The Chihuahua's history is an extremely long and intriguing one. These dogs are a very ancient breed. Chihuahua ancestry is said to have descended from the Techichi, a larger dog that was around during the Mayan civilization. According to engravings on pottery dated to 300 BC, Techichis were believed to have been around at that time. One of the leading technical and engineering universities in Europe, Sweden's KTH Royal Institute of Technology, released their DNA test findings in 2013. The results confirmed the genetic heritage of the Chihuahua to the Techichi.
Archeological digs have revealed other toys and art throughout the region in a way that helps to track not just the dog's presence but the various historical events, such as the rise and fall of cities and the arrival of Hernan Cortés in the 16th century. This Spanish Conquistador noted that dogs similar to Chihuahuas were used as companions, food, ritual items and to aid in convalescing.
Long before the arrival of Europeans, the Chihuahua may have emerged between the 5th to the 9th century A.D. The Toltecs may have domesticated the Techichi and crossbred the animals with the Perro Chihuahueno, dogs that were found in the mountainous region of Chihuahua (and which became the basis for the breed's name). Historians believe the ruling class of the Aztecs used Chihuahuas for spiritual guidance in the afterlife. It is also thought that "lower classes" preferred these dogs primarily as food.
Closer to modern times, the Chihuahua was known as the Texas Dog as well as the Arizona Dog. In the states where they had their regional namesakes, they were used as herding dogs. This was in the 19th century before and even during the dog's eventual name of Chihuahua. In 1904, the American Kennel Club (KC) formally recognized the breed. One of the first (of four) recorded Chihuahuas in the AKC's stud book was named Midget.