As fascinating as they might be, there are far too many strange and exotic tales surrounding the origin of the Chihuahua to present in this article. Furthermore, few if any of these stories have any documented basis, and they are really nothing more than myths. What is fact, however, is that as surprising as it might seem, all dogs – from the smallest to the tallest – descend from one or more branches of the same common ancestor. The ancestor is none other than Canis Lupus – the wolf.
It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when the wolf began to leave the forest and join man in his encampments, but most historians agree that it was some time in the Mesolithic period, more than 10,000 years ago. As human populations developed a more sophisticated lifestyle, their needs became far more diversified. Customizing the evolving wolves to suit their growing needs was inevitable. The wolves became hunters, guardians, and stock drovers. The ways in which these companions became useful were as diverse as the human population itself.
Through the ages most wolves and wild dogs were large and dark in color. Man’s sophistication brought a desire for something “different”. Humans developed an admiration for smaller, lighter colored dogs. Thus, small dogs became very popular, and in many households they became members of the family.
In the mid-1800s, travelers from the United States touring Mexico became enchanted with the tiny little dogs that were found along the Arizona and Texas borders. A number of them were purchased in and around the Mexican state of Chihuahua and brought back to the US. They were given the name Chihuahua simply because they came from that region of Mexico.
The earliest Chihuahuas in the US were of both coats – smooth and long. Their size and overall look varied considerably. The one thing that they all did have in common was an unusual opening or soft spot at the top of the skull. This was known as the Chihuahua molera.
The AKC first listed Chihuahuas as having been exhibited at their shows in the American Kennel Club Stud Book of 1890. The breed was slow in gaining public favor, and it was not until 1904 that the first Chihuahua was registered in the AKC Stud Book.
Before anyone tries to decide whether or not the Chihuahua is the correct breed for them, a larger more important question must be asked. That question is, “Should I own any dog at all?” Dog ownership is a serious and time consuming responsibility that should not be entered into lightly. Do not think for a moment that the tiny size of a Chihuahua will relieve you of the responsibilities the dog ownership involves. In some instances the breed’s size entails more consideration.
If you are willing to make the necessary commitment that a Chihuahua requires, there are few breeds that are more versatile, amiable, and adaptable. Although the Chihuahua may well be the pampered pet of some owners who treat it like a china doll, the breed is hardier that one might think.
The breed is extremely playful and inquisitive. It is one that never ceases to have something to do. Yet a Chihuahua is as content to sit by your side when you read or listen to music. Introduced early enough and properly supervised, the Chihuahua can coexist with your cat, rabbit, or even larger dog as well as it can with humans. And it can be said without hesitation that two Chihuahuas are just as easy to raise as one.
The important thing to remember, however, is that the breed is an aggressive one and inclined to be somewhat bossy. This can come as a challenge to other breeds not inclined to overlook the Chihuahua’s feisty attitude.