Story about Chihuahua
Did you ever wonder where the smallest dogs in the world came from?
The history of the Chihuahua dates back to ancient Mexico. They were believed to be sacred and they have never forgotten this.
Much of the Chihuahua's history is speculation and theory, although everyone agrees on some matters. The Chihuahua is named for the Mexican State that borders Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. It is believed that the breed descended from the Techichi, a small canine that dates back to Mayan times (around the 5th century AD).
The Toltecs (the people that conquered the Mayans) are believed to be the first to domesticate the Techichi and brought the canine into the home as pets and also used them for religious purposes. After the Aztecs became the ruling class of Mexico, they also used the dog as a companion and in religious ceremonies. This has been learned due to the writings in Mayan, Toltec, and Aztec writings in tombs, temples, and pyramids.
Also, remains of the small dogs were found in graves in both Mexico and the United States so this could back up the religious theory.
The dogs were found in the state of Chihuahua in 1850 in old ruins near Casas Grandes, and are thought to be the ruins of the palace built by Emperor Montezuma I. The relics and remains of the Techichi indicate that the breed was longhaired and mute, very different from the modern Chihuahua. The Aztec wealthy and clergy thought the Techichi to be sacred while the lower class had little use for the dogs and sometimes used them as food.
When the explorers arrived in the New World it is believed the Techichi breed with a dog that was brought over and the result is the Chihuahua that we have today.
The tiny modern day Chihuahua has gone through many changes and become very popular since their discovery. The American Kennel Club first registered the Chihuahua as a breed in 1904. Color variations are limited only by the imagination. The smooth coated variety is still the most publicly recognized, but the long-coat variety has increased in numbers and popularity.
Chihuahuas are a long lived breed, often achieving 16 or more years of age.
As with any breed of dog, there is speculation, a great deal of paperwork, detective work, and logical deduction involved in what has occurred in the past to understand the present. Archeology and paleontology is used heavily in determining what type of relationship existed between the canine and the human population. This is the case with the history of the Chihuahua.
The Chihuahua received its name from the northern part of Mexico bearing the same name, the borders on the Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico boundary lines. But that is not the limit of its history. There are many theories regarding the development of this tiny breed of dog. Following is just a few of these theories, call them speculations, but all possible.
Through archeological digs and the work of paleontologists, they have pieced together a history that goes back at least to 5th century A.D. and to show the existence of the Chihuahua's ancestors not only in the central and southern regions of Mexico, but also in South America as well.
The Mayan Indians of South America made clay sculptures of small dogs that resemble a Chihuahua "type". These sculptures are dated back to the 5th century A.D. Were they the first to develop a relationship with one of the Chihuahua's ancestors?
A native people of Mexico, known as Toltecs, were known to have conquered the southern and central parts of Mexico by 1100 A.D. They possessed a dog of small stature, but at the same time it was heavy-boned and long-coated. This dog was known as a Techichi. It is described as being long-legged, with a thin body, almost fawn-like, and a humped back.
The Techichi was kept by the Toltecs as a pet, and interestingly, this dog was used as part of the religious rites as well. There is a question as to whether or not the Toltecs crossed the Techichi with a dog that inhabited the mountains of Chihuahua, called the Perro Chihuahueno.
It is said that the Perro Chihuahueno was a foraging type of dog, that lived in holes in the ground. They had round heads, long nails, and short, erect ears.
When the Aztecs conquered the Toltecs and became the ruling class, they also used the dog as pets and in a religious function. From remains found at pyramids and in graves, it is believed that these people thought that the dog would function as guides for the human soul. Another ritual that was practiced was the burning of a dog with a human corpse.
This was done in the belief that the deceased human's wrong-doings would be transferred to the dog.
The story continues with the Spanish conquerors that invaded Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America. It is conjectured that they had with them a small, black and tan, terrier type dog. These Spanish dogs were far friendlier with the native dogs than the Spanish conquistadors were with the native peoples. Due to this crossing of the black and tan terrier type dog with the Techichi, it is surmised that the Chihuahua resulted.
