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Peruvian Hairless

Peruvian Hairless
In the Quecha language, "Caa-alleppo"
meaning, "Dog without Clothes"
Hairless dogs from Peru come in two varieties. The older lineage is called the Peruvian Hairless (or Perro sin Pelo del Peru or the Inca Hairless Dog). This dog is uniformly dark, with more pigment than the other variety, and is the type shown in the photo to the left. These dogs can tolerate sunshine because of their pigmented skin, and are referred to as a "daytime" dog.

The Peruvian Hairless has existed since ancient times -- originally from the pre-Inca period, and likely came from the Huanca people (who used them for food and their skins for drums). The Incas, when they became the dominant power, obtained the hairless dogs from the Huanca. The Inca nobility became interested in these dogs, especially any that had a lighter pigmentation. Over time, the lighter variety diverged and became a separate breed.

This second variety is known as the Peruvian Inca Orchard Dog (or the Moonflower Dog, or the Perro Flora, or the Orchid Dog). These dogs have a pale, mottled skin and do not tolerate sun well. They are the "nighttime" dogs. The Inca nobility developed this breed because they kept them inside, out of the sun -- in orchid filled rooms -- and only let them outside at night. Without the need to protect their skin from sun, lighter pigmented dogs could survive.

It is not known for certain if these dogs are related to the Mexican Hairless (the Xolo, or Xoloitzcuintl). It is possible, but it is also possible that the genetic mutation that causes hairlessness happened independently in both regions.

The hairless gene, however it arose, seems to occur in conjunction with dental problems. It is common for Peruvian Hairless dogs of both breeds to be missing teeth, especially molars.

Both types of hairless Peruvian dogs are noted for their calm demeanor and non-aggressiveness. They are intelligent dogs, and sensitive, and often shy around strangers.

Some other sites about these dogs:

Zero-G Peruvian Hairless Dogs
Wikipedia Peruvian Hairless Dog
Peruvian Inca Orchid Information

by Terri Hobbs, Copyright 2007
Resource: "DOGS: Ultimate Dictionary of Over 1000 Dog Breeds," by Desmond Morris, Trafalgar Square Publishing, Vermont, 2001, p. 594.