Xoloitzcuintli – General Description
The Xoloitzcuintli (/ʃoʊloʊ.iːtsˈkwiːntli/ SHOH-loh-eets-KWEENT-lee); is a hairless breed of dog, found in toy, miniature and standard sizes. It is also known as Mexican hairless dog in English speaking countries.
In Nahuatl, from which its name English originates, its name is xōlōitzcuintli [ʃoːloːit͡sˈkʷint͡ɬi] (singular) and xōlōitzcuintlin [ʃoːloːit͡sˈkʷint͡ɬin] (plural). The name xōlōitzcuintli comes from the god Xolotl and itzcuīntli [it͡skʷiːnt͡ɬi], meaning dog in Nahuatl.
In spite of some similarities in appearance there is no close genetic relationship between Xoloitzcuintli and Chinese crested dog
Classification and Standards
- FCI Group 5, Section 6, #234
- AKC Non-sporting (FSS) standard
The AKC Foundation Stock Service (FSS) is an optional recording service for purebred dogs that are not yet eligible for AKC registration.
- CKC Toys/Non Sporting
- KC (UK) Utility
- UKC Sighthounds & Pariahs
Character & Temperament
Adult Xolos are noted for their calm demeanor, but puppies can be extremely energetic, noisy and often chewy until they reach maturity (after 2 years old), when they settle down and become more calm. The Xolo breed has what is considered ‘primitive’ temperament traits (very high intelligence, high energy, inquisitiveness, strong hunting and social instincts). Today, Xolos can be escape artists, climbing and jumping fences to chase. Thus they possess guard dog ability and will not back down from a fight. At the same time, adult dogs, when they are raised properly, are known to become steady, well-behaved and affectionate companions.
This primitive temperament is apparent because the breed temperament overall has not been modified by selective breeding in their native thousands-years history in the Central Americas. This has also ensured a sturdy physical nature and vigorous health generally innate in both coated and uncoated Xolos.
Xolo behavioral temperament can be similar to that of other Working breeds, with high intelligence, sensitivity, and social instincts. Well-raised Xolos bond strongly with their dog-wise owners.
Though physically grown at one year, many dog breeds including Xolos are not ’emotionally mature’ until around two years. Like active breeds such as terriers, Xolos need calm, persistent and loving obedience and socialization training during their growing years.
A newborn Xoloitzcuintli
Anyone considering adopting this breed should expect to invest seriously in dog training education for themselves and experience in owning previous active-breed dogs. The adoptor will also need to have in place a spacious, safe physical environment for the dogs’ high exercise needs. Problems of behavior are usually the case of the dog ‘going crazy’ receiving inadequate physical and mental exercise, not the fault of the dog. The Xolo should not be an only dog in most cases, needing social interaction with other dog(s).
The Xolo is native to Mexico. Archaeological evidence shows that the breed has existed in Mexico for more than 3,000 years. Most likely, early forerunners of the Xolo originated as spontaneous hairless mutations of indigenous American dogs. Hairlessness may have offered a survival advantage in tropical regions. Indigenous peoples of Central and South America had Xolo dogs as home and hunting companions, and today they are still very popular companion dogs; even as the national dog of Mexico. Their value in ancient native cultures is evidenced by their frequent appearance in art and artifacts, for example, those produced by the Colima, Aztec and Toltec civilizations in Mexico.
Xolos were considered sacred dogs by the Aztecs (and also Toltecs, Maya and some other groups) because they believed the dogs were needed by their masters’ souls to help them safely through the underworld, and also they were useful companion animals. According to Aztec mythology, the god Xolotl made the Xoloitzcuintli from a sliver of the Bone of Life from which all mankind was made. Xolotl gave this gift to Man with the instruction to guard it with his life and in exchange it would guide Man through the dangers of Mictlan, the world of Death, toward the Evening Star in the Heavens. Some people in Mexico continue to believe this breed has healing qualities. The Aztecs also raised the breed for their meat. Sixteenth-century Spanish accounts tell of large numbers of dogs being served at banquets. Aztec Merchant feasts could have 80-100 turkeys and 20-40 dogs served as food. When these two meats were served in the same dish, the dog meat was at the bottom of the dish, because it was held in higher regard.
