The chiweenie is an adorable “designer” dog, created by the mating of a Chihuahua and a dachshund!
The chiweenie is also referred to as a “Mexican Hotdog” and the “German Taco,” in reference to the origins of the two breeds (Chihuahuas originated in Mexico, while dachshunds were developed in Germany).
But no matter what you call them, one thing’s clear: These are pretty darn cute pups, with personalities far larger than their tiny size. And like most other mixed breed dogs, chiweenies exhibit a combination of the traits that are common to both parent breeds, as well as the occasional oddity.
We’ll talk about Chihuahuas and dachshunds below and explain what you should expect when you mix the two together.
Chihuahuas are pretty popular pets (the AKC recognizes them as the 30th most popular of 192 recognized breeds), who even show up in television commercials, movies, and other pop-culture arenas. We’ll explain the basics of the breed below.
The Chihuahua is a very old breed, but the exact details of its origin aren’t entirely clear. We know that the ancient Toltec civilization of Mexico and Central America made carvings that basically resemble Chihuahuas in the 9th century, but we don’t know a lot about these early Chihuahuas or their ancestors.
While we don’t know for sure, it is likely that Chihuahuas descended from an ancient (and somewhat similar-looking) breed called the Techichi. This breed is also poorly understood, but we know that the Aztecs appear to have welcomed the breed into their culture when they took over the Toltec civilization. The breed seems to have disappeared around the 16th century, when Spanish colonists wiped out most of the Aztecs.
By the middle of the 19th century, Americans began discovering relatively modern-looking Chihuahuas living in the Mexican state of the same name. Their popularity only grew from there, and they earned AKC registration in 1904.
Chihuahuas are famous for being the smallest dog breed in the world, with most weighing between 3 and 6 pounds. This is may not sound like a huge size variation, but note that the largest individuals are twice the size of the smallest ones. Most Chihuahuas are about 6 to 10 inches tall at the shoulder.
All Chihuahuas feature a pretty compact (but elegant) build. Extremely small individuals are often called “teacup Chihuahuas.” However, this is not an official designation, and it is typically just applied to dogs by breeders and retailers who are trying to market their animals.
Chihuahuas vary in a couple of other ways too. For example, they can have either of two different head shapes.
Those with rounded heads, prominent foreheads, and bulging eyes are typically called apple-headed Chihuahuas, while those who have longer, sleeker skulls with less-obvious foreheads are called deer-headed Chihuahuas (be sure to check out our in-depth discussion of the differences between the deer-headed and apple-headed Chihuahuas here).
Chihuahuas can also have long or short hair, and they come in nine different AKC-recognized colors (and with six different types of markings). There are several unofficial color patterns available too.
Chihuahuas are often very affectionate with their owners, but they are somewhat shy and sensitive, so they often prefer to keep their distance from strangers. They’ll usually get along well with the kids in the family, but it is very important that you teach your kids the right way to interact with their new pet as the Chihuahua’s tiny size means that they’re very easy to injure.
Chihuahuas are pretty smart cookies and are often easy to train. In fact, they often excel in obedience and agility trials (and they clearly make capable actors). They have moderate energy levels and exercise requirements, which they can normally satisfy by simply following you around all day (their little legs have to work overtime to keep up).
Chihuahuas aren’t intense and hyper-focused like some other breeds are; they’re typically content to go with the flow and take life as it comes. Unlike many other lap dogs, Chihuahuas aren’t especially tricky to housetrain, but you do need to keep in mind that they have teeny-tiny bladders, so frequent bathroom breaks are necessary.
Most dogs who have been bred to be incredibly large, very small, or display some other type of extreme physical trait experience health problems, so you may expect Chihuahuas to suffer from a variety of health issues. However, Chihuahuas are usually pretty healthy and don’t suffer from health problems as often as many other breeds do.
A few medical conditions – most notably cardiac issues and luxating patellas (improperly aligned knee joints) – are common in the breed, but most conscientious breeders screen their breeding stock to ensure these conditions don’t show up in their gene pools.
