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The chi chon is a delightful combination of the sassy Chihuahua and the playful bichon frise. The bichon blood in this mixed breed makes them a lot less fragile than a purebred Chihuahua. But before adopting or buying a puppy, you should research to determine if it is the right breed for your lifestyle.
We have covered all you need to know about the chi chon, such as grooming requirements, exercise requirements, and temperament. If you have had your eye on this bichon frise mixed breed for a while now, this is why you should (or should not) get one as an addition to your family.
Chi Chon (Chihuahua x Bichon Frise) Mix: History
The chi chon is a designer breed that comes from the Chihuahua and the bichon frise. The Chihuahua is believed to come from Mexico. The bichon frise is known to come from Tenerife in the Canary Islands; there are no Asian roots here.
Intentional breeding of the mix of Chihuahua and the bichon frise dates to a few decades ago in the United States with the rise of designer dogs. Designer dog breeding aims to make a miniature version of a popular dog. In this case, the cuddle-filled bichon frise is reduced in size by adding Chihuahua to the mix.
You may hear the chi chon going by Bichon Chi or Chihuahua Bichon Frise mix too. Because they are not purebred dogs and are not listed by the American Kennel Club (AKC), there is no one standardized name. That doesn’t mean that this adorable dog isn’t recognized elsewhere, though. The Designer Breed Registry acknowledges them.
Despite having a history shrouded in mystery, we are sure that the chi chon has the looks and demeanor to steal your heart.
Chi Chon Appearance, Coat, Size, and Weight
The bichon frise in the chi chon adds bulkiness to the mixed dog. They are larger than the petite Chihuahua who takes home the award for the tiniest dog. Despite being bigger than one parent, the chi chon is a small dog that stands at 8 to 10 inches at the shoulders and weighs around 4 to 10 pounds.
The appearance of a designer dog breed will vary for a long time until the gene pool of the hybrid is strong enough to have standardized physical features. It is quite easy to spot two similar-looking Golden Retrievers, but place a couple of first-generation chi chons together and you may be surprised by how different these pups look.
In general, the chi chons take after the bichon frise in fluffiness. But it is not unusual to find a short-haired chi chon because, as mentioned above, appearance in mixed breeds varies greatly. If your chi chon’s coat is similar to that of the bichon frise, there is a chance that it is hypoallergenic, which is great for allergy sufferers. But if they take after the Chihuahua, they may still shed and cause allergies.
The coat is mostly solid colors, including white, light brown, brown, black, and golden. They can also have a combination of these colors.
They are sturdy dogs whose compact bodies are supported by tiny feet. They mostly have a rounded face with dark eyes and a short muzzle. Chi chons have curled tails that plume over their backs and are usually covered with a soft coat.
Chi Chon Maintenance, Activity, and Space Requirements
The good news is that chi chons are relatively low-maintenance dogs, especially so compared to their bichon frise parent. Expect every dog to have some maintenance needs; after all, the pooch is your dog-best friend. With that said, there isn’t a single low-maintenance dog, just those that are easier to maintain, and the chi chon is one of them.
Grooming a chi chon is a reasonably simple task by all measures. If the bichon frise is the dominant parent, brushing twice a week with a pin brush will keep the coat shiny and free of tangles. If the hair is on the shorter side, brushing once a week is sufficient.
Chi chons are mostly low shedders, so you don’t have to worry about constantly picking up the vacuum. If you keep up with weekly brushing, the bathing day will be a breeze. They are relatively clean dogs, and bathing once every month or when they get dirty is good enough to stay clean.
Due to their bichon parentage, professional grooming might be needed a few times every year. This will keep your dog from looking scraggly and prevent matting in longer coats.
Regular tooth brushing is essential to avoid dental problems typical in smaller breeds. On top of that, due to low-hanging ears, it is recommended that you trim overgrown hair and clean them using an ear-cleaning solution. Regular nail trimming should be done when you hear clicking sounds as they walk.
Chi chons are abundant in energy, and if their size could allow them, they would keep you on your feet for a good part of the day. Luckily, they are small dogs whose exercise requirements can be met pretty easily. Just take your dog out for a walk every day for about 30 minutes and you’re good to go.
Be careful of dog parks, since their Chihuahua heritage can make them feisty and their small size makes them vulnerable to bigger dogs. Ensure that your dog is fully vaccinated before allowing your pup to come into contact with other dogs and be sure to socialize them well. Finally, keep your chi chon mentally stimulated, by using dog puzzles for example, to avoid boredom.
Chi chons do well in an apartment, just as they would in the country where there is a yard. Once again, the small size saves the day because small living spaces offer enough room for these pups to zoom around and eventually tire out.
They can be yappy, which is frowned upon in some apartments, but adequate training and exercise will ensure that your dog knows when it is okay to bark.