The Aztecs did not eat much domesticated animals such as the Xolo and turkey. Over 90% of the bones found at sites are of deer that was hunted.
When Columbus arrived in the Caribbean in 1492, his journal entries noted the presence of strange hairless dogs. Subsequently, Xolos were transported back to Europe.
The breed is not well known in the United States. As a result, the Xolo has been mistaken for the mythical Chupacabra of Mexico.
The Xoloitzcuintli is the symbol of Club Tijuana, a Mexican professional football club.
Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI)
Despite the Xolo’s more than 3000 year history in Mexico, the breed did not receive any official notice in its homeland until the 1950s. The FCI, founded in 1940, was not prepared to declare the Xolo an official purebred at that time. According to breed historian Norman Pelham Wright, author of The Enigma of the Xoloitzcuintli Xolos began to turn up at Mexican dog shows in the late 1940s. While they were recognized as indigenous specimens of a native breed, interest in them was minimal at that time, because information was scarce and no standard existed by which to judge them. Within a decade the FCI realized that the breed would be extinct if drastic action were not taken to save it. This led to the widely publicized Xolo Expedition of 1954. With the official sanction of FCI, Wright and a team of Mexican and British dog authorities set off to discover if any purebred Xolos still existed in remote areas of Mexico.
Eventually ten structurally strong Xolos were found and these dogs formed the foundation of Mexico’s program to revive the breed. A committee headed by Wright authored the first official standard for the breed, and on May 1, 1956, the Xolo was finally recognized in its native land and, as Mexico is a member of the FCI, worldwide.
American Kennel Club (AKC)
Xolos were among the first breeds recorded by the American Kennel Club (AKC). A Mexican dog named ‘Mee Too’ made breed history as the first AKC-registered Xolo in 1887. ‘Chinito Junior’, bred and owned by Valetska Radtke of New York City, became the breed’s only AKC champion to date. He earned his title on October 19, 1940.
In 1959, the Xolo was dropped from the AKC stud book due to the breed’s scarcity and perceived extinction. The Xoloitzcuintli Club of America (XCA) was founded in October 1986 to regain AKC recognition for the breed. On May 13, 2008, AKC voted to readmit the breed to its Miscellaneous Class starting January 1, 2009. The XCA is the official parent club for the breed, founded on October 26, 1986 for the purpose of regaining AKC recognition for the Xoloitzcuintli. The founding members voted unanimously to recognize all three sizes (toy, miniature and standard) and both varieties (hairless and coated) at their initial meeting. Since then, the XCA has compiled a stud book modeled on requirements for eventual AKC acceptance, held an annual independent specialty show, published a quarterly newsletter, The Xolo News, and maintained an active national rescue network, National Xolo Rescue (known before 2009 as The Xolo Rescue League). As of January 1, 2007, FSS registered Xolos are eligible to compete in AKC performance events. The breed will be moved into the AKC Studbook in December 2010 and will be eligible to be shown in the AKC Non-Sporting group as of January 1, 2011.
The first AKC Group Winning Xolo was Bayshore Mole who won a Group 4 placement February 2, 2011 and this was followed by his littermate Bayshore Georgio Armani receiving back to back group placement. On August 8, 2011 Bayshore Georgio Armani became the fist Xolo to be named Best in Show in AKC competition. Bayshore Mole became the first Xolo to win back to back Best in Shows on September 3 and 4, 2011. Both dogs were bred by Bayshore Kennel in Virginia.
