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The Chihuahua is an adorable, athletic, and smart dog. There’s a lot of personality and attitude packed into that compact body. Here are nine things to know about this member of the Toy Group.

1. Chihuahuas Were Important to the Aztecs

The Aztec nobility of Mexico kept Chihuahuas. The breed was so sacred that, when an aristocrat died, a Chihuahua was sacrificed and buried or cremated with the deceased. The Aztecs believed the dog’s spirit would guide the dead person’s soul through the underworld.

2. The Breed Rose to Popularity in the U.S. in the 1800s

Chihuahuas, many of them long-haired, caught the eye of American dog breeders in the 19th century. Foundation stock was also imported around this time. One important dog was Caranza, brought to the U.S. by author Owen Wiser. Caranza’s lineage produced two major Chihuahua bloodlines, called Meron and Perrito.

3. They Are Intelligent and Athletic

Chihuahuas are quick learners. They are eager to please and respond well to positive training methods. They can successfully compete in dog sports, like agility and obedience.

Chihuahua leaping over an agility jump.
David Woo ©American Kennel Club

4. The Breed Comes in Two Coat Varieties

According to the AKC breed standard, the Chihuahua comes in two coat varieties. Smooth-coated Chihuahuas should have coats that are smooth, close, and glossy. Long-coated Chihuahuas can have smooth or wavy coats (and it’s preferred that they have an undercoat). Smooth-coated and long-coated Chihuahuas were formally separated into two varieties in 1952.

5. The AKC Recognized the Breed in 1904

The AKC ushered the Chihuahua into the ranks of its recognized breeds in 1904. The Chihuahua Club of America was created in 1923, and its ranks included many notable figures in the dog world.

6. They’re Named After the Mexican State of Chihuahua

The modern Chihuahua is most likely a cross between the Techichi, an ancient breed from Central and South America, and small, hairless dogs that originated in Asia. Images of dogs resembling the Chihuahua appear on artifacts of civilizations around the globe.

7. Chihuahuas Were Bred For Warm Weather

These dogs were bred for the warm temperatures of Mexico. But this gives owners the chance to buy them dog jackets or dog sweaters. In the house, Chihuahuas are likely to seek out warm spots, even if that means burrowing under the blankets in bed with you at night.

chihuahua puppy in the hands of a girl with a nice manicure.
©serbogachuk -

8. Chihuahua Lovers Are Devoted to This Breed

Chihuahuas are popular with celebrities, too. Marilyn Monroe had a Chihuahua named Choo-Choo. Jamie Lee Curtis not only acted with Chihuahuas in the movies, but she also owned one in real life.

9. They’re the Namesake of a Minor League Baseball Team

The Chihuahua serves as the canine inspiration for a minor league baseball team in Texas. If you happen to be in the Lone Star State during baseball season, you can catch a game played by the El Paso Chihuahuas.

Related article: Rescued Chihuahua Becomes Therapy Dog and Canine Athlete
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