Guide to the Chihuahua Club of America Collection (1956-2004)

2008:05

AKD 5.9

9.5 Cubic Feet
Collection processed by Norma Rosado-Blake

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PROVENANCE

A Gift from Darwin Delaney of the Chihuahua Club of America.

ARRANGEMENT

The collection is arranged into five series and sub-series. (1) Meeting minutes; (2) Correspondences (a) Subject; (3) Documents, (a) Subject; (4) Publications, (a) Chihuahua Chumpion, (b) Chihuahua Review, (c) Chi Review, (d) Chihuahua News, (e) Chihuahua, (f) Chi Chatter, (g) Catalogs, (h) Books, (i) Magazines, (j) Miscellaneous; (4) Clippings; (5) Scrapbook.

HISTORY

The Club

The Chihuahua Club of America, founded in 1923, was created to develop a community of Chihuahua breeders and further the breed in the United States. The founders included: Mrs. Henrietta Proctor Donnell, Ida H. Garrett, Alice Dobbs, Rose Clark, M. R. Muller and Clara L. Dobbs. One of their most notable members included Helen Nowicki a Chihuahua breeder among other breeds and the editor of Dog World magazine.

Mrs. Dobbs was instrumental in establishing the annual specialty show, which was first conducted on 19 May 1928 at the Queensboro Kennel Club show with 42 dogs entries – 14 males and 28 females. Within a few years, the club decided to hold their annual meeting and specialty show in Chicago indefinitely. This move created a more centralized meeting location for members and ultimately the breed’s registration with the AKC grew from then on.

Since its inception, the club has been heavily involved in protecting the breed’s health through sponsored medical research, breeder surveys, and papers on topics such as the molera in the Chihuahua.

The Breed

The Chihuahua’s history dates back to the 9th century during the Toltec civilization in what is now known as Mexico. The Toltecs had what is known as the precursor to the Chihuahua, the Techichi, a small, long-haired dog. And this dog was believed to have been bred with the Xoloitzcuintli, the Mexician hairless dog to produce the Chihuahua as we know it today.

As history and power would have it, the Toltecs civilization gave way to the Aztecs (not by choice) during the 11th century. Chihuahuas were a central part of the Aztec life. Generally, each person owned a Chihuahua and upon an individual’s death, the dog was sacrificed and interned with the deceased. It was thought that the dog could protect and guide people through the afterlife.

Centuries later, the dog turned up on the Sistine chapel in Botticelli’s Italian fresco, Scenes from the Life of Moses. And centuries after that, the Chihuahua made its debut on American shores.

In 1888 James Watson, an author and judge, purchased a bitch named Manzanita. Owen Wister, author of The Virginia, also imported a Chihuahua named Caranza, which became the dog that produced the famous bloodlines, Meron and Perrito. Surprisingly, most of the imports at this time were long coats, not the popular smooth coat. And some believe the long coats were bred out of Pomeranians or Papillons. This is not true and in fact, the long-haired is a true variety of the breed.

Approximately, twenty years later the AKC recognized the breed in 1904 with the first registered Chihuahua Midget (2291) owned by H. Raynor of Texas. Within a couple of years, the breed had its first champion, Beppie (85317) owned by Mrs. L. A. McLean of New Jersey.

Some of the earliest breeders included Mrs. Harry S. Peaster of Philadelphia who owned the La Rex Doll Kennels. The kennel produced a record number of champions and provided the foundation stock for other well-established dogs. La Oro Kennel which, produced national champions like Ch. Ai Si Ora Principe, Ch. La Rey, La Oro Marinero and others, was owned by legendary breeder Anna B. Vinyard who served as president of CCA during the 1950s. Probably two of the most well noted Chihuahuas are Ch. Tejano Texas Kid who took a record 15 best in shows and Ch. Holiday Gold Jubilee who took 16 best in show and 81 Toy Group firsts. Ch. Holiday Gold Jubliee, aka Doc Holiday, is also notable on account of his record as the first Chihuahua to be ranked as number one in the Toy group in the United States.

It took over 50 years before the long and smooth coats were exhibited at dog shows. In 1952 they were separated into two varieties with the smooth coat the preferred variety as pets. One year prior to this, Ch. Attas’ Gretchen a smooth coat Chihuahua won the first all-breed Best in Show, a milestone for the breed.

The Chihuahua standard calls for a dog of no more than six pounds, which makes this breed the smallest in the canine world, however, what the breed lacks in statue he makes up for in character. He is a lively, alert and most surprising a hardy dog. Similar to other small breeds, the Chihuahua has a molera or an incomplete joining of the bones in the head. The bones eventually fuse together by the time they reach their third birthday. However, unlike other breeds, the Chihuahua is known to prefer their own breed.

SCOPE AND CONTENT

The meeting minutes date from the 1950s to the 2000s. Most are contained in the Chihuahua Club’s newsletter and each newsletter detail regional Chihuahua dog shows. The publications series, which include the parent club’s newsletter and regional club newsletters are the strongest part of the collection. However, the weakest part is that the newsletters are not complete with the exception of the parent club. The clippings series is valuable for its popular culture news as it relates to the breed; they follow things such as Taco Bell’s advertisement campaign with a Chihuahua and how it relates to the breed’s popularity in the mid-1990s.

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