Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Extinct Dog Breed - the Techichi

Modern Chihauhua - some believe the Tachichi is in the modern Chi's ancestry

This month I want to feature the Techichi - an ancestor to the Chihauhua of today. I've found in my research that Mexican breeds have a very long, very rich, and sometimes very disturbing history. The Techichi does not disappoint!

My excerpt from Morris' book "Dogs: the Ultimate History of 1000+ Breeds" describes the Techichi as...

Also known as the Small Indian Dog, this breed was primarily used as a source of food by Indian tribes in the Pre-Columbian Americas. Its Indian name is somteimtes given as Techichi. It has also been called the Carrier Dog, although acting as a beast of burden does not appear to have been one of its regular duties.

Okay - they were eating these little guys? That's a tad bit disturbing. Turns out, many other breeds were also lunch for some civilizations across the globe though. In my Morris book, there is a whole chapter for "edible dogs." Moving on...

A slender, small-headed, sharp-nosed, fox-like little dog, the Techichi extended its range into both North and South America, although Mexico seems to have been its stronghold. It was common among the native tribes of the east coast of North America, right across the southernmost parts, down into Central America and even into north-western South America.

The first European to encounter the Techichi was the Spanish explorer Francisco Hernandez, who reported its existence in 1578. He commented that the native Americans ate them as commonly as his own people ate rabbits. In other words, they were not specially reserved for sacrificial ritual or celebratory feasting, but were everyday-food items.

Sort of like a box of cereal for us today I guess?

It has been estimated that at least 100,000 Techichis must have been consumed by visiting Spaniards exploring the New World during expeditions. Not suprisingly, later travellers found few of these dogs, and by the 19th century they appear to have vanished altogether.

The rest of the story for the Techichi is sad actually. Apparently bred for only two reasons: for food and the puppies served as entertainment for children, the breed has gone extinct.

Artistic renderings of the Tachichi dogs of Mexico


  1. They did not go extinct...I have one, and they roam all over Mexico and the Southwestern U.S. wild..and I have one. The Techichi was used to breed the Chihuahua. AKC crazies took the runts from the Techichi and bred runt to runt in order to make the "tea cup" variety Chihuahua, which is an unhealthy dog, as is what happens when crazy humans mess with breeding animals. Also, California kills millions of them every year, as they fill up their animal shelters. Please adopt one if you can give it a good home.

    1. Please let us see what they look like thank you

    2. Please let us see what they look like thank you

    3. I did adopt one! He's wonderful. I live in Manhattan, NYC, sadly the shelters here are full,of large dogs, mostly Pitbulls, but there's a demand for small dogs given that so many people here live in small apts. My 8.5lbs. rust colored, short haired, Techichi descendant came from a kill shelter in Ventura County, LA to a shelter here in Manhattan where they knew he'd soon find a home. I was the lucky adopter!

    4. Pretty sure I have a techichi. Wish I could post a photo of her. She has big stand up ears, long sharp nose and long wiry hair on her back

  2. It would sure be nice to get a picture of an original Techichi dog rather than an old artistic rendition of what the dog looks like. That way you can compare the physical difference between a Techichi and a Chihuahua. If the Techichi's run wild in Mexico, I'm surprised that breed would have been reported as extinct. It's nice to know they are not.

  3. I am from Texas and the Mexicans, and S.Americans brought them North. I know, I adopted my Benjamin from a shelter in West Texas. Ive had him for 5 years, 2 years ago he got ill, I was curious about his breed, he is mixed Boston Terrier and Techichi, not Chihuahua. I wondered why he made such strange noises, has very little hair, and doesn't bark LIKE CHIHUAHUAS do. Great companion and loves everyone, he's trained to track squirrels and give chase up trees. Amazing...

  4. Wow, that is alot of misinformation in one article.
    #1 Techichi dogs are neither extinct nor mute.
    #2 most tribes did not and do not eat dog.
    #3 there are many breeds of Native dogs.
    #4 Techichi dogs were not carrier dogs although they were sometimes carried.

  5. They are not extincted. I have one I got him from a place where a lot of Mexican family's come over on work visas and and come over as illegal immigrants. He was found wandering the streets of shafter and I adopted him from a small shelter.

  6. Oh and my techichi Logan is not mute but is quite sometimes

  7. We did DNA on what we thought was our mostly Chihuahua chiweenie but she came back 100% Techichi. A beautiful dog with an "A" personality.