The Peruvian Hairless Dog is an ancient breed known in his native Peru as "perro sin pelo" and "viringo" (northern Peru). Archeological evidence shows that it can be traced back to pre-Columbian times. The Chavin, Moche, and Chimu cultures represented it on their ceramics, but the breed's exact origin is unknown. The most likely theory is that it accompanied the migrants to the American continent from Asia. The Inca kept them as pets to please the Gods. In the past, the breed faced a strong competion from imported foreign breeds. Nowadays, thanks to dedicated Lima breeders and the government employing them as a staple attraction at pre-Columbian sites, the Peruvian Hairless dogs started to make a comeback.
The breed's most distinctive characteristics are the absence of hair and molar and premolar teeth. The Peruvian Hairless Dog resembles the Mexican Hairless and Chinese Crested dogs in that hairlessnes (alopecia) is caused by an autosomal dominant trait that produces normally haired (about 25%) and hairless littermates. The hairless siblings completely lack a hair coat except for some tufts of short, stiff hair on the head and back. Otherwise, the hairless dogs are physiologically normal.
The skin is smooth and elastic all over the body, but can form a few rounded lines on the head and around the eyes and the cheeks. According to the breed standard, some hair on the head, legs, back and tail is tolerated. The skin is rather hot to the touch. Depending on the height, the breed standard recognizes three varieties: small, medium and large.
Smart, independent, and gentle, these dogs are reserved with strangers and make good guard dogs. They are very gentle and affectionate with children. The Peruvian Hairless is considered to be a very clean breed for two good reasons: no fur means no fleas and no smell. Breeders note that these dogs need protection from the sun and the cold.
- FCI-Standard # 334
- Carolina A. Miranda, Katy Shorthouse, Luke Waterson. Lonely Planet Peru
- Lars Mecklenburg, Monika Linek, Desmond J. Tobin. Hair Loss Disorders in Domestic Animals