Chihuahuas, often called “saucy” by the American Kennel Club, are small dogs known for their vibrant personalities. Here are 10 interesting facts about these tiny canines.

chihuahua wearing a pink goggles
Gentle pets only, please. / Astrid Stawiarz/GettyImages

1. Chihuahuas’ Origin in Mexico

These dogs are thought to be descendants of the Techichi, an ancient breed kept by the Toltecs in Mexico as lap dogs since the 9th century CE.

2. The Mystery of Chihuahuas’ Arrival in Europe

While it’s certain that Chihuahuas come from Mexico, their journey to Europe remains unclear. Some believe Christopher Columbus brought the tiny dogs back from his travels, as he mentioned them in a letter to the King of Spain.

3. Chihuahuas‘ Size Reduction

The ancient version of Chihuahuas was likely larger than today’s dogs. After crossing with smaller hairless dogs from Asia, possibly the Chinese Crested, the breed shrank in size.

4. Chihuahuas’ Soft Spot

Chihuahuas have a soft spot, or molera, on their heads, like human babies. However, a Chihuahua might have this soft spot throughout its life, depending on factors like size, genetics, and skeletal structure. Show Chihuahuas don’t receive penalties for having a molera.

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5. Two Chihuahua Head Shapes

Chihuahuas can have either apple or deer-shaped heads. Deer-headed Chis have a narrower head and longer snout, while apple-headed ones feature a round dome. Although both are cute, the AKC prefers the apple shape for show dogs.

6. Chihuahuas’ Intelligence

intelligent chihuahua
Gidget was a star. / Vern Evans Photo/GettyImages

Chihuahuas have the largest brain relative to their body size in the dog world. These intelligent dogs are quick-witted and easily trainable, but housebreaking can be a challenge due to their tiny bladder and stubborn nature. As desert dogs, they don’t enjoy rain or cold.

7. Chihuahuas’ Aggression

Despite their small size, Chihuahuas can be quite aggressive towards humans and other dogs. To prevent this behavior, owners should socialize them with people and other dogs early on.

8. Feral Chihuahuas in Arizona

In 2014, a pack of stray Chihuahuas terrorized a small town in Arizona, chasing children and freely defecating. Sometimes, they even teamed up with larger dogs. Residents made 6000 calls to Animal Control, which struggled to catch the disobedient dogs.

9. The Smallest Dog in the World

Milly the Chihuahua holds the title of the world’s smallest living dog based on height. She was small enough to fit in a teaspoon at birth.

10. The Famous Taco Bell Chihuahua

Gidget, the Taco Bell Chihuahua from the late ’90s, gained fame from commercials featuring her catchphrase, “¡Yo quiero Taco Bell!” She went on to star in Legally Blonde 2 and a GEICO commercial. Gidget’s popularity even sparked a resurgence in the breed’s popularity. Taco Bell released a statement expressing sympathy when she passed away in 2009.

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