Techichi Type Dogs, Chihuahuas, and Genomes.

Since I last posted, I have learned that two techichi type Chihuahua dogs that I know of, have been tested genetically. So far, they both do have Chihuahua genes. But, these dogs are not the descendents of the AKC Chihuahuas, they are similar to the parental stock.

I hope more people do a genetic test on their techichi dogs- It was around $60, the last time I checked. This website could become a place where we gather that information together, and maybe share the whole genomes, somehow.

The parental stocks of the AKC Chihuahuas were landrace dogs. This meant that outside genes could and did come in, so I suspect the techichi type genomes have a lot of diversity – yet the techichi, deer chi population maintains its original archetype. It is theroretically possible that combinations of other kinds of dogs could give a classic Chihuahua look. Such as the Min Pin. There are lines and mixes of Minpins that look like the deer Chihuahuas, especially when they are black and tan rather than red.

Many native nations had small dogs, the mutation for small dogs happened before the crossing of the Bering Strait, so the Igf1 gene certainly came to the Americas. Even if smallest dogs did not, some small dogs did.

All of the depictions of small dogs in old North American art have the same basic shape, prick ears and a relaxed tail. Coat types and colors varied, but the dog type stayed constant to the original dog shape, that of a wolf. Dropped ears and other features that deviate from the wolf archetype come from inbreeding closed populations. There were virtually no closed populations in most of the Americas before the development of dog breeds in Europe in the 19th Century madness, infected America.

Therefore, I think that any Euro genes that get into the native techichi type population are mostly recessive, so they disappear in the first generation and will only be seen again if two matching recessives meet, which is unlikely in an open population. Therefore I think anyone who has a small dog with prick ears and short hair has a techichi type for breeding purposes, especially if bred to another dog with the deer chi look.

What I am saying is that, in my humble opinion, genes are genes, wherever they come from, and if a small, short  haired longish legged dog with prick ears and a relaxed tail wants to be a techichi type, they already are. Above all, the techichi is a type, a phenotype, if you will. As long as the phenotype remains constant, it does not matter where the genes that give the type come from, one bit.

Having said that, I bet the vast majority of genetically tested big Chihuahuas, deer Chihuahuas, or techichi types will have some genes in common with the AKC Chihuahua, which is an inbred (read small number of diverse genes) descendants of the original native dogs. The true techichi type spectrum of genes will prove to be MUCH greater than the AKC Chihuahua has.

In the world of landrace dogs, forget the inbreeding, forget purity of blood concept- which comes straight out of eugenics, forget even the genetics, go for the phenotype. That is how the old dogs looked, that is how the dogs today look. If they have the phenotype of a techichi type, they are a techichi type (no capital letters) and any breeding with another techichi type will give nothing but techichi types, unless, very rarely, two recessives meet up that change the phenotype- ie short legs.

Let us continue to collect techichi types from shelters and pounds, none of whom will able to breed. Maybe someday it will be respectable to openly breed techichi types, but for now there are plenty of them available for adoption.

16 Comments

Dennis Marie Pollock

Where do you find the dna test? I have a deer chi type and a xolo

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    Caitlin Williams

    I just googled it and got this:
    http://www.wisdompanel.com/
    I have not tried it yet, so check it out.

    Reply

      Dennis Marie Pollock

      Hi, I have researched the current tests and they are pretty generic. The haploid type that native dogs all have is A184. This is from the mitochondrial dna, maternal only. It has been isolated from tombs older than 1000 years from Mexico to Peru. Chihuahuas and Xolos have it as well as several other types. It comes from Asia and is not found in European dogs. It proves that the Chi dogs as I call them, have native genes. The Chihuahua has the highest concentration. They are trying to gather enough information to do a nuclear dna test on their samples. I have emailed UCDavis, but they do not test for native dna. I would love to try to revive the Techichi type and found a lovely deer type girl who is about 10 lbs. I also acquired a coated Xolo girl from a litter of 3 whose siblings and parents were all hairless. She is not full grown yet an weighs about 12 lbs. I am hoping to find someone with a suitable male who is about 12-15 lbs coated or hairless. Everyone seems to want to go smaller, I want to go larger for health reasons. If you hear of anyone who finds a reliable or newer dna test, please post.

      Reply

      Caitlin Williams

      Thank you for that information!

      Reply

      Dr. Casey Knox

      I really love your blog, and we use it as a resource for our clients looking for more information a lot! I’m a veterinarian on the genetics team with Mars Veterinary (Wisdom Panel), and we have found that the indigenous, US show, and UK show lines of Chihuahua all form separate distinguishable genetic populations. Our indigenous type Chihuahuas were collected from near Mexico City by veterinarians on our request because some of the dogs we were testing, especially in the southwest, were simply not explained by the show registered dogs, and were matching to ancient Asian or Arctic breed patterns. We get a lot of questions about it, as you can imagine, as the Mexican lines are often bigger dogs, with deer style heads and bodies, and owners assume there must be “something else” there. We often tell them to go research the Techichi.

      @Dennis Marie Pollock: We do find the indigenous Chihuahuas are on average more genetically diverse, both internally and within the population, and show greater match to the Xoloitzcuintli, which we consider an ancient terrier. They definitely look genetically more like a landrace than a typical registered breed. The show lines show greater match to European terriers, suggesting selective pressure, genetic drift, or introgression.

