As the name suggests, the Chi-Poo is a mix between a Chihuahua and a Poodle—usually Toy or Teacup size. These two breeds are very different from each other, so they often produce puppies that vary quite a bit too.
7 – 12 inches
8 – 18 pounds
12 – 15 years
Chocolate, gray, black, fawn, white, brindle, brown
Smaller families; those looking for an active, smaller dog
Devoted, energetic, intelligent
Because these dogs are a mixed breed, it is difficult to determine how a particular puppy will turn out. These dogs tend to be quite varied, even within the same litter. However, there are a few traits that they typically inherit. We’ll discuss everything you need to know about these tiny puppies in this article, including their exercise needs and temperament.
While these dogs are smaller, they are not necessarily easier to care for than other dogs. Their temperament and exercise needs can make them one of the more difficult breeds, so we typically only recommend them for experienced dog owners.
It can be difficult to find these puppies. Most of the time, these dogs are the result of accidental litters. A Poodle and a Chihuahua happen to get together and produce a litter of puppies. In these cases, the dogs may be very cheap. You may even be able to get them for free. However, some breeders may specialize in these dogs as well. They typically run health tests on the parents before breeding and then get the puppies a considerable amount of vet care. Often, breeders will take care of the puppy’s first vet visit and begin vaccinations.
You may be able to find this mixed breed in an animal shelter. They aren’t terribly common, but it is completely possible. Typically, these organizations are not-for-profit. Most of the time, they only charge in accordance with the care that the dog needs to receive.
Puppies will often be more expensive, as they require vaccinations and similar care at the shelter. Many are also prone to parasites and similar conditions, which the animal shelter will pay to treat. If the dog needs to be spayed or neutered, this may be added to the adoption price.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Chi-Poo
Often, these dogs can be extremely friendly. They are people-oriented and tend to be very devoted. However, they may not be very friendly with strangers. They are known for being one-people dogs in many cases, which means that they will bond closely with a single person and pretty much ignore everyone else.
This often means that they aren’t the best option for families. If you’re looking for a dog that will love everyone equally, this probably isn’t the best choice for you.
They can be protective of their owners as well. Many may bark and act tough when strangers come by. They can be quite yappy, which makes them great for alert dogs. However, they also need extra socialization to help ensure that they are accepting of strangers into their home when guests do come to visit.
These dogs are known for being possessive with their people. They can be a bit too protective in some cases, which is why socialization is so important. While they aren’t terribly large (and therefore not terribly dangerous), this doesn’t mean that you should put off socializing them.
With the people that they’ve chosen, these dogs are extremely affectionate. They do prefer to play over cuddling. However, they will cuddle after they have had their exercise needs met. They can be quite active in some cases, especially when they are little. They may not be the best option for those who are simply looking for a cuddly dog.
Because these dogs are half Poodle, they are often quite intelligent. This means that they will be able to learn commands very easily. However, they will also need quite a bit of mental stimulation. This means that you’ll have to work with them consistently to ensure that they do not become bored. If they are not challenged mentally, then they may start showing destructive behaviors. They will try to make their own fun, which often involves tearing something up.
Be sure you have enough time to devote to this dog’s mental stimulation needs before you adopt them. This can be done through puzzle toys, training, or competing in canine sports. Anything that makes your dog think should be enough to mentally stimulate them.
Are These Dogs Food for Families? 👪
These dogs can be good for families. However, they tend to be one-person dogs. They will bond closely with one person to the exclusion of everyone else. This tends to happen no matter what genes they inherit, as both the Poodle and Chihuahua are prone to this trait. This is a very individual trait, though. Some dogs won’t be like this at all, while others absolutely will.
However, if you’re looking for a family dog, this probably isn’t your best option. You never know what traits a dog is going to inherit and display. In some cases, these dogs will make great family dogs. On other occasions, they will only bond heavily with one person. There is no way to know.
Therefore, we recommend these dogs for smaller families or those looking for a personal pet. Otherwise, they may not bond easily with everyone in the family, which can be a problem.
Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?
