Perros sin Pelo del Peru
As the story goes, when the Spanish invaders came traipsing through
the mountains into what is now Peru, they were astounded to find the advanced
civilization of the Incas, rich in culture and tradition.
Among the amazing aspects of Incan society were the homes of wealthy
and powerful citizens which contained rooms, festooned with orchids, where
huge-eared hairless dogs lived. Because of their naked condition these dogs
sunburned easily and remained indoors from dawn to dusk, but were free to
roam the cities under the moonlight of night. They were nicknamed 'moon-flower'
It was believed the Incan dogs -- officially Perro sin Pelo del Peru
-- were crossed with the sighthounds brought by the Conquistadors to produce
the modern breed. However, since statues, drawings and other artifacts dating
BEFORE Pizzaro's time document hairless dogs very similar to what is seen
today, it is more likely the breed descended from the hairless dog of Mexico,
the Xoloitzcuintli. That breed was probably introduced to the area by Ecuadorean
sea-traders who had established ports of call on the coastlines of both
countries several hundred years prior to the Spanish invasion of the early
1500s. Dogs were taken on ocean voyages as a source of fresh meat, but it
is not definite the food-dogs were of a hairless variety. It is possible,
also, that the Xolo came south overland with Mexican traders, as contact
between the two areas was established around the 8th century.
of both Peru and Mexico were valued for their supposed medicinal purposes
as it was believed they could relieve arthritis, rheumatism and other aches
and pains. Although their temperatures are within the same range, 101-102°,
as other breeds, the lack of hair makes them feel warmer to the touch --
perhaps giving rise to the phrase 'three dog night' as a term for cold evenings.
Hairless dogs were sacrificed in certain religious ceremonies,and favorite
animals sometimes were killed and buried with their owners.
Resembling a small deer in structure and movement, the Perro sin Pelo
stands 17-23 inches, females slightly smaller than males, and weighs 30-40
pounds. Although lean and light boned, they are well muscled and fit. The
extra large ears are erect and extremely thin. Any color, spotted or solid,
is permitted and a 'kiss mark' on the forehead is highly desirable. There
is a coated variety with hair ranging from Doberman length to almost as
long as a Collie's. Coated dogs are white with spots and/or patches of any
other color. The weight of the hair prevents the ears from being pricked.
The hairy version of the breed must have full dentition while the hairless
ones lack premolars and may be toothless at maturity. Both varieties are
of similar size, structure and sensitive nature. The adult dog is keen and
alert, but reserved with strangers. Puppies never meet anyone they don't
In the United States, the occasional representative of the breed arrived
with people who had lived in Peru, but civil unrest has prevented the importation
of significant numbers. One gentleman who worked in Peru for many years
was able to export only three of his dogs out of the country although he
had a breeding program with over a dozen adults.
Here the Perro sin Pelo del
Peru is known as the Peruvian Inca Orchid and, until recently, has been
registered by the Peruvian Inca orchid Club of America. Early in 1996 the
American Kennel Club's new Foundation Stock Services program took over the
registry and information on about 200 purebred Perros was transferred to
For the most part, ALL the dogs registered as Peruvian Inca Orchids
trace their entire pedigree back to fewer than one dozen dogs. As it is
impossible to obtain additional dogs from Peru, and the Mexican dog fancy
does not recognize the Perro sin Pelo as a breed separate from the Xoloitzcuintli,
this makes for a dangerously limited gene pool.
Severe problems are inevitable if different bloodlines are not introduced
soon. It is hoped there are dogs in the US already that can help the situation
-- dogs that may have come here with shipments of Peruvian Pasos or with
people associated with these wonderful horses.
This letter is a request for help from your readers.
I am a breeder of Perros sin Pelo del Peru (Hairless Dogs from Peru.) In
this country the breed is known as Peruvian Inca Orchids and has been registered
by the Peruvian Inca Orchid Club of America. The registry, numbering only
about 200, has been turned over to the American Kennel Club's new Foundation
Stock Services program. ALL the dogs on the registry trace their entire
pedigrees back to just 11 dogs imported many years ago. We are in desperate
need of new/different/unrelated Perros to enlarge our extremely limited
gene pool. I am seeking information on any member of this breed in the US
Anyone who has information regarding los Perros is asked to contact
Sherry Kidwell of La Casa de la Verdad Calata at 706-793-1359 or mail to
4440 Fairbluff Road, Hephzibah GA 30815-8024.
November 3, 1996
Photo #1 This is "Tesa". She was
the #1 Peruvian and #2 Exotoc (all breeds) in 1995
Photo #2: This is "Dottie" (for
obvious reasons) at the age of 8 months
Photo #3: This is "Seco". He's
a coated version of the Perro
This page created, placed and updated 3/14/97 compliments
of Pasos on the Web!