Year of The Peruvian Bicentennial: Like a mountain god, Apu, our canine ambassador to Canada!


As part of my initiative to revalue the Peruvian Hairless Dog I’ve had the opportunity to meet many Peruvian Harless Dogs around the world; almost two years ago I learned of such another representative of Peruvian canine national heritage, this one living in the Embassy of Peru in Canada: Apu Huatuntupaq, a beautiful specimen of Peruvian Hairless Dog, very representative of its breed, and born to renowned Peruvian breeders.

In the picture: Apu Huatuntupaq. Owner: Roberto Rodriguez Arnillas, Ambassador of Peru to Canada. Breeder: Marisa la Rosa. PC: Roberto Rodriguez Arnillas – Design by Alessandro Pucci © 2021 APPP – ADPP

Due to the current circumstances making travel impossible I was I had no choice but to continue my projects through virtual trips. I never imagined that this particular trip would become such a pleasant and unusual experience.

It all started with a videocall where I chatted with Roberto Rodríguez Arnillas, Peru’s Ambassador to Ottawa City, capital of Canada.

With several years holding diplomatic office in the United States and Canada, since July 2018 Ambassador Rodríguez Arnillas is responsible for the promotion and strengthening of bilateral relations between Peru and Canada, as well as the continued strengthening of the traditional ties of friendship that bind the two countries.

He told me of the excellent relations that have developed through a fluid and constructive dialogue, in which respect and promotion of human rights, the strengthening of the democratic system, the management of sustainable natural resources and the fight against climate change, and the defense of free trade are the main points. The cooperation of both countries is not only at the commercial level, but also at the level of scientific and cultural cooperation.

In the picture: Apu Huatuntupaq and his adoptive father: Roberto Rodriguez Arnillas, Ambassador of Peru to Canada. Breeder: Marisa la Rosa. PC: Roberto Rodriguez Arnillas © – APPP – ADPP

As we were chatting, I could see in the background a beautiful copper-colored large dog sitting quietly, listening to the Ambassador very carefully. Evidently, it was his routine to do so. Suddenly, Apu’s tutor, Mrs. Roxana Recalde de Rodríguez, wife of the Ambassador, appeared to ask Apu to show me his training. While Apu responded to Mrs. Recalde de Rodríguez’s commands, showing me that he knows how to shake hands and listen attentively, thus revealing his intelligence and skills, I thought that all this was undoubtedly a product of the affective relationship and respect he has for his adoptive parents.

In addition to his physical beauty, his talent and intelligence are incomparable and I couldn’t help mentioning it to the Ambassador and his wife.

I immediately recognized his lineage: a strong and slender dog but with a very human gaze that inspires nobility.

Apu is certainly like the many dogs I’ve been able to meet that come from these northern lineages that are now being bred by canine experts and made known throughout the world for the last several decades.

The Ambassador confirmed it was indeed Apu who was on camera. He presented Apu to me progressively and naturally. The Ambassador told me: “I always liked Hairless Dogs but we were particularly impressed with him, with his poise and beauty… He’s only three years old. He was the first one we saw with such characteristics. Although we had previously seen other dogs of the same breed, both medium and small in size, which we liked very much, Apu was the one we liked the most.”

Indeed, his name, Apu, which means divinity or refers to an important character since pre-Incan time, speaks to his physical attributes and qualities.

In the picture: Apu Huatuntupaq and Marcelo Rodriguez going home for the first time. Owner: Roberto Rodriguez Arnillas. Breeder: Marisa la Rosa. PC: Roberto Rodriguez Arnillas © – APPP – ADPP

“He’s a very affectionate dog,” said the Ambassador. “When we first picked him up with Marcelo, my youngest son, Apu practically adopted [Marcelo]. From then on, they get along perfectly.”

After his adoption, Apu had to wait several months before travelling to Canada, as transporting flights for dogs to the during summer are not possible due to the high temperatures at the airports. So Apu was able to travel after the summer and he arrived in Ottawa on a flight from Lima via Toronto. Fortunately, he arrived in his new home in perfect conditions.

According to the Ambassador: “Apu, belonging to a legendary breed, has been able to fully adapt to the climate of Canada. His adaptability is amazing. The weather is not an issue: he weathers it with nobility.”

Indeed, many Hairless Dogs live in Nordic countries with cold climates such as the United States and most European countries, and are able to quickly adapt to their climates.

To Apu’s good fortune, his adoptive father, Ambassador Rodríguez Arnillas, knows a lot about dogs, as he has previously had a Great Dane, a Cocker Spanniel and a German Shepherd. Besides that, his wife also loves dogs very much and has previously had a Collie. Also, the Ambassador’s sister has a Peruvian Hairless Dog called Nazca, who was coincidentally born in Ica.

