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Peruvian Hairless Dog

Nicole Cosgrove

Height: 10-15 inches (small), 15-19 inches (medium), 19-25 inches (large)
Weight: 8-17 pounds (small), 17-26 pounds (medium), 26-55 pounds (large)
Lifespan: 10-12 years
Colors: Black, white, tan, gray, brown, pink, mottled
Suitable for: Those looking for an unusual-looking dog that’s loyal, affectionate, and lively
Temperament: Intelligent, friendly, affectionate, noble, alert, lively, protective

Hairlessness is the distinguishing feature of Peruvian Hairless Dogs or Peruvian Inca Orchards (PIOs) as they’re also called. This rare breed of dog comes in a range of sizes, with the smallest standing under 15 inches and the tallest topping out at around 25 inches. While the Peruvian Hairless Dog is mostly free of hair, it can have short hair on top of its head, on its feet, and on the tip of the tail.

There are coated PIOs, but not many, and they can be the same colors as their hairless counterparts, which are black, tan, brown, gray, pink, or mottled.

Noble, affectionate, and protective of its family, a Peruvian Hairless Dog makes a loyal family pet and a good watchdog. The PIO is a dog that can excel at agility and other dog sports, making this breed a good pick for anyone who enjoys dog training. In Peru, the PIO is officially recognized as part of the country’s cultural heritage, and it’s a breed many Peruvians keep as pets.

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Peruvian Hairless Puppies – Before You Buy…

Peruvian hairless puppy
Image Credit: Tomas Krejci, Shutterstock

Energy:
Trainability:
Health:
Lifespan:
Sociability:

To ensure you’re making the right choice, you should think long and hard about any dog breed you’re considering a Peruvian Hairless Dog. This dog has a cheerful and friendly disposition and loves people. It’s also an athletic and muscular dog that enjoys walking and running.

This dog can be a good choice for apartment living if it gets outdoors several times a day to exercise and explore its surroundings. If you’re a couch potato who doesn’t enjoy getting out, this is not the breed for you.

The Peruvian Hairless Dog is intelligent and easy to train. It’s also a loyal dog that wants to be close to its humans. Since it lacks hair, you won’t have to repeatedly vacuum up dog hair or pick individual strands from your clothing. It’s an excellent pick if you have a dog hair allergy or if you’re not into dog grooming!

What’s the Price of Peruvian Hairless Dog Puppies?

Because the Peruvian Hairless Dog is rare in the United States, it’s one of the costliest dogs to buy. If you run across Peruvian Hairless Dog puppies for sale, don’t be shocked to discover that they cost between $2,000 and $4,000 each.

These puppies are much easier to find in Peru, so if you have the time and money available to bring one to the states, feel free! If you do get lucky and find a breeder in the United States with puppies for sale, be sure to check the parents’ health history and heritage to ensure the puppy you buy is healthy. And don’t forget that you’ll have to foot the bill for booster shots and eventual neutering or spaying, which pushes up the cost of raising a Peruvian Hairless Dog.

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3 Little-Known Facts About Peruvian Hairless Dogs

1. They Have a High Body Temperature

To make up for their lack of insulating hair, Peruvian Hairless Dogs have a high body temperature of about 102.2°F, which is slightly higher than other breeds. These dogs that love to cuddle are used as living hot water bottles in Peru when the temperatures drop.

2. The Dog is a Symbol of Peru

The Peruvian Hairless Dog is an ancient breed dating back 3000 years and a symbol of Peru. This canine symbol of national pride can be found all over Peru in the form of art, signage, home decor, etc. Peruvians love this hairless dog breed that makes a great family pet, and it certainly shows when you explore this beautiful South American country.

3. They’re Sighthounds

Peruvian Hairless Dogs are sighthounds which means they’re dogs that use sight and speed to hunt rather than scent and endurance. These agile dogs have keen vision and lean bodies, allowing them to prey easily.

Peruvian Hairless Dog
Image Credit: Anna Krivitskaya, Shutterstock

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Peruvian Hairless Dog

Peruvian Hairless Dogs are energetic and lively dogs that may play a little rough by jumping around and being reckless. They’re also rather silly dogs that will gladly play with anyone willing to play with them. This is a smart, loyal, and affectionate dog that loves to learn new things, making it a great dog for a variety of dog sports. Its lean and muscular body, coupled with its speed, makes the PIO a natural in the agility ring and a dog that may win some ribbons!

