Peruvian in the White House?

November 11th, 2008

Obama family offered a Perro Peruano

Taken in Piura

Taken in Piura

The famous Perro Peruano or Perro Sin Pelo, a Peruvian breed of dog without hair, has been offered as a family pet to the newly elected President of the United States Barack Obama and his family.

Much has been said about Obama’s wish to buy his daughters a puppy if he won the election. The soon-to-be President said that although they would prefer a rescue dog from a shelter, this might not be an option as daughter Malia suffers from allergies. The family seem instead to be forced to find a pedigree hypo-allergenic breed.

With that, the President of the Asociación de Amigos de los Perros Sin Pelo del Perú, a society dedicated to the hairless dog that has been bred for centuries on the northern Peruvian coast, jumped into action. Yesterday a letter was delivered to the Peruvian Embassy in Washington, to be passed on to the President-Elect, that offered one of the dogs as a gift to his family.

Could a Peruvian icon be headed to the White House?

Taken in Lima

Taken in Lima

The letter explains to Obama that the hairless dogs are entirely hypo-allergenic, can’t have fleas, are easy to keep clean, and most interestingly and according to Peruvian superstitions are a cure for all kinds of lung and bone problems, including asthma, arthritis and rheumatism.

These dogs come in a variety of sizes, both small and large, reflective of Spanish effort to isolate and kill them off, along with indigenous beliefs. I’ve seen huge pure-breds in Piura, and many short stubby ones with patches of hair in Lima. Most prized among owners today seem to be those that are small, thinner and completely hairless. This hairlessness is due to a genetic deficiency called ectodermal hyperplasia. Their skin is thick and can be crusty if not cared for – it requires moisturising, but is pleasant to touch, giving off a heat that is considered medicinal. They are extremely friendly, intelligent and social, making excellent companions and family pets.

Other names: Perro Peruano, Perro Calato, Perro Chimu, Perro Sin Pelo, Viringo, Perro de Orquídea Peruano

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