It’s a fact—the Papillon Chihuahua mix is one of the cutest little dogs around! While it’s easy to fall in love with such a cute pup, it’s a good idea for potential owners to learn about this popular mixed breed dog before getting one.
What kind of personality does the Papillon Chihuahua mix have? Will your dog need professional grooming? What health problems are common to the Papillon and Chihuahua, and will your mix inherit any?
We’ll take a close look at the Papillon Chihuahua dog, so you can make sure that the adorable “Pap Chi” (or “Chion”) is the right pet for you!
But first, what is a designer mixed breed dog?
Papillon Cross Chihuahua
Mixed breed dogs are different than both purebred dogs and mutts. A purebred dog is born to parents of the same breed that have a known ancestry (pedigree).
Mutts are the offspring of different dog breeds, and the parents often have unknown ancestry. Designer mixed breeds like the Chihuahua Papillon are the offspring of two different purebred dog breeds.
The idea of designer mixed breeds is to combine the best characteristics of both parent breeds, but it’s important to remember that the outcome of cross breeding can be unpredictable.
Is it true that mixed breed dogs are healthier than purebred dogs?
Some purebred dogs can suffer from health problems caused by inbreeding.
While outcrossing to another breed can lead to healthier offspring (called hybrid vigor in genetics), it’s still important for a breeder to start out with healthy breeding stock for both parent breeds.
Let’s look at the Papillon and Chihuahua breeds—and the Pap Chi mix—next!
Chihuahua Mixed with Papillon
A Papillon Chihuahua mix is a cross between two of the smallest toy breeds—the Papillon and the long or short haired Chihuahua.
The French word for butterfly is “papillon”—the perfect name for this dainty little dog with large butterfly ears!
The Papillon was bred as a companion animal for European nobility. The breed has a good amount of spaniel in its background and was even called the “dwarf spaniel” in its early years.
The Papillon is known for its long silky coat and friendly, outgoing personality.
The Chihuahua (Chi for short) is the other breed in the Papillon Chihuahua mix
The tiny but feisty little Chihuahua is one of the oldest dog breeds of the Americas, descended from an ancient dog of the Toltecs called the Techichi.
The Chihuahua can have either a long or short coat. Either type can be crossed with the Papillon to create a small dog with a medium to long length coat.
Just how tiny is the Papillon Chi mix? Let’s find out!
Papillon Chihuahua Mix Size
The Papillon Chihuahua dog is a favorite of people who like their dogs on the small side. Both parent breeds are among the smallest in the toy group.
Papillons weigh between 5 and 10 pounds when fully grown. They stand between 8 and 11 inches tall at the shoulder. The breed standard calls for an overall appearance that is elegant and fine boned.
Even smaller than the Papillon, the average adult Chihuahua weighs around 6 pounds and stands between 5 and 8 inches tall at the shoulder.
How big is the mix?
The size of your Papillon Chihuahua mix will be small but remember that a cross can range anywhere in between the smallest and largest sizes of the parent breeds.
Generally, a full grown Chion weighs between 4 and 10 pounds and stands between 6 and 11 inches tall at the shoulder.
Beware of advertisements for mini or teacup Pap Chi puppies. Dogs bred for unusually small size can be prone to many chronic health conditions.
A dog on the lower end of the normal size range will still be quite small, but it will be healthier than a so-called teacup sized dog.
Chihuahua Papillon Mix Coat and Grooming
What will your dog’s coat look like? Let’s check out the parent breeds first.
The Papillon has a long silky coat, with feathering on the ears, chest, and legs. The tail has long fur like a plume.
The coat is parti colored, which means that it is white combined with patches of color. Any color is possible, and the amount and placement of color can vary from dog to dog.
The long flowing hair is relatively easy to maintain because the Papillon does not have an undercoat.
A once monthly overall grooming is usually enough, combined with some occasional combing of the areas that have longer hair to prevent mats.
Chihuahuas can be either short or long haired. Smooth coat Chihuahuas have short glossy coats. Long coat Chihuahuas have long soft hair. The fur is like the Papillon’s except that long haired Chihuahuas can have undercoats.
Short haired Chihuahuas are low maintenance in terms of grooming. Long haired Chihuahuas require weekly brushing to keep the fur in good condition.
Both long and short haired Chihuahuas can be any solid color or any combination of color markings.
What about the Papillon Chihuahua mix?
A long-haired Chihuahua Papillon mix is likely to have medium to long fur with a silky texture. It may or may not have an undercoat.
