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Nicole Cosgrove

June 9, 2021

Chi-Spaniel sitting on grass

The Chi-Spaniel is a cross of the Chihuahua and Cocker Spaniel. This mixed dog is also called a Chispaniel or known as a Cocker Spaniel/Chihuahua Mix. He is a small dog with talents in tricks and competitive and obedience. He has a life span of 12 to 15 years and is a friendly and amiable dog who is good at adapting.

Here is the Chi-Spaniel at a Glance
Average height Small
Average weight 6 to 18 pounds
Coat type Medium to long, soft
Hypoallergenic? No
Grooming Needs Low to moderate
Shedding Low to moderate
Brushing Two to three times a week
Touchiness Very sensitive
Tolerant to Solitude? Low
Barking Occasional
Tolerance to Heat Moderate to good depending on coat
Tolerance to Cold Low to very good depending on coat
Good Family Pet? Very good
Good with Children? Very good
Good with other Dogs? Good with socialization
Good with other Pets? Good to very good with socialization
A roamer or Wanderer? Above average
A Good Apartment Dweller? Excellent due to size
Good Pet for new Owner? Good but better with experienced owner
Trainability Moderate
Exercise Needs Fairly active
Tendency to get Fat Above average
Major Health Concerns Patellar Luxation, Hypoglycemia, Heart problems, Eye problems, AIHA, Hypothyroidism, Skin problems, Epilepsy, Collapsed Trachea, Hydrocephalus, Open Fontanel,
Other Health Concerns Shivering, Allergies, Hip dysplasia,
Life Span 12 to 15 years
Average new Puppy Price $150 to $500
Average Annual Medical Expense $435 to $535
Average Annual Non-Medical Expense $530 to $630

Where does the Chi-Spaniel come from?

Today there are a large number of deliberately bred cross breeds, dubbed designer dogs. While mixed dogs is nothing new, and crossing them to breed new purebreds is also nothing new, this is different. Designer dogs are first generation dogs. Most often two purebreds are put together and their litter is the desired outcome. Whether you love them or not they are out there and have sadly attracted a lot of puppy mills and bad breeders who do nothing to care for their animals. If a Chi-Spaniel or another designer dog is really what you are looking for make sure you take time to find a good breeder.

As these are relatively new and some are being designed with no thought, there is not a lot of information on their origins. Therefore we look at the parent dogs first to get a better feel for what can go into the mix.

The Chihuahua

The Chihuahua does not have origins as clear as some pure breeds. The Chihuahua as we know him can be found in the 1850s in Mexico in a state called Chihuahua hence his name. Americans visiting there brought him home and people fell in love with how small he was. He has grown in popularity and is the 11th top favorite dog out of 155 AKC recognized breeds.

Today he is a bold and confident dog, alert and suspicious and quite sensitive. He usually bonds more closely to one person and can be reserved around others. If not socialized he can be timid.

The Cocker Spaniel

Spaniel means Spanish dog, and it is thought they do originate from Spain. There were two kinds by the 1800s toys who were companion dogs and larger hunting dogs who were then dived into water and land spaniels. The Cocker spaniel was named for his adeptness at hunting woodcocks. In England the term spaniel was used more as a working category than as a breed of dog. The Cocker Spaniel was finally recognized in the late 19th century, just after its arrival in America. Eventually the American breed and the English started to have slightly different characteristics, the American being smaller too. In the 1930s it was recognized that there was a difference between the two types and by 1946 the SKC set them as two different breeds.

When bred well the Cocker Spaniel is sweet, cuddly and loves to take part in family activities. He also loves to play, is alert, and enjoys getting outside with his owners. He can be sensitive so harsh treatment or tones should not be used with him. Sometimes when he is afraid or in pain he can snap and growl.


