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Chiweenie

Chiweenie

The Chiweenie is one of the smaller designer crossbreeds and while fairly popular in the US, it’s still not common in the UK, although it is slowly growing in popularity around the world.

The breeds that make up the Chiweenie are the Miniature Dachshund and the Chihuahua. As with all intentionally breed crossbreeds, the Chiweenie can be a first cross (with one Dachshund and one Chihuahua parent) or they can be bred back to one of the original breeds or be two Chiweenies bred together - so there are varieties in shape, size, colours and coat types. This is especially true in the Chiweenie given the mix of the long, low Dachshund - which comes in three coat types (smooth, long-haired and wire-haired), and the tiny Chihuahua (which comes in two coat types smooth and long-haired).

 

  • Dog suitable for owners with some experience
  • Extra training required
  • Generally healthy breed
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Needs under an hour of walking a day
  • Small dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Barks and alerts to visitors/anything unusual
  • Could have issues with unknown dogs but gets along with known dogs
  • May need additional training to live with other pets
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Needs a small garden
  • Can happily live in the city
  • Can be left occasionally with training

Key Facts

Lifespan: 12–16 years
Weight: 2.5–5.5kg
Height: 15–25cm
Colours: The colours of the Chiweenie’s coat can be any of those common to the Dachshund or Chihuahua, including:
brown, black, or white
Their colouring may be solid or a mix of colours.
Size: Small

Ratings

Family-friendly: 4/5
Exercise needs: 4/5
Easy to train: 2/5
Tolerates being alone: 2/5
Likes other pets: 3/5
Energy level: 4/5
Grooming needs: 2/5
Shedding: 1/5
Brown chiweenie looking at camera while lying.

Personality

Like most crossbreeds, the personality of a Chiweenie depends on the parents and how they have been bred and reared, but both the Chihuahua and the Dachshund are affectionate companion dogs who bond closely to their owners.

The personality of a Chiweenie seems to be more consistent when they are first crosses (F1). As if a line is successively bred, they can be either bred back to one of the original breeds (and so strengthen either the Dachshund or the Chihuahua personalities) or else be bred to another Chiweenie - in which case there is less predictability in temperament (and in-breeding becomes more of a potential issue).

Responsible breeders should be prioritising behaviour as highly as health and so it is important to find a good breeder. A well-bred Chiweenie should be outgoing and confident and not nervous, shy or fearful, and never aggressive.

History and Origins

The Chiweenie originated in the late 1990s in North America, as a result of breeders wanting to develop a small companion dog that would fit into any owner’s life, no matter how small their home and garden, whilst also eliminating some of the issues that come from Dachshunds and their long bodies.

The Chiweenie is a relatively young breed, but the Dachshund and Chihuahua have both been established for a very long time. So, to better understand the origin of the Chiweenie, delving into the origins of the breeds that make up its lineage is required.

The Dachshund for one is classified as a hound dog, as a result of a mistranslation of the German word ‘hund’. However, this breed was created to go to earth, so technically that makes it a terrier! Their name means ‘Badger Dog’ which gives you a clue as to both their quarry and just how fearless they had to be to go down a hole after one.

The earliest records of the Dachshund dates from 1735, although it’s thought that they existed long before then, and at certain times in their history have included being crossed with French Basset Hounds. Once they arrived in England, selective breeding produced a longer, lower more streamlined dog and they found favour with the nobility, Queen Victoria owned several.

For working Dachshunds, there was a need for a smaller dog who could go down rabbit holes rather than the larger badger setts, and so selective breeding of smaller individuals followed to produce both a smaller dog, but also one with a narrower chest. The first Miniature Dachshunds arrived in England in 1909.

There have been all kinds of suggestions as to where the Long-Haired and Wire-Haired varieties got their coats from, (including breeding to setters or spaniels, or breeding to Irish Terriers or Scottish Terriers) and there do seem to be differing temperaments in the different coat types with some saying the Long-Haireds are the more laid back and the Wire-Haireds more active.

The Chihuahua on the other hand originated in Mexico and is widely known as the smallest breed in the world. The breed’s history however, is lost in the mists of time and there are varying opinions as to what they were bred for. One theory is that they were a companion dog for the high-born during the Aztec period who, when their owners died, would be buried with them supposedly to show them the way to the afterlife. Another popular belief is that they were created much later in the Middle Ages, by crossing the lapdogs of wealthy Spanish settlers with the existing small dogs existing in the country. Other opinions suggest that it was small Chinese dogs who contributed to the Chihuahua (which may account for the long coats). But whatever the reality, these tiny dogs were popular in Mexico in the 19th century when American visitors began to take an interest in them, taking them back as a memento of their visit. By 1923, the Chihuahua Club of America had been formed.

The Chiweenie can have any combination of the two breeds in their appearance, behaviour and temperament.

Health and Common Issues

One aim with crossbreeds is to dilute or eliminate any inherited health issues that may exist within one or other of the breeds. This dilution or elimination is only likely if only one parent is the carrier of any particular condition, and where this is a first cross (F1). As this can’t always be guaranteed, all parents should be health tested prior to breeding:

Miniature Dachshund - one of the longest lived of all breeds, however there are significant health issues in the breed and owners should refer to the Dachshund Breed Council’s Health website.

Chihuahua - they can be prone to eye problems and also a potential windpipe problem. They can also suffer from hydrocephalus and like many small breeds can be prone to luxating patella’s.

Information on DNA health tests for both breeds can be found on the Kennel Club’s website.

Exercise Needs

The Chiweenie will be happy with half an hour walking each day (on a harness), as long as they have plenty of gentle games and owner interaction. All exercise should be done with care however as this is a tiny dog who can’t walk quickly and can be easily frightened and even injured by other dogs.

Space Requirements

This is a small dog who can live in a flat or a smaller urban property as long as they have access to the outdoors for toileting and walks.

Nutrition and Feeding

Toy dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.

Your dog's diet needs to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed them at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of their particular food.

Grooming Chiweenies

It’s difficult to predict what kind of coat a Chiweenie will have as they can be anything from short hair, long hair, wire-hair - or anything in-between depending on the parents.

Talk to the breeder or find a good local groomer who can teach you how to look after your Chiweenie’s coat as it develops and make sure you have the right tools to groom such a small dog.

Training Chiweenies

The Chiweenie can learn basic obedience and should be taught to walk on a collar and harness and come back when they are called (especially as they can squeeze through tiny gaps).

This is a breed that needs early and ongoing socialisation so they gain confidence with people and other dogs, and cats if they are to live with them.

Teaching the Chiweenie to enjoy gentle handling is important as this is a small dog who can easily feel overwhelmed, and when overwhelmed and fearful, can resort to using their teeth.

Best Family Dog Breeds

The Chiweenie is better as a one-person dog as they are too small and delicate for family life, and they tend to bond closely to their owner.

did you know?

Did You Know?

  • The Chiweenie isn’t currently recognised by the UK Kennel Club as it’s a mixed breed dog.
  • Despite their small size, they’re known to be fairly high energy and always up for playtime.
  • A Chiweenie has taken Instagram by storm, Tuna — tunameltsmyheart, has over 2 million followers!
  • They can be quite protective over their home, so they make excellent watchdogs.

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