With the proper socialization, they can often get along with other dogs. However, they may be a bit too protective to get along with other dogs if they are not socialized correctly at first. It is essential for your dog to be introduced to many different dogs at a young age.
We recommend puppy classes. These provide both training and socialization—two things that these canines absolutely need.
Due to their higher prey drive, these dogs aren’t the best option for a home with felines. They are prone to chasing cats, and this isn’t always something that you can socialize out. For this reason, we recommend avoiding them if you have a cat. Some of them may get along okay with cats after extensive socialization. However, others won’t.
Once again, there is no way to tell. It largely depends on the traits a dog inherits and their personality.
Things to Know When Owning a Chi-Poo
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
These dogs often don’t require any special diet. They do just fine on a normal, commercial diet. Because they are smaller, these dogs are much cheaper to feed than other dogs. This makes it easier for you to afford high-quality dog food, which we absolutely recommend. You should avoid dog foods with high amounts of fillers and similar, low-quality products.
Keeping these dogs at the correct weight is important. They aren’t necessarily prone to obesity. However, any dog can become obese if they do not eat properly or exercise enough. This can cause serious problems later on. Obesity is linked with all sorts of different health problems and can shorten your dog’s lifespan considerably.
We highly recommend a food high in protein and meat. This is what dogs need to thrive. Often, purchasing higher-quality food can help your dog avoid health problems later on. Therefore, it may cost you more upfront, but it may save you more in the long run.
While they may be small dogs, these canines often need quite a bit of exercise. They require a significant amount of exercise in most cases. Luckily, they are smaller, which makes them considerably easier to exercise than other breeds. After all, a step for you is quite a few steps for them. Therefore, they don’t actually need that many miles each day.
Usually, these dogs only need a mile-long walk a few times a day. You can replace these walks with active playtime. You can’t simply leave your dog in the backyard and expect them to get enough exercise, though. Instead, you’ll need to actively engage with them to ensure that they get enough exercise. Otherwise, they may not meet their needs.
Without enough exercise, your dog can become prone to obesity. This can cause significant issues. Because they are smaller, even a few extra pounds can really take a toll. Obesity isn’t just related to exercise. Nutrition and underlying health conditions can also play a role. However, it is important to ensure that your canine exercises properly to ensure that your dog stays at a healthy weight.
In most cases, these dogs are moderately easy to train. They are devoted to their people and intelligence, which means that training sessions will often go just fine. But some dogs can be prone to periods of stubbornness. This can make training frustrating. Your dog may easily learn what you want them to do but then not actually follow commands in a real-life situation.
Luckily, this mixed breed is often not as stubborn as other dogs. Their people-oriented nature often makes them people-pleasing. If they are stubborn, it is usually only a phase.
Due to their higher intelligence, these dogs often need quite a bit of mental stimulation. Training is an easy way to accomplish this. They often learn commands quite fast, though, so you may have to start getting creative with the commands you teach. We recommend starting with practical commands, such as sitting and staying, before moving onto “fun” commands. You will likely have to teach your dog some fun-only tricks just because of how smart they are.
This breed is a great candidate for learning a reliable recall. They are not easily distracted by prey animals or other people, so they will often return to you when called. Of course, this does require some extensive training. But you will be providing mental stimulation, so you really won’t be spending that much extra time training them.
This dog’s grooming needs can vary widely. Some of them may require professional grooming, especially if they take after their Poodle parent. However, this professional grooming will only be every few months, with minimal grooming required in the middle. Brushing once a week with a pin brush is often all you need to prevent matting and tangling.
The only exception to this is if you let the dog’s hair grow longer. The longer their hair, the more daily upkeep they need. Poodles with show cuts need to be brushed every day. If you let your dog’s hair get very long, they may need to be brushed daily as well.
Brushing is the best way to prevent mats, as you can likely guess. However, it is also helping spread your dog’s natural oils through their coat, which helps their skin and coat stay healthy.
