Chihuahuas. Archeological findings, suggest that Chihuahua dogs have intrigued and endeared themselves to humans for thousands of years.
The Chihuahua's Ancestors
Archeological findings, discovered mostly around the Mexico City area, suggest that Chihuahua dogs have intrigued and endeared themselves to humans for thousands of years. Ancestors of this adorable little dog make fascinating appearances in pyramid, tomb, and temple carvings as well as in the afterlife beliefs of the ancient Aztecs. They also included them in their homes, religious ceremonies and burial rituals for companionship in this world and beyond. Today the Chihuahua dog, native to Mexico, is a popular pet in many countries.
The modern history of Chihuahua dogs begins in 1850, when the remains of a long haired breed were discovered in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico near Casas Grandes. The American Kennel Club registered them as a breed in 1904, and in 1923, fanciers founded The Chihuahua club of America, a club for breeders and enthusiasts that still holds events across the country and whose mission statement states that members do everything in their power to protect and advance the interests of the Chihuahua.
According to ancient texts and stone carvings, The Toltecs, who in 1100 A.D. ruled much of central and southern parts of Mexico, domesticated a dog called the Techichi, which is depicted as being small, silent and with a long coat. This was probably the ancestor of today’s Chihuahua. The Toltecs kept these dogs in the home as pets and for religious purposes. Later, the Aztecs came to power in the region and they also kept the dog as pets and used them in religious ceremonies. Some experts think that the Aztecs believed that these dogs would act as a guide for the human soul in the afterlife. Archeologists have found the remains of techichis in the pyramids of Cholula, in Chichen Itza (one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Mexico) and buried in tombs along with humans all over Mexico and in parts of the United States. Another interesting theory behind these findings is that the Aztecs believed that the buried Techichi would absorb the sins of the person buried alongside thus purifying their soul. Interestingly, many asthma sufferers claim that their asthma symptoms seem to be absorbed by the Chihuahua resulting in a reduction in an improvement of their symptoms. However, for the poor Chihuahua, the means that the poor dog must deal with asthma issues of their own.
Although the smallest breed in the world, these dogs often have a strong personality. Some say the because of the Aztec’s sacred treatment and their noble nature has influenced the demeanor of the dog today which is reflected in their proud, sensitive and often eccentric character. Despite years of efforts to cool off the Chihuahuas’ fiery temper, they have resisted any changes and their suspicious temperament continues to show itself in their less than friendly attitude toward strangers. This attitude, ironically, makes them great watch dogs. Due to sheer size difference, they may lack the same ability to intimidate as larger breeds such as the German Shepard, but most types of Chihuahuas are extremely loyal, alert and tend to bark at people they don’t recognize. Also, a close look at an angry Chihuahua’s tiny tensed face can be terrifying.
Chihuahua dogs make great pets; they adapt well to urban environments and smaller apartments, are known to follow owners around the house, love attention and pampering. Best of all, their miniature frame requires little feeding. The short fur coat of most varieties keeps their grooming maintenance to a minimum and helps them endure hot weather. If you are considering welcoming one into your home as a pet, don’t forget their royal roots and remember to treat them accordingly.