Are Chihuahuas Descended From Foxes?

Last Updated on November 23, 2021 by Marco

Are Chihuahuas descended from foxes? They have similarities, leaving many to wonder if there is any scientific basis to this resemblance.

Foxes are very cool animals that are usually characterized as tricksters in popular media. They are beautiful creatures that many people admire. This adoration is something it shares with the highly popular toy dog breed!

Do you think there are some family ties that would explain the similarities between a fox and a Chihuahua? Read on to find out more.

The Typical Chihuahua Profile

According to the American Kennel Club, the Chihuahua is classified in the Toy Dog group. Both the males and females have a size range of 5 to 8 inches in height and up to 6 lbs in weight upon adulthood. These dogs have a significantly longer life expectancy next to a lot of other breeds – they live until about 14 to 16 human years.

Chihuahuas rank 34th of the American Kennel Club’s Most Popular Dog Breed Rankings of 2020. There are a lot of mixes between Chihuahuas and other dog breeds introducing some petite elements to the crossbreed that makes it so much more adorable.

Why do chihuahuas exist? The Chihuahuas’ origin can be traced to the land of Mexico. In fact, their name comes from the Nahuatl language, and it refers to the point where two rivers flow to meet. What a beautiful and poetic name for an equally charming creature. It’s suggested that their ancestor is the now-extinct Mayan-era dog breed Techichi. Tracing its origins even further can cause a lively debate.

The Chihuahuas' origin can be traced to the land of Mexico

Learn more about: Were Chihuahuas Bred For Food; Everything About Chihuahua History

Their history shows that they are a greatly revered friend of people. One of the most endearing characteristics of a Chihuahua is its attitude. It’s one of the smallest dogs in the world, but they believe they are larger than life!

Even if there are Chihuahuas that come off as snobby and standoffish, they are extremely loyal and loving to their bonded family. They might not be as tough as a Rottweiler or a Bullmastiff, but they are certainly as fierce. They will love and protect their family to the best of their ability.

Now that we know what the characteristics typical of the breed are, are Chihuahuas descended from foxes? We need to look deeper into the topic.

In What Ways Are Chihuahuas and Foxes Similar?

The fox that people keep comparing the Chihuahua to is called a Fennec fox. If you look for a picture of the fascinating creature, you will see the resemblance immediately.

The Fennec fox is native to the Sahara Desert, and certain parts of Egypt and Israel. They are sometimes bred for commercial purposes as exotic pets. Though their breed is considered safe, there are laws that protect them in their natural habitat.

The Fennec fox is native to the Sahara Desert

Why would people mistake the two for each other? Here are some factors that might contribute to the reasons:

Small Form and Tiny Build

Why are Chihuahuas so small? Both the breed and the fennec fox are small but snappy mammals have the same small build that makes people want to pick them up and cuddle them. They look delicate and easy to hold, so it’s probably our human instinct to make sure they are loved and safe.

A popular purse-ready breed, the Chihuahua is a favorite of the most glamorous celebrities. The fennec fox is the smallest of the fox group, with its prominent feature of large ears making up a significant portion of their height. Both of them are very cute and would look right at home with a loving family… or a high fashion model with a soft spot for dogs!

A Very Cute Face

Two, big black eyes and a black nose – this cartoonishly adorable combination is a favorite amongst dog fans everywhere. It’s no wonder that at first glance people can mistake the two.

It’s hard to say no to such a cute face, especially when they pull the funniest ones. There are a lot of dog memes out there, but the ones that feature Chihuahuas are super popular with a lot of shares. We bet you’ve seen one go viral, or you may have even shared one yourself!

Warm Colors

One of the colors that most Chihuahuas come in is a beautiful cream that is similar to the color of the fennec fox. This whimsical color is a great match for a lot of people. It is a soft and familiar hue that is a favorite among dog lovers everywhere.

What Is The Theory That Chihuahuas and Foxes Are Related?

So are Chihuahuas descended from foxes, and if so, how did that come to be?

As mentioned, the Chihuahua calls to mind the Fennec Fox. This mammal is the smallest fox in the world and bears some significant similarities with the dog breed, the most foremost one being build and size. You can probably tell them apart due to the large ears and tail, but the form is definitely similar!

The fox belongs to the family Canidae – which are, strictly speaking, dog-like carnivorans. They cannot interbreed with domestic dogs, so it’s not likely that there are any dog breeds that descended from their lineage. In terms of scientific taxonomy, the Chihuahua and any kind of fox are pretty far apart and have almost no chance of their lineage crossing one another.

There’s also the matter of geography. While there is a long-standing history of culture and commerce between the Americas and Africa, there isn’t enough time to justify the African fennec fox suddenly evolving into the Chihuahua. With the region and era taken into account, the theory doesn’t quite follow!

In fact, outward appearance seems to be the only thing tying Chihuahuas and foxes together. There aren’t a lot of other characteristics that they share, so the evidence is very coincidental. 

They have very different personalities and temperaments, too. While both are a bit averse to strangers, Chihuahuas know how to warm up to people and demand their attention. Foxes tend to be more introverted creatures.


There is no conclusive scientific evidence that points to a deeper connection between Chihuahuas and foxes. According to taxonomy and even geography, it’s highly unlikely that some evolution occurred between the two animals.

No big deal, of course – both are awesome animals in their own right! If you were wondering are Chihuahuas descended from foxes, now you know the truth!

What other Chihuahua theories have you heard? Do you think that there is a deeper story to its origins? Let us know in the comments below.

Read more about: Why Do Chihuahuas Live So Long; What’s Their Secret?

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