These dogs may shed different amounts. Some will not shed at all, like their Poodle parents. Others may shed the same amount as a Chihuahua. They may even have Chihuahua-like hair. You never know what you’re going to get when you mix two breeds together. Therefore, it is important to adapt your dog’s grooming routine to their needs. Not all of these dogs will need the same amount of grooming. Your Chi-Poo may also be considered hypoallergenic thanks to its Poodle parentage.
Every dog will need their teeth cleaned and their nails trimmed, though. Both of these are important for your dog’s health and wellness. However, they are often overlooked. Periodontal disease affects 80% of dogs over the age of three. Preventative brushing is essential to prevent costly surgeries later on.
Health and Conditions 🏥
Like most mixed breeds, the Chi-Poo is pretty healthy. They come from a larger gene pool than most dog breeds. They inherit traits from both Poodles and Chihuahuas, so they are less likely to inherit rare genetic conditions that have become common in some breeds of dogs.
However, that doesn’t mean that these dogs are completely healthy. They are prone to some problems. Patellar luxation is one of the most common conditions they are prone to. This is mostly because the large majority of smaller breeds are affected by this condition.
This condition occurs when the kneecap slides out of place. Many smaller dogs do not have a large enough groove to hold their kneecap in place, which makes it slide out and in a lot. Some dogs may need surgery to secure it in place, as continuously knocking it out of place can damage surrounding tissue.
These dogs may also be prone to glaucoma. This is a problem with their eye’s pressure, which can cause many issues. In some cases, it may even lead to permanent blindness as the eye becomes damaged due to the increased pressure. Typically, surgery is required for this condition.
Hypoglycemia is common with very small dogs. This likely won’t affect this mixed breed, as they are usually at least 8 pounds. However, the smaller they are, the more difficult it will be for them to maintain their blood sugar. Smaller dogs will need more frequent meals to ensure that their blood sugar does not drop too far. This can cause everything from fatigue to seizures.
Occasionally, these canines may also have minor skin problems. These typically aren’t much of a big deal at all. In most cases, they may be tied to food allergies and similar problems. Other times, dogs may simply develop dry skin. Diet changes can help with this, but you may also need to speak with your vet about other potential fixes. Supplements may be necessary for some situations.
Male vs. Female
There is no significant difference between the genders of this breed. The only main difference that will affect every puppy of this breed is the cost difference to neuter or spay them. Females are typically much more expensive to sterilize as they require more invasive surgery. How big this difference is can vary. In some offices, it may only be an extra $50 to sterilize a female. In other cases, it may be an extra $200.
Because these dogs are somewhat rare, you may find yourself unable to choose the gender, anyway. We recommend not getting to set on a dog of a specific gender because the odds are very high that you may be able to only find one dog belonging to this breed. If you’re set on this breed, then you’ll likely need to adopt them no matter what gender they are.
3 Little-Known Facts About the Chi-Poo
1. They can be quite active.
While these dogs are small, they aren’t exactly lap dogs. They are quite active and need more than a bit of exercise. Many are also very playful, though they will enjoy cuddling after they exercise thoroughly. If you’re looking for a breed that is just going to cuddle all day, this is not it.
2. They are somewhat rare.
These dogs are not very popular, as not many breeders specialize in this particular mix. In many cases, it can be difficult to find them. You’ll likely have to search for them for quite a while, so don’t plan on adopting one right away.
3. You never know what you’re going to get.
When it comes to these dogs, you never know what you’re going to get due to them being a mixed breed. They can inherit any genes from either of their parents, which means that they can end up acting or looking like a Poodle or a Chihuahua, but you’ll only find out by watching them grow.
The Chi-Poo is an interesting mixed breed. They often become very attached to a specific person, but they are extremely attached to that person. They can develop some protective instincts around that person. For this reason, socialization is very important. Otherwise, they may get somewhat aggressive if someone else interacts with “their” person.
However, they are also extremely intelligent. They can learn commands easily and are very devoted to their people. They can be very affectionate, though they also have high exercise needs. This means that they are often very playful, especially when they are younger.
Featured Image Credit: Vincent Scherer, Shutterstock