Class Notes & Profiles

Puppy Love

By Samantha Soper '91

After near extinction in the 1940s, these rare, hairless dogs are now national treasures in Mexico and Peru. Represented in art from as early as 1500 B.C. and revered for their intelligence and soulfullness, legends hold that these dogs also have healing powers. They would indeed have become extinct if not for the efforts of a lifelong dog breeder, Lascelles dePremio Real. In 1988, while lecturing on "Examples of Intelligence in Culture" in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Christine Lindholm Gray ’82 met Lascelles and first learned of these dogs. She was immediately taken by their beauty, grace, and ancient mythology. "I had been teaching and studying Native American cultures and was excited about being able to study a living product from these famously good scientists. These dogs are examples of genetic work at its best when animals are bred for intelligence rather than for show."

Gray was honored when Lascelles gave her a puppy to bring back to the United States. With the puppy, which are rarely allowed outside of the country, came one caveat. "These dogs are very rare — probably fewer than 3,500 worldwide — so the breed needs protectors. Lascelles was in her 70s, and she wanted others to take up her work," remembers Gray. Today, as Gray breeds puppies (avg. 50 lbs.) she provides her own caveat to potential owners. "I give them — as Lascelles had — with an obligation to help maintain the quality of the breed, not to be show dogs, and not to be sold for high prices due to their rarity." For more information on these special dogs, contact Chris Gray at 760.251.7762 or visit