A Different Breed

Does the Chihuahua accurately represent Mexico?

Dear Mexican: As everyone knows, dogs seem to reflect their master's personalities. Likewise, the breeds invented by a nation say a lot about that nation. Germans bred the German shepherd and Rottweilers: smart, loyal, faithful yet a little cold, and not the kind of dogs you want to piss off. The French created the poodle: all about style, yappy, not great fighters yet not as dumb as they look. Canadians created the Labrador retriever: good hunters and friendly family dogs. Gringos seem to have adopted the pit bull as the national dog; both are reactive killers of children.

When I think of Mexican breeds, one type comes to mind: the Chihuahua, play toys for fresas like Paris Hilton. After thinking much harder, I thought of the xoloitzcuintle: bald and edible. Are these dogs the best representatives of the national character of Mexico? Does a Chihuahua really fit a nation of macho men and feisty women? Or are you really a nation of perros eléctricos — scrappy little survivors in need of some updated marketing?
Dueño de un Perro Eléctrico

Dear Owner of an Electric Dog: Tengo que take issue with your pit-bull characterization. My chica caliente is the proud owner of one, and she's the kindest bitch around humans (dogs are another story). With that in mind, I'd argue that pit bulls are the quintessential American dog, as wabs, negritos and gabachos alike own them for the same reason the world respects and fears Americans: a Manichean innateness that loves and kills with equal ease. The difference in comportment for both is a reflection of the trainer, and the results show up quickly. Just look at us after almost eight years of the Bush II administration.

Ahora, on to the Mexican dogs. Don't give up so easily, Dueño: Mexico's two indigenous breeds fully represent the Mexican soul. The American Kennel Club doesn't recognize the xoloitzcuintle (also known as the Mexican hairless) even though the noble critters date back millennia, much like Congress won't recognize illegal Mexicans despite their many years working in the United States. Chihuahuas are even more quintessentially Mexican: Napoleonic in complex, clannish, usually brown but available in all colors, maligned by gabachos as puny runts but secretly ferocious and smart, and bearers of muchos, muchos babies.

Dear Mexican: I'm a restaurant owner. How come when a Mexican comes to apply for a job, he or she will bring several friends and sometimes his/her entire family? And when I ask for a call-back phone number, they get all paranoid. Dude, I'm not asking for their Social Security number!
Chef Viva Las Vegas

Dear Gabacho: Dude, the desert sun has cooked your brain into carne asada. Mexicans bring friends and familia because they want you to give them a job. That's how so many Mexicans came here in the first place: Gabachos hired Mexicans, who knew other Mexicans and urged their bosses to hire them, who knew others, until one day, Americans needed to dial 1 for English. Trust those family-bringing Mexicans, and make sure to put the smartest one in the head slot to whip his compas into shape. As for the carousel of phone numbers, they're probably trying to remember which stolen identity they're using on that particular día.

 
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