The Origin of the Chi Chi

It is not surprising that the nickname for a Chihuahua is Chi or Chi-Chi. The word ,chi, means life force in China and most Chihuahuas certainly display plenty of that. Chi-chi is also French slang for fashionable or cute.

Chihuahuas are very active, saucy animals that fall into the American Kennel association category of a ,toy dog., (In fact a chi chi can be described as the worlds only ,natural toy dog., It also bears the distinction of being the world’s tiniest breed.

What does China have to do with this tiny Mexican dog who most of us are familiar with from seeing them cavorting in a Freda Kahlo painting or advertising Mexican food for Taco Bell on T.V.?

It seems that the organ of the dog’s breed is the subject of some debate. The most popular point of view is that the breed originated over 2000 years in the state of Chihuahua in Mexico which is why you see so many of these dogs wearing cute little sombreros in family photographs.

However some experts believe that the Chihuahua’s canine lineage goes back a long way before the birth of Christ. The Chinese just as expert at miniaturizing plants such as the bonsai as they were dogs and horses. It is theorized that this culture may have may have developed the Chihuahua by miniaturizing a dog called the Techichi/ These tiny dogs were also bred for the dinner table, ritual sacrifice and as companions for royalty.

The Techichi was a short-legged stocky dog compared to today’s graceful, thin limbed Chihuahua. It is believed that the Techichi may have been imported to Mexico from Europe by Spanish explorers.

The reason this is not such an implausible theory is that carvings found in the Monastery of Huejotzingo, on the highway from Mexico City to Puebla, show pictures of a dog that strongly resembles both the modern day Chihuahua and the Techichi.

However the reason that many breeders ALSO subscribe to the theory those Chihuahuas are of Mexican origin is because the tiny bodies of Techichi dogs have also been found in the graves of the ancient Toltec and Aztec tribes. This means that despite what was just theorized above, a Chihuahua like dog may have indeed been bred by ancient civilization that long predate the birth of Christ or at least been around in Mexico from the 9th Century A.D. In these cultures the dogs were also employed as ritual sacrifices and companions for royalty.

However the loving house pet that knows today, as the chi is believed to have been perfected as a breed around the early 1850s in Mexico. The breed is well established and the Chihuahua Breed Standard was first recognized by the American Kennel Association in 1904.

These lively and lovable little dogs with their slim, limber bodies and eyes as round as saucers came in three varieties: smooth coat, longboat, or hairless. The hairless version is now known’s the Xoloitzcuintle, or Mexican Hairless. However the two most popular types that you will find as pets in Europe and North America are the smoothcoat and longcoat.