Among the range of dogs set to compete at this weekend’s Maitland Show is one of the rarest breeds in Australia.
Buck, a hairless Xoloitzcuintle, was part of just the second litter of his breed born in Australia.
Owner Jacqi Dinis imported two Xoloitzcuintles from their native Mexico in 2009 after some research she into the breed fascinated her.
She said the Xoloitzcuintle was considered a delicacy in pre-Hispanic Mexico, eaten by the indigenous Mexicans as a ritual to their beliefs. It was regarded as a representative of the god "Xolotl", from which its name originates.
The breed nearly reached extinction with about 70 left in the 1950’s. But since then it has been rescued and reproduced.
Ms Dinis began breeding Xoloitzcuintles in 2014 using imported frozen semen.
With four litters and another on the way, Ms Dinis now has more than a dozen Xoloitzcuintles across various parts of Australia.
Buck, who is almost two years old, has been with an Aberdare family for about a week with plans to compete in several shows this year.
Louise Tattersall and her husband have showed dogs for 20 years, and now their daughter Tiarne has chosen to follow in her parents’ footsteps.
Tiarne was introduced to the breed when she took part in a junior handler competition 12 months ago and from there, Louise said her daughter fell in love and wanted one of her own.
The family has Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Louise said this will be a trial run to see how the two breeds get along.
But Louise said so far it’s been a match made in heaven. Buck sleeps on Tiarne’s bed, follows her around and knows when she’s due home from school.
“He’s fantastic, he’s just fitted in like he’s been there forever,” Louise said.
After Maitland Show, Buck and Tiarne will set their sights on the Sydney Royal and Canberra Royal Shows.