History of the Indigenous Dogs of Peru

Why is important to learn their story?

The value of the study of the indigenous dogs in Peru is related to their antiquity, their uniqueness, the way how they adapted to the climates of this territory, and the fact that they are associated with the history of us humans in this territory. Known to have high value, they were not only seen as pets, but they also had great importance to the afterlife in their importance in the afterlife, they were friends , warriors, food, and sadly now many are completely extinct due to the interaction of new species after the meeting with the Europeans in 16th century

The Dog was probably the first animal domesticated by man 30,000 years ago. The common ancestor of all dogs is believed to be the Southeast Asian wolf (Canis familiaris) meaning that dogs in the Americas migrated from Asia during the last ice age.

Spaniards mentioned that American dogs were smaller than European ones, even Christopher Columbus saw dogs upon his arrival on the continent, and in Mexico, Hernan Cortez was surprised by the habit of the inhabitants of eating dogs that were castrated.

In Peru, there were different breeds of dogs, some for companionship and others for herding (such as the Chiribaya shepherd that herded camelids such as alpacas and llamas) from the portrait vessels ” huaco retrato ” it is known of several extinct breeds, like that one portrayed by the Mochicas of a small white dog with black spots used for the ritual hunt of the deer, or the brown-yellow short hair dog from the central coast.

In prehispanic times dogs were called Alcos in the Andes, and Viringos on the coast and were represented in pre-Hispanic art, from cave paintings to vessels from almost all ancient cultures, and always in everyday situations (sitting, breastfeeding.). One is even represented in one of the Nazca lines, and they were even buried with great solemnity. The dogs accompanied and guided the spirit of man to the afterlife.

Pre-Hispanic Peru did not eat dogs with the exception of some cultures, such as the “Huanca”, who did so for ceremonies. According to Inca Garcilazo de la Vega, the huancas ate dogs and made ceremonial instruments from their heads.

The Spanish Alans: “Indians eaters dogs”

Killings of indigenous by these dogs in Central and South America is well known and documented.

The Spanish Alano dogs were large, and they displaced the smaller native dogs little by little, it is known that the Spaniards put 1 Alano dog to fight with 8 Peruvian dogs, and like this, the native dogs’ population dropped quite soon after the conquest. the population declined and the contempt for the native breeds began at that time.

Native dogs were used as bait for these dogs.

With the extirpation of idolatry, many ceremonies and cults where the native Peruvian dog participated are eliminated, and its importance declines.

There was an intense search and hunt of black dogs by the extirpators of idolatries after the first decades of the conquest since it was believed that the dead should be guided to the next life by a dog of that color.

Watch the next video to learn more bout these breeds of dogs

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