Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dogs of South and Latin America

Kahla Grande
The Hairless Khala, Kahla, Perro K'ala, Chala, K'ala, or Caa allepo, is native to Central and South America and is still used by the native people of Argentina, Bolivia and Peru as a hunting dog. The coated variety of the breed resemble a Borzoi. They are considered to be the largest of the Xolo breeds weighing around 45-55 pounds. The Khala come in two varieties; the Khala Grande, and the Khala Medio.

These dogs are highly prized by the tribe and their parentage can usually be traced back through generations. The most notable difference in appearance in this breed is the high, domed forehead and the large ears. Khalas have coarse hair covering their head, feet, and tail. Like the xolo, Khalas are very wary of strangers and bond quickly to their family. They are intelligent, gentle dogs and keenly sensitive to the emotional state of their owners. Many have been known to develop gastrointestinal problems due to stress at home.

Kahla Grande

The Peruvian Inca Orchid, PIO, Moonflower Dog, or Perro Flora, was raised by the Inca civilization of South America. Thought to be magical creatures they were allowed to roam freely about only at night. This was most likely due to the fact that the PIO has very light pigmented skin which causes them to sunburn easily. Inca rulers guarded these dogs fiercely and kept them as bed warmers and pets.

The natives viewed them as gifts from the gods and thought them to have healing capabilities. The Inca Orchid is primarily white or pink skin that is spotted by color. They also have a trademark spot on the top of their head (known as the "kissing spot"), distinguished by either a lighter coat color or skin pigmentation. 

Raymi, PIO (photo courtesy of Sonja)
The Peruvian Hairless, Inca Hairless, or Perro Sin Pello Del Peru, are usually a solid dark color, normally brown to grey black. Hair growth is minimal, but some (called the "fuzzy-face" variety) can get hair on the head and tail. Like the xolo they resemble hairless sight hounds.

The Peruvian is recognized in three sizes; toy, miniature, and standard. The genetic registry for this breed has been extremely mixed over the years since any breed of hairless dog in Peru was considered a Peruvian. In recent years the formation of the Inca Hairless Club of America has helped to define this breed and develop a standard to which breeders can strive for.

There has been much debate for years among both American and South American Breeders as to whether or not the PIO and PSPP are actually one and the same. Most registries in the US recognize only the PIO. Without further genetic testing this may never be fully resolved.

My personal opinion is that they are in fact the same breed, the difference being that the PIO is mostly white with spotting, and the PSPP is a uniformly darker pigment without spotting.

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