As part of my campaign of international awareness about the Peruvian Hairless Dog, and this being the year of the Peruvian Bicentennial, I take the opportunity to get an update on Quilla, our Canine Ambassador to Bucharest (Romania), a “charge” she has held since 2018.
I contact María Eugenia Echeverría Herrera, Ambassador of Peru to Romania, Croatia, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, and the Republic of Moldova, as well as Quilla’s adoptive mother.
She tells me that among her activities she is responsible for promoting cooperation in multiple fields such as risk management, combating drug and cultural goods trafficking, promoting trade—especially with regard to our Peruvian flag products—tourism and cultural promotion, a very important axis of the Embassy’s work. In addition, María Eugenia carries out her work from the privileged position of belonging to the only Embassy present in these Eastern European countries from a country belonging to the Andean Community. As if that weren’t enough, María Eugenia, our multi-country Ambassador, is also a great defender of the Peruvian Hairless Dog, Living Cultural Heritage of our Nation.
In mid-2018, after several years of research and having wanted to get a dog of this Peruvian breed, María Eugenia managed to find Quilla (Sechura Quilla Pazzda), a Peruvian Hairless Dog from a world-renowned breeder of the Czech Republic. Quilla is now the center of my conversation with María Eugenia.
Because she’s Living Cultural Heritage of our Nation, Quilla has been an active promoter of Peruvian culture since her arrival at the Embassy. “A special visit was that of my friend the Ambassador of [the] Czech Republic,” María Eugenia say, “who was not only amazed to see, for the first time, a Hairless Dog, but also to know that this fine specimen of an ancient Peruvian breed had been born in Brno, capital of the South Moravian region and the second most populous city in his country. This prompted me to tell him how we found her through the Embassy’s cultural activities.”
Well, this anecdote demonstrates the great interest that this beautiful dog breed awakens in foreign breeders like those of the Czech Republic. Indeed, Hairless Dogs have been known in many countries for many years due to the belief in their healing properties, and because they’re the ideal pet for people allergic to animal hair. It should be noted that the Czech Republic has the largest number of Peruvian Hairless Dog breeders in the world. And now, of course, Quilla allows the breed to be better known in other European countries such as Romania, Croatia, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia and the Republic of Moldova—countries that are part of the perimeter of which María Eugenia, our Peruvian Ambassador, is in charge.
Among her various tasks, Maria Eugenia has also contributed to the spreading awareness about our national dog breed, as well as our culture, through activities in countries such as Croatia, where dogs of this breed—both born in Peru and Europe—have participated, and where breeders from countries from around the world participated, too; countries including Croatia itself, Romania, the Czech Republic, Russia, Slovenia, etc.
Her work is ongoing, and even today, despite the current impediments due to the Covid pandemic, she carries it on.
“Quilla’s temperament is characteristic of this breed,” says María Eugenia:
“[they’re] noble dogs and are attached to the owner (actually, to all the people of the house); [they’re] affectionate, playful, with a positive temperament.”
From the photographs María Eugenia shares with me I can see that Quilla is an extremely playful puppy and that she keeps the team spirit alive—in other words: she’s the life and soul of the party!
In addition, María Eugenia tells me that in a few months Quilla will be three years old. So she’s no longer as foolhardy as she once was as a puppy. Yes, she’s very fast and always alert to what happens around her, but now she’s also prudent, as is usual in more experienced dog, of course. Furthermore, as is also usual of the breed, Quilla has a certain reticence when it comes to strangers.
In 2018, after arriving at the Embassy, Quilla began working with a coach. Like so many other things her training has obviously been interrupted due to the pandemic, but she’ll resume it in the spring of this year.
“It’s like at Friar [Saint] Martin’s house,” María Eugenia tells me: “all the pets that live with Quilla have been exposed to the group since from the get-go, so they’re each other’s family.”
