When you cross a Chinese crested with a chihuahua, you get a chi chi, a small, energetic dog full of personality. This mixed breed inherited the best of its parents, but it's a newer breed without clear standards when it comes to size. They can grow as tall as 5 to 12 inches at the shoulder and weigh anywhere from 4 to 11 pounds.
Chi chis are small dogs with big character, and once they get to know you, they'll never want to leave your side. Some are more outgoing than others, depending on whether they got more of a chihuahua or Chinese crested personality. Chinese cresteds are more sociable, while chihuahuas can be a little territorial.
Because of their size, chi chis are a great apartment dog, though they'll feel right at home just about anywhere. They make great watchdogs and alert you to anything out of the ordinary, but they can be vocal. Early training can help break this habit, which is sure to keep your neighbors happy.
The chi chi is prone to the same health conditions as its parents but is generally healthy. Common health problems that affect chi chis are dry eye and dislocated knee caps. Choosing a trusted breeder can help avoid these problems. Chi chis can live for quite a long time, some as long as 20 years.
Chi chis are great family dogs, but they're not a good fit for a family with small children. Because of their size, chi chis can easily be injured by excited kids or toddlers. Whether they get along with other pets depends on if they are more chihuahua or Chinese crested. Those with a dominant chihuahua side may prefer to be the only pet, but early training and socialization can help curb territorial behaviors.
Most Chinese cresteds are hairless with tufts of hair around the face and ears, so chi chis are mostly hairless, too. They may have patches of white, cream, black, or fawn sure. Chi chis that are mostly hairless don't shed, which makes them a good choice for people with dog allergies.
Chi chis that don't have fur require a little extra care. Because of their exposed skin, they're prone to irritation, allergies, and sunburn. You may need to apply moisturizers, sunscreens, and even acne lotion to keep their skin in good shape. They also do not tolerate cold weather well and require a warm coat in the winter.
A chi chi's reaction to pets and other dogs depends on the traits they inherit from their parents. Those that act more like chihuahuas may be a little harder to acclimate to other pets, but they can get along with other dogs and cats with early socialization and training. Chinese cresteds, on the other hand, generally love other animals and can easily adapt to a home with other pets.
Chi chis are very high energy and need between 30 minutes and an hour of exercise every day. Luckily, their small size makes it easier to tire them out. A few walks a day mixed in with some vigorous indoor play sessions are usually enough to keep them happy and prevent destructive behavior.
Chi chis should eat food that's specially formulated for small breeds. Establish a feeding schedule and measure out each meal instead of leaving food out all day. Be careful with treats, too. Because of their size, even one or two extra treats a day can make a difference when it comes to weight gain.
Some Chinese crested do have hair. They're known as powderpuffs and are also bred with chihuahuas to produce chi chis. A chi chi with a powderpuff parent may have longer hair that needs regular grooming. Powderpuffs have a short undercoat and a longer coat on top that needs brushing every day to prevent mats. A chi chi with a long coat should receive the same care.
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