Peruvian Inca Orchid
Called the "Moonflower Dog" This Hound is More Active at Night
Those who are generally allergic to dogs with hair or who are looking for a pet that doesn't come with the shedding problems of other breeds will find the Peruvian Inca Orchid (also sometimes called the Peruvian Hairless Dog) a good choice. Friendly and affectionate, this breed can live in almost any environment, whether a small apartment or large ranch.
Born in litters which included both hairless hounds and those with hair, the hairless Peruvian Inca Orchid was highly valued by the Inca Indians, and held in very high esteem. Mochica pottery, which dates back more than 2,000 years, depicts the breed dressed in clothing, perhaps in an effort to protect the dog's skin even that long ago. Pre-Inca cultures kept these dogs as pets and cherished them as a way to stay warm while sleeping but would not allow them to comingle with dogs that had hair, or that lived with Indians considered impoverished.
Because the light-colored or fair-skinned hairless dogs would easily sunburn, they were taken outdoors at night to exercise after sundown, while dogs with hair were locked up after dark. The Peruvian Inca Orchid is recognized by the AKC and was accepted into the Foundation Stock Services program in 1996.
Usually weighing about 20 to 25 pounds as an adult dog, the Peruvian Inca Orchid is lightly built and stands approximately 10 to 16 inches high at the withers. However, this breed includes both mediumand large-sized dogs, some weighing as much as 55 pounds and standing as tall as 26 inches when grown. Skin color may vary, ranging from elephant grey or chocolate brown, to copper and mottled combinations of colors.
A dog known for its hairlessness, this breed may have a slight bit of hair that resembles a mohawk between the ears. While the skin is pliable and soft, the ears are often thick and leathery in appearance, with lips that are wrinkled. The Peruvian Inca Orchid or PIO as some refer to this breed typically has dark round eyes that are light-sensitive, and therefore squinted when the dog is in the sunlight.
Devoted to its owners and rarely aggressive, the Peruvian Inca Orchid is usually good with children and other animals when socialized at an early age. Independent and intelligent, an adult dog is generally calm and quiet, a bit reserved when strangers are present. This breed makes a good pet for those looking for an affectionate, loyal, and devoted dog – one that would love nothing better than to snuggle up in its owner's bed – and is also gentle with small children. Frequently amusing, this pet's antics when motivated to clown around will entertain your entire family.
The PIO does not like to be left alone for long periods of time and is more active at night, a fact that many believe contribute to this breed’s nickname of "Moonflower Dog." Considered a hound, this dog will actively pursue fast-moving objects (squirrels, mice, etc.), so it is essential to put him on a leash when going for a walk.
Because these dogs are hairless and what some may consider "naked," the Peruvian Inca Orchid is most protected when indoors away from the elements. During winter months, a dog sweater or blanket will keep your pet warm. In summer months, it is important to protect the skin from sunburn, as well as hot or humid conditions, when outdoors for prolonged periods of time.
Although Peruvian Inca Orchids do not need rigorous exercise, they still need some exercise every day. This is a breed that is an apartment-friendly pet. However, if you are looking for a pet that can live outdoors a good deal of the time, it would be best to live in a moderate climate in an area where your dog will have shade in summer months, and a warm place to get out of the cold during winter months if you choose to buy a Peruvian Inca Orchid.
Peruvian Inca Orchids have relatively few health issues. Because of their lack of hair, they may get cold quickly and tend to sunburn. Some of the health issues that you may see on occasion include skin lesions, seizures, and strokes. Dental problems are also fairly common, as the breed often does not have molars and/or premolars due to genetics and may lose all of their teeth at maturity.
The PIO is extremely sensitive to toxins, largely because of the lack of a coat and low body fat necessary to prevent quick absorption of toxic materials (such as insecticides) into the skin. Therefore, extreme caution should be taken to ensure that possibly toxic substances are not used around your pet. Otherwise, the GI tract and nervous system can be seriously damaged.
Since most Peruvian Inca Orchids lack hair, fleas and odor are not usually a concern; however, because the skin is exposed it must be properly cared for as it is sensitive and easily cracks if not maintained.
As mentioned above, it's important to protect the skin from sunburn, and to cover the skin in cold winter months with dog sweaters or other warm clothing. Most breeders recommend that you bathe your pet weekly to keep its skin soft and supple using a gentle, non-drying soap. Applying lotions and creams regularly will help keep the skin moisturized and prevent cracking. Sunscreen may be applied to protect from sunburn in sunny conditions.