Chi Chon Temperament
The Chi-Chon is a mixture of feistiness and affection. They are appealing dogs not just because of their striking looks but also because of their good-natured disposition. They take after the Chihuahua’s boundless loyalty to their families, making them love their families to pieces.
Chi-Chons may take this love too far and develop separation anxiety. A pup with separation anxiety doesn’t do well in long periods of isolation. The overwhelming stress could lead to yapping and chewing of anything in sight. You may want to invest in a pet sitter if you need to leave them alone.
As far as how well chi chons do with children and other pets, they get along just fine if you socialize them early enough. However, they need to be supervised with small children and bear in mind that their small size makes them vulnerable to injury. They may be a bit wary of strangers and can be yappy if not adequately socialized.
Chi chons may develop a diva-side owing to the Chihuahua parent, who is well known to be sassy. This attitude problem can be through early training at a reliable puppy school.
These are also quite sensitive dogs and won’t take well to harsh reprimands. Adult supervision is necessary whenever these dogs are in the company of small children because their size makes them vulnerable to injury. All in all, they are cheerful dogs that crave all the attention you have to give.
Chi Chon Intelligence
The bichon frise in the chi chon makes this a bit more of an intelligent breed. This means that the chi chon is smarter than the parent Chihuahua in terms of trainability and obedience. Positive reinforcements such as praise and treats are beneficial when training this dog.
Training the chi chon should be moderately easy because the bichon ancestry makes them eager to please the owner. If the Chihuahua has the dominant, your pooch might catch an attitude and be a bit harder to train. They also need a lot of patience with potty training.
Health and Lifespan
The average lifespan of a chi chon is 12 to 15 years which is a long time in doggie years. As a designer breed, the widened gene pool increases the chances of a healthier pup compared to pedigree dogs. But this doesn’t mean the chi chon can’t still be vulnerable to the diseases prevalent in the parent breeds, such as:
- Patellar luxation: The kneecap slips out of its normal location resulting in limping.
- Joint issues: Often seen in the Chihuahua, your chi chon can inherit joint problems that could be very painful.
- Vaccine sensitivity: The bichon frise is well known to develop vaccinosis (ill effects of vaccinations) at times which the chi chon can inherit.
- Hip dysplasia: A developmental impairment where the hip socket doesn’t fully cover the head of the femur
- Contact allergies: Typical in white dogs, the bichon frise part of the chi chon may make them vulnerable to allergic reactions when the skin comes into contact with certain substances.
- Heart problems: one of the leading causes of death in small breeds such as Chihuahuas is heart problems such as the valvular disease of the heart.
- Dental issues: almost all small breeds have an increased risk of developing dental problems due to overcrowding of the teeth.
3 Chi Chon Fun Facts
Still not decided if this is the right dog for you? Below are some fun facts about the mixed breed.
#1: Chihuahua for Supper?
Unfortunately, Chihuahuas were considered delightful delicacies among the Aztecs, as noted in a 1520 letter by Hernan Cortes. Luckily, this parent breed of the chi chon grew popular as lap dogs and became the pets we know today.
#2: The Naughty Nipper
Chi chons can develop nasty nipping if proper training isn’t done during puppyhood. The Chihuahua is known as the ankle-biter with good reason, a trait that can be passed down to the chi chon.
#3: It’s Too Chilly Outside
Chi chons don’t handle the cold very well, so consider getting a coat or two for the winter months. Extreme heat is not a friend either, so be sure to supervise your pooch during hot days to avoid heatstroke.
Is Chi Chon the Right Breed for You?
The Chi Chon is the right breed for you if:
- You live in an apartment: Their small sizes and minimal energy requirements make these pups suitable for living in small spaces. If you don’t have a yard and still want to get a dog, the chi chon is an ideal choice. Chi chons will tire themselves out by simply zooming around your house which makes them apartment friendly.
- You need a hypoallergenic dog: The chances of having an allergic reaction when around a Chi Chon are lower, all thanks to the bichon frise parentage. Remember that no dog is completely hypoallergenic, though, so if you still sneeze when around a chi chon, that’s probably an allergic reaction.
- You are at home most of the time: Due to the high probability of developing separation anxiety, it is recommended that you spend as much time as possible with your chi chon. If you aren’t around, another friend or family member should stay with your pup.
- You don’t have an active lifestyle: Small dogs, in general, are suitable for people who don’t have the time or energy for a lot of exercise. Take your chi chon out for a daily walk to keep him physically fit.
If you are thinking of inviting a chi chon to your home, you made an excellent choice. Adequate training and socialization will see to it that you have a well-mannered dog that won’t fail to cheer you up. With a unique look, these are great lap dogs, with plenty of sass to keep you on your toes.