Meet the Breed: The Peruvian Inca Orchid



  • Height: Small - 9.75"-15.75”, Medium - 15.75"-19.75", Large - 19.75"-25.75" 
  • Weight: Small - 8.8 to 17.6 pounds, Medium - 17.6 to 26.4 pounds, Large - 26.4 to 55.1 pounds
  • Historical function: Companions to the Incan nobility
  • Modern function: Companion
  • AKC classification: Miscellaneous

Physical Characteristics:

The Peruvian Inca Orchid, also known as the Peruvian Hairless Dog, is a sleek sighthound that comes in three sizes. The hairless version has prick ears, but the coated variety has rose ears due to being weighted by the hair. They are sleek yet muscular. The hairless dogs often have missing teeth. Tufts of hair are often found on their heads, and sometimes their feet and tails. The skin is soft and pliable. It feels unusually warm due to the fact that there is no hair insulating the temperature. the naked skin can be heavily mottled in any color, in any combination with a pink background, or it can be solid colored. Coated dogs can be any color. 

History of the Breed:

There are many theories as to the origin of the Peruvian Inca Orchid, but they are believed to have been around even before the Incan civilizations and were used for hunting and companionship. They were prized as bed companions for their radiant heat. They may have been used as messengers. They are represented on the ceramic pottery of the Chimu, Moche and Chancay cultures found on the coast. It is said that these hairless dogs were found in the Inca homes among their Orchids and the Spanish named them "Perros Flora" or "flower dog." They are sometimes called the Moonflower Dog, which may stem from the fact that they were often only let out at night to prevent sunburn. This breed nearly became extinct at several points, including when the Spanish Conquistadors came in 1532. The vulnerable dogs were hunted by the conquistador giant war dogs. Only a few remained in the rural areas. They have made a comeback through enthusiasts' efforts. Only about 1,000 are thought to be in existence. Peruvian Inca Orchids were first brought to the US in 1966. In 2001, the Peruvian government declared the breed a National Patrimony and at least a pair of dogs are required to be present at all archaeological sites. 


The Peruvian Inca Orchids are affectionate with family but can be wary of strangers, so early socialization is a must. They are lively, clever, alert and usually friendly with other dogs. They should be monitored with cats due to their sighthound nature. They can be protective as well. They are agile and fast. These dogs do not like to be alone and are intolerant of extreme temperatures. They generally require clothing to protect them from both sun and from cold temps. 

  • Best suited for: Active families who don't mind slathering on sunscreen on their dog so they can go out and get their needed exercise. 
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog can adapt to apartment living if given enough exercise. 

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Easy to care for in terms of not having hair to deal with; however, regular skin care to prevent blackheads, acne, dry skin, and sunburn are required. This includes washing and using lanolin-free creams and sunscreens.
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk. Also appreciates a good off-leash run in a safe area.
  • Life expectancy: 11-12 years.
  • Health concerns: May be prone to skin problems, epilepsy and poor dentition. 

Breed Club Links: Peruvian Inca Orchid Enthusiasts Club Perfect Pairings: Prudence Nature's Wellness - Complete Skin and Coat - Canine

Have any stories about a Peruvian Inca Orchid? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia commons.  

This entry was posted by Mary.
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