What Happened to the Taco Bell Chihuahua?

Posted by Christy Caplan
Taco Bell

The Taco Bell dog, Gidget, was a 12-pound Chihuahua that took America by storm, bringing tacos and laughs to our televisions.

According to America Comes Alive, a dog trainer saw a ton of potential in this little dog from the moment she was born:

"Gidget, the pint-sized pup was confident, outgoing, energetic, and "filled with personality"-the traits a trainer looks for when selecting a dog for studio work."

Gidget won the hearts of Taco Bell executives after her part in a commercial shoot.

"In that first commercial, the dog is walking purposefully along a busy street. A beautiful female Chihuahua looks at him longingly, but he ignores her and continues along his way until he comes to a fellow eating a Taco Bell taco. Pinning the fellow with a mighty stare, Gidget utters (via a voice-over and animation of her mouth): "Yo quiero Taco Bell" (I want Taco Bell)."

The rest is history!

How was the Taco Bell dog discovered?

That "Yo quiero...?" commercial became an oft-repeated phrase, and Taco Bell had a star on its hands.

"For the next three years, Gidget (and Carlos Alazraqui, the fortunate comedian cast to do the voice-over work) had a regular gig.

The "Drop the Chalupa" commercial was as well-liked as the first commercial, and that saying, too, caught on with the public, as did "Viva Gorditas!"  Other commercials featured Gidget trying to trap Godzilla (part of a promotion with the film) and Gidget involved in all sorts of escapades in order to get to Taco Bell."

What was Gidget like on set? 

Gidget was known to be extremely obedient on set. She had no problem looking directly at the camera and staring right into it. Getting into position meant a treat!

She was so well behaved, Gidget flew first class, made an appearance at New York Stock Exchange, and strutted her stuff on numerous talk shows, according to American Comes Alive.

Taco Bell dog commercials ran into major roadblocks 

Unfortunately, many people criticized the commercial, calling it racist and mocking Mexicans. Taco Bell requested the commercials be taken off the air (which they were shortly thereafter). There was also a lawsuit brought against Taco Bell by two men. They had spent a year in talks with the company about developing a talking Chihuahua as the company spokesman. The creation of Gidget as the Taco Bell dog constituted the theft of creative work.

She passed away nine years after the commercials ended. In July 2009, Gidget suffered a stroke when she was 15 years old in trainer Sue Chipperton's home. She was later euthanized.

Other fun facts included:

  • This sweet Taco Bell Chihuahua also appeared in Legally Blonde 2. Gidget was cast as Bruiser's mother in the film.
  • Gidget was also in a Geico ad as the Taco Bell dog from the ad campaign.
  • As the Taco Bell spokesdog and mascot, Gidget made the Taco Bell brand wildly popular. (The voice actor was also very popular!)
  • The fast-food chain is a pop culture icon thanks to Gidget!

Did you love this campaign as much as we did? Let us know what characteristics you love about this breed!

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What Happened to the Taco Bell Chihuahua?