The Chiweenie, affectionately nicknamed Mexican Hotdog or German Taco, is a mixed breed dog resulting from a Chihuahua and a Dachshund cross. These portable sizes, cute-looking dogs are the perfect companion for singles, seniors, and families with older children looking for a loyal and loving lap dog.
Chiweenies grow up to be unique in their appearance, and it isn’t easy to find two that look the same, as they will resemble more the characteristics of one parent over the other. Size, colour, hair length, and facial expression may vary from one dog to the other. As for personality traits, Chiweenies are playful and alert dogs, quite active and energetic, protective, and dedicated family members.
About & History
The Chiweenie is a recent designer dog developed in North America, probably in the early 1990s. Though not an actual breed, it is recognised by the American Canine Hybrid Club, the Designer Dogs Kennel Club, the Dog Registry of America, the International Designer Canine Registry, and the Designer Breed Registry. Chiweenies have gained popularity in the past years. However, their breeding has been linked to controversies, with reports of being bred and sold for profit in puppy mills.
The Chihuahua has probably descended from the Mexican Techichi dog, and its sole purpose was to be a companion pet. On the other hand, the Dachshund was bred to hunt badgers in the late 19th century in Germany. This tough dog had the strong paws to dig, find tunnels, and hunt down badgers. The unexpected mix between these two breeds originated the comic and friendly-looking Chiweenie.
Chiweenies tend to have the body of their Dachshund parent – long and short-legged. Their coat can be long or short, silky or rough, of solid colour, or a combination of the following:
If the Dachshund parent is a miniature, its Chiweenie offspring will, of course, be smaller than the progeny of standard Dachshunds, but overall, Chiweenies are small dogs, 20 to 25 cm (8-10 inches) tall. Their weight varies from 3.5 to 5.5 kg (8-12 lb). They have floppy ears that stand upright when they are alert, pointing outward like bat wings. The nose can be short or pointed, black or brown; the tail is usually long and curved; they have small paws and almond-shaped eyes (black, brown, or green).
Character & Temperament
Chiweenies are loving and caring, always attentive to their surroundings, and like staying close to their owners. They are loyal and protective towards their family and tend to choose one member of the family over the others, developing a stronger bond. These dogs are therefore a good choice for single people but also seniors and families with children.
However, they are not the best pets to have around young children because Chiweenies get easily annoyed when there is too much activity or noise around them and may not tolerate the turbulence associated with toddlers. Also, they have sensitive backs due to their long body and fragile paws, so some level of conscientiousness is advisable when playing and interacting with Chiweenies.
Despite their sensitive nature, Chiweenies are generally laid-back and very friendly. They love to play and run around and cuddle and curl up on the couch, making them desirable pets with whom one can both interact in a lively and fun way and pet and comfortably have on the lap. Chiweenies love to be the centre of attention and can become jealous, so they tend not to get along very well with other pets. Raising a Chiweenie alongside other dogs (or cats) as a puppy will solve this issue, as they will get used to other animals from an early age.
Chiweenies make good watchdogs because they are alert and have a tendency to bark, just like their Dachshund parent – a hound dog. Chihuahuas are also famous for having a high-pitched voice and for being loud, so this is the perfect combination for a yappy dog who loves to speak up. Regardless, they are friendly dogs who like to be around people. They are attached to their family and may suffer from separation anxiety. They can also be aggressive towards other dogs, so socialisation and training must raise well-tempered dogs.
No doubt Chiweenies make great pets, but a prospective owner must know beforehand that training will be extremely challenging, especially if he/she has little experience. They are difficult dogs to train because they are stubborn and headstrong, so a lot of patience and tolerance are required. Harsh training methods do not work, as this is a sensitive and intelligent crossbreed, so the best way is to keep training sessions short and stimulating.
Food rewards and praise as positive reinforcement will work wonders, but consistency and continuity must be part of the training program because they tend to resist learning. Playtime or fun activities can also be used during training sessions to keep the Chiweenie engaged and interested.
As with all other hybrid dogs, Chiweenies are healthier than their purebred parents. Because Chiweenie’s back is shorter than the Dachshund’s, the lower back problems associated with the Dachshund’s longer spine are reduced. These are dogs that can potentially live a long life up to 16 years! Still, they can be prone to certain illnesses that are inherited from their parents:
Allergies are one of the most common health issues affecting Chihuahuas. As such, their Chiweenie offspring may sometimes also suffer from this chronic ailment. Clinical signs include licking, scratching, or chewing excessively on the skin.
Allergies result from an overactive immune response to substances like pollen, dust, and food ingredients that would otherwise be harmless. Treatment may alleviate symptoms, but the ultimate solution to allergies is removing the allergen from the dog’s environment or food.
Intervertebral Degenerative Disc Disease
This condition affects the neck and back of Chiweenies and is inherited from the Dachshund parent. The long back of Dachshunds is a weakness. The wearing down of the bone structure and the pressure exerted by movement on the vertebral discs make them more prone to herniating.
When crossing a Dachshund with a Chihuahua, the resulting puppy will have even shorter legs, putting even more stress on the dog’s spine. This will lead to disc degeneration with associated pain, shivering, and paralysis.
Caused by dysfunction in producing the thyroid gland’s hormones, hypothyroidism is an endocrine disorder that may affect Chiweenies. When these active and energetic dogs begin to show lethargy symptoms, weight gain, skin issues, and loss of hair and muscle, it is a sign that they may have a decreased production of T4 and T3 hormones. Treatment with hormone replacement is usually effective in restoring good health to affected dogs.
Like Chihuahuas, Chiweenies tend to have low blood sugar due to their low number of fat cells (a characteristic of dogs that originate from hot climates where they have to regulate their temperatures to stay cool).
When these cells are depleted, the dog will turn to the sugar in its bloodstream for energy. The depletion of bloodstream sugar then causes the shivering and lethargy that are characteristic of hypoglycemia.
Exercise and Activity Levels
Despite their small size, Chiweenies are very active dogs who need plenty of exercise and playtime every day. They have lots of energy to let out, so daily walks (of at least 30 minutes) are a must, along with intense play sessions, either inside the house or outside in a park or backyard. Playtime is also an excellent way for owners to bond with their dogs and is a great opportunity for basic training sessions and socialisation.
Chiweenies are easy to groom, as they are low-maintenance dogs. They barely shed, so brushing their coat once or twice a week (a couple more times if it is a long-haired Chiweenie) will suffice. Trimming their nails once or twice a month and brushing their teeth every other day is also part of the routine and should not be overlooked. Brushing their teeth is particularly important to prevent dental problems (inherited from the Chihuahua parent).