Musings on Landrace Dogs

 Chip, a local Tucson landrace deer type Chihuahua and the best dog ever

In Tucson, we have Chihuahuas! Not so much AKC Chihuahuas as landrace Chihuahuas. We all know what the AKC ideal for Chis today is the 4 lb dog with a domed head (known as an “apple” head with a funny little snout attached. The little guys are cute, but their connection to landrace Chis is tenuous at best. It is known that Ida Garrett put the final touches on the breed as known to the AKC today, back in the 1950’s, while the original population from which she used dogs to achieve her breed ideal continues to this day, virtually unchanged since the Conquest. She called them Arizona dogs, because some of her stock apparently came from Tucson AZ, my home town. She didn’t make the name up because others refer to these dogs as Arizona Dogs, as well. There are Arizona dogs everywhere in the Gadsden Purchase. In SoCal, they were called “California”dogs. In NM they are called Chihuahuas, for the abundance of this type dog in the State of Chihuahua, just south of NM (and Texas)

The land race Chihuahua I am referring to is a small dog, but twice the size of the AKC Chi. At about 10 pounds adult (not counting excess fat,) it can have short or long legs and varying tail sets. The head is deerlike, giving these dogs the secondary name of “Deertype” Chis.The long legged variety is especially deerlike in its looks. It is a graceful, balanced looking dog with upright ears. this kind of dog is extremely hardy and athletic, it can keep up with horses for many miles without conditioning and genetic diseases are almost unknown.

These little guys are everywhere in Tucson. Rare is the day when Pups for Sale signs don’t show up on major Westside intersections advertising “Chihuahuas”. The variety with shorter legs is sometimes called a Dachshund/Chi cross and they are quite common. As this type goes back in art and photos to much earlier days, it is likely that some chi-dox  crosses are not, but old native types.


A Friend

Oh Lordie! You DID tell me to be honest, so I am. You KNOW there is no such thing as a deer type Chihuahua! There are only 2 varieties, long haired and short haired.The deer type Chihuahuas are mixes. You have a lot to learn about dogs.Love ya anyway, but I'm done reading this blog.


Pearl Maven

Sorry to see you go. I hoped you would read it just for fun, even if you disagree with me.



Just leaving this bit of Chi history here, on the presence of bobtails in the early breed (and even mentioned in the standards) —, there was no such thing as the long-haired variety either, according to the breed standards. Doesn't mean they didn't exist back then, nor does saying the Deer Head variety doesn't exist because 'The Standard' doesn't mention them make any difference in reality, since they -do- exist and always have, regardless if the original Breed Standard writers liked them or considered them 'correct'. The arbitrary separation of apple-headed tiny dogs from deer-headed tiny dogs from the same region and then labeling only the apple-heads as the 'correct type' was just that — arbitrary. All the original foundation dogs of the Chihuahua breed were 'mixes', since the foundation of every breed was a mixture of dogs that were crossed and selected from until the desired type was fixed. Deer-heads are not wanted in the modern Chi, but is there actually any proof that was ever the case at any time before the early 20th Century, among the people who preserved the dogs before Western dog fanciers took an interest in them?


Pearl Maven

Thanks, Pai!That was a help.


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