Chihuahua Dog History

The Mysterious 1490s

It is a little known fact that the Spaniards, including Columbus in 1492, brought many large terrifying dogs with them as they sailed the seas, called Alanos. These dogs were used for protection and intimidation– and some times as food. Historically, they were extremely useful during war and thus became excellent protection for world exploration.

Why does this relate to Chihuahua dog history? Spaniards had an affinity for dogs. They made accommodations for them on their voyages along with hundreds of other animals. It would certainly then be possible that they brought a smaller dog, a Spaniel, with them that bred with the Techichis as many records note. This could conclude that some Techichis do in fact have European blood.

The fact that the Papillon has a striking resemblance to the modern Chihuahua and the fact that Pallions can be found in oil paintings throughout Europe at this time makes pretty good evidence that Spanish dogs could have had some influence on our Chihuahua dog history- at what point this happened though is a mystery.

Regardless the possible infusion of European breeds at the time of Columbus, the question is, how much impact could a handful of dogs have on a breed that had been existing all over the americas? Especially if the conquistador's arrival brought more killing of the Techichi than created breeding opportunities.

Even still, if a few elite Spaniards did keep some of these mixed breeds around the palaces, how could hundreds, if not thousands, have become feral animals living way up north along the borders states, hundreds of years later.

The assumption is that any European influence must have occurred much later.

Left and Forgotten

As history and power shifted abruptly from the Aztecs to the Spaniards with Hernando Cortés' arrival in the 16th century, things started to get a bit rough for the little Techichi.

The Spaniards took the gold, but for the dogs, they basically ate every one they could find. The ones that were fortunate to escape headed toward the mountains, became feral, and lived on whatever they could find.

Fortunately though, well before the plunder, Aztec traders had expanded the culture, and the dog, far to the north of the Aztec empire. In the hot desert city of Paquimé, known today as Casas Grandes in the state of Chihuahua, artifacts depicting the little dog were found.

So even though there is very little record of these dogs from the Spanish colonial period, for those in these sandy desolate cities of the north, life must have continued as usual.

But alas, as the Mesoamerican culture declined, these northern cities too eventually came to an end. And for several hundred years, the complete whereabouts of the dog plunged into darkness.