(WYTV) – How did the chihuahua get its name, and where is it from?
The breed of dog called the Chihuahua was named for the Mexican state of Chihuahua. We first began to call it that around 1850.
Some animal experts say the Chihuahua is descended from Native American breeds of dog, but others say its more likely that Spanish merchants brought it to the Americans from Asia.
Historians say the Aztecs crossbred the chihuahua with other small dogs to get even smaller dogs. In fact, the Chihuahua is the world’s smallest dog.
Why would the Aztecs want to do this?
There is some evidence that the royal Aztecs used the small dogs as pets and as something to warm their hands in drafty palaces.
Aztec priests sacrificed them to the gods and cremated them with the dead to act as protection against evil spirits and as faithful guides in the afterlife.
The common people looked at chihuahuas as household pets, and when people got really hungry, as food.