The Good The Bad And The Ugly – The Unbelievable Truth About Chihuahuas
I grew up with German Shepherds. A grateful breeder gave me a Pyrenean Mountain Dog pup in my first year as a Veterinary Surgeon. My best and oldest friend was an Airedale. Yet, when my wife introduced me to Chihuahuas, after an initial period of scepticism, I was smitten.
A Chihuahua is a dog. It should be treated like one. Though it’s hard to imagine that a one could mate with a Wolf and produce Wohuahs or Chilfs, they could. With careful planning, sedation, and a lot of restraint … we wouldn’t want the Wolf to get hurt …
The Good The Bad and The Ugly were three Chihuahuas that ran my life for the best part of fifteen years. Mogwai, Basher and Trog. They were all ‘apple-heads’ though Mogwai (The Good) was veering towards a ‘deer-head’. Her weight peaked at 1.5 kg (our cat weighed 4.5.) and she lived for fifteen years. She loved walks, and the trio of Airedale, Jack Russell and Chihuahua made a perfect symmetry. She hiked the Lake District for a week through wind and rain to the amazement of fell-walkers who passed us on the way. I have the photo to prove it.
Basher (the Bad) was a later arrival. A breeding bitch who had come to the end of her usefulness as a mother. She was Candy when we got her, but the image of this strutting little “pit-chihuahua” needed a name a little more robust. She loved company and didn’t mind who’s, and was often seen wandering off with the wrong couple when out on walks. She too reached fifteen.
Trog (the most definitely Ugly) belonged to a Veterinary Nurse and friend who lived at my surgery in Cheshire. Trog had a tongue that doubled as a neck-tie and eyes on the side of his head. His ear margins were shredded and his feet pink from licking. He was the man of the trio, cocking his macho leg against dandelions, then getting into a quivering panic if he stood in grass taller than a milk carton. He hated walking, preferring to find a quiet spot in the back of a wardrobe where he could dwell on life’s mysteries. He was beautiful to us and he was Mogwai’s best friend, though I’m not sure what she saw in him …
The origin of Chihuahuas is a little confusing. They may have started in China, where producing small things from large ones is a national pastime. Europe is also a possibility, particularly Malta, where history points to a locally grown small terrier with an open fontanel (a hole in the head) just like that of Chihuahuas. (But also present in other toy breeds.)Most likely is the Mexican connection. As far back, almost to BC years, there are records of small dog remains found in Mexico. It appears there may have been an indigenous hole-dwelling terrier called a Perro Chihuahueno. This could have mated with the tiny local pet – the Techichi, giving rise to the Chihuahua, so named because of the region where this is alleged to have occurred. Or it could be combination of all three origins, trade between China, Europe and the New World leading to spread of the breed throughout the business world.
Or they could all be wrong.
Chihuahuas are endowed with amazing qualities. They have incredible strength for an animal so small. A pack working in coordination can bring down a fully grown bison. Their remarkable feet enable them to climb the towering Saguaro cactus where they can perch motionless, looking out for prey and predator alike. Some might doubt these statements, but I have managed to unearth a couple of old battered sepia photographs which lend credence these observations.
Their wonderful ears make them ideal Prairie Marmot hunters. They can detect these large rodents moving deep underground. Undoubtedly a legacy from their hole-dwelling Perro Chihuahueno ancestry. Prairie Marmots are pretty big – but back then, Chihuahuas would have been bigger too.
Everybody thinks their pet dog has psychic powers, but there is none more clairvoyant than the Chihuahua. You only have to look back into history for proof. Their remains at old Aztec burial sites and pyramids where they were interred along with their beloved owners so they could guide them through the gates of this world into the afterlife. Their ability to absorb the sins and burdens of mankind earned them the right to be cremated on funeral pyres alongside their companions, thus allowing the person to enter the next world pure of soul and free of any earthly baggage.
Such a shame that a noble animal like this should be reduced to a fashion accessory. Something that can be carried around in a pocket or handbag.
On the whole, Chihuahuas are healthy and hardy and prone to fewer problems than one might expect. Slipping kneecaps, (patella luxation), bulging eyes (glaucoma) and inherited heart and brain deformities like holes in the heart and water on the brain (Patent Ductus Arteriosis, Hydrocephalus) aside, I have drawn up a list of personally observed disorders peculiar to the Chihuahua –
They are prone to getting a crick in the neck from continually looking up at the world.
Their claws become bananas because they get carried everywhere.
They get fat because they get carried everywhere.
Their teeth rot from all that Gourmet Caesar because people consider them too delicate for proper food.
They have a reputation for being yappy and bad tempered. Some say because of inferiority or superiority complexes. I believe they just need to let everybody know where they are so they don’t keep getting trodden on.
(The author accepts no responsibility whatsoever for the veracity of the “facts” in this blog, though he does concede that some of it is true!)