As we move forward in time, up to about 3,000 years ago, we find there were many dogs or dog-type animals that migrated downward into the central and southern americas, but the one animal that we are most interested in is called the Xoloitzcuintli. This is a breed of dog that developed entirely within the mesoamerican cultures.
As a breed of domesticated dog, ths is one of the most ancient in the world. Genetic testing shows us that they are indeed descendants from the grey wolf– and still, contain no other indigenous animal DNA.
As the early inhabitants migrated down the continent, both they and their dogs became more and more isolated from their Asian ancestors. The small group of dogs they kept, some say just a handful, became the foundation for the Xolo breed.
When I first envisioned this small group of dogs, I thought of them as all being very similar in type, shape, color and so on, just like you'd find in a litter of pups. However, genetic testing done on the Xolos of today, reveal that there are as many as 7 different types of dogs rolled into this one breed.
What does this mean to the Xolo? It means that various dog types were breeding with each other, and thus, variety went through the roof. Furthermore, due to their isolation in the early americas they eventually interbred so much they became a species in themselves.
To fully understand Chihuahua dog history, it's important to know about the Xolo, because it reveals just where the Chis get their variety.
If you look at the modern-day Chihuahua, you'll see a shockingly strong resemblance to this hairless dog, and the Itzcuintli, the coated sibling. I think it's most evident in their faces.
The Xolo is all over the map when it comes to variety. They come in small, medium, and large sizes and in all kinds of colors and coat lengths– most notably, though, is the hairless variety. This was not by accident for the ancient cultures of Mexico did a lot of selective breeding.
Today, we categorize the smaller version into two distinct breeds, hairless and coated. We know the hairless to be the Escuincle or the Mexican Hairless. The coated is a relatively unknown dog called the Techichi.
Don't worry, unless you're up on your ancient Aztec Nahuatl language, all these names are a mouthful to pronounce. The Techichi is pronounced 'tah•chee•chee'. The Xoloitzcuintli, or Xolo for short, is pronounced 'show•low'. The Itzcuintli is pronounced 'eats•queen•tah•lee', and the Escuincle is pronounced 'es•queen•clay'.
Like it's bigger sibling, the Techichi also comes in many different forms. Some squat, some longer legged, some black, some blue, some spotted, some longer haired, and some shorter haired. One that has always been very popular is a golden version with a slender deer-like appearance.
The Techichi (or Tlalchichi) is regarded to be the true ancestor of the Chihuahua. It was from this small dog that Americans created the breed. Early breeders developed our modern-day dog from a select few– primarily, the smallest ones they could find.