In February 2012, the Xolo will be one of 6 new breeds to make their first appearance at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
Size & Appearance
The breed ranges in size from about 10 to 50 lb (4 to 20 kg). Similar in appearance to a Pharaoh Hound, with a sleek body, almond-shaped eyes, large bat-like ears, and a long neck, the Xolo is notable for its dominant trait of hairlessness. The dominant hairless trait originated in this breed as a spontaneous mutation thousands of years ago. The recessive expression of the trait will produce a coated variety, which is genetically inseparable from the hairless, as the homozygous appearance of the hairless mutation is fatal to the unborn pup. Most litters contain both hairless and coated puppies. The coated variety, covered with a short, flat dense coat represents the original form of the dog, prior to the occurrence of the spontaneous hairless mutation. The hairless variety is completely hairless on the body, with many dogs exhibiting a few short hairs on the top of the head, the toes and the tip of the tail. Most hairless dogs are black or bluish-gray in color. The allele responsible for the Xolo’s hairlessness also affects the dog’s dentition: Xolos typically have an incomplete set of teeth.
The Xolo is moderate in all aspects of its appearance, conveying an impression of strength, agility and elegance. Xolo body proportions are rectangular, slightly longer in total body length than the height measured at the highest point of the withers (top of the shoulders). The breed occurs naturally in two varieties, hairless and coated. Hairless Xolos are the dominant expression of the heterozygous Hh hairless trait. Coated Xolos (hh) are the recessive expression, and breeding hairless to coated or hairless to hairless may produce pups of either or both varieties. Breeding coated to coated will only produce coated pups because they are recessive to the hairless trait and do not carry the dominant H gene.
Both varieties occur in all hair or skin colors, and often marked, splashed or spotted. The most common colors are various shades termed black, blue, and red. The breed occurs in a range of sizes, which breeders have standardized into three designations.
Toy: 10 to 13 in (25 to 33 cm) high at shoulder, approximately 12 to 18 lb (5.4 to 8.2 kg)
Miniature: 13 to 18 in (33 to 46 cm) high at shoulder, approximately 20 to 25 lb (9.1 to 11 kg)
Standard: 18 to 24 in (46 to 61 cm) high at shoulder, approximately 35 to 45 lb (16 to 20 kg)
Health & Maintenance
The Xolo has been developed by natural selection for thousands of years, and is therefore generally not prone to health and structure problems as other dog breeds more modified by human selection efforts. Xolos came from tropical climates and are not suited for outdoor life in colder temperate and northern climates; they should be considered an indoor dog breed. They need bathing, light grooming and skin care as with other dogs of similar physical type, or acne can result. “For the Hairless: Most skin problems arise from poor breeding, neglect, or over-bathing and over-lotioning, stripping natural protections and clogging pores.
In Movies, TV, & Print
- Xolo was featured in Royal de Luxe’s street theater performances in Guadalajara, Mexico (November 2010), Nantes, France (May 2011) and Liverpool (April 2012). A huge puppet of the dog accompanied the company’s famous Giants.
- Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente is a Mexican football club named after the dog breed.
- The Xolo was featured for the first time in the 2012 Westminster Dog Show.
In popular culture
- 101 Dalmatians II: Patch’s London Adventure
- Nahuatl Dictionary. (1997). Wired Humanities Project. University of Oregon. – http://whp.uoregon.edu/dictionaries/nahuatl/index.lasso
- Xolo at Dog-breed-facts.com – http://www.dog-breed-facts.com/Breeds/xolo.html
- Coe, Sophie D. (1994) America’s first cuisines ISBN 0-292-71159-X
- Aguilar-Moreno, M. (2006). Handbook to life in the Aztec world. Oxford University Press: USA. ISBN 978-0-19-533083-0
- “Mythical chupacabra found?”. CNN. 1 September 2009. – http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/offbeat/2009/09/01/roldan.chupacabra.KSAT
- National Xolo Rescue at the XCA website – http://www.xoloitzcuintliclubofamerica.com/id26.html
- Xolo News at AKC.org – http://www.akc.org/breeds/xoloitzcuintli/news.cfm
- “Inheritance and Breeding Results of Mexican Hairless Dogs”, Laboratory Animals, 1993. – http://la.rsmjournals.com/cgi/reprint/27/1/55.pdf
- “FCI-Standard N° 234: XOLOITZCUINTLE (Hairless Variety & Coated Variety)”. Fédération Cynologique Internationale. 2011-02-16. – http://www.fci.be/uploaded_files/234g05-en.doc
- Xoloitzcuintli Club of America – http://www.xoloitzcuintliclubofamerica.com/
- Drogemuller, C.; E. K. Karlsson, M. K. Hytonen, M. Perloski, G. Dolf, K. Sainio, H. Lohi, K. Lindblad-Toh, and T. Leeb. “A Mutation in Hairless Dogs Implicates FOXI3”. Science 321 (5895):1462, 2008. – http://www27.brinkster.com/taisetsu/Chinese_Crested/FOXI3_Hair_Development.pdf
- Spontaneous Comedones (Acne) in Mexican Hairless Dogs “Laboratory Animals” 1996 – http://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/expanim/45/4/377/_pdf
- Studies on the Dermatological Uses of Mexican Hairless Dogs “Laboratory Animals” 1996 – http://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/expanim/45/1/1/_pdf
- The Xoloitzcuintli Club of America (XCA), AKC Xolo parent club.
