Where Do Chihuahuas Come From?

Located in the rugged mountainous terrain of northwest Mexico, there is a city thats name is music to the ears of dog lovers around the globe: Chihuahua.

Officially discovered in the mid-19th century, the Chihuahua is believed to be a direct descendant of the Techichi, a small desert canine that dates back to Mayan times. To support the Maltese theory, some historians turn to Italian Renaissance art, including Sandro Botticelli’s 1482 Sistine Chapel fresco “Scenes from the Life of Moses.”

Chihuahuas size and minimal need for exercise make them fantastic apartment dogs, and their eagerness to spend quality time with their owner means that no matter where you are, they will never want to leave your side.

How did the Chihuahua come to be?

Officially discovered in the mid-19th century, the Chihuahua is believed to be a direct descendant of the Techichi, a small desert canine that dates back to Mayan times. These pre-Columbian dogs resembled Chihuahuas in both size and shape and are believed to have been domesticated by the ancient Toltecs civilization.

What breeds created the Chihuahua?

Chihuahua, smallest recognized dog breed, named for the Mexican state of Chihuahua, where it was first noted in the mid-19th century. The Chihuahua is thought to have been derived from the Techichi, a small, mute dog kept by the Toltec people of Mexico as long ago as the 9th century ad.

Where are Chihuahuas native to?

The genetic study suggests modern breeds from the Americas largely trace their ancestry to dogs brought to the continent from Asia by native peoples. It establishes a native Mexican origin for the popular Chihuahua – proposed by some to have recent roots in China.

Are Chihuahuas descended from wolves?

Like all modern dogs breeds, Chihuahuas trace their evolutionary roots to the gray wolf (Canis lupus). Like their Labrador, Pekinese and Rottweiler relatives, Chihuahuas reflect the cultural, materialistic and labor needs of the humans who molded them from an ancient stock into the modern breeds they are today.

The Chihuahua (/tww, -w, -wa./ (listen);[1] Spanish: chihuahueo) is one of the smallest breeds of dog,[2] and is named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

[3] In a 1520 letter, Hernan Corts wrote that the Aztecs raised and sold the little dogs as food. [4] Colonial records refer to small, nearly hairless dogs at the beginning of the 19th century, one of which claims 16th-century Conquistadores found them plentiful in the region later known as Chihuahua.

In 2020, the sequencing of ancient dog genomes indicates that in two Mexican breeds the Chihuahua retains 4% and the Xoloitzcuintli 3% pre-colonial ancestry. [8] The stop is well defined, forming a near 90 degree angle where the muzzle meets the skull. [10] Dogs of the older “deer” type, with a flat-topped head, more widely set eyes, larger ears, and longer, more slender legs, may still be registered.

Breed standards for this dog do not generally specify a height; only a weight and a description of their overall proportions. Both British and American breed standards state that a Chihuahua must not weigh more than 5.9 lb (2.7 kg) for conformation . A clause stating, “if two dogs are equally good in type, the more diminutive one is preferred” was removed in 2009.

[11] The Fdration Cynologique Internationale standard calls for dogs ideally between 1.5 and 3.0 kg (3.3 and 6.6 lbs), although smaller ones are acceptable in the show ring. Pet Chihuahuas (those bred or purchased as companions rather than show dogs) often range above these weights, even above 10 lbs, if they have large bone structures or are allowed to become overweight. The Fdration Cynologique Internationale, which represents the major kennel clubs of 84 countries, disqualified the merle coat pattern , which appears mottled.

[12] In May 2007, The Kennel Club decided not to register puppies with this coloration due to the health risks associated with the responsible gene, and in December of that year, formally amended its breed standard to disqualify merle dogs. ^ Pedro Baptista Pino y Juan Lopez Cancelada, Exposicin sucinta y sencilla de la Provincia del Nuevo Mxico y otros escritos . The footnote that follows alludes to starving Conquistadores reportedly hunting and stewing the dogs (Universidad Veracruzana, Arquivo Viejo, XXVI.2711).

Chihuahuas are little bundles of charm and sass. Though these Mexican dogs are tiny, they have big and wonderful personalities. As a result, theyre some of the most popular family lap dogs today. But with their petite size, owners may wonder what they were bred to do.

That said, lets look into the Chihuahuas complex origins and discover the true reasons why these dogs were bred. For hundreds of years, we believed Chihuahuas originated from an ancient civilization of Mexico.

Though this is all true, past researchers have claimed that the ancestors of the Chihuahua actually originated from Asia . Its certainly a controversial claim, considering how iconic and significant the Chihuahua is to Mexican culture. But despite these recent claims, we can safely say that the modern iteration of the Chihuahua was developed in Mexico .

But considering how Chihuahuas are notorious barkers, its a bit hard to imagine they were derived from these mute dogs. Nearly every single dog breed we know today have been purposely bred for a job or role in society. As descendants of the Techichi dog, Chihuahuas were popular among religious ceremonies and rites .

In addition, evidence suggests that the ancient Aztecs and Toltecs believed that these small dogs guided the soul to the underworld after death. For this reason, the Techichi dogs were often buried with their deceased family members and owner. Even in other parts of the world where consuming dogs is legal, its still considered taboo ( such as Korea ).

Most of the western world did not ban the consumption of eating dog meat until the early 1900s . But some researchers believe that the civilization faced major food shortages and had to resort to such consumption. The people of the Toltec civilization lived in small homes around the crowded ancient city.

