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History and Origins of Chihuahuas

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2 beautiful little ChihuahuasChihuahuas are one of the most popular canine breeds around and no wonder. They are loyal, adorable and have loads of personality.

Check out our main post that showcases all our chihuahua facts articles!

Chihuahuas can be seen in many parts of the world being walked by their owners, or carried in tiny dog purses decked out in rhinestones. Chihuahua owners love to dress up their pooches in tiny clothes made specially for them, and celebrities can be seen toting them around Hollywood, even on the red carpet. Chihuahuas are often called Chis for short.

Early Origins of Chihuahuas

The Chihuahua breed originated in ancient Mexico and is considered one the oldest breeds of canine in Mexico. Most people believe Chis are descendants of the Techichi. Techichis were a canine breed of dogs that dated back to Mayan times and were described as being extremely tiny. The Mayans were conquered by the Toltecs, and the Toltecs are believed to be the first to domesticate the Techichi and bring the dogs into the home as pets. The Toltecs also used the Techichis for religious purposes, and some believed the dogs were sacred. Techichis have been depicted in Mayan, Aztec, and Toltec writings and drawings found in ancient tombs and pyramids.

In 1850, Techichi dogs were found in the Mexican state of Chihuahua near old ruins built by Emperor Montezuma. When explorers came searching for the new world, it is believed that the Techichi bred with a canine specie brought over from the explorers, and that resulted in the Chihuahua we have today.

Chihuahuas In America

The first Chihuahua was registered by the American Kennel Club in 1904 and was named Midget. Chihuahua popularity in the United States was slow during the early 1900’s. In the early 1900’s, most people lived on farms and wanted dogs that could serve a purpose. Folks opted for dogs that could herd livestock, chase off varmints, scare off predators, or be used in hunting. Because of their smallness, Chis were considered useless on the farm.

One of the myths going around back in the day, was that having a chihuahua sleep next to a person in their bed, would transfer their illness (usually asthma or other lung diseases) from the human to the dog. One of our readers told about how her uncle did this and it actually worked, but killed the poor chihuahua. Glad we don’t use chihuahuas in that way anymore!
During the 1960’s, the population in cities started to boom, and many people were living in small apartments or houses.

Because of this trend, people were now wanting a smaller dog that was suitable for household living and companionship. The smallness of the Chihuahua pertained well to city folks, so the popularity of the Chis was on the rise. Chihuahuas were first popular in the states that border Mexico, such as Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico. Eventually, the Chihuahua breed spread to other cities all over the United States, and even in other countries.

Chihuahuas and Foxes?

Ever notice how Chihuahuas sort of resemble a fox? There is a reason for that. It has long been thought that Fennec foxes were bred with the early Chihuahua ancestors. The argument against it was that a dog and a fox cannot interbreed. Well that argument was put to rest in 1980 when a Chihuahua and a Fennec fox were successfully bred.

Characteristics of the Chihuahua

Chihuahuas are known for their tininess, but have other neat characteristics as well. Chis have the longest lifespan of any other dog breed and can live well past the age of 20. Chis are also known for not backing down toward other dogs, no matter how big they are. Chihuahuas have over the top personalities and can become fussy. They have been referred  as “spicy little tamales”. In 2013, Chihuahuas were listed as the 22nd most popular dog in America. But in my book, they are the most popular in my house (I may be biased).

Related Articles you might want to read:

55 Facts About Chihuahuas That You May Not Know

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Dixie

Saturday 19th of September 2020

Congrats to Ritzi for being chi of the week. Wow, she sure looks like a sweetie and a real blessing! Why do people just drop puppies off in a mail deposit box or someplace? If they need somebody to take them, it is easier to take to a no kill shelter for adoption. It is not a crime to be unable to keep a puppy, but it is a crime to just toss them away like trash! Some people just do not feel anything, I guess.

Joan

Saturday 19th of September 2020

My little Osha, does not like the rain at all... will stay on the patio until she can not hold wait anymore and only then will she go out in the rain. It would be okay with me if she did her potty on the patio but she will not. Love her so much, so glad that we found each other.

Belinda Watts

Friday 18th of September 2020

My long coat chihuahua past away Wednesday night. He had an enlarged heart, he finally gave out. He had just turned 14 yrs. old on Sept.4,2020. He was my heart and constant companion. I want to get another long coat male puppy, but I have not had any luck finding anyone near me who breeds and raises them. I have been looking for a while, since before my Spanky boy passed. If you know of someon lete, please let me know.

Cathy

Friday 18th of September 2020

Sorry Belinda, I don't know of any but I do have an article that may help: https://ilovemychi.com/how-to-find-a-reputable-chihuahua-dog-breeder/

Dixie

Friday 18th of September 2020

That sweet Lucy is more beautiful each time I see her picture!! What a sweetie!! Sorry for the loss of a special fur baby stated in first page. It is a broken heart, for sure, and I have felt it several times. I still say the love and the years of companionship we get from our Chi babies is more wonderful than the pain of losing them is horrible. Prayers for all who have been in the path of our hurricane overload!! Sat through Camille in Biloxi, MS and made a believer of me! I have sat through several but Camille hit the MS coast as a category 5 with a 15 ft. surge and she took most of it away with her when she finally left. The noise is so totally unbelievable!! Maybe like 40 freight trains going through your home! Congrats to our beautiful chi of the week!

Cathy

Friday 18th of September 2020

Thanks Dixie! Yeah the weather has been crazy this year. I guess like everything else in 2020.

Laura Kreft

Thursday 27th of August 2020

Never had the oppotunity to have a family...human family. I was blessed to have my little Chihuahuas Milly n Molly. They are my kids and I am thiers💓I am secretly the Mama they think just dont know it😉I love my little girls so much.

Cathy

Thursday 27th of August 2020

I do have kids and grabdkids but I feel like I'm the mommy to my 3 dogs too!