The Chi-Spaniel is a very loyal, friendly and sweet dog who loves to be with people, is good natured and very amiable. He is alert and clever and is not overly yappy like some small dogs can be. He is a great family pet but is also adaptable and can really fit in with any owner as long as he is loved and cared for! He is a brave little thing and curious but can sometimes be submissive. He is gentle and very affectionate and loves to play or cuddle. He is sensitive and prefers not to be left alone for long periods of time so he is best suited to owners who are not always out of the house. He can become possessive and attached to one owner in particular and that can lead to jealousy if that owner shows another more attention than him. He also does have a stubborn side.

What does the Chi-Spaniel look like

He is a small dog and weighs 6 to 18 pounds. He can have a medium or long coat depending on which parent he takes more after. Common colors are black, blue, tan, white, brown, red, silver and golden. He is short and slender and can have either triangular erect ears like the Chihuahua or floppy ones like the spaniel. His eyes are usually round and black and his muzzle is often dark too.

Training and Exercise Needs

How active does the Chi-Spaniel need to be?

This is a small dog but he is fairly active. While his indoor play will be some of his physical activity he still needs some time outside running around and going for walks. If there is no yard he will still be fine as long as you take him out each day. Take him for a couple of walks a day and let him off leash somewhere safe to run. A dog park is a great place he can play and run as well as socialize. If he is acting out at home, is over energetic and excited, barking, digging and so on then he may not be getting enough physical and mental stimulation.

Does he train quickly?

The Chi-Spaniel is moderately easy to train over all. He is smart and can learn quickly but he is stubborn at that can for some owner, slow some owners down. He needs an owner who is firm and assertive and does not give in to him just because he is small and cute. Use positive techniques to encourage and reward him, treats, praise and so on. Early socialization and training are a key component of being a responsible and loving owner. This will help him interact better with other people and pets.

Living with a Chi-Spaniel

How much grooming is needed?

The Chi-Spaniel has low to moderate grooming needs and his shedding depends on the coat he has, it can be light or it can be a lot more frequent. Brush him daily if he has a long coat, two or three times a week if it is medium. Brushing not only helps with loose hair it also helps redistribute his natural oils in his skin around his body and give it a healthy sheen. You want to avoid damaging those oils so only bathe when he really needs it and use a dog shampoo only. His nails when they get too long should be clipped by someone who knows about dog nails. Wipe clean the ears once a week and check them for infection. Give his teeth a brush at least twice a week.

What is he like with children and other animals?

He tends to be very good with both children and other pets. He is patient and gentle and enjoys playing with them. Early socialization though will help prevent him being jealous of his owner turning their attention to a child or other pet. It will also help with his interactions with other dogs.

General information

He is not likely to bark if an intruder tries to get in so is not the best choice if you want a dog who will also act as a watchdog. He needs to be fed ½ to 1 cup of dry dog food which should be of a good quality to be better for him. He should eat it in at least two meals.

Health Concerns

There are health concerns that the Chi-Spaniel can inherit from his parents such as Patellar Luxation, Hypoglycemia, Heart problems, Eye problems, AIHA, Hypothyroidism, Skin problems, Epilepsy, Collapsed Trachea, Hydrocephalus, Open Fontanel, Shivering, Allergies and Hip dysplasia. If you ask the breeder to show you health clearances for the parents you can lessen the chances of your dog having them, you can also get a healthier puppy by visiting it first to see where it comes from.

Costs involved in owning a Chi-Spaniel

A Chi-Spaniel puppy can cost between $150 to $500. Initial costs for things you will need to have done to him like a check up, blood tests, shots, deworming, chipping and neutering come to around $260. He will need some basic things like a crate, carrier, bowls and collar and leash which come to about $120. Annual medical costs will start at between $435 to $535 for annual check ups with a vet, vaccinations, pet insurance and flea prevention. Non-medical costs each year for basic supplies like toys, treats, food and then licensing and training come to between $530 to $630. This presume he is long haired and needs regular visits to a groomer to be trimmed. If he does not need that the annual non-medical cost may be less.


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The Chi-Spaniel is a great dog for anyone. He can live in a house or apartment as he is small enough and he is not overly noisy. He will need to be taken out every day though so will need an owner who can be somewhat active with him each day. He is loving and gentle but can be possessive.

Featured Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

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