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Argentine Pila Dog Breed Info: Pictures, Personality & Facts

Chris Dinesen Rogers

By Chris Dinesen Rogers

Pilas Argentinos-Felix-&-Fortuna-04-1912

The Argentine Pila is an unusual and rare dog. The fact that they are hairless is enough to make you take notice. Some may find this trait surprising. It is an ancient breed with a history that goes back thousands of years. You may see the dog by other names, such as Khala Dog and Inca Hairless Dog. Some experts think the pup is a riff on the Peruvian Inca Orchid.

Height: 10 – 22 inches
Weight: 9 – 55 pounds
Lifespan: 12 – 15 years
Colors: White, blue, slate, black, bronze, tan, apricot, blonde
Suitable for: Active families looking for a small watchdog
Temperament: Loyal, docile, alert

The Argentine Pila served as a ratter in their early days. That explains the pooch’s energy level and trainability. Canines in these roles often are independent and aloof. This pup was also a watchdog, explaining their alertness and wariness with strangers.

As you may surmise, being hairless isn’t par for the course with most breeds. It is a genetic mutation that often comes with bad or no adult teeth. That also explains the animal’s suspected relatedness to other hairless breeds, such as the Mexican Hairless Dog and Ecuadorian Hairless Dog. It’s safe to say that the genetic story has more to tell us about these canines.

Argentine Pila Dog Breed Characteristics


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Argentine Pila Puppies

No official registries recognize the Argentine Pila except the Asociación Canina Argentina1. Much of what we know about the Argentine Pila is anecdotal or oral history. Getting an imported dog into the United States is challenging unless you find a domestic breeder. While it isn’t a high-risk country, Argentina has limited enforcement and national control of rabies, which can hamper your efforts.

It’s worth noting that dogs under 6 months old cannot be imported into the United States, regardless of the country’s rabies status. You must also provide a 6-month travel history and have your pup microchipped. However, enthusiasts speak highly of the Argentine Pila, saying the dog is worth the effort to get a chance to meet this fascinating pooch.

The breed’s rarity makes it hard to estimate the cost of getting an Argentine Pila puppy. Only an estimated 1,700 animals exist in the country. Enthusiasts are loyal and perhaps reluctant to let the breed leave its shores. Getting a dog will prove challenging. The bulk of your costs will likely be in locating and importing the pup. There are also health expenses and transport. Of course, that only scratches the surface of what it means to get a dog. Owning a pet is a financial commitment that extends through the life of your pup.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Argentine Pila

The Argentine Pila has had several jobs throughout the breed’s history. That sets the stage for an intelligent animal. It also accounts for the dog’s loyalty and independence. This dog stands by its family but doesn’t take to strangers very well.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

The Argentine Pila can make an excellent family pet with early socialization and training. They will form steadfast bonds with their household, making them a good watchdog. The breed isn’t known for behavioral issues, perhaps in part because of its scarcity and social status. Nevertheless, we recommend supervising playtime with small children.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

Early socialization is paramount if you want to introduce your Argentine Pila to other dogs. Since the dog was a ratter, their prey drive is high. This pup might not get along well with cats or other small animals, such as ferrets or chinchillas.


Things to Know When Owning an Argentine Pila

Every dog has their quirks, which are largely shaped by their training and environment. The Argentine Pila is an intelligent animal that will soon learn the household’s routine. This pup has a lot going for it in the right home. Their care is similar to other animals of their size and temperament.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The breed comes in three sizes. Therefore, you should choose a commercial diet appropriate for a dog of the expected adult height and weight. If you’re fortunate enough to get a puppy, you should offer your pet three to four small meals daily. Make sure fresh water is always available. You can transition your pup to two meals when they reach adulthood.

The Argentine Pila is an active and playful dog. Those qualities will help keep the animal’s weight in check. Nevertheless, we recommend monitoring your pup’s body condition and adjusting their diet accordingly.

Exercise 🐕

This dog needs regular exercise to stay physically and mentally healthy. Several daily walks can fulfill both needs. If your pet gets along with other canines, running in a dog park will ensure they get the mental stimulation they require. The breed’s history as a ratter may make it prone to digging. You should check the perimeter of your yard if you give your pup free rein in a fenced-in area.

Training 🎾

The Argentine Pila is relatively easy to train and eager to please. Consistency is essential. We recommend using positive reinforcement with treats limited as training aids. Like many companion dogs, this pup is sensitive to scolding and harsh words. However, you can use the breed’s loyalty as an ally in your efforts. Praise can be a potent motivator.

Grooming ✂️

The Argentine Pila is virtually hairless, save for some tufts of fur on the animal’s tail and top of their head. It’s worth mentioning that the coat protects a dog’s skin from sunburn. This breed is prone to this condition since they are hairless. You should always use sunscreen made for pets on your pooch whenever you take them outdoors.

An occasional bath will keep your pup’s skin in tip-top condition. It’s also an excellent opportunity to trim your pet’s nails and check their ears.

Health and Conditions 🏥

The Argentine Pila is a relatively healthy dog with few glaring health conditions. The ones that may crop up are also a concern with many breeds. We strongly urge you to get a pet from reputable sellers who carry out pre-breeding health screenings. Imported dogs must have a veterinarian-certified health certificate.

Minor Conditions
  • Dental issues
  • Eye infections
  • Deafness
Serious Conditions
  • Luxating patellas
  • Heart disease

Male vs. Female

Male and female Argentine Pilas are similarly sized. Both make delightful pets when trained and socialized early. Neutering may curb scent marking and territorial behavior in males. If you’re considering this breed because of allergies, you should check with your doctor about testing to determine if you’re allergic to male or female dogs.

A reaction to a specific protein triggers this condition. Research has found that 40% of individuals are allergic to a prostate protein. If you test positive for it, you can still get an Argentine Pila, as long as you get a female dog.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Argentine Pila

1. The Dog’s Hairless Quality Made Them Sacred Among Ancient People

You’d think that being hairless would make the Argentine Pila anything but cuddly. The opposite is true and gave the pup a mystique because of this unusual quality.

2. The History of the Argentine Pila Is Largely Unknown

As with many ancient breeds, we don’t know much about the Argentine Pila’s history. Archaeologists have found evidence of the Incas who worshipped the dog.

3. The Argentine Pila Isn’t a Hypoallergenic Breed

Some people think the Argentine Pila would be an ideal choice if they have allergies. Unfortunately, it’s not the hair but the dander that causes reactions. A sensitive individual may be just as allergic to this pup as one with a full coat. The idea of a hypoallergenic dog is only a myth.



The Argentine Pila is an interesting breed with a fascinating history with what we know. Perhaps the fact that they are hairless makes some gravitate toward this pup. They’re sure to get attention. This breed’s story speaks of the enthusiasm and loyalty of those who have embraced this dog as a national and personal symbol. Getting one won’t be easy, but you may find it worthwhile if just for the pup’s loyalty.

Featured Image Credit: Pilas Argentinos-Felix-&-Fortuna-04-1912 (Monica S. Cassels, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 3.0 Unported)

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