Chihuahua (dog)

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The About this sound Chihuahua (Spanish: Chihuahueño) is the smallest breed of dog and is named after the state of Chihuahua in Mexico.

Contents

History

The Chihuahua’s history is puzzling and there are many theories surrounding the origin of the breed. Chihuahuas were used in the sacred rituals as they were considered holy in pre-Columbian Indian nations.[citation needed] They were also popular pets among the upper class. The breed draws its name from the Mexican State of Chihuahua, where the first of the breed were discovered.

Some historians believe that the Chihuahua came from the island of Malta in the Mediterranean.[1] More evidence for this theory lies in European paintings of small dogs that resemble the Chihuahua. One of the most famous paintings is a fresco in the Sistine Chapel by Sandro Botticelli dated 1482. The painting, Scenes from the Life of Moses, shows a woman holding two tiny dogs with round heads, large eyes, big ears, and other characteristics similar to the Chihuahua. The painting was finished ten years before Columbus returned from the New World. It would have been impossible for Botticelli to have seen a Mexican dog, yet he depicted an animal strikingly similar to a Chihuahua.


Both folklore and archeological finds show that the breed originated in Mexico. The most common theory and most likely is that Chihuahuas are descended from the Techichi, a companion dog favored by the Toltec civilization in Mexico.

Historical records indicate that the Techichi hunted in packs. They can only be traced as far back as the ninth century but it is highly likely that this is the Chihuahua's native Mexican ancestor[citation needed]. Evidence of this is that the remains of dogs closely resembling, but slightly larger than the average Chihuahua have been found in such places as the Great Pyramid of Cholula, which dates back to the 2nd century BC and predates the 16th century. There is also evidence to suggest that the Techichi may predate the Mayans.[citation needed]

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