Ancient Romans kept a small chihuahua-like dog as a pet, archaeologists have discovered.

Bizarre on Female First

Bizarre on Female First

The ''remarkable'' findings revealed that the short-limbed animal was buried alongside humans.

Th discovery was made by a team from the University of Granada in Spain after the skeleton was found in the nearby city of Cordoba.

Rafael M Martinez Sanchez, the main archaeologist involved in the research, told local media: ''It is particularly remarkable we have found a small dog (a little more than 20 centimetres tall), with shortened limbs and a snub nose, in a grave next to human burials.''

According to the university, the skeleton is one of the oldest of its kind to be found at an excavation site.

Reports suggest that the animal could be similar to the chihuahua and Pekingese breeds, although it is difficult to determine through its skeleton.

The study also revealed an old hip injury and signs of traumatic cervical torsion, which suggests that the dog was deliberately killed.