February 19, 2012

Aztec dog breeds

Ancient Aztec breed now lauded as new top dogIt has been around for over 3,000 years, but Mexico's famous, usually hairless, "Xolo" dog made a big splash as a "new breed" at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show last week.

Tiny Chabella, descended from a breed the Aztecs considered sacred, represented the Xoloitzcuintli (which means "hairless dog" or more broadly "dog of the god Xolotl") for the first time at the show.
And:The Xolo is considered rare and prized in Mexico. Its more than 3,000-yearold history is intertwined with that of the ancient Aztec indigenous people.

Xolotl was the Aztecs' god of lightning and death; the xolo's name makes reference to him because Aztecs believed the dog's mission was to accompany dead people on their journey to the afterworld, Chabella's owner Stephanie Mazzarella told AFP.
Ancient Chihuahuas Once Roamed, and Eaten, in Southeastern U.S.?The dog effigy pots are not the only evidence of Chihuahuas in the southeastern United States. The early Spanish conquistadors who explored the region in the 1500s noted that several tribes raised “little dogs” which they kept very fat in order to eat. Apparently this food was reserved for the elites of the towns. The Spanish also noted these “little dogs” were mute.

Scholars apparently thought the Spanish accounts couldn’t be trusted and suggested the animals referred to as “little dogs” were more likely opossums. Yet a similar custom of elites eating fattened dogs was common in Mexico. The breed usually eaten was the Techichi which was a mute dog that the modern Chihuahua is thought to be derived from. The dog pots in Colima in west Mexico show fattened Techichis which provide visual evidence for this practice. The dog pots in the southeastern U.S. show fattened Chihuahuas which suggest this tradition was also practiced in the southeast. Thus it is likely the early Spanish eyewitness accounts were accurate descriptions of Native American traditions in the region.
Comment:  Who wants hot dogs for dinner?

Since neither article mentions the breeds in the other, I'm not sure if the Xolo and Techichi breeds are related. They look like they could be.

For more on Native dogs, see Is "Indian Dog" a Breed? and A History of Indian Dogs.

Below:  "Armani, a Xoloitzcuintli, at the Westminster dog show." (Mike Segar, Reuters, Agence France-Presse)

No comments: