HISTORY OF CHIHUAHUA
The Chihuahua is one of the most ancient and interesting breeds and the history of its origin is still surrounded by legends and disputes. Many famous historians have been into research of the Chihuahua origin. The theories of their appearing tend to be so romantic and astounding; they’d rather be taken like legends and fairy-tales… Thus, one of the says that the Chihuahua are messengers from far space and are tied with to it by energy, penetrating to the scull of the dogs, even aged ones, through a fontanel (molera) which is the particularity of the breed and is the characteristic of the Chihuahua only. The other legend, as fabulous as the first, says that the Chihuahua’s ancestors would climb the trees as little monkeys do, like that could have helped them to survive in this cruel world this way regardless of their small size, but the main thing is they really have their long digits well-developed and useable even nowadays.
The most popular and prevalent theory says that the appearing of this breed is closely tied up with the history of the ancient Indian tribes of Maya, Toltecs and Aztecs.
We know little about the breed back to the times of Maya culture. There are some relevant data evidencing that in the 5th century A.D. on the territory of Mexico the ‘Techichis’ existed — small long-coat dogs with a heavy frame that was probably a part of the Toltecs’ culture that might have originated in the early Incan tribes. That was presumably the Chihuahua’s ancestor. The Toltecs’ Techichis were carved into stones at the Monastery of Huejotzingo nearby the lane leading from Mexico to Pueblo. This Monastery was founded by Franciscan monks in 1530 and was built of the stones taken from the Pyramids of Choluda built by the Toltec Indians. The same carvings depicting the Chihuahua’s ancestors were found on the Yucatan peninsula in the ancient city of the Chichen-Iza Indians. The modern Chihuahua is easily recognizable thereon. In 1850 a lot of these dogs’ remains were discovered during the diggings of the Tulu settlement, in the vicinity of modern Mexico-city and the ruins of the palace of the last Aztec Emperor — Montezuma, near to Casa Grande — the Mexican Chihuahua province.
Other sources assert that the modern Chihuahua emerged from crossing of the Techichi with a little hairless dog, coming from the East, more likely from China, due to the isthmus existing in that period between the two continents where now the Bering Strait is situated.
The Indian tribes’ civilization is supposed to be the most mysterious on the globe and the worshiped little dogs played a considerable role in the religious and mystic life of the Indians. The Toltecs were conquered by the Aztecs and as a result, for some years the little dog was seen like a prize or a toy for very wealthy people. The Aztec nobility was crazy of the tiny dogs and even if the master died he wouldn’t part from it — the dog was sacrificed to the gods, burning it with the master’s remains, believing that the human sins would be transferred to the dog which was a sort of a guide of the master’s soul through the underground dead world, enlightening the way with its sparkling ruby eyes, scaring away the evil spirits bringing it to where it found the eternal peace. The Aztec civilization existed for 500 years to be conquered by the Spanish Conquistadors leaded by Cortez in the beginning of the 14th century.
There are no much data about the Chihuahua from the 14th to the 19th century. Some records say that the tiny dogs were about to extinct and were typically used like a meat dish.
About the 1800 several Chihuahuas were discovered to be owned by peasants, abiding not far from the ruins of the palace of the last Aztec Emperor — Montezuma. These dogs had to fontanel (molera) — a non ossified spot in the middle of the scull, developed digits, big eloquent eyes which is characteristic of the modern Chihuahua. Almost at the same time similar dogs were discovered in different parts of the country, namely, in Arizona and Texas and they were called ‘the Mexican dog’, ‘the Arizona dog’, ‘and the Texas dog’. American travelers began to import these tiny dogs like souvenirs, mainly, from the Mexican state Chihuahua. That’s where the breed’s name came from.
James Watson, a well-known dog handler, the author of a few publications, the founder of dogs’ shows was the first Chihuahua owner in the US. In May, 1888 in his publications he shared some references about the breed. The first Watson’s dog was a Chihuahua named Mansanmita. During the next years Watson bought some Chihuahuas for mating. He supposed the species could change dramatically not only in size and features, but also in coat and color.
At the end of 1800 first American dog-fanciers’ clubs began to be organized. In 1890 the American Kennel Club Book first presented the Chihuahua breed for participation in the dogs’ show.
The first smooth-coated Chihuahua was registered in the AKC stud book in 1904 under number 2291, named Midget, the owner was H. Ryner from Texas. Within twenty years 170 dogs of that breed were logged into the American Kennel Club Stub Book, among them 38 champions. In 1907 such book was established in England.
The first official note about the breed appeared in the American press in 1914. In 1923 the first breed standard was adopted and the American Chihuahua Club appeared. In 1949 the British Chihuahua Club was founded and the first longhaired Chihuahua appeared in England in 1954. The same year in England the standard was elaborated together with the Americans and ratified, in 1954 the breed was divided into two independent groups: the longhaired Chihuahua and the smooth-coated Chihuahua. Till that moment the longhaired and the smooth-coated Chihuahuas were judged together on shows, assessed within two types of the presented classification.
The first official standard was adopted in 1934, then the new standard was published in 1954, and the latest — in 1972, since that date it hasn’t undergo any particular modifications.
The breed popularization in Europe was encouraged by a famous singer Adelina Patty. In 1890 the President of Mexico gifted to her a Chihuahua hidden in a bunch of flowers. The readily formed breed came to the FRG in 1965.
Nowadays the Chihuahua is famous all over the world, but it’s quite adored in the Latin America, the USA, Canada and England. The Mexicans believe it to be the national breed.
For the first time in Russia the Chihuahua appeared in 1959, those were two longhaired puppies and a male from Cuba, gifted to the Khrushchevs. It was those dogs who were the foundation of all Moscow Chihuahuas. In 1960s other two puppies were brought from Algeria, in 1970s — a longhaired male from England, and then other two dogs from Mexico. The breeding was mostly founded on those dogs. The general livestock was concentrated in two Moscow clubs. Nowadays, due to the dogs’ overseas import opportunity the fanciers have brought to Moscow many longhaired and smooth-coated dogs from the Czech Republic, former Yugoslavia, Hungary, Germany, France, Holland, Italy, Austria, Mexico, the US, and England. In March 1996 in Moscow the National Chihuahua Breed Club was founded, in 1997 in Moscow the first single breed show of these dogs was carried out, where 52 Chihuahuas participated, among them 20 smooth-coated and 32 longhaired dogs. Such shows take place every year with great success. The creation of the National Chihuahua Breed Club in our country enhanced effective and comprehensive breeding.