Designer dogs are created when two purebred dogs are bred together in the hopes of passing on the best genes from both sides. While the cockapoo is a well-known example of this type of cross and has been around for many years, other designer breeds are relatively new and not so well known. Various names have been invented to describe these breeds. A "labradoodle" is a Labrador retriever and poodle cross, a beagle and pug cross is a "puggle," and a "chiweenie" is a cross between a Chihuahua and a dachshund, the breed sometimes nicknamed the wiener dog.
Chiweenies are typically small dogs, generally weighing 10 pounds or less and standing no more than about 8 inches high. Some of them look more like the dachshund side of the family, with floppy ears and long, low bodies. Others have the perky ears, long legs and square body of their Chihuahua mom or dad. Short, smooth coats are common, but if there's a long-haired dachshund or Chihuahua in the family a chiweenie may have a longer coat, either straight or with a bit of wave.
Color choice is one of the advantages of owning a chiweenie, since these dogs come in just about any color you can imagine. Common solid colors include black, tan, white and chocolate. These little dogs also frequently have mixed colors, such as black, white and brown, black or dark brown with tan markings and light brown or tan with black points. A single litter will often contain pups in a variety of colors and it's not uncommon for each puppy to look different from the others.
No matter which side of the family he takes after, a chiweenie is most likely going to be an energetic dog who loves to run and play. Because of his diminutive size, he doesn't need a lot of room and can be happy running around in the house or in a small, safe backyard. These dogs bond strongly to humans of all ages, though because of their size chiweenies need to be protected from very young children. Chiweenies are typically alert and make excellent watchdogs. It takes a very stealthy stranger to sneak up on one of these little guys.
Besides regular exercise, most chiweenies don't need a lot of extra care, just a good brushing every week to keep them clean and to remove dead hair. They will eat canned food, dry kibble or a combination of the two. Since these dogs have a lot of heart but not much size, protect them from larger animals, including other dogs, large cats, hawks and other wildlife. If you take good care of him, you can expect your chiweenie to live to be 15 or more.
By Cindy Quarters
About the Author
A recipient of a business and technology degree from the master's program at West Coast University, Cindy Quarters has been writing professionally since 1984. Past experience as a veterinary technician and plenty of time gardening round out her interests. Quarters has had work featured in Radiance Magazine and the AKC Gazette.