Prince the Peruvian Hairless visited us in Fair Oaks

Plenty of dogs you’ve heard of before and a few new ones at

This year it wasn’t until our Fair Oaks vaccination clinic that we met a new breed of dog. Pictured here is Prince the Peruvian Hairless staying warm in the arms of his human and enjoying the ride. The Peruvian Hairless (or Peruvian Inca Orchid or Inca Hairless) is a hairless dog which dates back to pre-Inca times – perhaps to the Moche period of 750 AD. In those pre-Inca times they were kept in the temperate coastal regions as both pets and as food animals but after the Inca conquest of surrounding tribes around 1460 the practice of eating the dogs was abandoned. After the Spanish conquest of the Inca which took place between 1532 and 1572 the Peruvian Hairless almost went extinct. The trait of hairlessness is due to a dominant gene which when expressed in both copies of the gene is lethal and therefore there are no homozygous hairless dogs. This means that only heterozygous dogs (one copy of the gene)can be bred to each other or to outside dogs and this leads to the inevitability of some hair coated pups being born in each litter. Also, curiously, the gene for hairlessness is associated with a reduced number of adult teeth so observant owners may notice that a full set of puppy teeth is replaced by a varyingly incomplete set of adult teeth. The dogs are slightly built resembling a sight hound and do, in fact, hunt rodents and small prey by sight. They are temperamentally well suited to life as a pet dog but, of course, owners have to be aware of their vulnerability to hyper and hypothermia as they have no insulating coat to protect them. Sometimess their exposed skin suffers from irritation or dryness and must be conditioned with an oil or cream. – Geoffrey Antipa



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