One of the most charming (and funny) characters in Pixar’s new movie “Coco” is Dante the dog, a stray who accompanies the main character, Miguel on his journey into the Land of the Dead.
- Dante is a Xolo dog—short for Xoloitzcuintli—the national dog of Mexico. The Xolo was regarded as the representative on Earth of the Aztec god Xolotl, the god of fire and lightning, per the movie’s press notes.
- Xoloitzcuintli is a combination of the name of the Aztec god Xolotl and the Aztec word for dog, Itzcuintli.
- Nearly (but not completely) hairless, Xolos often have missing teeth, so their tongue naturally hangs out, a feature of Dante’s that is played for maximum laughs in the film.
- During a trip to Mexico, director Lee Unkrich fell in love with the local Xolos, and that’s where the idea for Dante began. (Oh My Disney)
- Filmmakers invited local Xolo dogs to Pixar so artists could interact with the breed dogs and study their anatomy.
- The breed might be as old as 3,500 years, based on archaeological evidence found in the tombs of Aztec Indians.
- Xolos come in toy, miniature, and standard sizes (although Dante is the only one we see in the film.)
- Some people believe that Xolo dogs have healing abilities.
- Mexican artist Diego Rivera had a Xolo. The breed appeared frequently in the paintings of wife Frida Kahlo (who makes her own appearance in “Coco”).
- Good news, dog lovers: Nothing bad happens to Dante during the film. But there is a nice surprise for his character.
- His name, Dante, is likely a allusion to the Italian poet, Dante Alighieri. His most famous work is “The Divine Comedy,” in which he travels through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven.
“Coco” is now playing. Read the Moviepaws review here.
Watch a real Xolo dog tour the Pixar Studios: