Let's talk Peruvian Hairless Dogs

Possibly one of the world’s oldest domesticated breeds, the Peruvian Hairless Dog has been revered for centuries by the indigenous peoples of modern-day Peru for their supposed spiritual powers. But mystical properties aside, the Peruvian Hairless Dog is living proof that fur doesn’t necessarily make the dog. A loyal breed with a warm, easy-going disposition, the Peruvian Hairless Dog is an excellent candidate for anyone looking for an affectionate and unique canine companion.



Origins: Peru

Close-up of Peruvian Hairless Dog in black and white
 Drooling tendencies:    Warm weather?  
 Shedding level:  Very low  Suited to apartment living?  Very high
 Energy level (high, low, medium) *:  Moderate  Family pet? *  Medium
 Compatibility with other pets:  Medium  Can stay alone? *  Very low

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed’s specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy, healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socialising your pet as well as covering their basic welfare, social and behavioural needs.

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

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Illustration of Peruvian Hairless Dog
25 - 40 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
4 - 8 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight
25 - 40 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
4 - 8 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight

 Baby age:  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age:  2 to 10 months
 Adult age:  10 months to 8 years
 Mature age:  8 to 12 years
 Senior age:  From 12 years

Close-up of Peruvian Hairless Dog running


Get to know the Peruvian Hairless Dog

All you need to know about the breed

When Coco Chanel said, “… to be irreplaceable, one must always be different”, she might easily have been talking about the Peruvian Hairless Dog. In a class by themselves when it comes to appearance, the Peruvian Hairless Dog’s standout looks coupled with a warm disposition and alert intelligence make this ancient breed most unique.

The Peruvian Hairless Dog, which comes in small, medium and large sizes, is often compared to other sighthounds – namely the Whippet – in terms of body shape and even temperament. But this is where their similarity to any other breed stops. While both versions of the Peruvian Hairless Dog, the hairless and the powderpuff, are alike save for the powderpuff’s coat and ear carriage, it’s the more common hairless dogs that steal the show. Known in Quechua, the language of the Incas, as the “dog without vestments”, the hairless variety’s skin, which does require some special attention, can be grey, brown, copper, mottled or with pink spots. Add to that some occasional tufts of hair on their head, feet and tail and you’ve got an eye-catching look.

And while both varieties are medium-energy and do need daily exercise, Peruvian Hairless Dogs are a generally laid-back breed that will spend most of their time indoors—preferably in a home with older children who are familiar with and respectful of canine companions. Though wary of strangers and slow to appraise anyone they don’t know, the Peruvian Hairless Dog is deeply loyal and affectionate with their human families and can make a wonderful pet.

Peruvian Hairless Dog running across grass


2 facts about Peruvian Hairless Dogs

1. Bark for the camera!

Not only is the Peruvian Hairless Dog the national dog of Peru—they’re also the stars of their very own documentary! El Perro sin pelo del Perú, by Pedro Santiago Allemant, was made to educate people about the breed’s storied history. Shot over a period of 14 years, the documentary premiered at the 2016 World Dog Show and is always showing somewhere.

2. A breed by many names

When the Spanish Conquistadors invaded Peru, it is said that they found hairless dogs living in the palaces, religious buildings and wealthy homes of the Inca Empire. Because the dogs were frequently kept alongside flowers, the Spanish called them “Perros Flora” or flower dogs. And if that wasn’t poetic enough, the Peruvian Hairless Dogs were sometimes referred to as “Moon Dogs”, since they were kept out of the harsh sun and let out only at night.


History of the breed

While their exact origins are unclear, it is certain that the Peruvian Hairless Dog was present in the region of modern-day Peru well over a thousand years ago, as evidenced by depictions of the breed found on Moche, Incan, Chancay and Chimu relics dating from 750 A.D.

Bred as companion dogs and prized for their supposed healing capabilities, the breed was originally small in size; however, with the arrival of the Conquistadores in the 16th century, they were bred with foreign dogs, eventually resulting in small, medium-sized and large varieties.

As time passed, the hairless dogs living in more modern coastal cities came to be associated with disease and were sometimes exterminated. Fortunately, indigenous peoples – namely Quechua speakers descended from the Incas – living in remote areas of Peru continued to protect and breed the dogs for centuries. In 1955, the breed was officially recognised by the Fédération Cynologique International and shortly thereafter began to be imported to the U.S. One such importer was Jack Walklin who is said to have discovered the dogs standing amongst wild orchids during a trip to Peru. He brought 8 back to the U.S., referring to them as Peruvian Inca Orchids, the name by which they were then bred in both the U.S. and Europe. In 1985, they were recognised as a breed native to Peru and accepted by the Peruvian Kennel Club under the name Perro sin pelo del Peru (Peruvian Hairless Dog). In 2001, the breed was declared a National Patrimony and is now a protected species that, while rare, is widely appreciated both in their home country and around the world.

Peruvian Hairless Dog lying in black and white


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Peruvian Hairless Dogs

1. Head

Broad, rounded head that tapers towards the nose.

2. Eyes

Medium-sized, almond shaped eyes expressing alert intelligence.

3. Coat

Fairly broad, deep chest and slightly sprung ribs with muscular hindquarters.

4. Body

Hairless, have smooth, pliable skin; powderpuff has a short to medium-length, coarse coat.

5. Tail

Tail is low set, thick at the base and tapered towards tip.

Peruvian Hairless Dog sitting in grass


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Peruvian Hairless Dog
Peruvian Hairless Dog mid air running across grass


Caring for your Peruvian Hairless Dog

Grooming, training and exercise tips

The hairless variety of Peruvian Hairless Dog doesn’t really require brushing, save for the hair they may have on their head, tails and feet; however, their exposed skin should be protected with vet-approved sunscreen if they’re going to be outdoors in addition to regular moisturising and a bath every week or two to reduce the risk of doggie acne. Also, trim their nails and brush their teeth regularly along with weekly ear cleaning to prevent infection.
The Peruvian Hairless Dog should get a good amount of regular exercise, which can come in the form of one or two daily walks on the lead, learning tricks, even a game of chase the ball at home—basically anything that doesn’t become too repetitive and keeps these clever dogs interested, mentally stimulated and healthy. Intelligent and sometimes a bit stubborn, the Peruvian Hairless Dog greatly benefits from socialisation and training begun at the earliest possible age. Positive reinforcement and shorter sessions work best when training a Peruvian Hairless Dog, along with patience and gentle consistency.


All about Peruvian Hairless Dogs

Peruvian Hairless Dogs are intelligent and willing to please; however, they tend to be quite sensitive and occasionally headstrong, so harsh commands or reprimands won’t get you very far. Keeping them interested and encouraged will produce best results.

Naturally wary of anyone or anything they don’t know, the Peruvian Hairless Dog will bark to alert you of a stranger approaching. This combined with their unwavering loyalty and protectiveness make them excellent watch dogs.



1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/