Additionally, Chihuahuas are at slightly increased risk of suffering from the following conditions:
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Collapsed trachea
- Hydrocephalus (a condition in which the brain accumulates fluid)
Additionally, Chihuahuas often exhibit a tendency to shiver or tremble. Nobody knows exactly why Chihuahuas do this, and it is pretty common in other small breeds. It doesn’t necessarily mean your dog is cold, but it is important to remember that because they are so small, Chihuahuas can become dangerously chilled in cold weather.
Grooming and Care
One of the big reasons that Chihuahuas are so popular is that they don’t require very much maintenance. Short-haired versions are especially easy to take care of, but even long-haired individuals are easier to groom and maintain than many other breeds. They are low-shedding dogs and don’t drool very much, either.
If given a bath about once a month and brushed weekly, most Chihuahuas will continue to look and feel great.
Dachshunds are even more popular than Chihuahuas according to the AKC, as they rank 13th in terms of breed popularity. Although they don’t appear in as many movies and commercials as Chihuahuas (who apparently have better agents) do, they do star in at least one feature film, as well as a pretty adorable animated flick.
We’ll explain the basics of the dachshund breed below.
Dachshunds were initially bred for a pretty serious purpose – they were expected to scurry down badger dens (hence their long and lean body shape), kill the occupant, and emerge from the hole while brandishing the carcass in their teeth like a trophy. In fact, the word “dachshund” means “badger dog” in German.
This is kind of crazy, as dachshunds are pretty harmless-looking pups, and badgers are very formidable quarry. Badgers often weigh more than modern dachshunds, and they’re equipped with strong jaws and razor-sharp teeth. Nevertheless, dachshunds proved to be exceptionally well-suited for the work, so their popularity grew.
Dachshunds made their way to the U.S. in the late 19th century, where their popularity reached even higher levels. Owners began keeping them as companions rather than for the pest-control services they provided, and they’ve been popular in the U.S. ever since.
The dachshund is a good bit bigger than the Chihuahua, but it’s still a pretty small breed. Most weigh about 15 to 20 pounds, but big wiener dogs can weigh up to 32 pounds. However, given their iconic hot-dog-like shape, dachshunds aren’t very tall – in fact they rarely exceed 9 inches at the shoulder, so they’re about the same height as Chihuahuas.
American breeders and dachshund enthusiasts often classify these dogs into one of three size groups (other countries break up the size classes in different ways):
- Miniature (less than 11 pounds at adulthood)
- Tweenie (12 to 16 pounds)
- Standard (17 to 32 pounds)
Dachshunds come in long-, short- and wire-haired varieties, and they come in 12 different color combinations. Most dachshunds are clad in one or two colors, but some exhibit more complex markings, including brindle, dapple, and sable color patterns.
Most people don’t notice it (likely due to the breed’s ridiculously long body), but dachshunds have pretty long tails (which make these dogs even cuter than normal when they start wagging). Dachshunds also have big, floppy ears, which dangle on either side of their face.
Dachshunds are pretty endearing pups who are very good with children and affectionate with family members. They can, however, be very shy around strangers. They usually get along with other dogs, although they aren’t quite as gregarious as most other members of the hound group.
Generally speaking, dachshunds are pretty fun-loving dogs with warm, friendly dispositions. They’re pretty smart, but they aren’t always easy to train – they don’t always feel compelled to please their owners in the way, say, golden retrievers do. They are also very difficult to housetrain. In fact, many weiner dogs end up needing to wear diapers or belly bands while they’re indoors.
Dachshunds don’t require copious amounts of exercise, but they do need to be provided with the chance to fly around at warp speed from time to time (and honestly, you’ll want to watch them do so anyway). Just make sure that you keep them securely leashed or inside a fenced area, as dachshunds are notorious for wandering off — a trait common to most hounds.
Also like most hounds, dachshunds are often very vocal. This means that they aren’t a breed ideally suited for those living in apartments or similar situations.