A Papillon mixed with a smooth coat Chihuahua could have a coat of any length, although it will probably not be as short as the Chihuahua parent’s.
Grooming requirements for the mix will depend on the length of the coat, and whether there is an undercoat. A once or twice weekly brushing should be plenty. You can also use a steel comb to groom your Pap Chi.
Chihuahua Papillon Mix Temperament and Training
Both parent breeds of the Chion have long histories as companion animals. They were bred to be affectionate lap dogs, and both combine small size with lively and perky personalities.
As with physical appearance, your mixed breed pup can inherit the personality traits of either parent breed, or any combination of the two.
Generally, Pap Chis are playful, active, and loving and loyal towards their human family members. As small dogs with big personalities, they may show some attitude with larger dogs and unfamiliar people.
Good training and socialization are musts for these outgoing and feisty little dogs. While smart, they can also be stubborn, so be sure to seek out professional training advice and always use only positive reinforcement training methods.
Are Chions good with children?
Many dog experts will not recommend extremely small sized dogs for families with very young children.
Tiny dogs can be injured from rough play or handling.
Pap Chis do best in households with adults and older children. Be sure to teach children how to safely interact with dogs to avoid biting and barking.
Papillon Chihuahua Mix Health
What are some of the common health problems of the Papillon and Chihuahua, and will your dog inherit them?
The Chihuahua suffers from some genetic health conditions often found in small breed dogs.
Chihuahuas can suffer from a heart condition called degenerative mitral valve disease, which causes valve leakage and enlargement of the heart.
Chihuahuas can also be prone to certain eye problems, including cataracts, glaucoma, and keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye).
Another common health problem in Chihuahuas is patellar luxation, which is a dislocation of the kneecap caused by bone abnormalities.
The Papillon shares some of the same inherited health conditions as Chihuahuas and other small dogs. Like the Chihuahua, they can be prone to patellar luxation and eye problems.
Papillons can be prone to progressive retinal atrophy, a degenerative eye disease. They can also suffer from other hereditary problems like liver shunts and a serious neurological disease called neuroaxonal dystrophy.
What can you do to ensure that your Papillon Chihuahua mix puppy is as healthy as possible? Let’s find out!
Chihuahua Papillon Mix Puppies
The most important thing that you can do to make sure your Pap Chi puppy will grow up healthy is to get your dog from a responsible breeder who tests their breeding stock for inherited health conditions.
This means that you should avoid buying a puppy from a retail pet store or an online advertisement, as these dogs often come from large-scale breeding operations called puppy mills.
Choose a small-scale breeder who welcomes clients into their home and shares all health testing information for both parents.
DNA tests are available for many genetic health conditions, and your breeder can also have specialty veterinarians perform eye, heart, and joint exams.
The results should be registered with a reputable breed health organization like the Canine Health Information Center.
Is a Papillon Chihuahua Mix the Right Dog for Me?
The adorable Pap Chi can make a great companion for people looking for a small dog with a big personality.
The tiny size makes this dog better suited to life in a home without very small children, as injuries can happen.
The Pap Chi is a lively dog but can do well in small spaces like city apartments, if it has plenty of opportunities for walks and play sessions.
As toy companion animals, both parent breeds thrive on human contact, so your dog can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time.
Remember to choose a responsible breeder who health tests their breeding stock for inherited health conditions common to both parent breeds.
Already share your life with a Papillon Chihuahua mix? Tell us about your little friend in the comments below!
References and Further Reading
- Beuchat, C., 2014, The Myth of Hybrid Vigor in Dogs…Is a Myth, The Institute of Canine Biology.
- Papillon, American Kennel Club.
- Chihuahua, American Kennel Club.
- Degenerative Mitral Valve Disease in Dogs, North Carolina State Veterinary Hospital.
- Chihuahua, Northwood Animal Hospital.
- Nilsson, K., Zanders, S., Malm, S., 2018, Heritability of Patellar Luxation in the Chihuahua and Bichon Frise Breeds of Dogs and Effectiveness of a Swedish Screening Programme. Veterinary Journal.
- Ahonen, S.J., Arumilli, M., Lohi, H., 2013, A CNGB1 Frameshift Mutation in Papillon and Phalène Dogs with Progressive Retinal Atrophy, PLoS ONE.
- Nibe, K., Kita, C., Morozumi, M., et al., 2007, Clinicopathological Features of Canine Neuroaxonal Dystrophy and Cerebellar Cortical Abiotrophy in Papillon and Papillon-Related Dogs, The Journal of Veterinary Medical Science.