What were Chihuahuas bred for?

What were Chihuahua's bred for?

Did you know Chihuahuas have a historical and cultural significance which dates back to ancient civilisations?

Chihuahuas, the smallest dog breed, were originally bred in Mexico. Not only were they kept as the lovable companions so many of us do today, but they also held a role in religious ceremonies and rituals of the Toltec and later the Aztec civilisations.

It is believed one reason Chihuahuas were bred was as a living hot water bottle in times of illness or injury, although we can expect that wasn’t the only reason!

Let’s take a deeper look at what Chihuahuas were bred for, and why:

The historical roots and ritual significance of Chihuahuas

Your cute little Chihuahua is thought to be an ancestor of a breed known as the Techichi which thrived in ancient Mexico around the 9th century.

Historical evidence suggests the Techichi were much revered by the Toltec civilization and you’ll find them often depicted in artwork of the time.

Chihuahuas date back to Toltec and Aztec times
Chihuahuas date back to Toltec and Aztec times

When the Aztecs conquered the Toltecs, they inherited the Techichi and integrated them into their society – after all, how could they not?

The Aztecs believed Chihuahuas had mystical powers, including the ability to guide the souls of the dead to the underworld.

In ancient Mesoamerican civilizations, especially among the Aztecs and Mayans, Chihuahuas were revered and linked to deities. These cultures significantly influenced the breed’s development, selectively enhancing their size, agility, and hunting skills.

Historical artwork suggests the Aztecs in particular believed Chihuahuas had mystical powers, including the ability to guide the souls of the dead to the underworld. The artwork suggests they may have been used in sacrificial offerings – embodying life and death themes.

The hot and dry climate of the region suggests selective breeding of the Techichi paved the way for the small size and thin coats of the Chihuahua, much more suited to the region and Mesoamerican heritage.

Do you believe your Chihuahua has mystical powers? (Let us know in the comments!)

Chihuahuas were status symbols of the upper class (and celebrities of today!)

You probably don’t consider yourself upper class, but Chihuahuas were very much a status symbol in days gone by.

Beyond their spiritual role, Chihuahuas were prized as pets among the upper classes of Aztec society. They were considered symbols of the elite, and if you owned one you would be looked up as being significantly wealthy with a high social status.

Paris Hilton and Chihuahua in LA

When it comes to celebrities, the Chihuahua is favoured by many, and here’s a few celebs you can compare yourself too (if you want):

  • Paris Hilton – Perhaps the most iconic celebrity Chihuahua owner, Paris Hilton’s pets have often been seen in the media. Her Chihuahua, Tinkerbell, was particularly famous and often accompanied her to various social events.
  • Britney Spears – The pop star has also been seen with a Chihuahua, adding to the breed’s popularity among celebrities.
  • Demi Moore – Known for her love of pets, Demi Moore has owned several Chihuahuas over the years.
  • Reese Witherspoon – Her character in “Legally Blonde” had a Chihuahua named Bruiser, and in real life, Reese is also a fan of the breed.
  • Marilyn Monroe – Historical accounts and photographs suggest that Marilyn Monroe had a deep adoration for Chihuahuas .

However, if you’ve owned a Chihuahua you’ll know they’re not just a status symbol.

Despite their association with luxury, Chihuahuas are admired worldwide for their loyalty and how protective they are of you as their family.

Aren’t Chihuahuas fantastic and vigilant guardians despite their small size?

Why are Chihuahuas so popular today?

Not many dog owners today would consider the reasons Chihuahuas were bred in ancient times. They’re known more for their small size and BIG PERSONALITIES (sorry, I had to write that in CAPS!).

Chihuahuas are loved for their loyalty and compatibility with modern urban living.

Yet, even with their status as “lap dogs” (or bed dogs – you know I’m right), many Chihuahuas still retain the protective nature which was probably useful in their historical roles.

Final thoughts on Chihuahuas!

While Chihuahuas today are often seen dressed in cute outfits and carried in purses, their breed has such a rich history which goes beyond their current role as companions.

Chihuahuas are a breed with a profound legacy, rooted deeply in ancient traditions and cultural practices, continuing to charm their way into the hearts of dog lovers around the world.

By understanding the historical context of Chihuahuas, we gain a deeper appreciation for this breed which has been a companion and spiritual symbol for centuries.

Whether in ancient Mexico or modern-day lives, the Chihuahua remains a small dog with a significant impact. You agree with me, don’t you?



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Gina & David

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