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The Peruvian dog breed, also known as the Peruvian Inca Orchid, Peruvian Hairless Dog, or Viringo, is believed to be one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. Native to Peru, the breed was highly regarded by the Incan civilization for its hunting and guarding abilities. 

Today, the Peruvian dog breed is recognized by various international kennel clubs and is popular among dog enthusiasts. 

In this article, we will explore the origins, characteristics, special care requirements, and interesting facts about the Peruvian dog breed.

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Origins of the Peruvian Dog Breed

This dog breed is believed to be one of the oldest dog breeds in the world, dating back to over 3,000 years ago. The breed is known by various names such as the Peruvian Inca Orchid, Peruvian Hairless Dog, and Viringo. 

The Peruvian dog breed was almost extinct by the end of the 19th century. However, it was revived by enthusiasts who were interested in preserving the breed’s unique characteristics. 

Today, the Peruvian dog breed is recognized by various international kennel clubs, including the American Kennel Club (AKC), the United Kennel Club (UKC), and the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI).

Role of this Breed in the Inca Empire

The Incas believed that the Peruvian dog breed had healing powers, and they were often used in healing rituals. 

The dogs were also believed to have a strong connection to the supernatural and were sometimes used as sacrificial offerings. Additionally, the dogs were considered a symbol of wealth and status, and were often kept as pets by nobles and wealthy families.

In addition to their ceremonial and social roles, Peruvian dogs were also used for practical purposes such as hunting and guarding. 

They were skilled at hunting small game such as rodents and rabbits, and were also used to hunt larger prey such as deer and wild boar. The dogs were also used as guards for homes and livestock, and were known for their fierce loyalty and protective nature.

Today, the Peruvian dog breed continues to be celebrated in Peru for its historical and cultural significance, and is even considered the national dog of the country. The breed’s unique appearance and fascinating history make it a popular choice among dog enthusiasts around the world.

The scientific name of the Peruvian dog

The scientific name of the Peruvian dog breed is “Canis lupus familiaris”, which is the same scientific name for all domesticated dogs. “Canis lupus” is the scientific name for the gray wolf, which is the ancestor of all domesticated dogs. 

“Familiaris” refers to the domestication of the wolf and its evolution into the various breeds of dogs that we know today.

The Peruvian dog breed is sometimes referred to by its Spanish name, “Perro sin pelo del Perú”, which means “hairless dog of Peru”. The breed has also been given the scientific name “Canis familiaris peruvianus” by some scholars, but this name is not officially recognized by any major scientific organizations.

Characteristics of the Peruvian Dog Breed

Peruvian hairless dog breed

The Peruvian dog breed is a medium-sized breed that comes in three varieties: hairless, coated, and intermediate. The hairless variety is the most well-known and recognized variety of the breed. 

The hairless Peruvian dog has smooth skin that is sensitive to the sun, cold, and harsh weather conditions. They can be any color, but they usually have pink or black skin. The coated variety has a short, dense coat that comes in various colors, including black, gray, and brown. 

The intermediate variety has a short coat and has a mix of hairless and coated features.

Peruvian dogs are intelligent, affectionate, and loyal dogs. They are excellent watchdogs and are protective of their owners and property. 

They are also good with children and other pets, making them excellent family pets. Peruvian dogs are known for their high energy levels and require regular exercise to stay healthy and happy.

Special Care Requirements for the Peruvian Dog Breed

Peruvian dogs have unique care requirements that owners should be aware of. The hairless variety of the breed requires extra care due to their sensitive skin. 

Owners should keep their hairless Peruvian dogs out of direct sunlight to prevent sunburn and skin damage. They should also be bathed regularly to keep their skin clean and healthy.

Peruvian dogs also require regular dental care to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Owners should brush their dog’s teeth regularly and provide them with dental chews and toys to promote healthy teeth and gums.

Owners should also provide their Peruvian dogs with regular exercise and mental stimulation. These dogs have high energy levels and require daily walks and playtime to stay healthy and happy. Peruvian dogs also enjoy participating in dog sports such as agility and obedience training.

Use in traditional medicine

Due to the lack of hair, this breed keeps its body warmer to protect itself from the environment. Pedro Weiss points out in his research that the Peruvian Hairless Dog genetically has an ectodermal hypoplasia syndrome. 

Which means that it has warm and sensitive skin that when in contact with human skin can heat it, which has been the basis for attributing medicinal properties to it, for example to alleviate rheumatism.

There are those who have attributed to the Peruvian dog the ability to avoid allergies, bronchial problems and asthma, because it has no hair that could cause respiratory problems, nor fleas or ticks, since they have no place to nest.

Interesting Facts about the Peruvian Dog Breed

  • The Peruvian dog breed was worshiped by the Inca civilization and was believed to have healing powers.
  • The Peruvian dog breed is also known as the “Moon Dog” due to its association with the moon and the supernatural.
  • The hairless variety of the Peruvian dog breed is the national dog of Peru.
  • The Peruvian dog breed was recognized by the AKC in 1985.
  • Peruvian dogs have been used for centuries as hunting dogs, guarding dogs, and even as bed warmers.
  • The Peruvian dog breed has been depicted in ancient pottery and artwork, showcasing its historical significance.

The Peruvian dog breed is a unique and ancient breed that has been highly regarded for centuries. These dogs are intelligent, affectionate, and loyal and make excellent family pets. 

The breed has unique care requirements due to their sensitive skin, high energy levels, and dental care needs. 

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