Completely bald and older than the Incas, the Peruvian hairless dog seems like an odd fit for the White House.
But Peruvians are mindful of President-electBarack Obama‘s preference for a hypoallergenic breed due to his daughter Malia’s allergies — and say the dark, rough-skinned pooch with large ears and a pointy snout could be just the solution.
At his first postelection news conference on Friday, Obama said choosing a pet dog for his daughters is a “major issue.”
“It has to be hypoallergenic. On the other hand, our preference would be to get a shelter dog, but a lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me,” the president-elect said.
The Friends of the Peruvian Hairless Dog Association responded on Monday, sending a letter to the U.S. Embassy in Peru offering the Obama family a 4-month-old pup that responds to “Machu Picchu,” the name of Peru’s famed Inca citadel.
“My family also has suffered from … not being able to have a pet because my son and I are asthmatic, so we thought it would be ideal for him (Obama) to have a dog like ours,” said association president Claudia Galvez.
Galvez, who has lived with six dogs of the breed for eight years, says being hairless has its benefits: The dogs are flealess and relatively odorless, too.
They were kept as pets during the Inca empire and depictions of the breed appear in 1,200-year-old, pre-Inca artwork.
The hairless dog was long scorned for its appearance before it was recognized internationally as the official Peruvian dog.