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Xoloitzcuintle, guide to paradise

In Mexican culture, it was believed that the Xoloitzcuintle was the only living being who knew the way to Mictlan
A Xoloitzcuintle, a hairless dog found only in Mexico - Photo:Andrew Winning/REUTERS
21/10/2017
13:11
Newsroom/EL UNIVERSAL in English
Mexico City
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The animal most frequently depicted in Colima art at the beginning of the 20th century is the hairless dog.

According to the ceramic pieces in Colima, it is believed that about 2,000 years ago, a litter of dogs was born and one of the little puppies stood out for its lack of hair.

puppies.jpg
Xoloitzcuintle puppies -Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL

"The people in the region believed that its peculiar appearance was a decision of the gods and that they should not decide its fate. They accepted it and called it zoloitz-cuintle," says Raúl Valadez Azúa, a researcher at the Institute for Anthropological Research of the UNAM.

In Mexican culture, it was believed that the Xoloitzcuintle accompanied the soul of the dead to their dwelling since it was the only living being who knew the way to Mictlán (the underworld of Aztec mythology).

Xoloitzcuintle dogs were also linked to the rite of the sacrifice. The hairless dog was offered to the gods and its meat was consumed during the ceremony.

This particular dog had such an importance that it is believed that Moctezuma (the ninth tlatoani or ruler of Tenochtitlan) had more than 300 dogs and each of them had a person devoted exclusively to attend their necessities.

This pure Mexican breed, at some point, was about to disappear due to the excesses of Spaniards who were delighted with the taste of its meat and the ambition of the French who used their skin for various articles, but today numerous breeders have managed to preserve its existence.

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