Chupacabra? No. Peru offers Obama a hairless dog

By | November 11, 2008

771926Peruvians crazy about their national dog, a bald and often toothless breed popular among Incan kings, offered to send a hypoallergenic puppy to the Obama family.

US President-elect Barack Obama has promised daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, a new pet for the White House. But Malia is allergic to most breeds, he said on Friday as speculation swirled about the dog the family would choose.

Owners of the Peruvian Hairless Dog, a breed dating back 3,000 years and depicted in pre-Hispanic ceramics, say it is perfect for kids who are sensitive to dogs.

“They do not cause any type of allergy and are very friendly and sweet,” said Claudia Galvez, 38, director of the Friends of the Peruvian Hairless Dog Association.

“We want to give a male puppy to Obama’s daughters, so they get to experience all the joys of having a dog but without any allergies.”

According to Peruvian folklore, the dogs have above-average body temperature, which compensates for their lack of hair and helps alleviate symptoms of asthma or arthritis suffered by their owners. Galvez delivered a letter detailing her offer to the US embassy in Lima on Monday and hopes Obama will accept it. Galvez has a 4-month-old pedigree puppy to send to the Obama family. For now, she is calling it Ears because it has two large, perky ones.

“But if we send it to the United States, its official name will be Machu Picchu,” she said, referring to the ancient Incan citadel, Peru’s top tourist attraction. – stuff


3 thoughts on “Chupacabra? No. Peru offers Obama a hairless dog

  1. Peruanista

    The Inca were not kings. The concept of kingdom is a European system of government that didn’t exist in the Andean civilizations. The Inca was a semi-god and the son of Inti, the main deity of the Quechua people. The civilization of the Quechua people was called Tawantinsuyu, not Incan.

    The hairless dog was not a favorite of the Incas. It was more like a transplanted breed as the Quechua people invaded the northern Andean regions, where this dog was popular, abundant and respected. And it was probably brought to the Andes from Mesoamerica -today’s Mexico and Central America, thousands of years ago.

    Several original Indigenous civilizations of the Andes believed that dogs were sacred animals, and they were guides to humans in our way towards the next life. Therefore, if an important man died then his dog had to go with him.

    Dogs are very sensitive creatures, and are considered to have curative properties among several human cultures. This is something that many Peruvians still believe today. That is the reason why this Native hairless dog is represented respectfully in several Indigenous ceramics and textiles.

    This kind of dog is also found in today’s Mexico, where it was called Xoloitzcuintli, a name that is the base for the racist word Cholo.

    Natural medicine is not folklore. It is an important part of Peruvian culture, it is the mainstream culture for Andean people. Unfortunately, a lot of Peruvians don’t know about the Hairless dog.

    Currently in Peru, this kind of dog has several names: Chimo, Calato and Viringo.

    * Chimo refers to the Chimor Indigenous civilization, which postdated the Muchik civilization (where my ancestors come from). It is said that the Muchik people came from Mesoamerica -today’s Mexico and Central America- and this dog breed was an import, thousands of years ago.

    * Calato comes from Ccala, a Quechua language word for naked, nude.

    * Viringo is a Tallan word -another Indigenous language of northern Peru- and it also means nude.

    Finally, the Indigenous civilizations of Peru are not pre-Hispanic, because we Peruvians are not post-Hispanics nor anything like that refers to Hispania. Our Native cultures and peoples should be remember for what they were: the first nations of this continent.

    One more thing for Claudia Galvez: you can’t name a dog after Machu Picchu – its Quechua for Old Mountain.

    We learn new things every day.

    You are very welcome.

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