The Peruvian Inca Orchid is one of the few hairless dog breeds recognized by major canine kennel clubs in the world. This interesting dog breed is not too well known in the United States. Ancient Incas used them for hunting and even as heating pads, owing to their warm body temperatures! Let us study some cool and interesting facts about the Moonflower dog.
Fun facts about the Peruvian Inca Orchid
- Middle America has a great diversity of hairless dog breeds, although a number of documented ones by early explorers are now extinct. We have already covered the Xoloitzcuintli or the Mexican hairless dog.
- Peru has given us two surviving hairless breeds. The Peruvian Inca comes in two varieties – the dark-spotted and the pale-skinned. The light-colored variety is known as the Moonflower as it only ventures outside at night owing to its pale skin.
- Peruvian Inca Orchids are also known by many other names like Perro Sin Pelo del Peru, Peruvian Hairless Dog, Moonflower dog, Perro Flora, Incan Dog, and Inca Hairless. In Peru, they are informally called Calato, which means naked.
- History of the Peruvian – Experts are not sure about the origins of the breed. However, they all agree on one thing: this breed is ancient! It may have even existed and kept as pets in pre-Inca cultures. Ceramic hairless dogs from Chimu and Moche cultures are well-known.
- After the Spanish conquest of Peru, Peruvian Inca Orchids almost became extinct. However, a few of them survived in rural areas where people believed them to possess magical powers.
- The Federation Cynologique Internationale has recognized the breed officially and also set breed standards.
- There are coated and hairless varieties in the Peruvian Inca Orchid and coated dogs were used as hunters while the hairless breed was kept by nobility as pets and body warmers. After all; the Peruvian Hairless is always warm and has a body temperature of 101 degrees (which is normal!). The Incas used them as healing and therapy dogs for relieving chest congestion, arthritis, and other ailments. They also used their urine to make medicines.
- As stated before, these dogs come in coated and hairless varieties. The FCI standard insists on hairlessness as the main characteristic feature in dog shows.
- They are available in three sizes: miniature (about 40 cm or 10-16 inches in height), medium or medio (16-20 inches), and large or grande (about 26 inches in height). The smallest weighs about 9 lb while the largest about 55 lb. Some kennel clubs recognize all three varieties as separate breeds.
- Peruvian Inca Orchids have slim and elegant bodies that should ideally look harmonious and ‘not forced’.
- They have characteristics candle-flame-shaped erect ears. The shape of the ears may also be described as prick or rose ears.
- Their almond-shaped eyes are complimentary to their coat colors. These dogs squint in the sun, which is normal.
- Coat colors – The coated or powder puff varieties come in white and black color combination with tan, red, blue, or lighter colored markings. The hairless skin color variety is black with spots of white, cream, pink, mahogany, blue, red, or other cool colors.
- Their fingers are very long and webbed. This helps them climb trees and pounce on their prey.
Where to find a Peruvian Inca Orchid
If you are looking for Peruvian Inca Orchid, then the first place to start your search is on the official website of the breed’s club in America. Here you will find reputed and ethical breeders who are genuinely concerned about the breed’s welfare.
If possible, look for a rescue dog that you can adopt, instead of buying from a breeder. The advantage of getting an older dog from the shelter is that they are house trained. You would also be saving a dog’s life.
As with many hairless breeds, people’s reaction to a Peruvian Inca Orchid is varied: some people hate them, some love them. It is due to this fact that many dogs end up in shelters. Please be committed to raising and loving a dog, no matter what breed you choose. People usually give up their dogs when they have a change in their life situation. Don’t let this be the case.
These dogs are very sweet, smart, intelligent, and extremely loyal, protective, and loving towards their family members. There are stories of Peruvians who have been able to detect seizures before they struck their beloved owners. It is no wonder that many a sweet Peruvian has excelled as a therapy dog. There is a heartwarming tale of an abused, rescue Peruvian who visited a woman in a hospital. This woman hadn’t spoken for years. When the dog went to her, the woman petted it and said, ‘What a sweet dog!’
The Peruvian is an independent breed so they need socialization and training. But they are also quick learners. They do well in households with kids. They are gentle, fastidious, intelligent, outgoing, and easy to train. They get along well with other pets and kids, provided you give them the socialization from the start. Peruvians tend to be wary of strangers.
Being highly intelligent dogs, Peruvians learn quickly. However, they have an independent streak, so they need a firm owner who knows how to deal with them. Start training your Peruvian the moment he comes home. You may also consider enrolling him in obedience classes near you. Socialize your pet and get him to meet as many people, kids, and other dogs as possible. The sooner you do so, the fewer problems like barking or jumping on strangers will ensue.
Peruvians, like all other dog breeds, need regular exercise. You must walk your pet at least once a day. Peruvians do well in apartments and small homes provided you allow them a romp in the yard. Please take care not to expose your pet to extreme temperatures. In summers, protect your pet’s delicate skin with sunscreen lotions. In winters, protect him from the bitter cold using warm clothes. This is necessary since they have no hair to regulate their body temperature.
The hairless variety of the Peruvian does not need the usual grooming routines which furry or coated dog breeds need. However, you still need to take good care of their skin as they are prone to skin issues. Never let your pet out in the sun without slathering on sunscreen first. It is best to avoid extreme temperatures and sun exposure which can lead to sunburns, acne, and a host of other skin issues. Exfoliate your pet’s skin using a mild scrub to prevent clogged pores and acne.
In winters, protect your pet with sweaters or warm clothing. Being hairless, they do not suffer from odor, ticks, fleas, and the usual issues faced by furry dog breeds. In fact; these are rather clean dogs. However, you still need to bathe them once in a while to keep their skin clean. Use a mild shampoo. Note that the breed is highly prone to dental issues. So take care of your pet’s teeth using the right canine dental products.
Almost all hairless breeds are prone to skin problems, including skin cancer. They also have skin allergies, food sensitivities, and oral problems. These breeds do not do well in extreme climates. The life span of the Peruvian Inca Orchid is 11-12 years.