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.