The Chihuahua: Its Origins and Its History

The Chihuahua is one of the most popular breeds in the world. This is because their small size and variety in coat and color has been a draw to people since the breed was discovered and bred. The breed has the ability to draw in the love of their humans as they become apart and sometimes run the household. The origins of the Chihuhua have been traced to ancient Mexico and the Mayan empire. There are signs and references in the ancient artwork of the Mayans and many artifacts with Chihuahua images have been found throughout Central and South America.

There is a debate brewing about the how the present day Chihuahua came to be. Some experts think that the Chihuahua descends from the Fennecus zerda or the tiny desert fox. This is because the fox loves living in packs of ten or more and has luminous eyes and the large erect ears of the Chihuahua. In 1980, a Chihuahua was successfully bred with a Fennec Fox and thus to argument was more solidified.

The Aztec and Toltec civilizations not only loved the small Chihuahuas as pets, but they also revered them in religious ceremonies and other celebrated holidays. Chihuahuas were sacrificed so that the owner of the pet would have a companion in the Aztecs view of heaven in the afterlife. The religion stated that the dog companion was essential for protection on the long journey to their everlasting home after death.


The Aztec emperor, Montezuma II, did not want to take the chance in the afterlife by not having a Chihuahua. To protect himself, the emperor had hundreds of the small little protectors around his palace.

Chihuahuas are named for the state of Chihuahua in Mexico. The state of Chihuahua borders the United States along New Mexico and Texas. Where the Chihuahuas originated is still up for debate. Some people believe that the Chihuahua originated in Egypt during the time of the Pharaohs. There are finding of bones for a dog or at least a canine that fits the Chihuahua's size and characteristics. The debate is weak because there is no logical explanation of how the dog came to be in Mexico.

Another theory is that the Chihuahua is native to North America. The Toltec civilization in Mexico had carvings of small dogs on their temples. The carvings were made over one thousand years ago and the dog depicted was a little bit bigger than the present day Chihuahua. The Toltec called the dog a Techichi. The Techichi was not like other Toltec dogs that were work dogs. The work dogs carried loads for the people while the Techichi was more like a companion. The people believed that the Chihuahua would lead them to the afterlife and remain a companion with them after death. Many times when a Techichi owner died, their dog was killed and buried with them. There have been many findings of graves of the Toltec that had the dog buried along its master.

When Europeans came to settle in Mexico and Central America, they brought along the Christian religion. As more of the natives converted to Christianity, the Techichi became less important and fewer people raised them for companions. The breed, as we know it today, is thought to have been bred with smaller dogs from China that were brought to the Americas during immigration. Other theories about the present day Chihuahua is that it may have bred with the Manchester terrier that was brought over from Europe by later settlers.

In 1850 there were several small dogs, some hairless, some with hair, were found along the Mexican border in the present state of Chihuahua. It was a little more than fifty years later, in 1904 that the American Kennel Club recognized the Chihuahua as a breed.

The breed did not get wide publicity until the 1930s and 40s. Xavier Cugat, the Rumba King, of the thirties and early forties was always photographed or seen in public with a Chihuahua in his arms. The public loved this tiny little canine and the breed popularity and population began to soar.


Aggressive behavior in Chihuahuas can also be limited to specific situations such as barking or attacking the postman or it can be unpredictable, which is even more worrying. Knowing what the trigger is and then working of a solution is the best path to change the behavior. For example, a Chihuahua five year old would become aggressive with other dogs during feeding time. On investigation the owner found out that the dog in question was the runt of the litter and had to compete with other puppies for his mother's milk. The solution was to feed the dog in another room during feeding time. The behavior changed because the trigger was removed.

Typically, you will recognize your Chihuahua as an aggressive dog from its biting, barking, snarling, snapping and raised fur along the back of the neck and along the ridge of the spine. If you see these behaviors beginning, remove them from the situation. The simple removal may be enough to change the behavior. Remember if the behavior can't be changed, you as an owner are responsible if the dog bites someone, another animal, or damages property. Dog attacks, even those by Chihuahua can cause major emotional, physical, and financial challenges for all involved. Make sure that you are ready to take on that responsibility before purchasing or acquiring a new Chihuahua.


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