Hot and hairless, except for the bad-ass mohawk and a tuft of fuzz on the tail, the Peruvian Hairless Dog is so dang ugly it is cool. This breed (Perro sin Pelo del Peru) dates back to pre-inca times and has recently come back from the edge of extinction. The native cultures used the dogs for hunting and companionship, developing such bonds that some of these canines were mummified and buried along with their owners to assist them in finding their way to the afterworld. Then, in rolled the Spanish conquistadors with huge war dogs that were often let loose on the smaller Peruvian dogs for entertainment, apparently these war dogs could take down 4 or 5 hairless Peruvian dogs without any trouble.
Afterward the dogs were no longer kept as pets and they roamed along the coast scavenging for food. In 1989 the Peruvian government decided to protect the breed and declared that each archeological site along Peru’s coast had to have a pair of these dogs. To date this breed is Peru’s only world-registered breed.
Cleaner than most dogs (lack of hair means no fleas), loyal but wary of strangers, lively and protective, these dogs seem to be making a comeback as a pet in Peru. Referring to them as ‘luxury dogs’, many breeders are now offering the Peruvian Hairless Dog and it seems like quite a status symbol in Peru to own one.
According to Peruvian folklore these dogs have higher body temperatures and curative qualities to help with asthma and rheumatism. From chatting with the locals we found out that some of the elderly folk sleep with these little guys to relieve arthritic pain! In the course researching this noble beast I discovered that there is also a Canadian Hairless Cat… who knew?