The Chilier is a mixed breed, so they don’t have history as their own breed. Both parent breeds, however, are well known and loved.
Cavaliers are descended from the toy spaniels depicted in many 16th, 17th, and 18th century paintings by famous artists such as Van Dyck and Gainsborough. Used as a hunting dog, the athletic Cavalier was bred for both work and the ability to curl up on a lap at the end of the day. However, the breed itself is fairly new. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was recognized by the UKC in 1945, after much pushing from devoted breeders and fans. However, American Cavalier fans still had to wait longer before the breed became popular or recognized in the US. In 1954, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club was created, the official breed club and only registering body for Cavaliers in the United States for more than fifty years. The AKC officially recognized the breed in March 1995 — meaning that the breed has been able to be registered in the US for less than thirty years.
It’s not fully clear how or when the Chihuahua originated, although we do know the breed is very old. There are two main theories as to the Chihuahua’s development into the breed we know and love today. The first is that the breed descended from a Central or South American dog breed, now extinct, known as the Techichi. The second theory is that small hairless dogs from China, like the Chinese Crested, were brought to Mexico by Spanish traders and then bred with small native dogs. Regardless, the first appearance of the breed as we know them was in the 1850s in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, from which they took their name. They began to be shown in 1890, and a Chihuahua named Midget became the first Chi registered with the American Kennel Club in 1904. The longhaired variety was likely created through crosses with Papillons or Pomeranians, but longhaired Chihuahuas are now recognized as purebred. The breed’s popularity took off in the 1930s and 1940s, when it was associated with dance king and Latin music bandleader Xavier Cugat.
Since the 1960s, the Chihuahua has consistently stayed in the most popular breeds registered by the AKC. Today they rank 11th among the 155 breeds and varieties the AKC recognizes.