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Argentine Pila Dog Breed: Info, Pictures, Traits, Care Guide & More

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on May 13, 2024 by Dogster Team

two Argentine pila standing on grass

Argentine Pila Dog Breed: Info, Pictures, Traits, Care Guide & More

Outside of Argentina, not many people have heard of the hairless Argentine Pila dog. Even in their origin country, they’re a rare breed. That said, they have an intriguing past that makes them worth learning about.

Since these dogs are mostly a mystery, we delved into their care needs, traits, and history to help you learn more about these affectionate companions.

Breed Overview


10–22 inches


30–45 pounds


12–15 years


Black, lead gray, brown

Suitable for:

Active families, apartments or homes with a yard, families with children or other pets, singles


Agile, alert, wary around strangers, adaptable, intelligent, affectionate, patient, sociable, playful

Few people know much about the Argentine Pila. This pedigree breed is rare outside of Argentina and isn’t recognized by the AKC or other breed clubs around the world. They are believed to have been a gift to Argentina from the Incan Empire and are often confused with the Peruvian Inca Orchid Dog due to their ancestry and similar appearance.

These dogs might lack fur, but they love to cuddle, and their warm, soft skin is a highly valued trait. Some even have a cute tuft of fur on their head, giving them a uniquely adorable appearance!

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Argentine Pila Puppies

Despite being a great family companion and watchdog, the Argentine Pila isn’t easy to find outside of Argentina. While they grew in popularity during the 20th century, they’re not that popular. In fact, there are few of these dogs in Argentina too; most of the population is in the northwest, where they originated.

While they are a pedigree breed, their rarity means they haven’t been recognized by many breed associations and registries outside of their homeland. If you do manage to find a breeder of Argentine Pila puppies, you’ll likely find that they’re not that expensive. There’s no real demand for the breed due to the limited number of people who know about them.

For dog lovers who do know about the Argentine Pila and are lucky enough to have one, these dogs make wonderful companions. They’re just as loving and cuddly as fluffier breeds, and their wariness around strangers makes them excellent watchdogs.

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Argentine Pila

At first glance, the Argentine Pila doesn’t seem like a cuddly dog. While they lack the thick, fluffy coat of many other dogs, they are highly valued for their friendliness and affection. Despite being a hairless breed, they’re incredibly warm and are more than willing to help keep the bed toasty on cold nights.

The Argentine Pila is gentle and happy to socialize. They have a high level of energy that encourages their owners to get up and go. Their intelligence also needs an outlet, and they excel in obedience and puzzle-solving.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Affectionate, playful, and adaptable, the Argentine Pila is one of the best breeds for families and children. They’re energetic but gentle and adore their owners, no matter how old they are. Their adaptability also makes them wonderful companions for small homes.

That said, you’ll need to remember to socialize them when they’re puppies. They’re friendly toward their owners but can be wary around strangers. This trait makes them excellent guard dogs, but if they’re not trained properly, it can also make them aggressive toward people and children they don’t know. Making sure your Argentine Pila meets a variety of people as they grow will teach them how to tell the difference between friend and foe.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

As well as getting along with children, the Argentine Pila is also a friend of other animals. They don’t have much of a prey drive and can form strong bonds with every fuzzy member of the family.

Still, introducing them to other pets should be part of your socialization training. Introduce new pets to the home slowly, and ensure that both animals are happy before letting them freely interact. dogster face divider

Things to Know When Owning an Argentine Pila

Although their dietary, exercise, and training requirements are similar to those of many other dogs, the Argentine Pila does have a few other needs that you need to prepare for. They are a hairless breed with a tendency to suffer from skin conditions, so you need to care for them in specific ways.

Food & Diet Requirements

Always feed high-quality dog food to your Argentine Pila. Commercial food is easiest, but if you get your veterinarian’s approval, you can make fresh dog food at home, following your vet’s advice on the nutrition that your dog needs.

Food that’s high in omega oils is always a good option for these dogs. Due to their hairless body, the Argentine Pila doesn’t benefit from the protection of a fur coat, and they often suffer from itchy, irritated skin. Including fish oil in their diet can boost their skin health.


The Argentine Pila is a highly adaptable breed that does well in apartments and large homes with a yard. Despite their adaptability, they do need plenty of exercise. Whether you live in a small home or a big one, you’ll need to take your dog on a walk or two every day.

Regular play sessions are ideal for keeping your dog entertained and active between walks. This breed is also intelligent and agile, with a strong loyalty to their owner. With dedicated training, the Argentine Pila can excel in obedience and agility competitions.


The Argentine Pila is incredibly smart. They might not be on the list of most intelligent dog breeds due to their rarity, but they are keen to learn and eager to please their owners.

