The Peruvian Inca Orchid, also called the “PIO,” is a lively, alert, inquisitive sighthound that plays well with other dogs and is easy to live with. The PIO’s temperament is similar to that of a Whippet. They are loyal and affectionate to their family members and make excellent companions. These are sensitive dogs that are best suited for homes with adults and older children. They are instinctively protective and defensive around unfamiliar people and dogs. Because they are suspicious of strangers, PIOs make good watch dogs and guard dogs. They don’t appreciate being left alone for long periods of time and do best having at least one other canine friend in the family. These are active, agile, athletic animals that probably aren’t the best choice for first-time dog owners. However, with experienced owners, they can be alert guardians and friendly companions all in one package. It is very important to start socializing and training PIOs at an early age, so that they grow into stable, reliable adults. Mature PIOs are generally calm, quiet, smart and somewhat independent. They are devoted to their owners, reserved with strangers, but rarely aggressive.
Built like Greyhounds, Peruvian Inca Orchids are extremely active and love to run. They are not quite as speedy as Whippets, but they hold their own in lure coursing competitions. These are high-energy animals, especially as puppies and adolescents, and they need a healthy dose of regular daily exercise to stay physically and mentally fit. They do best in homes that have moderate-to-large, securely-fenced yards, where they can stretch their legs and get lots of exercise on their own. They also enjoy and benefit from long, leisurely daily walks. This breed loves to chase birds, plastic bags moving in the breeze and anything else that moves and is within sight. PIOs should stay indoors during periods of extreme temperature or weather, or be well-covered with sunscreen (if it’s hot and sunny) or a coat (if it’s chilly or damp).
PIOs are smart, alert, attentive and trainable. They usually learn standard obedience commands and household manners fairly easily. They can be a bit rambunctious, but still typically are fast learners, especially when trained with reward-based positive reinforcement techniques rather than harsh, loud verbal or physical corrections. PIOs do best with multiple short, fun training sessions instead of single long training sessions, to prevent boredom, distraction and loss of interest. They can be quite protective of toys, food and people. Consistent training from a young age is necessary to teach PIOs proper doggy etiquette.
Hairless Peruvian Inca Orchids are extremely sensitive to weather conditions. They do poorly in extreme heat and extreme cold. They will seek out tightly confined spaces to avoid drafts and maintain proper body temperature. Most owners put coats or sweaters on their hairless PIOs when they go outside in cold or damp weather, and apply lots of sunscreen when they are out in the heat of the day. Both the hairless and coated varieties are virtually non-shedding. They rarely drool. PIOs are quiet dogs, but certainly will sound an alarm when their people are threatened or when they are scared or directly challenged. Some PIOs, especially young ones, become frightened and flighty in unfamiliar situations. Owners should socialize their dogs regularly with unfamiliar animals and people starting when they are young puppies. This will help to desensitize them and make them more comfortable around strangers and in new settings, which in turn will make them react more predictably as they mature. With their extreme intelligence and alert, protective nature, Peruvian Inca Orchids make excellent guard dogs. With their affectionate, kind, sensitive dispositions, they also make terrific companions for the right people.