Hairless Dogs The Naked Truth, a book by
Amy Fernandez and Kelly Rhae
Self-Published, 1999 available at Amazon
Although I have mentioned this book a couple of times before, I have never reviewed it.This review is actually a summary of my opinions on the whole subject.
The Hairless Gene comes from Mexico.
I absolutely love the history section from pp 43-58. This is a very cohesive history of the original Mexican hairless dogs, with excellent illustrations. I have followed up on as many of their references as I could, which has been a lot of fun. Fernandez and Rhae conclusively demonstrate through historical references alone, that no naked dogs were ever documented before the return of Cortez from the New World. After that, references abound of naked dogs under dozens of local “breed” names.
They proved that are no Chinese hairless dogs, there are no African or Turkish hairless dogs -before the Conquest.
Since the publication of the book, the origin of the hairless allele on the FoxI3 gene known as Hh was definitively found by Swiss scientists to have first occurred in Mexico 3 thousand years ago or so. It only occurred once and the Peruvian dogs share the same mutation.
With the exception of a recently found recessive hairless gene in a rat terrier in the USA, ALL hairless dogs have the Hh gene that goes back to Mexico. All hairy dogs have an hh allele on that spot called the FOX13 gene where the mutation occurred. Only dogs with the H mutation are hairless. The HH gene is lethal and the hh is the original coated, unmutated dog that can never have hairless pups-unless bred to a hairless dog.
The Genetics of Hairless Dogs.
This book was the first book I read to even mention the genetics of hairless dogs and it describes the nature of a lethal dominant gene, as the H gene is, when expressed as HH. Pups with HH are not born. The Hh gene gives restricted hair and tooth development. There are Hh hairless dogs with varying amounts of hair from none, to a full, but thin, single coat in some Chinese Cresteds. The hairy dogs can have double and/or single coats, though I think the single coat was more common in the tropics.
The Lethal Gene.
The nature of all lethal genes is about a dominant mutation, which with one copy, will give an unusual trait ie hairlessness, bob tails and ridgebacks, all of which are examples in dogs. The reason they are lethal is that two copies of the gene give such an extreme version of the trait, that the animals do not live- if ever born. Thus double dominant genes give bobtails and ridgebacks with external spinal cords and no anuses, for instance. No hairless puppies are believed to survive the double naked HH whammy. The teeth and skin probably do not develop at all, making the embryos nonviable from almost the beginning.
Can there be a “Breed” of Naked Dogs? Absolutely not!!!
Now, I have to stop right there and point out that ALL the hairless breeders started out developing naked breeds of dogs. They get two hairless dogs and breed them together. Even today, all they talk up, is the hairless variety even though up to 50% of a hairless litter can have hairy dogs. Yet, please note, no hairy dog can have the hairless gene, because it has 2 recessive hh alleles.
What Amy and Kelly never taught us, nor even seemed to figure out for themselves, is that the coated dogs are the breed.
The coated dogs are the breed.
The coated dogs are the breed. There is no such thing as a hairless “breed”. There is only a hairless genetic variation on a coated breed. Thus, the hairless trait can be introduced into any “breed” or landrace of ancient dogs and was.
H is dominant, h is recessive. Above are all the possible combinations. The HH are not born, the Hh are the hairless and the hh are hairy.
Think about it. The only way to get a hairless dog was to breed a hairless dog, so one had to get a hairless dog to begin with. Then, there will ALWAYS be hairy puppies from hairless dogs in a predetermined ratio although not in every litter. One practice is to breed hairless to hairless, but that always resulted in smaller litters as the HH pups perished, yet hairy pups still happened because each parent has an h allele. When the odds are that two hh alleles meet up, the dog has hair, so there is no way to get rid of the hairy pups. The reason should be obvious to dog breeders, yet they are so notoriously in denial about so much, they have lost the ability to reason through a situation. The answer to the naked breed thing is that there is no naked breed, there is only an Hh gene added to whatever the mix (or Breed) happens to be.
I will not review the rest of the book, which is a detailed account of how the three registered hairless breeds were developed, the Xoloitzquintle, the Peruvian Inca Orchid, and the Chinese Crested. All three breeds mistakenly only valued the hairless variety, thus the breeds themselves have never been promoted. In the Chinese Crested, the breed is the powder puff; the naked crested dogs are a variation on the basic breed. Seems like the Peruvian breed used a hound model on which to put the hairless gene. The Xolo actually seems to be based on a common type of Mexican dog, a very handsome balanced animal with upright ears and a low curved tail.
