Peruvian Hairless Dog (Perro sin pelo del Perú)

Country of origin:
Height (cm):
25-40 / 40-50 / 50-65
Weight (kg):
4-8 / 8-12 / 12-25
Life span (years):
black, slate black, elephant black, bluish black, the whole scale of greys, dark brown going to light blond; with pinkish patches
average, large, small
Hair length:
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:

The Peruvian Inca Orchid (Inca Hairless Dog) is an exotic breed native to Peru. This dog is renowned for its peculiar appearance with one of two its varieties being completely hairless. In its homeland it seems to be a highly valued and honoured dog and has the status of the National Patrimony. The breed comes in three varieties:
  • small (weight – 4 to 8 kg; height – 25 to 40 cm);
  • medium (weight – 8 to 12 kg; height – 40 to 50 cm);
  • large (weight – 12 to 25 kg; height – 50 to 65 cm).
The Peruvian Inca Orchid is a truly ancient breed and the first depictions of the similar dog were found in artefacts of Moches around 750 A.D. It’s very likely that this dog already inhabited Peru at that time and it was really treasured by the local folks. Unfortunately the information about the origin and the development of this breed is insufficient to make any conclusive deductions.

It’s strongly believed that the dog arrived to the Peru with the first human colonizers around 11 thousands years ago. These indigenous peoples used their dogs as hunting assistants, guardians and home pets. Other theory holds that the Xoloitzcuintli (hairless dog native to Mexico) and the Peruvian Inca Orchid were developed in one region and later expanded to the others. That means these dogs have common ancestry. Nonetheless Mexico and Peru are separated by many kilometres of tough terrain so the possibility of some kind of interactions between these areas is pretty low.

The dog was initially noticed by the Western people in the beginning of the XVI century. It was then the Spanish conquistadors invaded the Inca Empire in the 20’s of the XVI century in their quest for Inca’s valuables. The adventurers described in their journals a medium-sized naked dog that they met in houses, temples and palaces of the Inca Empire. The local people believed that the Peruvian Inca Orchid had a power of healing and can alleviate stomach pains, along with different other diseases, for instance asthma.

The invasion of Spanish led to substantial drop in the number of the Peruvian Inca Orchid but gradually it regained its previous position. The dog was known in three sizes: a small, medium and large. It was the first original American dog whom the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) granted its full acceptance in 1955. The breed reached America in 1966 and less than a dozen specimens based a foundation of development of the Peruvian Inca Orchid in this country. Nowadays it appears regularly at rare breed shows.

The United Kennel Club (UKC) gave the breed its recognition in 1996 and the American Kennel Club (AKC) signed it up for the Sight hound & Pariah Group. In 2010 the AKC registered the Peruvian Inca Orchid into its Miscellaneous Class. In recent years the dog is permitted to take part in virtually all club’s events except for conformation.

The Peruvian Inca Orchid’s temperament largely depends on the individual dog but it’s possible to draw some general conclusion about an average breed member. It is a people-oriented breed but how openly it is going to display its emotions varies from dog to dog. Some Peruvian Inca Orchids will form especially close relationship with one person but majority will be equally attached to all family members. The dog is usually very good with children under condition that it was timely and in a right way socialized with them.

The Peruvian Inca Orchid requires fair amount of socialisation with strange people too and even in this case its behaviour will differentiates from being quite suspicious to a kind of amicable. The territorial feeling as a rule manifests itself strongly in this dog that’s why it will become a reasonable watchdog that will dependably alert the master about a probable intruder. This brave and steadfast breed is also capable to be a guard dog and will defend the owner’s property in his absence with outmost diligence.

The vast majority of the Peruvian Inca Orchids will tolerate other dogs and feel themselves most comfortable in the household with other sight hound. The dog has mixed reputation with non-canine animals. The home cat which was its neighbour in the same dwelling since puppyhood will be spared from the dog’s harassment. Nevertheless it preserved its hunting impulses mostly intact and will in most cases pursue unfamiliar cats or other creatures.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:

• missing teeth;
• cold intolerance;
• sunburn;
• skin allergies and other skin problems;
• pesticide sensitivity, especially insecticides;
• injury prone, specifically cuts;
• irritable bowel disease/IBD;
• epilepsy.

The absence of hair evidently purports that the grooming requirement s of the Peruvian Inca Orchid is pretty low. On the other hand the dog’s skin care takes considerable time and effort to maintain in the proper condition. The regular bath is also mandatory for the breed and its skin should be systematically covered with lotions, sunscreens, and other creams, sometimes several times a day.

The hairless Peruvian Inca Orchid is believed to be well suited for allergy sufferers since it doesn’t shed. The same argument also applies for those who prefer to have meticulously tidy homes. It’s important to mention that majority of humans have allergy not to a dog’s fur, but to its skin so no dog is in essence hypoallergenic.

The Peruvian Inca Orchid learns quickly and it’s usually willing to pleasure. It has proved to be much more teachable than most similar dogs and takes part with prominent results in obedience contest and agility. According to specialists the training should be initiated when the dog is between 8 and 12 weeks of age.

This breed responses negatively to correction-based methods and it may reject to go on the training session because of the lack of self-confidence. The best results in training of the Peruvian Inca Orchid bring methods that are founded on gentle reinforcement and food treats.

The Peruvian Inca Orchid is moderately active and requires an hour of brisk daily walk. It will also appreciate an opportunity to roam and play in the area with a high fence.
This dog needs to discharge its spare energy in a free run or in other kind of exercise otherwise it can become a nasty barker with the tendency to destructive behaviour. Once its demand in physical activity is met it remains calm and relaxed in a home environment and it’s happy to laze lying on the sofa for countless hours.