Ah, the feisty chihuahua. Small, nimble, slightly bug-eyed, looks great in a sombrero… but why is it associated with tacos and burritos? We’re here to give you a brief history of that tiny little dog we love so much…
The origin of the Chihuahua is slightly murky – history doesn’t have a clear cut answer for where these adorable critters sprung up from. One thing that folklore and science does agree on – they came from Mexico. The Techichi were companion dogs favoured by the Toltec civilization in Mexico, and dog pots from Colima in Mexico, found in tombs which date back to 300 BC, are thought to depict them.
However, the earliest representation of chihuahuas have been unearthed at Tres Zapotes in Veracruz, Mexico, dating from 100AD. It wasn’t just as companion pups though – in a 1520 letter Hernan Cortés wrote that the Aztecs sold the little dogs for food!!! Thank goodness those days are done…
And what about the name? Well, an ancestor of the breed was reputedly found in 1850 in old ruins near Casas Grandes in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. The breed was first recognised as a breed in America by the Kennel Club in 1904. Hurrah!
And here are some interesting facts about the wonderful chihuahua:
- 1) They are officially recognised by the Kennel Club as the smallest breed of dog in the world.
- 2) Their coats can be long, short, silky or wiry, and any colour at all. Even Chihuahua puppies from the same litter can have very different coats.
- 3) The Mayans, Aztecs and Toltecs believed yellow Chihuahuas escorted their owners to the afterlife. The dogs were often sacrificed before the owner died so that they would be there waiting. Red Chihuahuas, on the other hand, were believed to take on their owners’ sins and were often sacrificed in their funeral pyres.
- 4) Chihuahuas have a very long life span for a dog – their average lifespan is ten to eighteen years, but it’s not unusual for a Chihuahua to live for twenty years or more!
- 5) It’s not just El Camion that has some superb artwork of these little fellas – Bottiicelli included a Chihuahua in his Sistine Chapel fresco, “Scenes from the life of Moses.” If you visit the Chapel, you can find a Chihuahua curled up in a little boy’s arms.
So, that’s a bit of history about the origin of the chihuahua. As for the pink kind? They’re very rare and very special – pop in for a cocktail and maybe we’ll let you in on the legend…