- www.xcusa.net – The Xoloitzcuintli Club USA (XCUSA) actively supports and promotes the Xolo breed in the United States.
- www.xoloworld.com – Xolo World is also an XCUSA website.
- “New AKC Recognized Breed: The Xolo”, Cesar’s Way, July 2011
- A descriptive comparison of the Xolo vs. similar “hairless” breeds.
- American Kennel Club (AKC)
- URCANIS breedingclub of Sweden
- Westminster Kennel Club
- Hajor (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- AlejandroLinaresGarcia (Own work) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- Maikemo [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
- Alfredo&Sara Aguirre [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- Oviedo (Own work) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- Micyaotl G.T. (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- Vanzetti [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
- W. E. Mason – Dogs of all Nations [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Animal Planet – Dogs 101: Xoloitzcuintli
FCI-Standard N° 234 / 16.02.2011/EN
TRANSLATION: Federación Canófila Mexicana, A.C. Revised by: J. Mulholland and R. Triquet / Original version : (ES).
DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE OFFICIAL VALID STANDARD: 13.10.2010.
Standard Size: Watchdog.
Intermediate Size: Watchdog.
Miniature Size: Companion Dog.
- Group 5 Spitz and Primitive Types.
- Section 6 Primitive Type.
Without working trial.
The gene that produces the absence of hair is dominant. Nevertheless, some puppies are born with a coat. The hairless to hairless breeding will produce the least number of coated puppies therefore this has been preferred. It has been proven that this breeding maintains and improves the quality of the breed.
Crossing hairless to hairless dogs fosters the appearance of a fatal gene affecting 25% of homozygous puppies and should be given careful attention. Considering the rarity of the breed, and the difficulty that some breeders in distant locations have in finding breeding stock, and for the purpose of providing genetic diversity, well constructed coated Xoloitzcuintles may be used for breeding but never for exhibition in beauty contests. Breeding between coated Xoloitzcuintles is not permitted. Xoloitzcuintle coated breeding stock must be the offspring of registered parents with at least one generation of hairless to hairless breeding.
The meat of the Xoloitzcuintle or Xoloitzcuintli in Nahuatl language was considered a delicacy in pre-hispanic Mexico, eaten by the indigenous Mexicans in special ceremonies as a ritual to their beliefs, and therefore became scarce, reaching a point of near extinction. The Federación Canofila Mexicana (Mexican Kennel Club) rescued this native breed and has used the Xoloitzcuintle on its logo since 1940.
BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY:
Their origin dates far back in history. The indigenous people fed on its highly desired meat in special ceremonies. The Xoloitzcuintli in Nahuatl language or Xoloitzcuintle in Spanish, was regarded as a representative of the god “Xolotl”, from which its name obviously originates. Its task was to guide the souls of the dead to their eternal destination. The hairless variety of the breed is also known by the name “perro pelón mexicano” (Mexican Hairless Dog). The coated variety was known by the natives as “izcuintle”.