Undoubtedly, Quilla lives happily within a group. She shares her days with two Dachshunds, one, short-haired, the other, woolly, a kitten, and a rabbit.
“Everyone lives in absolute harmony,” adds María Eugenia.
Apparently, the importance given to Peruvian heritage by María Eugenia is not only evidenced through her affection and protection of the Peruvian Hairless Dog, it transcends further: it strikes a definite parallel to the virtues and miracles of our Peruvian Patron Saint, Saint Martin de Porres, as narrated by the Peruvian writer Ricardo Palma in his great literary opus Tradiciones Peruanas (Peruvian Traditions, 1872), a work based on historical events in Peru throughout known history—a jewel worthy of being remembered by the new Peruvian generation, especially upon the celebration of Peru’s Bicentennial.
Nonetheless, María Eugenia also attributes some of the harmony to the intelligence of pets: “Milo (the rabbit), doesn’t allow himself to be harassed. He’s as a fox!” she tells me, in a funny tone, referring to the cunning of the rabbit. “The one Quilla had to watch out for in the beginning was Bela (the cat). Quilla mistook her for a toy but Bela immediately set her straight, and has known perfectly well how to avoid being caught up in Quilla’s games.”
María Eugenia tells me that, unlike the Dachshunds—the female of which has always needed to clearly establish that she is the Alpha of the group—, Quilla fits into all situations without seeking preeminence. Partly because of the docile temper of the breed, but also because, being the tallest of all the pets, she easily beats them every time at retrieving the ball in the garden or getting at food that’s on the kitchen table!
Quilla is certainly the healthiest animal in this domestic zoo!
Like every dog of this breed, Quilla requires special care in the cold months. What she chiefly requires is a good coat, always pulled over a cotton t-shirt to protect her sensitive skin.
“Her greatest pleasure is to go in the car,” María Eugenia tells me, “she sits there with her seatbelt and observes the city passing by.” Certainly, there’s no doubt that, apart from a faithful companion, the mere fact of accompanying our official Peruvian representative, Quilla is an active promoter of Peruvian culture. And her beautiful physical attributes not only garner curiosity in all who meet her, but also interest in discovering the mystery behind them [see “Hairless Dog with a mutant gene: Foxi3”], which makes us penetrate the world of natural science  and dig deeper into its past [see “Millenary dog of the Americas came from Asia through the Bering Strait”].
María Eugenia tells me that she notes the great interest that Peru generates among Romanian citizens through the events that the Embassy holds in Romania, essentially a multicultural and Latin-speaking country. The Peruvian community in the aforementioned countries, although small, is long-standing and very well assimilated. The Peruvian diaspora is a strong link that links these nations to Peru and contributes to the development of their host countries.
In addition, María Eugenia tells me that every Peruvian member of the Embassy is a big fan of Peru and, in their own way, values Peruvian culture with great pride. The seriousness and commitment are reflected through the participation of the Embassy members in events aimed at raising awareness of Peruvian culture, as well as the continued contact of our Ambassador with the breeders who reared Quilla to learn more about the particularities of the breed, and through discussions with our Association, to exchange ideas and know more about the current place of the Peruvian Hairless Dog in the world.
This in, as well as what I mentioned above, is a definite sign of the great achievement that has been made in favor of the Peruvian Hairless Dog—who, on the threshold of the Peruvian Bicentennial, already occupies an important position on the list of cultural values of our nation.
I close our conversation by saying goodbye to María Eugenia and offering Quilla a virtual petting, such as we are now very well accustomed under the circumstances. It’s not really a goodbye, but rather a “see you later”, as we’ll certainly be getting updated on Quilla’s adventures again in the not-so-distant future, as well as continuing to find out about the news and progress of her outreach campaign as our dear canine ambassador!
 Tradición “Los ratones de fray Martín”, Tradiciones Peruanas: Octava y última serie. https://es.wikisource.org/wiki/Los_ratones_de_fray_Mart%C3%ADn
You can also visit: