Coco's Dante Is A Xoloitzcuintli, The National Dog of Mexico And Guide of the Dead
Xoloitzcuintli, the national breed of Mexico, has a long history in the Americas...
Xoloitzcuintli, Xolo for short, may be descended from the very first dogs to set foot in the 'new world'.
The name, Xoloitzcuintli, comes from the Aztec god Xolotl, god of lightning and death, and the Aztec word "itzcuintli", which means dog.
Xolotl, the Aztec god of death, was depicted with a dog head, just like the Egyptian god of the dead, Anubis.
Ancient Latin American cultures like the Aztec and Maya bred and revered the Xoloitzcuintli as guardians and protectors, keeping homes safe from evil spirits and intruders.
They also believed that the Xolos would guide the spirits of the dead on their journey to the underworld Mictlan, which is why the breed was the perfect choice for Coco's Dante, Miguel's spirit guide.
Even the toy and intermediate sizes can look a little scary, with their sharp ears, dark coloring, and sand-papery hairless skin.
But Xolos are calm and loyal companions.
Because Xolos don't have any hair, they create a lot of body heat to keep themselves warm. People believe that laying next to a Xolo can be therapeutic, because the heat they generate can alleviate aches and pains.
Remember Dante's missing teeth? That's not unique to his character; Xolos tend to lose their teeth as they age (just like us!).
And without teeth to hold their tongues in, Xolos often have their tongues hanging out - just like Dante!
Check out this video showing how the director and creators of Coco went to meet the dogs of Mexico to choose a breed for Dante.
And, finally, here's a chance to meet the "real Dante!