The way the Ambassador and his family treat Apu is tailored to Apu’s personality. Immediately after Apu arrived in Canada the Ambassador discovered his great agility. “Being a large dog, he weighs 29 kilos and loves to run,” the Ambassador tells me. “He runs like a hare; to such an extent that he’s the most agile dog in the park where I take him. There’s only a Greyhound that has been able to outrun Apu […] In front of the residence there’s a park where Apu can run every day, meet other dogs and socialize, in addition to running and playing.”

The Ambassador has set everything in place for Apu to develop his skills to demonstrate how far the intelligence of the Peruvian Hairless Dog can go.

But it’s not only an affective relationship, one of play and training alone: “I always dreamed of the Peruvian Hairless Dog, our Peruvian national heritage of which I was always proud,” the Ambassador told me.

“I wanted to have the opportunity to have a specimen of our national breed and be able to show it in the country where I work, so that many people would know this beautiful dog breed.”

In the picture: Apu Huatuntupaq. Owner: Roberto Rodriguez Arnillas, Ambassador of Peru to Canada. Breeder: Marisa la Rosa. PC: Roberto Rodriguez Arnillas – Design by Alessandro Pucci © 2021 APPP – ADPP

The Ambassador told me that he has now been able to realize his dream: “Apu, in addition to being a companion, naturally fulfills the role of Canine Ambassador. Which means that he’s also part of Peru’s overall cultural proposal during working meetings with Canadian and international authorities, as well as during dinners at the Embassy. Events in which guests are able to not only taste Peruvian Pisco and other national delicacies such as Ceviche or Papa a la huancaína but also enjoy the presence of a Canine Ambassador: Apu, the Peruvian Hairless Dog, who they can meet and pet and who also raises interesting topics of conversation about Peru, its history and its traditions due to all his cultural background.”

Both the Ambassador and his wife are interested in all historical and cultural information regarding this breed. At home they have books on the Peruvian Hairless Dog specifically. They also have multimedia sources on this topic. All this further enriches the knowledge they have acquired about the Peruvian Hairless Dog, which they’ll more than gladly share with anyone who is interested in getting to know more about the breed.

No doubt Apu enjoys living in a country that has a strong canine culture. Canada has a kennel club that has existed since 1887. When it comes to pets, dogs are the favorites. The bond is so strong that they become one of the family. This causes Canadians to invest a significant sum of their budget on pet wellbeing [1].

To such an extent are dogs so important to Canadians that, according to GlobeNewswire, the Anatomy of Dog Love report (of, the world’s largest and most trusted network of five-star pet sitters and dog walkers) says a quarter of Canadians plan to take their pets on a “date” for Valentine’s Day[2].

Following my chat with the Ambassador, he told me that Peruvian-Canadian relations are very strong thanks to the communion of common principles and values, fundamentally those aforementioned: human rights, democracy, the sustainability of our natural resources, climate change, as well as defending free trade. Peruvian-Canadian cooperation continues to be a pillar of the relationship, having served Peru’s economic development, which has also resulted in vigorous trade. Canada is currently Peru’s third largest partner in the scientific and cultural fields. In addition, today, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, chancellors from both countries make regular calls within the framework of the COVID-19 Ministerial Coordination Group lead by Canada.

In the picture: Apu Huatuntupaq. Owner: Roberto Rodriguez Arnillas, Ambassador of Peru to Canada. Breeder: Marisa la Rosa. PC: Roberto Rodriguez Arnillas – Design by Alessandro Pucci © 2021 APPP – ADPP

In this context it is no coincidence that Apu is enjoying the affection of a representative of our country who has a broad vision and sensitivity about the importance of sustainable management of natural resources and the fight against climate change, since these are main values for the subsistence of the Peruvian Hairless Dog breed, which is Peruvian living heritage.

Finishing my virtual tour the Ambassador told me that there is still much to do: the Peruvian Hairless Dog is not yet a well-known breed in Canada. However, thanks to the cultural openness and the existence of kennel clubs throughout the country there is a great opportunity to spread and expand knowledge about the Peruvian Hairless Dog.

Observing Apu with the Peruvian flag behind him I have a thought related to traditional Peruvian beliefs: I think that perhaps it was these Apus, or gods of the Inca Mountains, who put Apu and the Ambassador on the same path to promote the dissemination and protection of the Peruvian Hairless Dog breed. In the event that this might be the case, I maintain the strong desire that the Apus continue accompanying them during a long and successful career expanding Peruvian culture and promoting the protection of this wonderful dog breed for the future.





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On the threshold of Peru’s Bicentennial: You will soon find out about Apu! …

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