The Peruvian hairless dog is also called the Peruvian Inca Orchid. It is a rare breed of dog first found in the possession of the Incas when conquered by the Spanish. Read our guide for more facts and information…
Even though it is called the Peruvian Inca Orchid, the breed seems to have been around much longer than the early Inca civilization. Images of the hairless dog have been discovered on pre Incan pottery dating back as far as 300CE, while the Incas did not come into power until much later. The Inca royalty did keep the Peruvian hairless as pets however, and since the breed is hairless and they were living in the high Andean areas, they were often kept in hothouses where the Incas grew orchids. Hence the name Peruvian Inca Orchid was born.
Characteristics of the Peruvian Hairless Dog
Not all puppies of this breed are hairless. They are usually born in a ratio of 2:1 hairless to coated. Even the ones that are classified as hairless may have some hair on the head and tail area. The totally hairless ones are valued more highly by the breeders, and some of the coated ones are removed from future breeding stock. Some breeders and veterinarians blend the coated ones into the bloodlines, as they are healthier and their genes keep the hairless dogs from being more prone to skin problems and dental problems.
Today there are about 30,000 Peruvian hairless dogs in the United States. Most of these are descended from a group of a dozen dogs that were imported in the early 1900’s. The inbreeding of these dogs has made them more vulnerable to the health problems mentioned earlier.
Hairless Dogs as Pets
The Peruvian hairless dog is a friendly dog. It is adaptable to family life, good with children and other pets, even with dogs of its own sex. They are fragile; however, so small children should be watched with them. They come in all sizes, so one may be right for you. The small dog is 9 to 18 pounds, the medium dog is 18-26 pounds and the large dog grows from 26 to 55 pounds.
A prospective owner should be aware that as the dog is hairless it is basically naked. Arrangements should be made for the animal to have a sweater in the winter and care must be taken to keep them from getting sunburned in the summer. As such, they are best kept indoors. Since this is the case, you will be glad to know that you don’t have to worry about fleas on the hairless dog.
You should also take care of the dog’s skin. It should be washed with a sponge often to keep dirt from clogging pores. The hairless dog’s skin should also be oiled frequently with some lanolin free oil or lotion to keep skin from drying out.
This is a smart breed that is easily trained and eager to learn. It loves company and is very faithful to its family. However, this breed may not be right for the novice dog owner who may not know about its potential health problems.