TIME animals

The Unbearable Cuteness of the ‘Chihuahua Cha-Cha’

Two dancing dogs from 1952 embody the appearance standards set down for the Chihuahua by the American Kennel Club: "Graceful, alert, with saucy expression."

“Like most sisters dancing with big brother,” LIFE magazine observed of this pair, “Missy (above, left) looks polite but bored.” Her brother, meanwhile, “assumes the haughty air of a Chihuahua who has just deflated that old dog libel about learning new tricks.” The dogs, LIFE reported, liked to perform for their owner, Mrs. R. C. Dabney of Valdosta, Ga., and both embodied the appearance standards set forth for the Chihuahua by the American Kennel Club: “Graceful, alert, with saucy expression.”

Beyond that, there’s little left to say about this eye-popping picture. As captured by photographer Robert C. Winter III, Missy and Sambo (sorry, that was the brother pup’s name) filled the last page of the Feb. 2, 1962, issue of LIFE with a sort of unbearable canine cuteness. Cha-cha-cha!

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