My name is Melissa Hinkle, owner and breeder at Junkyard Xolos. I live in a rural area in Oklahoma close to a town called Tecumseh. My husband and I operate an auto repair shop and own a small “salvage yard”, hence the kennel name. We do sell automotive parts online but are not open to the public, so the whole place is really a playground for us and the dogs. Our dogs live inside our home with us and basically control the couch. We have 4 children at home who are all heavily involved with the dogs and their care. I have always been very fond of dogs and especially interested in teaching and training them. We are a dog loving family and absolutely obsessed with our Xolos, we love them so much! They are often challenging in many ways, but the hard work and dedication adds to the joy they bring.
We started looking for a Xolo in 2019 because we were attracted to the uniqueness and history of the breed. We ended up finding a little red female “Beza” from a listing on AKC marketplace. She was months old when we flew her here from California in February of 2020. When she came to us, she was not properly socialized and suffered from fear and anxiety issues. Directly after that, the Covid pandemic was raging through the world, so we were not getting out and about much. All of that isolation really just compounded the fear and anxiety issues for Beza. She was scared of all loud noises and most people. We started training and then conformation classes with Beza to help with her confidence and social skills.
I am sharing our experience with Beza and her issues to highlight the importance of finding a responsible breeder that follows socialization protocols with their puppies, so that they can live happy, fulfilled lives from the start. We spent countless hours working with Beza and at times I wondered if she would ever feel safe. We did work through her issues for the most part, and now she lives an exciting life, really enjoys going to dog shows, hiking, and swimming. We perform health testing to certify our dogs with their OFA CHIC number and Embark DNA test. They are kept physically fit and fed a nutritious raw diet.
We imported a female from Croatia, because we liked what her pedigree would bring to our program. She is an amazingly sweet girl with a great temperament and an unforgettable personality. She matured with a severely curled tail, which is a fault in the breed standard, so we made the difficult decision to spay her. She now lives in Washington state with the best possible person for her, Sierra Sharp. Sierra has become a part of our family, we communicate regularly and always love her updates and pictures. We are soon to add another female to our home that we are very excited about.
Conformation shows have become a huge part of our lives. We love the excitement and competition, and have met so many wonderful people. Beza went to her first AKC conformation show in early 2021. Luckily there were other Xolos competing. We joined the Xoloitzcuintli Club of America and started looking for shows where we could meet other Xolo owners. I gained some of my best knowledge about the breed and standard by chatting about the dogs in the ring with seasoned breeders. Conformation showing has opened my eyes even more to the importance of responsible preservation breeding in all purebred dogs and especially Xoloitzcuintli.
The 2021 National Specialty was in Houston, Texas and by then we had already met and developed relationships with many of the competitors. The shows have been a great family activity and we use them as our vacations. The kids and I have traveled as far as Utah and Florida for shows, and also visited interesting “dog friendly” places there and along the way. My main goal for showing is to have fun! I love working with my dogs.
Another goal is to introduce people and my puppy owners to the sport. I feel that it encourages people to train and spend time with their dogs. It is a great way to see my puppies as they grow and mature. I use the shows as a tool to evaluate my Xolos, and others, and then study that information for ways to improve my program. We also participate in Fast Cat, Scent Work, Agility, Obedience, and loads of tricks. Beza is an AKC champion and is working toward her Grand Championship.
Our first Xolo litter of three hairless males was born in July 2022. We wanted a female to keep, but ended up keeping one of the males anyway. When considering homes for our puppies we give priority to people that are willing to show or compete in any dog sports. I want people to work with their puppies and continue socializing them. I often ask potential owners to visit a show in their area, just for the experience. I try to select people who are committed to staying in touch with me and will send photos and updates. The puppies hold a little piece of my heart and soul and will always have a place with me. In my opinion Xolos are better placed in homes with plenty of dog experience and especially in homes that are familiar with training.
The Xolo Market
As the Xolos are becoming more known and popular, I believe it is every Xolo owner's responsibility to educate and promote the importance of the history of the breed. We need to maintain a healthy gene pool while staying true to the Xolo's ancient beginnings. All breeding dogs and bitches should be fully health tested. I also believe that pairings should be made with consideration of temperament, structure, and the breed standard.
I want to caution anyone looking for a Xolo of online scams that may not be as obvious. I see plenty of posts and ads where people list available Xolos and have hashtags claiming OFA tested and Embark and other similar claims. I encourage people to please ask for proof of health testing. Responsible breeders will want constant updates and to keep in touch for the life of the dog. One way we can combat irresponsible breeding practices in the Xolo community is by educating and helping potential buyers with ethical, responsible resources. I would like to offer myself as a resource for anyone with questions about breeders or anything Xolo related. If I do not have the answers, I can help find someone who does.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Xolo Supply Co. for all they are doing to help educate people about Xolos, and express my appreciation and gratitude to some of the amazing people I have had the privilege to call my friends and mentors. Thank you Troy Jensen and Vincent Holman, Louise Ekenstam, Audrey Reed, Teresa Vila, Amy and Kayla Wise, Breanna Valentine. You are all a true asset to the dog show and Xolo community! I would also like to give a special thank you to Khara Schuetzner and everyone at The Doggie Spot in Shawnee, OK for their friendship, knowledge and smiling faces.
Have questions or would like to keep up with the Junkyard kennel? Reach them here!