The Elusive Chihuahua

While I have three very well-loved, very funny dogs, there is one who is quite the curious creature. He is so curious a subject because we all wonder how Bobo, the tiny, apple-headed chihuahua, could ever possibly have survived in the wild. Bobo is a very dependent animal. He is picky when it comes to food and has trouble with hard wood floors. He asks to be picked up and runs away when you try. Could he survive on his own? Probably not, although it’s fun to imagine a pack of wild Bobos running around the jungles of Central America. Bobo specifically may have not, but his ancestors did.

My dogs Bobo and Pucca enjoying time at the dog park. (

The history of the ancient chihuahua is dubious. No one knows for sure what the family-line looks like. There are multiple theories, however. From legends, art, and artifacts found throughout Mexico and Central America, it’s thought that chihuahuas have been around since at least the 9th century, and perhaps earlier. Chihuahua-like dogs have inhabited Mesoamerica (and even, perhaps, Southeastern US, according to this article) for a long time. One theory is that the chihuahua is a descendent of the Techichi, a domesticated dog of the Toltec or Mayan civilizations. The Techichi is sturdier and heavier-boned than the chihuahua, but was still similar in size and shape. Chihuahuas have been bred for a while now to be smaller and smaller. Some think that the Techichi and the Chihuahua are the breed with different names, and still more theorize that the Techichi was crossed with a hairless or short-haired Mexican breed to create the chihuahua.

The chihuahua, surprisingly, is one of the older breeds registered at the American Kennel Club in 1904. Chihuahuas have existed for a long time, but they have only recently become more fashionable around the 1960s (the 12th most popular breed in 1964). Today they remain popular, rated 18th in 2012. And while chihuahuas are wonderful, I love all of my dogs equally. They’re the best.


Photos: Chelsea Whitmore


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