      Reply

        Caitlin Williams

        Well!!! This is music to my ears. Thank you so very much. The 2 people I know that did this testing on their techichi types did have those old patterns. I think that is promising enough to follow up on.

        I sure hope you guys are writing some papers; you are sitting on a growing goldmine of information I would just love to sort through!!!
        I once had the desire to test a bunch of the oversized “Chihuahuas” from the local county shelter, just to see what shook out- but don’t have the proper creds to even think about writing a grant to do that- but you sure can do something similar with your database. I am looking forward to learning much more about this.

        When I think about the implications of what you can add to the world’s knowledge of dogs, I am drooling. The comparisons between landrace types and their AKC counterparts……oh sigh…..even taking a science-based stand on the principle of closed registries- just based on what they do- as opposed to – genetic matches that would enhance gene pools etc.

        Anyway, you made my day! And if you would ever allow a BA level anthropologist to dig through your findings, I’m your guy. I did write a a text book on pearls for the professional trade (yes, pearls are that complicated), if that counts for anything…. sigh……

        I am also really wanting to learn more about the coated Xolos. After all, they are the “breed” (or street type), of which, some carry that pesky, but fascinating, hairless gene. The AKC ones are quite pretty, but a lot of the Mexican hairless from around Tucson who aren’t registered, are really, REALLY ugly.

        Reply

Dennis Marie Pollock

I have heard that these over the counter type dna tests are not very informative. I was hoping there was a more recent one since nat geo did their native dog study. There are specific markers for dogs native to the Americas, from the tombs in Mexico for one.

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Caitlin Williams

I didn’t look into these tests yet, but they do identify Chihuahua genes as well as Chinese Crested. Costs more to get the hairless test.

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Wanda

Have just met Esopo, a techichi from Merida. Best little creature ever! I live in Ontario, Canada. Where can I get my own bestie beastie?

Wanda

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    Caitlin Williams

    In Canada, I don’t know. In the US Petfinder turns up a lot of them under the Chihuahua label.

    Reply

Wanda Fabbian

Where I can get a techichi puppy?

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    Caitlin Williams

    Look in PetFinder under Chihuahuas in your area, then look at the ones that weigh about 10 pounds. At least 6-8 pounds or more.

    Reply

Sheri

I would love to see a seperation of the over six pound Chis! I wrote a letter to the Chi Club of America why they wouldn’t start a seperate over 6lb class so all the gorgeous bigger Chis could be shown. I got a nasty letter back saying that this is the way it is and a seperate class would never happen. That no one really wants the bigger dogs. The smaller ones are the sellars. This made me very mad! Everyone thinks Chis are supposed to be tiny. When they see my four ranging from 10 to 15 pounds they don’t believe they are Chis. I have even been called a liar! I would love a new class for the bigger Chis. A total break from the CC of A!! Just like the Siamese cat people did recently. The people that wanted to keep the original Siamese look broke away and call the type of cat the THAI. While the other breeders bred the extremely anorexic,wedgehead alien looking cat as the Siamese. I have two Techichi types but I also have two longcoats of the Techichi build. So where would they fit into the breed?

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    Caitlin Williams

    Hi Sheri.
    The Akc did not just pick up the generic Techichis and breed them down in size, but once they did and got the breed registered with the AKC, it closed the door on any more outside unregistered blood. From, that point on all Chis are descended from the originals lissted in the AKC registry. That means, that 100 years later the AKC breed is getting more and more inbred and losing genetic diversity with every generation.
    They will never add a new division, but technically, a group of techichi fanciers could form a registry and breed techichis until they can get enough to register them with the AKC. Form that point on, no more fresh blood.

    The AKC philosophy of a closed registry and no new genes is the opposite of what a techichi is. That is why I am sorry everyone calls the oversized chihuahuas, chihuahuas. They look like oversized AKC chis, but they are not. They are a kind of SW US landrace dog, beloved by the locals.

    Reply

Steven Miller

I have two males, both of which are in the 8 -10 lb range. They appear to be Chihuahuas other than the fact they are much bigger than the breed clubs allow. In every respect minus their size, they are pure “Chihuahua warriors”. Pardon my quoting Montezuma & Papi from Beverly Hills Chihuahua. I don’t care much for breed clubs simply for the fact that so many good dogs have been ruined by their accepted breeding practices. I have had small Chihuahuas and oversized Chihuahuas and there is no difference between them when it comes to thei size of their hearts and spirit. I do not need AKC UKC or CKC paperwork to tell me I have a good dog. I actually prefer the larger Chihuahuas because, in my own experience, they seem to have far fewer health problems than the smaller ones preferred by the breed clubs. I don’t mind if people call my boys Chihuahuas or Techichis, but they only answer to Twitchy-Pedro & Axl. LOL I am really enjoying reading through your blog. Keep up the good work. I believe that the kennel clubs have done such a dis-service to so many dogs and their owners that it would be a good thing if they were dissolved. Anymore, buying a “purebred” dog requires the new owner to accept that they are getting a dog that is unhealthy and will require lots of time and money at the vet. Yes, it may be beautiful, but it’s a genetic & health nightmare! I don’t want a dog like that and I don’t think I am unusual.

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    Caitlin Williams

    Thanks for a wonderful comment. You are exactly right!

    Reply

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