While this is a friendly dog, it may be wary around strangers as it tends to protect its home and family.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

The Peruvian Hairless Dog makes a good family pet, and it’s a dog that will want attention from everyone and not just one person. The best match for a PIO is a family that likes spending time outdoors because a Peruvian Hairless Dog craves physical activity and mental stimulation.

Because a Peruvian Hairless Dog can be rambunctious during play, it can accidentally knock down small children. Therefore, this dog may not be the best match for families with toddlers.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

The Peruvian Hairless Dog gets along with other dogs and pets like cats. It’s not a dog to leave alone with a pet like a rabbit or a gerbil because its prey drive may kick in. When introducing a cat to a Peruvian Hairless Dog, do it slowly to show the dog that the cat is a friend and not a foe. Before long, you may find your PIO and your cat curled up on the floor sleeping together!

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Things to Know When Owning a Peruvian Hairless Dog:

Peruvian Hairless Dogs make fantastic pets for nearly everyone, including people who’ve never had a pet dog before. With that said, a PIO needs proper nutrition, exercise, and training to live a healthy and happy life.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Because it’s not a picky eater, any quality dog food is good to feed a Peruvian Hairless Dog. This dog doesn’t tend to overeat which means it’s not likely to get fat. You can offer your PIO a commercial dog treat now and then if you’d like or something more natural like fresh vegetables or a bit of cheese.

Exercise 🐕

As an active dog with lots of energy, a Peruvian Hairless Dog needs plenty of exercise. If you have a fenced yard, great! Simply let your dog out in the yard several times a day to explore, romp, and roam. A PIO will enjoy taking long walks through the neighborhood several times a day and it’s a breed that’s dog park friendly! If a Peruvian Hairless Dog doesn’t get enough exercise or is trapped indoors for long periods, it’s bound to get depressed and destructive.

Training 🎾

Housebreaking a Peruvian Hairless Dog is usually easy as this dog learns quickly and is eager to please. This breed is very responsive to training whether you’re teaching it to do its business outdoors or showing it how to navigate an agility course. Whether you’re a new dog owner or one with experience, training a PIO is a pleasure as this eager-to-please breed responds well to commands.

Grooming ✂️

Since they don’t have hair, it’s never a chore to groom Peruvian Hairless Dogs. These dogs can be brushed regularly with a soft-bristled dog brush to stimulate oil production but there’s obviously no need for a haircut! If you know your PIO is going to be out in the sun, it’s a good idea to use a doggie sunscreen to protect his skin.

You should use nail clippers to keep your dog’s nails from getting too long or splitting or cracking. It’s also a good idea to check the ears for too much wax to help avoid an ear infection. Overall, a Peruvian Hairless is a very low-maintenance dog that doesn’t shed, which is great if you’re not a fan of picking dog hairs off your clothing and furniture.

Health and Conditions 🏥

The Peruvian Hairless Dog is generally healthy with a few exceptions. Like other breeds, this rare breed is prone to a few health conditions.

Minor Conditions
  • Allergic reactions
  • Dental problems
  • Sunburn
  • Rashes
  • Cuts and abrasions due to having no protective hair
Serious Conditions
  • Pancreatitis
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Skin problems including benign and malignant tumors

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Male vs Female

If you’ve decided to get a Peruvian Hairless Dog but can’t decide if you want a male or female, you should know that there’s not much difference between the sexes. The males do tend to be larger than the females but only by a little. As far as temperament goes, a male Peruvian Hairless Dog may be more clingy than a female that tends to be more independent.

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Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a friendly, low-maintenance dog that doesn’t shed, a Peruvian Hairless Dog is worth looking into. Just be ready to open your wallet if you happen to find puppies for sale in the United States because these dogs aren’t cheap!

If you’re lucky enough to take a PIO home, you’re going to have lots of fun as this is a lively and active breed. But it’s also a dog that loves to cuddle and give big wet doggie kisses to everyone in the family that shows it a little love.


Featured Image Credit: Olga Aniven, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.