The arrival of Baby Sebastian has caused me to spend much more time at home…which equals spending much more time with my pups. Yesterday I found myself looking at my little Chihuahua Amigo and realizing I know very little about his breed! Time to get down to business and educate myself about just where he came from and what his fellow Chihuahuas are like.
Everyone knows that Chihuahuas originated in Mexico, but I was surprised to find that the history of their origin is often described as “puzzling” or “legend”. Members of the ancient Mexican Toltec civilization had a companion dogs known as the Techichis, but little is know about that animal. (Little is really even know about the Toltec themselves…they didn’t even have a written language! All that we know about them comes from Aztecs.) A “dog pot” thought to illustrate a Techichi was buried in a tomb in Mexico dates back to somewhere around 300 B.C. Wheeled dog toys thought to represent different varieties of Chihuahuas show up in Mexico around what is thought to be around 100 A.D. In other words, no one knows when the Chihuahua as we think of it today showed up in Mexico…but it was a heck of a long time ago!
Another interesting historical fact about this breed – Christopher Columbus was probably responsible for bringing the Chihuahua to Europe. He even references the itty-bitty dog in a letter to the King of Spain.
Unlike most breeds recognized by the AKC, the Chihuahua breed standard does not specify height but only weight – which cannot exceed 6 pounds. (If you were wondering about my Amig0, he is not a pure bred, but what my husband likes to refer to as a “hybrid”…a.k.a. mutt/mix. He tips the Chihuahua scales at 14 pounds!) Other AKC qualifications include “muscular” hindquarters, a “slightly arched, gracefully sloping” neck, and a “saucy” expression. (Yes…the official American Kennel Club stance on a Chihuahua’s expression is that is should be SAUCY! I love that!!)
I think we all know about the temperament of Chihuahuas. Unfortunately, they aren’t exactly well-known for their sweet, easy-going personality. They tend to be very loyal to one member of the family. They can also be easily provoked…which means they aren’t exactly patient with the poking and prodding of small children. They are, however, much smarter than most of us give them credit for! They often mimic the personality of their humans…so in the right family, they can be much more relaxed.
I did not know that Chihuahuas actually prefer the company of other Chihuahuas in what is often described as a “clannish nature”. They (allegedly) do not get along with other breeds. (Although Amigo has yet to meet a dog he didn’t like…regardless of breed or size.) I also found that Chihuahuas especially love their dens – which explains why Amigo can be found burrowed under all the sheets and blankets at the foot of our bed.
I feel like my little Amigo does possess some of those stereotypical Chihuahua attributes, but he is very much his own man. As I mentioned before, he loves Sebastian…and despite many accidental kicks and punches by tiny fists, Amigo has shown absolutely no signs of snapping (or even being slightly annoyed! He still just seems fascinated.) The only thing that gets him worked up these days are the frogs that come out at night in our back yard. He thinks himself quite the frog slayer. For better of for worse, he has been a perfect addition to our family…as I write this, he is snuggling up to me with his head on my lap. I can’t imagine life without him.