To paraphrase the Bard, who probably never encountered a Chihuahua, "Some are born famous, some achieve fame, and others have fame thrust upon them." Chihuahuas gain fame either as accessories of their celebrity owners, or in their own right as media stars. Even the most ordinary of Chis possess that special something that makes him a star in his person's eyes.
Gidget, the Taco Bell Chihuahua
Although a man voiced the catchphrase "Yo quiero Taco Bell" in the fast food restaurant's classic commercials, the Chihuahua star was a female named Gidget. Not only did Gidget appear in ads, but she made personal appearances, arriving in limousines and flying to her destinations in first class, never coach. Gidget died in 2009, several years after retiring from canine pop culture stardom.
Reese Witherspoon sported a Chi in "Legally Blonde" and "Legally Blonde 2." In real life, blonde socialite and celebrity Paris Hilton is known for her tote-along Chi companions, including Peter Pan. Paparazzi caught her taking her tiny canine along with her to a London yoga class. The Daily Mail reported that Hilton had a miniature version of her California mansion built in her backyard, but it's strictly for the use of her dogs.
Beverly Hills Chihuahuas
The 2008 Disney film, "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," and its sequels, voiced by an all-star cast, featured two real-life rescue Chis. "Rusco," a Chi mix, was discovered by the film's animal trainer on an online website. He played the poor Mexican Chi, "Papi," in the movie. "Angel," who starred as "Chloe," the actual "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," had been dumped by her previous owners before the trainer found her. While the Chis in the film perform all sorts of feats, it took a professional dog trainer months to teach these tiny canines. Don't expect your Chi to behave in the same way unless you're willing to put in significant hours of training.
Ren and Stimpy
Back in the '90s, a hyperactive Chi and his crazy companion cat ruled the cartoon airwaves. They were Ren, the high-strung Chihuahua, and his not-so-bright feline pal Stimpy. Ren's innate Chihuahua nervousness easily turned into irritation and anger directed toward Stimpy. Ren's need for control often caused issues for the duo as they met weird characters and went on strange adventures through their neighborhood, the Wild West, the frozen north and outer space. Even when Ren's fragile outrage spilled over and turned him into a quivering emotional wreck, his idiot cat friend was there to take care of him. Happy, happy, joy, joy indeed.
- ABC News: Yo Quiero Taco Bell No More — Famous Chihuahua Dies
- Daily Mail: Time for Downward Facing Dog! Paris Hilton Takes Pet Chihuahua Peter Pan Along to her Exercise Class
- People: From Stray Dog to Movie Star
- Daily Mail: Things You Don't Know About ... Beverly Hills Chihuahua
- IMDB: The Ren & Stimpy Show
- Disney: Beverly Hills Chihuahua
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.