AKC Dog Breeds: Peruvian Inca Orchid

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Foundation Stock Service® Breed
Height: small: 10-16; medium: 16-20; large: 20-28 inches   Weight: small: 9-18; medium: 18-26; large: 26-55  pounds  Color:  White with black, blue, tan red;  solid or spotted

An extremely ancient and rare breed, the Peruvian Inca Orchid originated in Peru during A.D. 750. A gifted sight hound, this breed was highly prized by the Inca Indians..An elegant, graceful, and slightly-built breed, the Peruvian Inca Orchid possesses strength, agility, and speed. They exhibit a noble demeanor and are "deer-like" in movement. It is one of several breeds of hairless dog. It is not to be confused with the Xoloitzcuintli.  Although it is often perceived to be an Incan dog because it is known to have been kept during the Inca Empire, they were also kept as pets in pre-Inca cultures from the Peruvian coastal zone. The Spanish conquest of Peru nearly caused the extinction of the breed. The dogs survived in rural areas, where the people believed that they held a mystical value. It is a persistent myth that the body temperature of hairless dogs is higher than other dogs; they may feel warmer due to the lack of hair. Letting the dog "hug" you is supposed to help with stomach pain and other disorders, according to Peruvian folklore. Other myths are the dog is a vegetarian or that it cannot bark. It is very likely that some of these myths have helped the breed to survive in Peru. The breed's name was changed in 1985, by request of the Kennel Club of Peru to "Perro sin pelo del Peru," to better reflect the country of origin. That is how the name is listed with FCI. The original name of the breed (Peruvian Inca Orchid/Moonflower Dog) is used in the United States.

General Appearance
The fundamental characteristic of the Peruvian Inca Orchid is the absence of hair on the body, except for small vestiges on the head, extremities and tail. The Peruvian Inca Orchid has dark round eyes that tend to squint in the sunlight due to over sensitivity. The lips are wrinkled and the think, leathery ears sometimes have wisps of hair. The Peruvian Inca Orchid comes in two varieties: Hairless and Coated. The Hairless variety may have a large amount of pink skin, or the skin may be fully colored. There may be very short hair on the tail, feet, and head. The Coated variety has a full body coat. The hair may be short, medium, or long in length. The Coated variety sheds little to no hair. Hair grows on the top of the head. Some are born coated with hair in the same litter as the hairless PIO. The skin is soft  and pliable. It can be heavily mottled in any color, in any combination with a pink background, or it can be solid colored.


For the right owner the Peruvian Inca Orchid is an exotic treat. The Peruvian Inca Orchid breed is not recommended for first time dog owners. Quick witted, calm and intelligent, the Peruvian Inca Orchid  are usually good with children and get along with other dogs. The PIO are nighttime dogs, sometimes called Moonflowers, as do not like the light of the day nor the rays of the sun. They are not recommended for homes with non-canine pets. The Peruvian Inca Orchid are highly devoted, affectionate, and loving.

The lack of hair leads to a reputation of Peruvian Inca Orchid being clean, for being easy to wash with a sponge, and for a natural lack of fleas or other parasites. Despite this, the dog needs care, but in another way. The skin should be washed from time to time to remove dirt and prevent clogging of pores. Some dogs are prone to have acne or at least blackheads. The skin sometimes becomes too dry and can then be treated with moisturizing cream. Protection against sunlight is necessary on lightly colored or white dogs. On them sun-block might need to be used to prevent sunburn. Protection against cold may be necessary when the dog is not able to move around at it's own speed and under adverse weather conditions. The rims of the ears need special attention as they can become dry and cracked easily.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy

Like all breeds there are some health problems with the  Peruvian Inca Orchid. These include IBD, seizures, stroke, and skin lesions. The Peruvian Inca Orchid breed is prone to early tooth loss. They are very sensitive to toxins and care should be taken in use of insecticides. Insecticides are absorbed through the skin, and body fat keeps these toxins from entering the liver too quickly. Since these dogs have very low body fat, toxins are absorbed too quickly and cause severe damage to the nervous system and GI tract.

Activity Level

The Peruvian Inca Orchid breed is well suited for apartment living. Yards must be securely fenced with ample shade. They do not require an inordinate amount of exercise and a securely leashed daily walk will suffice. They thrive on spending time with their family and do best being kept indoors as much as possible.


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