As it’s name suggests, we can trace the history of the Chihuahua back to the state of Chihuahua in Mexico, a place which borders the US. As a result these dogs first became popular in the nearby regions of Arizona, Texas and New Mexico. They were sometimes called Arizona dogs because of their ties with this region.
These tiny dogs weren’t very popular at first, because most people kept working dogs that were larger and more useful for manual work such as herding, hunting and guarding. The Chihuahua was too small to do any of these tasks and so it wasn’t considered to be a useful job to have. In the 1900s people were still living very rural lives, and dogs tended to be utilized for their skills rather than kept as pets.
Despite this, in 1904 the Chihuahua became registered by the American Kennel Club as an official breed. However,the Chihuahua didn’t become widely kept until the 1960s, when industrialization and urbanization meant that people moved from the farms and wilderness into towns and cities. They began to keep companion dogs as family pets, and soon the Chihuahua became the 18th most popular breed in the U.S. By 2002, the Chihuahua had reached the top 10 most popular breeds in the country, perhaps due to the fact that they were featured in a popular Taco Bell advertisement.
Chihuahuas in the past
We don’t know for sure when the breed originated, but we do know that there is evidence of Chihuahuas in Mexico as far back as the 19th century AD. One artifact that was discovered in Mayan ruins even dates back to the 5th century. Ancient artifacts and pictures depict these little dogs so we can safely say that dogs resembling Chihuahuas have been around for a long time, over a thousands years in fact.
The Techichi was a small dog that is thought to have been kept by ancient peoples like the Toltecs or the Mayans. They closely resembled the Chihuahua, but were sturdier and slightly larger. However, the only reason that today’s Chihuahuas are so small is that they were bred down to size in the 1900s, following the demand for smaller more mobile dogs. In reality, the real Chihuahua is larger and you may occasionally still see some of these “original” sized Chihuahuas today. It’s quite possible that the Techichi and the Chihuahua are in fact the same breed of dog, but because the Techichi lived so long ago nobody knows for sure. There is also a school of thought that believes the Techichi are a separate breed, and that they were cross-bred with a Mexican hairless or short-haired dog breed n order to produce the Chihuahua.