The chihuahua: a race without function? The chihuahua is one of the breeds widely appreciated by people from all over the world. A fashionable little dog, it is often considered a “useless” dog. Is chihuahua really a functionless breed?
History of the Chihuahua breed
Like many modern dog breeds, much of the history of the Chihuahua is shrouded in mystery.
Historians continue to speculate on the true origins of the Chihuahua. Most agree that his origins are linked to the state of Chihuahua in Mexico. It was there that the first specimens of Chihuahua were found in the mid-1800s.
In 1884, Mexican merchants began selling the little dog to border tourists. Many brought them back to the United States to keep them as pets. At the time, the dog did not have an official name. Therefore, people named him after the region in which he was seen.
The theory of the history of the breed
However, one of the most plausible theories is that the Chihuahua is a descendant of the Techichi. It was a companion dog domesticated by several pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations and native tribes of North America.
It is assumed that the Mayans (1800 BC to 900 AD) or Toltecs (900 to 1150 AD) were the first to domesticate it. The Mayans viewed dogs as the guardians of the afterlife. They used them in funeral ceremonies and as a source of food.
The Mayans often sacrificed, mummified, and buried dogs alongside their respective owners. They believed their canine companions would join them in the afterlife. The Mayans even had nine different words for dog in their language, some of which referred to specific varieties.
Archaeologists have discovered pots and sculptures of a dog with striking similarities to the Chihuahua. Its statues date from 300 BC.
A 1,200-year-old Mayan figurine has been discovered. It represents a woman holding a child in one hand and a small dog in the other. The dog exhibits characteristics similar to the chihuahua. This figurine can be found at Tulane University in New Orleans.
A recent study involving the DNA of the Chihuahua may shed light on the origin of the breed. Researchers from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm have investigated the origins of several dog breeds. The researchers compared the mitochondrial DNA of the Chihuahua to Asian dogs, European dogs and archaeological sites.
Researchers have found no connection between the Chihuahua and Asian or European dogs. However, they discovered the Chihuahua’s unique DNA in pre-Columbian Mexican samples, suggesting that the breed – or perhaps its ancestor Techichi – was present in Mexico before the arrival of European explorers.
The ancestor of the chihuahua was helpful in several ways:
• he hunted small animals, such as rats or mice
• moreover, it was a so-called pocket dog, because it was easily transportable
• it was a dog that you could show around
• it was used as an alarm
Chihuahua a breed without function? No dog is useless
Each individual can contribute something. For starters, the Chihuahua is just as intelligent a dog as any other. So he can learn. A dog can have a working function (such as herd or defense). But also, the function of simply being good company.
It is now known that dogs help prevent depression, strengthen immunity and often bring joy to humans.
To say that a dog is useless is totally subjective and does not convey reality.
The chihuahua as a utility dog
Some utility dog training programs train chihuahuas. They can be trained to detect hypoglycaemia or their seizure. Some dogs are trained to provide assistance to people with autistic or even neurological disorders. Therefore, they therefore do animal mediation. Their small size allows them to be taken everywhere. In addition, it often allows humans to gain self-confidence.