So what exactly is a ratter? Theyre dogs developed specifically for helping humans in the capture and killing of rats. And although theyre great companions for families, some will argue Chihuahuas are even better at hunting small vermin (such as rats! If you expect a Chihuahua to attack an intruder and defend the house, youll probably be out of luck.

For example, if you have a gated front yard and pedestrians walk by, chances are your Chihuahua will go investigate and bark as theyre passing. However, when unwanted intruders actually invade your property, youll be happy that your little Chihuahua was able to alert you and the family. Youll quickly learn this when obedience training starts, as theyre stubborn little dogs.

“Our results confirm that American dogs are a remaining part of the indigenous American culture, which underscores the importance of preserving these populations,” he said.

The genetic study suggests modern breeds from the Americas largely trace their ancestry to dogs brought to the continent from Asia by native peoples. The ancestors of Native Americans crossed a land bridge linking north-east Asia and North America thousands of years ago.

Image caption, The study also sampled the DNA of Arctic sled dogs like the Alaskan Malamute

History[edit]

Chihuahuas remained a rarity until the early 20th century, and the American Kennel Club did not register a Chihuahua until 1904.

Genetic Lineage[edit]

An analysis of DNA from the genome of domesticated dogs indicates that they entered North America from Siberia for 4,500 years and were then isolated for the next 9,000 years. After contact with Europeans, these lineages were replaced by Eurasian dogs and their local descendants. The pre-contact dogs exhibited a unique genetic signature that is now almost gone.

Appearance[edit]

Chihuahuas are the smallest breed recognized by some kennel clubs.Current breed standards defined by registries specify an “apple-head” or “apple-dome” skull conformation.Breed standards for this dog do not generally specify a height; only a weight and a description of their overall proportions. Generally, the height ranges between 6 and 9 in (15 and 23 cm);However, the British standard also states that a weight of 4–6 lb (1.8–2.7 kg) is preferred. A clause stating, “if two dogs are equally good in type, the more diminutive one is preferred” was removed in 2009.Pet Chihuahuas (those bred or purchased as companions rather than show dogs) often range above these weights, even above 10 lbs, if they have large bone structures or are allowed to become overweight.Chihuahuas occur in virtually any color combination, from solid to marked or splashed.The Fédération Cynologique Internationale, which represents the major kennel clubs of 84 countries, disqualified the merle coat pattern, which appears mottled.Like many other small dogs, the Chihuahua may display above-average aggression towards people and other dogs.

Health[edit]

The Chihuahua has some predisposition to several neurological diseases, among them atlantoaxial instability, ceroid lipofuscinosis, congenital deafness, congenital hydrocephalus, muscular dystrophy, necrotizing meningoencephalitis and neuroaxonal dystrophy.Chihuahuas may suffer from patellar luxation.

Bred From the Ancient Techichi

For hundreds of years, we believed Chihuahuas originated from an ancient civilization of Mexico. Though this is all true, past researchers have claimed thatIt’s certainly a controversial claim, considering how iconic and significant the Chihuahua is to Mexican culture. They may not be the national dog of Mexico (the Xoloitzcuintli is), but they might as well be.But despite these recent claims, we can safely say that

What Chihuahuas Were Originally Bred For

Nearly every single dog breed we know today have been purposely bred for a job or role in society. For example, the Australian Shepherds were bred to herd livestock. Golden Retrievers were bred to retrieve game. Even Pit Bulls were bred for bull-baiting – an outlawed blood sport.However, not all dogs were bred for a specific “working” job, including the Chihuahua. Still, these dogs served many jobs and purposes early on. In fact, the ancient Chihuahua arguably had the most unusual roles in their society. The Chihuahua was truly a multi-purpose dog.To cover all the original roles of the Chihuahua, we must first look at the Techichi in ancient Mexico. Though they’re not exactly the same dogs, they are their

Chihuahuas as Sacrificial Dogs

As descendants of the Techichi dog, Chihuahuas were popular among religious ceremonies and rites. Sadly, this means thatIn addition, evidence suggests that the ancient Aztecs and Toltecs believed that these small dogsThough it may seem like these ancient civilizations treated these dogs poorly, this is not the case. When these dogs aren’t being sacrificed or buried, they were taken cared of very well. The Toltec people loved these animals!The people treated these dogs as sacred animals because of their

Chihuahuas For Food

Most of the western world have banned the consumption of dogs today. Even in other parts of the world where consuming dogs is legal, it’s still considered taboo (such as Korea).However, this perception was not always the case around the world. Most of the western world did not ban the consumption of eating dog meat until theWith that said, Chihuahuas (Techichi dogs) wereIt’s hard to comprehend why these people decided to eat such a “sacred” pet. But some researchers believe that the

Bred as Companions

Aside from being sacrificed and eaten, Chihuahuas were also popularThese dogs were (and still are)Similarly to how Chihuahuas are now some of the best apartment dogs, the Techichi dogs were ideal for those living in that time period.

What Chihuahuas are Bred For Today

The Chihuahua is the world’s smallest dog breed (full list of small dogs) so they’re really limited on what jobs they can actually do. That being the case, we can rule out herding, guarding, hunting, tracking and retrieving.So what are Chihuahuas really bred for

Highly Skilled Ratters

So what exactly is a “ratter?” They’re dogs developed specifically for helping humans in the capture and killing of rats. And although they’re great companions for families, some will argue Chihuahuas are even better atAs a matter of fact, these dogs areEven after domestication, these instincts to hunt still live within the Chihuahua. If you have a rat problem in your home, then a Chihuahua may be your best weapon! Keep in mind, these dogs are only used as ratters