Thought the world had enough designer cross breeds already? Then you clearly haven’t met the Chi Chi. One-half Chinese Crested, one-half Chihuahua, and two parts adorable, the Chi Chi is proof that the age of the crossbreed is far from over. Since bursting onto the scene over 20 years ago, they’ve enjoyed a steady rise in popularity that’s more than understandable when you learn a little more about them. To help you do just that, here are ten things you didn’t know about the Chi Chi dog.
1. They originated in North America
Although it’s likely that Chi Chi’s have ‘happened’ naturally over history, they first started being intentionally bred at the end of the 1990s/ start of the 2000s. Although details of their origins are a little hazy, most people point to North America as the birthplace of the first officially recognized Chi Chi’s. Since then, they’ve taken off across the world, finding ever-growing popularity as the demand for designer crossbreeds reaches ever greater heights.
2. They’re half Chinese Crested…
After spending some time with a Chi Chi, you’ll soon understand why there’s no denying they’ve got a big chunk of Chinese Crested in their DNA. Like the Chinese Crested, Chi Chi’s are playful, loyal, and loving. Quite a few also share that same fabulous hairless look. But even if they hadn’t given us such a cute new breed, the Chinese Crested would still be plenty interesting in its own right. Although no one’s been able to pinpoint their exact origins, many people believe they were developed by the Aztecs. Other people claim they’re a mix of the Mexican hairless dog and the Chihuahua. Still others believe they came from the African hairless terrier. Whatever the truth of the matter, the Chinese Crested has now managed to climb up the ranks of popularity to comfortably compete with the Chihuahua in the race for the world’s most popular lap dog.
3. And half Chihuahua
As wagwalking.com explains, the Chihuahua (the other half of the Chi Chi’s family tree) has just as interesting a story as the Chinese Crested. Some people have theorized that they originated in China, only making it to Europe after they were bought into Spain as trading commodities. Another, slightly more intriguing, story maintains that they decent from the Techichi, an ancient breed that was revered by the Aztecs for their purported ability to guide departed souls through the underworld.
4. They’re tiny
You wouldn’t expect the paring of a Chihuahua and a Chinese Crested to result in a big dog, and you’d be right. As a mixed breed, some variance in size is to be expected. But as a general rule of thumb, most Chi Chi’s can expect to grow to 5 -12 inches tall at the shoulder and tip the scales at anything between 4 and 11 pounds. As with most breeds, the males are typically taller and heavier than the females.
5. They’re prone to separation anxiety
Like Chihuahuas, most Chi Chi’s have big, bold personalities. But they also take after the Chinese Crested side of their family in their devoted loyalty to their guardians. And while that can be lovely, it doesn’t come without its issues. As chinesecrestedlovers.com writes, separation anxiety can be a very worrying concern among Chinese Crested dogs. And apparently, it can with their offspring, too. Most Chi Chi’s love nothing more than hanging around their owner’s feet – fine while their owners are home, less so when they’re not. To avoid any issues, it’s recommended to socialize and train your dog as early as possible.
6. They’ve got more than one name
They might be small, but the Chi Chi has a big personality. Big enough to handle more than one name, in any case. Depending on where in the world you are, you might also know the Chi Chi by its alternative names of Crested Chi, Mexican Crested, and Chichi.
7. They’re very vocal
As dogtime.com notes, these tiny dogs have big mouths. Like many small breeds, the Chi Chi is liable to get a little vocal at times. If they spot a squirrel, a mailman, or anything else they think you should be aware of, you can be sure they’ll let you know about it in no uncertain terms. While the tendency can make them great alert dogs, it can get a little annoying after a while. To curb any undesirable habits, it’s best to start training them as early as possible.
8. They’ve achieved official recognition
Let’s face it, unless the Chi Chi somehow manages to rewrite history, it’s never going to achieve official American Kennel Club recognition. The AKC doesn’t do crossbreeds, designer or otherwise. But it shouldn’t feel too sore about it. Plenty of other clubs have been more than welcoming, with the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC), Designer Breed Registry (DBR), Designer Dogs Kennel Club (DDKC), Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA), and the International Designer Canine Registry (IDCR) all extending the little pooch official recognition.
9. They’re generally very healthy
While some purists can get a little sniffy about crossbreeds, they really shouldn’t. Unlike most purebreds, crossbreeds tend to be remarkably resistant to inherited health conditions. In this regard, the Chi Chi is no exception. Although it pays to watch out for anything that may have been passed on by its parents (both the Chihuahua and Chinese Crested are vulnerable to Patellar Luxation, Glaucoma, Lens Luxation, Hypoglycemia, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), and Dry Eye), you’ll find the Chi Chi a robust, healthy little dog. Providing you keep up to date with any required vaccinations and get them checked over by the vet once in a while, you shouldn’t experience any major issues.
10. Their appearance can vary
One of the beauties of crossbreeds is that no two ever look alike. No matter how big the litter, the chances of you finding two identikit pups are slim to none. The Chi Chi varies even more than most. Although there are certain things they all share in common (a long, curved tail, a slender, swan-like neck, and a slightly rectangular body), they’re more remarkable for their differences than their similarities. Some pups will be born with a short, smooth coat. Others will be blessed with a long, flowing mane. Still others will have no hair at all, bar the occasional white patch on their belly or chest. Some of their eyes will be round and bulging, others will be deep-set and almond-shaped. And as for the number of different colors they come in… suffice to say, if you believe variety is the spice of life, you’re going to love the Chi Chi.