In three ancient civilizations - Maya, Toltec and Aztecs – was found clear evidence of existence of a small, sand-colored dog, which was the ancestor of the present Chihuahua.
The first incontestable proof of existence of the dog similar to Chihuahua appeared due to archaeological dig in Toltec’s settlements.
Toltecs were native people of Central America, who possessed the biggest State in Mexico in the 10th century. During the archaeological dig there were found remains of small long-coat red dogs. They were known as Techichi.
(Kukulcan Pyramid in Chichen Itza)
The exact origin and the genetic source of these dogs are still argued about, but it is known for sure, that these dogs have been developing for centuries as a result of crossing with Xoloitzcuintli (a native hairless dog). Small Asian dogs, ancestors of Chinese Crested, also took part in the formation of the breed.
The Toltec civilization was deeply mythological and saturated with religious rituals, one of the main parts in which was played by Techichi dogs.
The breed spread around due to Toltec’s military campaigns from North America to the South; soldiers were accompanied by small dogs.
As gratitude, Toltecs immortalized dogs’ images in wall painting: a very small creature with huge ears, looking astonishingly alike the present Chihuahua.
In the 15th century Minorites used stones remained from a destroyed temple (pyramids of Cholula) when building their cloister, known as “Huejotzingo”. Scratched illustrations of small, big-eared dogs are the best examples of Chihuahua’s origins. The unique form of its head and body can only descend from the present Chihuahua’s ancestor. Along with Maya’s wall paintings and remains, found at Yucatan, Toltec’s images are an irrefutable proof, that Techichi were direct ancestors of today’s Chihuahua.
After the fall of Toltec Empire, the role of the leading class was taken over by Aztecs, but the attitude to Chihuahua did not change: they were kept and treated with respect. Preference was given to specimens with very big eyes, round head and deep stop. Aztecs were buried with their home utensils and their dogs, as the Indians believed, that these dogs were able to find a way for their masters through nine rivers of death to Miktlan (the underground world) using their big luminous eyes. As there were not many dogs at that time, only military ranks and aristocracy could afford the luxury to own one.
The Aztec nation reached its fullest flower under Montesum II, a big fancier of this divine breed, which served increase in their number and further spreading, especially in the North regions of Mexico. Today this region is one of Mexico states and is known as Chihuahua.
In 1520, when Spanish army led by Kortes conquered, and later destroyed the Aztec culture, the small dogs almost entirely disappeared. Unfortunately, they were used as a refined dish for decorating Spaniards feasts. Several dogs found shelter in local families; others ran away into the wild.
Up to present day, a wild dog known as "Perro Chihuahuaeno" inhabits some of the regions of north Chihuahua. These wild dogs represent various types with attributes of modern Chihuahua. You can see it in the National Museum of History in Mexico. The first type: a cream-colored dog weighting about 3 pounds, has an arched back, tender feet and a round head, which is typical for Chihuahua. The second type: a three-colored dog weighting about 7 pounds. The third type: a cream-colored dog weighting about 3.5 pounds with a classic apple-shaped head, a very close one to today’s standard.
In the middle of the 17th century the small short-coat dogs with round-shaped heads, big eyes and ears and open fontanels appeared in Europe. They were very popular and favored among the elite, which is proved to be true by old artists’ paintings. It is possible that several Chihuahuas got to Europe along with Spaniards during the colonial policy period.
In the middle of the 19th century, the population of the small big-eared dogs increased. In Mexico, they were to be found everywhere. In 1850, American tourists bought two pairs of these dogs in Chihuahua province and brought them to the United States. There these unique dogs got a nickname "Mexican Chihuahua" right away.
Small size, graceful frame, extraordinary head and charming personality made these dogs great companions. However, this breed needed improvement and perfection, which have been taking place for several decades. This laborious work resulted in unbelievable popularity and wide distribution of this breed.
First mentions of this breed appeared in the stud book by American Kennel Club (AKC) and are dated from 1890. And the first show successes belong to Chihuahua dogs, which had not been registered in this book until then (Anna, Bob, Ayaha and Pepiti). There was no description for these dogs’ class. Only in 1894 in AKC – 2 there appeared a message about registration of two dogs (Chihuahueria and Nita).
AKC stud books show, that the number of Chihuahua fanciers has been increasing (at that time Chihuahua represented various types of this breed).
At last, in 1904 Chihuahua was recognized by AKC. At the same time, AKC registered four bitches and a male, owned by Mr. Rinor from El Paso, Texas.