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The Canine Nutritionist

People Food Made the Chihuahua

by | Dog Nutrition | 0 comments

Small is beautiful

The Chihuahua was the sacred dog of Mexico’s indiginous Maya civilization. The Chihuahua is believed to have descended from the Techichi, a much-loved companion dog of the even more ancient Mexican Toltec civilization. Depictions of these Techichi discovered on pots date back to 300 BC. They clearly show a dog very similar to today’s Chihuahua. There is also other archaeological evidence which indicates that a Chihuahua-like breed of dog existed in Mexico some 1,400 years before the first Europeans arrived in South America. All this long, long, long before commercial dog food was even a twinkle in the eye of its creator. It’s creator was of course American James Spratt, who launched the original dog biscuit in London around 1860.

Question and answer

Which begs a question. We know that the Chihuahua is effectively well in excess of 2,000 years old. And we’ve established that the commercial dog food industry is around 160 years old. So what did the Chihuahua live on for all those hundreds of years before commercially manufactured dog biscuit came along at the end of the 19th century? Answer? You guessed it, people food. Which, back then, would simply have been known as, “food”!

Dog loving Aztecs

Early Spanish explorers of South America noted that the Aztecs would go without food themselves in order that their dogs be well fed. Those dogs, Chihuahuas and the even older Xoloitzcuintli amongst them, were fed on fruit and vegetables, corn and a little meat. (The Xoloitzcuintli was formerly known as the Mexican Hairless Dog by the way). In other words, those ancient Mexican dogs were fed on exactly the same food as their human companions. Not only that. Both the Chihuahua and its even more venerable contemporary, the Xoloitzcuintli, are still with us to bear witness to the fact today. Over two millennia later!

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Food for people, food for dogs

Now of course common sense needs to be applied to the term “people food”. The term most certainly does not include the likes of potted noodle snacks, takeaway curry, pizza or battered fish and chips. None of which would have been available back in the times of the Aztecs anyway. The term “people food” actually means proper wholefoods. The types of foods most animals were designed to eat. Human beings and dogs included. Fresh or minimally refined fruit and vegetables, seeds, nuts, grains and legumes. And of course, animal by-products such as eggs, fish, poultry and meat. In other words, dogs were designed to live on a human food diet.

It’s just “food”

So, the next time someone tells you that dogs should only be fed commercial dog food, ask them what they think dogs like the Chihuahua and the Xoloitzcuintli lived on for more than two thousand years before the invention of dried dog biscuit.

Because ancient dogs not only lived on a human food diet, they thrived on it. They were domesticated, developed and improved on it. And ultimately, they became the dog breeds we know and love today, on it!

Gerald Pepin

Gerald Pepin

Canine Nutritionist

Gerald Pepin is a qualified canine nutritionist, writer, speaker and homemade dog food advocate. Gerald believes that good nutrition can improve or cure most canine health problems and that the natural way is always the best way when it comes to healing man's best friend. A life-long lover of German Shepherds, Gerald and his wife The Dog Chef have two GSDs and live in rural Somerset.


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Better Food, Better Health

Fresh food has been proven to improve dog health.
Know exactly what's in your dog's food.
80% of canine health issues can be improved with healthy food.
There are no chemicals or artificial additives in homemade food.
Life expectancy has been proven greater with fresh food.

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