Dachshunds are relatively healthy dogs, but they can suffer from a few notable medical conditions you’ll want to watch out for.
- Bloat (a medical emergency that occurs when a dog’s stomach fills with air and twists on its axis)
But one of the most common medical ailments that afflicts dachshunds is intervertebral disc disease and other back problems. Dachshunds are not only susceptible to congenital defects of their spinal column, they can also suffer from back injuries very easily. You should always prevent wiener dogs from jumping down from the couch or bed – always provide them with steps or a ramp of some kind.
Also, as mentioned earlier, dachshunds often develop ear problems.
Grooming and Care
A dachshund’s grooming needs are determined by the type of hair he has. Those who have short hair require very little grooming aside from the occasional bath, but long- and wire-haired varieties require regular brushing. Wire-haired dachshunds must also have their hair “stripped” a few times a year to keep their coats looking good.
You’ll also want to pay close attention to a dachshund’s ears, as they can collect dirt and moisture, leading to infections and other problems.
Combining the Two: Traits and Characteristics of the Chiweenie
Chiweenie photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
Individual dogs exhibit plenty of variability – even among members of the same breed. Some dachshunds get along well with other dogs, while some aren’t as outgoing. Some Chihuahuas are bubbly extroverts, while others are timid and prefer to stick close to mom or dad. Obviously, each breed also exhibits plenty of physical variation.
Accordingly, it can be challenging to characterize the traits and personalities of mixed-breed pups like the chiweenie. Nevertheless, we’ll try to give you an idea of what to expect from a chiweenie below.
Chiweenies certainly vary, but they’re usually closer to dachshunds in terms of size. They also tend to be built more like their dachshund parent too, with relatively long bodies (although to my eye, chiweenies are usually thicker than dachshunds). Their shoulders, however, can be a bit broad and more Chihuahua-like.
Most chiweenies also have floppy ears like dachshunds (although those who inherit the radar-dish ears of Chihuahuas are pretty darn cute). Most are short-haired, although some resemble long-coated dachshunds.
We’ve seen chiweenies in just about every color and color combination imaginable, which isn’t surprising given the diversity of coat colors exhibited by both parent breeds.
For the most part, chiweenies are fun, friendly, and playful dogs like their dachshund and Chihuahua parents. They have moderate energy levels, so they don’t require especially large amounts of exercise. They’re also pretty smart pups and can be easy to train if sufficiently motivated (read: bribed with treats).
However, chiweenies can exhibit a couple of challenges. For starters, chiweenies can be a bit stubborn, and they’re occasionally more territorial than you’d expect – this can cause problems for chiweenie-owners who already have other dogs.
Also, like their dachshund parents, chiweenies are often challenging to housetrain. Just be sure to be consistent with your training efforts and consider crate training to help accelerate the house-breaking process.
There’s not a great deal of empirical data available regarding the health problems of chiweenies, but they are likely susceptible to many of the same health problems both parent breeds are. Moreover, individuals are usually more susceptible to the common health problems of the parent breed they favor.
For example, the longer and more dachshund-like an individual chiweenie is, the more likely he is to experience back problems. Similarly, those with floppy ears are more likely to suffer from ear infections. On the other hand, those who favor Chihuahuas are more likely to suffer from collapsed tracheas and knee problems.
Just be sure to work closely with your vet so that you can get your pup prompt treatment if any of these problems should arise.
Grooming and Care
As mentioned earlier, most chiweenies have pretty short hair, which is easy to keep in good condition. Make sure that you bathe your chiweenie regularly (once a month, and any time your little floof gets dirty), and, if he has long hair, give him a thorough brushing once or twice a week to prevent mats from forming.
As you can see, there’s a lot to like about chiweenies, and they make great pets for some owners. Just be sure that their common traits and needs align with your lifestyles, resources, and desires before you add one to your home.
Have you ever had a chiweenie? We’d love to hear about your experiences. Tell us all about your magnificent mutt in the comments below!