Another theory put forth is that the Chihuahua is actually of European descent. That it was the Spanish conquistadors that brought this dog with them to the New World. For proof, the people who support this theory point to the island of Malta where a small breed of dog existed that possessed a natural molera. A molera is like an open fontanel in a human child, a soft spot on the top of the skull where the three sections of the skull bone meet. The molera is extremely rare, and uncommon to other breeds of dog.
The Chihuahua, however, does possess this natural molera, it is believed that this points to its descendants as being from Malta. Further proof is offered in of all places, the Sistine Chapel. A painting by Sondro Botticelli, completed in 1482, depicts a dog that is very much like today's Chihuahua. Since this painting was completed before Columbus sailed for the New World, it offers proof that the dog is of European ancestry.
One last theory that we will put forth, is that it is known that the Chinese were adept at developing miniatures of larger breeds of dog. It may be possible that the Chinese developed a dog similar to the Chihuahua, the Spanish traders came to possess this dog, and from China, traveled to Mexico with it. As the Spanish traders crossed Mexico, they had contact with the native population, both the traders and the dogs.
In any case, after the Spanish were finished with destroying the Aztec culture, buildings, and as many people as they could, the fate of the dogs were left to the native people that adopted it into their families, and nature.
When people from the United States first "discovered" this tiny dog, they were referred to as "Texas Dogs" or "Arizona Dogs" probably because that is the border that was used to bring the dogs from Mexico to the U.S. Americans fell in love with the little critters and ever since the Chihuahua has been a favorite. Interestingly, the "Chis" have undergone a great deal of change since the 1950's.
Breeders have made great strides in improving the temperament, the number one concern, and type. Today's kennels are noted for different characteristics and bloodlines, so when shopping for a puppy, it is important for the prospective buyer to understand and know expectations of the bloodlines. The only way to find out is to go to the dog shows, talk to owners, handlers, breeders and ask lots of questions. Read books about the Chihuahua, educating yourself can be time consuming, but can also save a lot of headaches and heartaches in the future.
In the United States, the American Kennel Club exhibited Chihuahuas for the first time in 1890. The first Chihuahua was registered in the U.S. in 1903. However, the Chihuahua Club of America was not established until 1923, along with a written breed standard that has not changed significantly since. In 1952, the Chihuahua Club of America did vote to split the Chihuahua into two varieties.
The two are judged on the same standard, the difference being is that one variety is smooth coated and the other is long coated
Tea Cup Statement
The Chihuahua Is A Chihuahua
The Official AKC Breed Standard describes the Chihuahua as a small dog that comes in two varieties or coat types. The difference in coat type (the Long Coat and the Smooth Coat) is the only official description used to identify a difference within this breed. Our standard does not categorize the Chihuahua by size.
For the purpose of showing and record keeping, the American Kennel club includes the Chihuahua (along with 19 other breeds) in the Toy Group. Therefore, irrespective of their weight or physical stature ALL Chihuahuas registered with the AKC are considered to be a toy breed of dog.
As with all living things, there will be size variance between individual dogs within this breed. Look within the human family - brothers and sisters will differ in height and in weight, as well as other physical attributes. They are described as humans, male or female, and there is seldom if ever a need to break the description down further. The same holds true in regard to the Chihuahua; they are Chihuahuas - Long Coat / Smooth Coat!
Unfortunately, the additional adjectives used to describe the size differences and physical appearances are many and have been misused for so long they now seem legitimate.
Teacup, Pocket Size, Tiny Toy, Miniature or Standard - are just a few of the many tags and labels that have been attached to this breed over the years.
The Chihuahua Club of America is concerned that these terms may be used to entice prospective buyers into thinking that puppies described in this way are of greater monetary value. They are not and the use of these terms is incorrect and misleading.
Occasionally, within a litter, there may be a puppy that is unusually small. That puppy is a small Chihuahua and any other breakdown in description is not correct.
To attach any of these additional labels to a particular puppy is to misrepresent that Chihuahua as something that is rare or exceptional and causes a great deal of confusion among those new fanciers who are looking for a Chihuahua.
The Chihuahua Club of America does not endorse nor condone the use of any of these terms and would caution the perspective puppy buyer not to be misled by them.
We recognize that many Chihuahua fanciers do want the very small puppy. While they are adorable and can be perfectly healthy, the buyer should be cautioned as to the extra care that may be required with regard to their general health and well-being.