Hairless variety: It is a very attractive dog; the most important characteristic is the complete or almost complete lack of any hair, with a smooth and soft skin. It has a well-proportioned body, chest is ample, ribs well sprung, limbs and tail are long.
Coated variety: A very attractive, completely coated dog with the same harmonious proportions as the hairless variety. The coat can be of any color, length and texture. Its body is well-proportioned, chest is ample, ribs well sprung, limbs and tail are long.
The body, measured from the point of shoulder to the point of buttock and from the highest point of the withers to the ground, is slightly longer than tall: approximately 10:9. Females may be slightly longer than males due to their reproductive function. The skull and the muzzle are approximately of equal length.
BEHAVIOR AND TEMPERAMENT:
The Xoloitzcuintle is a silent and calm dog, cheerful, alert and intelligent, suspicious toward strangers, a good watchdog and an excellent companion. It is never aggressive.
Skull: Lupoid type, broad and strong, wedge-shaped. Seen from above it is wide and elegant; tapering toward the muzzle with an occipital protuberance that is not well-defined. The skull and muzzle planes are almost parallel.
Stop: Slight, but well defined.
Nose: The nose should be dark in dark-colored dogs. It can be brown or pink in bronze-colored dogs, pink or brown in blond specimens and spotted in spotted dogs.
Muzzle: Seen from the side, the muzzle is straight and the upper and lower jaws are very strong.
Lips: Tight and close fitting.
Jaws / Teeth: Hairless Xoloitzcuintle: Strong jaws. The incisors should close perfectly in a scissor bite with the superior incisors overlapping; the interior surface of the superior incisors touching the external surface of the lower incisors, squaring the jaw. A level bite, edge to edge, is also permitted. The absence of a few incisors, canines, molars, pre-molars or rotated teeth should not be penalized, as many dogs do not have deep roots. Genetically, the absence of hair is closely linked to the absence of teeth.
Coated Xoloitzcuintle: Full dentition with scissor or pincer bite is required.
The Xolo’s tongue is generally pink but may have black markings, spots or stripes, which is a common characteristic of the breed. The tongue is always inside the mouth.
Cheeks: Slightly developed.
Eyes: Medium size, almond-shaped, with an alert and very intelligent expression. The color varies according to the skin color in black, brown, hazel, amber or yellow tones. Darker colors are preferred and both eyes should match. The eyelids should be well-pigmented black, brown or grey in dark-colored dogs.
Light-colored or pink eyelids are permitted in light-colored dogs although this is not the most desirable color.
Hairless variety: The ears are long, large, expressive, very elegant and of fine texture; they are reminiscent of “bat” ears. They should be held erect when alert. In the alert position their axis should be 50 – 80 degrees from horizontal.
Coated variety: The ears are long, large and elegant. They may be held erect or they may be down. Any position is acceptable. Both ears should be in the same position, when alert.
Carried high. Upper line slightly arched. Proportionately long. Slim, flexible, well-muscled and very elegant. The skin on the neck is firm, elastic and close-fitting, without dewlap. Puppies show folds which disappear with age.
Topline: Perfectly straight and level.
Loin: Strong and muscular.
Croup: Profile should be slightly convex with an inclination of approximately 40 degrees to the horizontal.
Chest: Seen in profile it is long and deep, descending to the elbows. The ribs are slightly sprung but never flat. Seen from the front the upper chest is of good breadth. The point of the sternum should not protrude.
Underline and belly: Graceful line. Abdomen muscled and moderately tucked up.
Long, thin and may have some tufts of hair, tapering from the base to the tip in the hairless Xoloitzcuintle, and completely covered with hair in the coated Xoloitzcuintle. In movement, it is carried up in a curve, never touching the back. When resting, it should hang with a slight hook at the end. Sometimes it is placed between the legs due to cold temperatures, or, this can be considered a sign of shyness. The tail should nearly reach the hock.
The tail set should be an extension of the croup when the dog is at rest.
Shoulder: Flat and muscled with good scapula-humeral angulation which allows a long, free and elegant stride.