Obedience and socialization training will teach your dog how to behave and react in different situations and toward other people. Both types need to be started as early as possible to ensure that your puppy grows into a well-behaved and confident adult. You can also use training to keep your dog active and engaged with the world around them and to teach them how to excel in agility courses and other sporting events.

Grooming ✂️

While these dogs don’t have fur, they do still have grooming requirements. You might not need to fight endless amounts of shed fur, but you do need to make sure your Argentine Pila isn’t suffering from skin conditions. They have incredibly sensitive skin and no fur to protect it. It is up to you to help them keep their skin healthy through regular grooming.

You don’t need a brush for these dogs, but hypoallergenic shampoo is a necessity. Choose a shampoo designed for dogs with sensitive skin. You’ll also need to find a balance between bathing them too often—which can dry out their skin—and not enough. Moisturizing their skin with products formulated for dogs can also help.

Don’t forget their ears, teeth, and claws. You need to stay on top of all their grooming needs to keep them healthy. It is a great way to build your bond too.

Health and Conditions 🏥

The Argentine Pila hasn’t been developed quite as much as other, more popular breeds. As a result, their health hasn’t been affected by attempts to perfect the breed, and they’re incredibly healthy dogs. They can and do get sick, though, and they also have sensitive skin that is prone to infections.

Minor Conditions
  • Sensitive skin
  • Allergies
Serious Conditions
  • Skin cancer

Male vs. Female

The differences between male and female Argentine Pilas include their size, weight, and minor changes in their temperament. Both sexes have slender bodies and are affectionate toward their family. Whether you choose a female or male, they’ll adore you to pieces.

Female Argentine Pilas are usually smaller, lighter, and more aloof, and they might be fonder of one member of the family over the others. They’re also sometimes easier to train but more stubborn. Male Argentine Pilas are generally more affectionate and keen to befriend everyone. They’re also likely to be more playful and are often more difficult to train due to their tendency to get distracted.

dogster paw divider3 Little-Known Facts About the Argentine Pila

The Argentine Pila might not be a well-known breed, but they still have interesting facts in their history. Their ancestry and the legends surrounding the breed are just as intriguing as their personality, so here are a few facts that you’re bound to find paws-itively inspiring!

1. Their Origin Story Is Unknown

There isn’t much known about the true origins of the Argentine Pila dog, but records show that they were first recorded in Buenos Aires during the 15th century, and evidence of these dogs dates back 3,000 years. Otherwise, though, there isn’t much known about the breeds that they’re descended from or even where they came from.

Some dog lovers believe that the Argentine Pila is a variation of the Xoloitzcuintli. Others think that the breed is descended from the Peruvian Inca Orchid Dog, with which they share a close resemblance.

2. They Are Believed to Be a Gift From the Incas

Beyond their suspected relationship with the Peruvian Inca Orchid Dog, the Argentine Pila is believed to have been a gift from the Incan Empire. According to legend, the breed was given to strengthen political ties between the Incas and the Argentinians.

3. Argentine Pilas Were Bred to Be “Canine Hot Water Bottles”

Among the middle-class indigenous Argentinians who originally developed the Argentine Pila, these dogs were highly valued for the natural warmth of their incredibly soft skin. Despite their lack of fur, the Argentine Pila were often used as bed warmers and encouraged to cuddle with their owners.

They have also played an important role in easing joint pain. Affectionately known as “canine hot water bottles,” these dogs and their warmth have been believed to help ease the symptoms of arthritis and rheumatism. There’s no real evidence supporting their effectiveness, of course, but where dogs are concerned, anything is possible!

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One of the least well-known dogs in the world is the Argentine Pila. They’re rarely found outside of Argentina, but they don’t let their tiny population or lack of fur prevent them from being wonderful companions. Affectionate, loyal, and incredibly playful, these dogs are happy wherever their family is and can settle into an apartment just as well as a large home.

Their energy does need an outlet, though, and regular walks, obedience training, and socialization are essential. Fortunately, their energy can also be managed through sports, and their agility and intelligence can help them excel at everything that you ask of them.

While this breed is prone to skin conditions, their hairless body is highly valued for its soft texture and warmth. They might not look as cute as long-haired breeds, but they love to have cuddle time with their family. The Argentine Pila may even be able to help alleviate pain and inflammation from arthritis or rheumatism with their natural body heat.

Unfortunately, it’ll be a challenge to find this breed outside of Argentina. Don’t lose hope, though! If you ever do get one of these dogs, you’re sure to have a long-lived and loving companion for years to come.

Other dog breeds you should check out:

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

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