Naked dog breeders need to face the reality of how the Hh gene works and develop the actual breed, then use some good dogs to produce the naked variation. However current AKC beliefs in eugenics style closed gene pool breeding, is refusing to admit the truth about how Hh genes work. The crested breeders have so much hair in their hairless dogs, they have to shave some of them for shows. They bemoan it, but have no clue on how to fix it- and. the AKC wouldn’t let them, if they did know how!
So here I am, back at my anti-AKC stance on the breeding of dogs.
I would like to see the “Itzquintle” become a Mexican landrace breed, of which some are used to perpetuate the Naked allele. I think the Peruvian dogs are a hodge-podge, a very inconsistent “breed” that I would never invest in. I would like to see the Chinese Cresteds fold up, go away and learn how to breed a good dog and recognize the limits of certain genes. The powder puff version of the dog is so hairy it is almost Qualzucht by itself. The hairy Cresties should not be bred at all. Crestie breeders need to learn some genetics and realize the creators of their “breed”, were Sorcerer’s apprentices who did not know what they were doing- then or now, and thus produced a Qualzucht breed. Look up “Qualzucht” It is German for “torture breeding”.
I do recommend that people look at this book; it reveals the true origins of the AKC Chihuahua as well, and indirectly bolsters the techichi theory, although you need to follow the sources to get the complete picture.
Originally the naked gene was bred into in all sizes of dogs. Until very recently there was a line of naked Chihuahuas (techichi types) in Tucson. Apparently, at the beginning of the development of the Xoloitzquintle breed by the AKC-bbased Xolo club, techichi-sized dogs were not allowed in at first. Now they are, but a lot of genetic material got lost in Tucson before the club made that change. I have three sources for that info, two local one-time breeder/owners of naked Chihuahuas and Pat Kennedy, once the sec’y of the Xolo club in the early years -and my Great Aunt, as well. I interviewed her about the early days of the Xolo club at a family reunion, about when she was active in the beginnings of the Xolo breed. She knew a lot about the Tucson scene in the 1950’s when there were lots of naked techichi types.
After thoughts: Qualzucht and naked dogs
After having owned 3 naked dogs, I have come to realize that I totally love the hairy dogs of the breed and would have one any time, I would not ever own another naked dog. I think it is a weird kind of cultural appropriation to keep breeding these dogs as pets. The original breeders, Aztec ancestors, considered the naked dog sacred to one of their Energy Streams, (I hate the word “gods” in English; it has the wrong connotations for Aztec thought) called Xolotl, the dog-like, twin-like other half of the Quetzalcoatl Energy. The dogs need special care; most have bad dentition, even when bred from hairy dogs with good dentition. The skin itself is extremely vulnerable to all kinds of conditions, all its life- which too often ends with skin cancer.
Tosso Lieb, the Swiss scientist who traced the age and geography of the naked gene has long since reached the conclusion that breeding for nakedness is Qaulzucht, a kind of torture breeding in which humans make their dogs endure an unnatural condition of breeding which distorts the animal. Flat faces, are an especially egregious form of Qualzucht as it affects the internal temperature control and breathing of the dogs with the trait. Just because dogs produce genetic sports- especially when inbred, does not mean man needs to make dogs into an animal that gets bred for the weird trait.
There is not one word of the genetic struggles of the Chinese Crested breed to maintain its baldness in the proper places, in this book, nor of the ethics of breeding weird genes into dogs. They are proud members of AKC-think, not independent scientists who really examined the trait. Just to have a different looking dog, is an ego trip for the owners- it always has been, and naked dogs are no exception- witness the mass killings of hairy pups for decades. If they didn’t have the weird trait, they were worthless dogs.
On the other hand techichi dogs, although small, only have the one weird gene for smallness, which when bred to an extreme is Qualzucht, but in the ordinary 10-20 pound size produces devoted and quite long lived house pets who are a bit high strung about company, but are calm and easy to live with, in general. In the old days, here in the northern deserts, the smallness was a trait that allowed even the poorest people to be able to feed their dogs, who also were good at getting and eating rodents. So, even though their smallness does impose some weirdness, like the big eyes, the techichi type is hardy and long lived with no discomfort or special treatment. A good little dog.