Elbow: Strong. They fit close to the chest, never turned outwards.
Forearm: Forelegs seen from the front are straight and perpendicular to the ground.
Forefeet: Of medium length (hare’s foot) with toes arched and close together, may have short coarse hairs in the Hairless Xoloitzcuintle, and be covered with hair in the Coated Xoloitzcuintle. Nails are black in dark-coloured dogs, and lighter in bronze or blond dogs. The nails should be trimmed. The foot pads are strong and very resistant to any terrain. The inter-digital membranes are well-developed. Dewclaws should be removed on all four limbs except in countries where it is illegal to remove them.
General appearance: The hindquarters should be strong and well-muscled. Seen from behind they are perfectly straight and parallel and never close. The angle of the pelvis to the upper thigh joint, stifle and hock, are adequately open to permit both free and strong movement of the legs.
Stifle (Knee): With a moderate bend.
Hock joint: Cow hocks are to be strongly penalized.
Hind feet: As forefeet.
GAIT / MOVEMENT:
In accordance with its angulations, the dog should move freely with a long, elegant, springy step; trot is quick and flowing, head and tail carried high.
Hairless Variety: Due to the total absence of hair, the skin of this breed is of great importance. It is smooth, sensitive to touch and feels warmer because of direct heat emission due to the lack of hair; however its body temperature is the same as in other dogs with hair.
The difference with haired breeds, which disperse body heat through natural ventilation, is that the skin requires more care from exposure to the sun and elements due to its lack of natural protection. Accidental scars are not penalized. The dog tends to sweat through its feet (foot pads and inter-digital membranes), which is why other than in extreme heat it seldom pants. It should be free of obvious skin problems.
Coated Variety: The skin of the coated Xoloitzcuintle is smooth and should be completely covered with hair.
Hairless variety: The characteristic of this breed is the total lack of hair on the body (hairless or nude dog) although there are some short, coarse thick hairs of any color on the forehead and back of the neck that should never be longer than 2.5 centimeters and should never form a long, soft topknot. It is common to find rough hair on the feet and on the end of the tail, however its absence should not be penalized.
Coated Variety: This variety of the Xoloitzcuintle has hair all over its body. It can be expected to have very little hair on its belly and inside the rear legs. The hair may be of any length or texture, covering the entire body.
Hairless variety: Solid, uniform, dark colors are preferred. The range includes black, blackish grey, slate grey, dark grey, reddish, liver, bronze, and blond. There may also be spots of any color, including white or tricolored markings.
Coated Variety: It can have any color or combination of colors in different tones.
There are three sizes for males as well as females.
Standard Variety: From 46 to 60 centimeters, tolerance of +2 cm in top quality dogs.
Intermediate Variety: From 36 to 45 centimeters.
Miniature Variety: From 25 to 35 centimeters.
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
- Very broad head.
- Slack, loose or wrinkled skin in adult dogs.
- Loose, slack or wrinkled skin on the neck in adult dogs.
- Excessive dewlap.
- Light colored, round or protruding eyes.
- Sunken (lordosis) or arched (xifosis) back.
- Steep croup.
- Excessively cow hocked.
- Tail tightly curled over the back.
- Short tail.
- Flat feet.
- Long narrow body with short legs
- Aggressive or overly shy.
- Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
- Atypical dogs.
- Any Hairless or Coated Xoloitzcuintle with prognathism or enognathism.
- Dogs with a poor bite, denoted by poor positioning of the jaws.
- Protruding tongue.
- Blue eyes or flecks of blue in the eyes.
- Cropped or droopy ears, in the Hairless Xoloitzcuintle.
- Docked tail.
- Hair on any part of the hairless Xoloitzcuintle body other than the head, ears, neck, feet and tail.
- Any Xoloitzcuintle coated dog.
- Albinism, blindness or deafness.
- Dogs taller than 62 centimeters or lower than 25 centimeters.
N.B.: Males should have two testicles of normal appearance fully descended into the scrotum.
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