The Cheeks is a cross between two popular companion animals, both of them quite small. The Pekingese breed is an ancient breed that was developed as a companion for royalty in China sometime before 700 BC, and much of their history is lost in myth and legend. While the legend that this canine is actually the offspring of a marmoset and a love-struck lion is highly unlikely, DNA testing does tell us that this dog, known in China as Fu-Lin, or Lion Dog, is more closely related to the wolf than most breeds. These tiny but fierce dogs were frequently given to favored visitors to the country and they quickly gained popularity in the United States and in Europe, gaining recognition with the American Kennel Club in 1906. When the Qing Dynasty fell in the early 1900’s, most of the royal dogs were slaughtered, and it was the dogs that were given to visiting dignitaries and scattered throughout the world that kept this breed from going extinct and in 1948, they were recognized by the United Kennel Club as well. The modern Chihuahua’s history is also quite mysterious, although DNA testing of the breed indicates ties to an ancient native dog known as the Techichi. The Techichi dogs are believed to have been kept as pets and religious sacrifices by the indigenous Aztec people for thousands of years. Some of the earliest dogs that could be identified as Chihuahuas were found in Mexico in the mid 1800’s, although at the time this tiny breed didn’t have an official name and the dogs were typically referred to by where they were procured. Merchants in Mexico, largely from the state of Chihuahua, began selling these portable and companionable animals to visitors from other countries. In 1904, the first Chihuahuas were recognized by the American Kennel Club and just thirty were registered by 1913. Today they are listed the 30th most popular breed in the United States with well over 40,000 Chihuahuas registered with the AKC in 2012, and also enjoy great popularity in many other countries around the world, including the UK, the Philippines, and Australia.