In 2014 a neighbourhood in Phoenix was invaded by a pack of Chihuahuas who would attack people in groups. A 6-year-old girl was attacked simultaneously by 4 Chihuahuas, she was even bit in her shoulder. Local animal control had to call in help from the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control to get the situation under control. The problem was attributed to a large number of families abandoning their Chihuahua simultaneously.
The Aztec and Toltec civilization bred the ancestor of the Chihuahua (Techichi) because they believed it possessed supernatural powers. For example, the Aztecs believed that the Techichi could see into the future. This can be explained due to the fact that this breed is very aware of their surroundings. They often warn their owners of the presence of other animals before they could see/hear them. A red Techichi was believed to possess the power to guide its owner through the underworld. When the owner died, its dog was sacrificed and burned together with the body of its owner.
The Techichi is the ancestor of the Chihuahua which were bred for a wide variety of purposes by the Toltec (ancient Aztec civilization):
- Companionship: The Toltec believed that the Techichi could bring luck to their owner
- Hunting: The Techichi hunted mice and lizards but was also small enough to chase smaller animals into their holes
- Food source: As a last resort during long trips the Techichi was used as a direct source of food
- Pelt: Its pelt was used for smaller pieces of garment worn by children
- Sacrifice: A red Techichi was often cremated together with its owner as the Toltec believed that it could guide him in the underworld.
Molera – the Chihuahua Soft spot
Human babies have gaps with soft tissue in between their skull, this also known as a fontanelle. These soft spots disappear as the skull develops and the different bones join together. Chihuahuas have the same ‘hole’ in their head called a molera. Although this might sound contradictory this molera is still mentioned as a mark of breeding purity. This molera is often associated with hydrocephalus by beginner breeders. Hydrocephalus is very different from a molera as it is marked by the accumulation of fluid within the brain. A study (this link downloads a pdf!) conducted by Greene and Braund in 1989 concluded that there appears to be no relation between the presence of a molera and the presence of hydrocephalus.
To know if your dog has a molera check out more detailed information on the health page.
The Chihuahua is the most recognizable lapdogs on the planet. It earns that name as no dog is happier to sit on the lap of its owner than the Chihuahua. The Chihuahua is a lightweight and easy to carry dog which adapts to almost any environment. This dog is an agile, brave and temperamental dog. This small breed needs less exercise compared to most dogs and makes for an excellent companion in the city life. They tend to be susceptible to the cold due to their small stature and their short fur.
Even though they are smaller in stature they have mostly retained their hunting and protective instincts. Chihuahua’s are known to be very protective towards their owner and can possibly attack quite viciously when they feel threatened. Great strides have been made in breeding more even-tempered Chihuahua’s but this protective disposition towards mostly one family member seems to remain a key element of its personality. It is a remarkable paradox but the smallest dog in the world is man’s biggest friend.
Read more about it on the ‘Chihuahua Temperament’ page.