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Peruvian Hairless Dog - The Peruvian Inca Orchids

My first encounter with a hairless Peruvian dog wasn't exactly the perfect introduction...

'Oh my God! What is that?!'

The friend I'd traveled to Pachacamac, Peru, wrenched her lunch bag into the air and lept onto a chair.

Scraping back my seat in alarm I peered under the table to find one of the most bizarre looking dogs I'd ever seen.

Peruvian Hairless Dog - Inca Orchid Dog
Peruvian Hairless Dog - Inca Orchid

'Scary hairless dog from hell,' she breathed.

To be fair, that was slightly harsh. After all, even the best-behaved dog will turn into a sneaky thief if he finds a sandwich bag dangling near his nose.

But this wasn't just any dog.

Definitely not a dog that was going to win any beauty contests.

Peruvian Dogs - Bad Hair Day?

Its teeth jutted out in a slightly alarming manner and it looked a bit like a whippet that had been to a really, really bad hairdresser.

But there was something rather fascinating about it.

Enquiring with a local guide I discovered that the unwitting miscreant, who'd actually only been after my friend's lunch, had been a Peruvian Hairless Dog.

Having never heard of them before I had a quick Google and discovered, regardless of my friend's continuing dislike of the breed, they were actually something quite special.

In fact, I found that the breed now goes by the grandiose name of Peruvian Inca Orchid.

A Little Background

An ancient breed, these Peruvian hairless dogs were first documented in the artwork of the Moche people in around 750AD and continued to be faithful friends to the various cultures until the Spanish arrived in Peru in 1532.

For reasons unknown, possibly the European love of hairy pets, the Peruvian Hairless Dog all but died out except in rural areas.

Then, this intriguing dog slowly made a resurgence thanks to its ability to thrive in the arid heat of the Peruvian coastal deserts and, possibly, the popular belief that the hairless dog had mystical powers.

Why Choose a Peruvian Hairless Dog for a Pet?

'They can help with period pains,' a guide explained to us when I asked about them again later that day. Apparently they seem to give off an extremely high natural body temperature and act as a sort of natural hot water bottle.

'And I've heard they cure asthma,' she continued.

Peruvian Hairless Dog - Inca Orchid Dog
Peruvian Hairless Dog - Inca Orchid

In each litter, there can also be pups with a little or a lot of hair - A top notch and tail tuft of naturally "orange" or "bleached-out" looking hair is fairly common (see first photo).

I'm not sure about curing asthma but I guess they'd be a good pet if you had it. Being almost totally hairless, these dogs don't shed.

And, according to the hoards of adoring owners online, don't drool.

No hair no drool certainly seems to have become a winning combination, and in recent years the breed has become increasingly popular outside of Peru.

Peruvian Inca Orchid Dogs Today

These peruvian hairless dogs are now recognised by the American Kennel Club. The breed is officially called the Peruvian Inca Orchid.

Peruvian Inca Orchid dogs were introduced to the US back in 1966, albeit as a slightly sleeker version than the sandwich burglar we encountered in Pachacamac.

Peruvian Inca Orchid Dog Standard Standing
Other names Perro Sin Pelo del Peru
Inca Hairless Dog

The Kennel Club website states that they have a lot of energy, are protective over their family, loyal and are good at hunting and agility.

A standard example will set you back between $700-1200. So I've decided to start saving.

You might find the people have quite divided opinions about Peruvian hairless dogs (especially if one has its nose in your lunch bag) but I love them.

A dog that can cure period pains? - now that's got to be girl's best friend!

Heather Meyer - Inside-Peru contributing writer~ submitted by Heather Meyer in  Lima, Peru

(Inside-Peru contributing writer)

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