitely not gross to the touch. Jack's skin is much softer/smoother but also more moist. He sweats sometimes and after about a week he feels kinds of oily.

"Xolos LOVE to spend time with their master, go wherever he goes, and do whatever he does. If possible, all the time. They tend to be more of a one person or one family dog. If well socialized as a puppy, they will enjoy, or at least accept, being handled and touched by other people. But their true love is for their owner."

Mora-Xolo is with out a doubt MY DOG. We originally bought her because my son wanted a pet but she bonded with me immediately. Mora was very well socialized and she adored EVERYONE. I have never seen her dislike somebody and she absolutely loves to go everywhere with me.

Jack-AHT had a pretty traumatic trip getting to us and unfortunately he was attacked by a larger dog who busted through a screen door as we walked by. He was not physically injured but he was extremely traumatized. It has been challenging to say the least to expose him to new people or animals. He has only been with us since September and we are focusing on getting him grounded at home and with family and friends who visit regularly. I think this is a direct result of the trauma and has only a tiny bit to do with breed.

Mora is a 15lbs miniature Xolo and Jack is 10lbs.

"AHTs tend to be more social with strangers than Xolos, especially if well socialized as puppies."

This is what I have read but is very different than what I have experienced with Jack and Mora.

"AHTs are livelier than Xolos."

Absolutely! Mora is my lazy girl until SHE wants to play.

"AHTs like to run, play, and have fun. Being terriers, they also tend to bark more than Xolos. AHTs are very loving and love to snuggle up on a warm lap."

Jack loves attention... loves to be loved... wants/demands to be touched, pet and played with. Mora is happy with a lap to snuggle up in. Jack definitely barks much more than Mora.

"Being terriers, some AHTs can be a bit aggressive. AHTs also like to use their mouths a lot."

Jack puts his mouth on everything, but Mora eats everything so I don't know which is worse.

"It's important to socialize your AHT or Xolo well with people and other dogs."

I cannot stress this enough - either breed get them out and expose them as much as possible as soon as possible.

"AHTs are terriers and may snap if teased or mistreated by children. If you have kids and AHTs, be sure to train both of them. "

Jack has snapped at my son and others. This has been a serious concern and we continue to train and work extensively with him daily to correct his attitude.

Crystal McFadden

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See also the AHT or Xolo? (looks) and  Compare Hairless Breeds pages.

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