The chihuahua is one of the most ancient breeds of dog with the mummified remains of one having been found in an Egyptian tomb.
Zoologists noted the presence of that unique characteristic of the chihuahua, a molera, in its skull.
The molera is similar to a human baby's fontanelle.
Thus, the chihuahua can be said to be at least 3,000 years old.
According to the World Encyclopaedia of Dogs (1971), Carthaginian colonists took a number of chihuahuas from their native North Africa to Malta around 600BC. A local piece of pottery circa 100BC features a crude drawing of a man with two of these dogs on a leash.
Another such dog was painted by Boticelli around 1482 in a fresco in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City.
After Malta became British in 1800, these little dogs appeared in Britain. One was depicted by Sir Edwin Landseer in his painting, "Diogenes".
They have also existed for many years in Spain and Portugal.
Figurines found in Chi-chen-itza, Colima and other ruined cities in South America are very much like the present-day chihuahua. In several Mayan dialects, "chi" means "dog" which would indicate that there have been chihuahuas in South America since the Mayan period. It is believed they were taken there by the Spanish Conquistadors.
Americans found the smooth coat chihuahua on the border of Mexico late in the nineteenth century. These dogs had lived in the village of Villa D'Allende in the state of Chihuahua for many years; hence, the dog's name.
The first chihuahuas were imported into Australia in 1955.