They are tiny, noisy, and are great companions to their owners. But how much do we know about our stylish, trendy Chihuahuas? What is their lineage really like? Where did they originate from? What are Chihuahuas bred for?
You are asking valid questions. And you’re not alone.
But before we answer, let’s just say you should be incredibly proud if you have one of these amazing creatures at home. Chihuahuas have more to them than just being a celebrated apartment dog. Don’t let their small size deceive you.
As we get into the details of Chihuahuas, most dog lovers ask- Are Chihuahuas Mexican? Where do Chihuahuas come from? The breed history of the Chihuahua dates back to the ancient civilizations of the Aztecs, Toltecs, and Mayans.
Believed to have spiritual significance in ferrying souls to their afterlife, Chihuahuas are related to the techichi dog (now extinct) owned by the Toltecs and Mayans. Mute, long-haired, and small as today’s Chihuahuas, they share common features.
Although it’s hard to imagine a Chihuahua descending from a mute heritage, given its high-strung nature, they held a place of immense importance for the Mexicans. They get their name from the region of Mexico, situated below Arizona and Texas, where their population was massive.
Artifacts today depict Chihuahua-like dogs with two present-day varieties that look alike: deer heads and apple heads. Given the Aztecs’ stronghold over that period, small dogs being a fad is entirely plausible.
Based chiefly on speculations and artifacts, we can only be partially sure about their lineage. All dogs are known to have come from wolves, but not in a linear pattern. They are likely to share a sibling relationship with wolves as their closest known relative could be the Late Pleistocene- the last traceable ancestor of the modern wolf.
So, Why Were Chihuahuas Bred?
You have read thus far about where Chihuahuas come from. Let us dive deeper into these small wonders who have such a ceremonious history and have maintained their rapport to this day.
Chihuahuas In History
All dogs are bred for a reason, even if it is to be solely a companion dog. Most are bred for hunting, herding, farming, or guarding. Chihuahuas, or rather techichis, had a spiritual role to play in their ancient past.
Pre-colonial Mesoamerica had abundant trade, cultural interactions and fought many wars. Techichi was a predominant breed common throughout the lands before the advent of the Europeans. Colonial intervention made way for the breeding of present-day Chihuahuas.
It is unbelievably horrifying to think that such a sweet animal could be seen as a food source, but the earlier historical data suggests the Aztecs may have raised this small breed for food and sacrificial purposes. Although not credible, this data needs to be more well-researched as the Aztecs were also known to respect dogs spiritually. Seen as sustenance, their size may have suited the ancient population greatly in the history of Chihuahuas.
Sacrificing is seen as a grand gesture which means these dogs were revered. They were also buried with their owners to help ferry them to their afterlife. Mistreating them could lead to punishment after death. Simply asking what were Chihuahuas bred for originally yields little depth into the purpose of their pedigree.
With their compact size, Chihuahuas came in handy to extract small pests and rodents in noblemen’s houses in the recent past. They do not hunt rodents (except in rural areas), but their skills have been passed down through generations. Their hunting instincts make them highly perceptive of imminent threats to their owners, making them excellent watchdogs.
With their fan base spreading far and wide, Chihuahua breeds like the Teacup Chihuahua and the Long-haired Chihuahua are now seen as perfect companions in small spaces. Their tiny size makes them a favorite for apartment living. Their cuddle-loving tendencies also make them great lap dogs.
Their frivolous nature and protective personalities make Chihuahuas love playing with kids and are great companions of solace and retreat for the elderly. Chihuahuas have now made their way to the top 12 breeds in the world for companionship.
Why Should You Consider Getting A Chihuahua?
Now that you know quite a bit about the breed, you may not need any more cajoling to bring a Chihuahua home. But to reiterate, they are the ideal choice for our modern-day lifestyles. Chihuahuas are explicitly bred for companionship, so you have a best friend for life.
They are easy to maintain and shed a usual amount. They can be trained with little hassle to share a great bond with their owners; all you need to do is show them ample love and care.
They are intelligent little creatures, packing fun and lively personalities in their tiny bodies. This breed is not meant to be left alone for long periods so that you will have genuine company throughout the day. If your personalities gel, it’s a match!
Wrapping Up: Little-known Facts About Chihuahuas
Here are some paw-some facts you would be surprised to know about Chihuahuas:
- White Chihuahuas are the rarest to be found
- They come in over 30 different varieties
- It is believed they help seek forgiveness for sins in the afterlife by the Aztecs
- They were used to keep warm in ancient times, which explains why they love to cuddle
- According to a legend, an Aztec princess was said to have kept over a thousand small dogs (believed to be the ancestor of present-day Chihuahua), each with a servant. The servant was killed after the dog passed away, so they may look after the dog even in death.
- Chihuahuas are the most miniature dogs in the world
- Marilyn Monroe owned a Chihuahua, but little information remains
- Their brains are large, considering their body size
- A Chihuahua owns the record of having given birth to 10 puppies in one litter
- The first artifact that depicts a Chihuahua look-alike is recorded from 300 BC
Now that you have enough information to think about it seriously, what stops you from saying konichihuahua to this tiny bundle of joy?