Lovers of small dogs everywhere will adore the Pomchi, a Pomeranian Chihuahua mix dog breed. This fairly new mixed breed offers all the personality and sass of a large breed along with the cute and cuddly features of a toy dog. If travel-size is your thing, you’re going to love this pooch.
Bred almost entirely with companionship in mind, dogs of this energetic, affectionate toy breed make fantastic best friends and great lap dogs.
History Of The Pomchi
Although they are very recent on the scene among mixed breed dogs, the history of the Pomchi breed is still somewhat shrouded in mystery. While these little guys may have been bred earlier, probably quite by accident, the first of these hybrid dogs known to be purposefully bred came about sometime between the early and late 1990’s.
The Pomchi is a designer breed resulting from the cross of a Pomeranian dog and a Chihuahua dog. The Pomeranian is a breed descended, in part, from the Spitz, and it hails from Eastern Europe. The Chihuahua originated in Mexico, possibly from Techichi lineage, and is named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua.
Pomchi dogs, also called the Chi-Pom, the Pomahuahua and the Chiranian, are definitely designer dogs, and, as a fairly recent cross, they are not accepted as a purebred dog by the American Kennel Club (AKC.) However, they enjoy some recognition from the Pomchi Club Of America, the American Canine Hybrid Club and the Designer Canine Registry, and many breeders of this chihuahua mix continue to work towards acceptance by the AKC.
Characteristics And Features
As a crossbreed, a Pomchi dog can be 50% Pomeranian and 50% Chihuahua. Others that qualify for the breed may be a cross of one of the original breeds with a first generation Pomchi, or the result of mating two first generation Pomchis. This kind of freedom in breeding results in a wide variety of looks for the Chihuahua Pomeranian mix.
With so much variation possible, you may well wonder how a breed standard could be established for the Pomchi. However, despite much varying information around the Web, the Pomchi Club of America (PCA) did set a standard for this breed in 1998.
The Pomchi is a short-legged, small dog weighing anywhere from 4 to 12 pounds. They have small, roundish or almond-shaped heads with short muzzles ending in a slight point. Their ears are medium sized and triangular, with or without feathering, and usually stand erect. Their eyes are round and usually dark colored. Pomchi dogs generally stand between 6 and 9 inches high.
The coat of the Pomahuahua can be long or short, and he may have a single or double coat. You may be more likely to get a furry, long haired Pomchi when one of the parents is a long haired chihuahua, however, there is no guarantee.
The coat color and pattern can vary widely. As with Pomerians, they may have parti, or patched coats, in any of the accepted shades. They may also exhibit a merle pattern, or mottling, in two or more colors. Sable colored coats are another possibility, where dark hues like black, brown and tan are present, but the coat is not spotted or patched. For instance, a black Pomchi is often truly a sable one, where the black shows most prominently, but paler shades may appear from the undercoat in certain light.
Coat colors may be any one or more of the following: black, sable, blue, chocolate or brown, fawn or tan and cream.
Types Of Pomchis
Types of Pomchis are merely different dogs of this breed with variations, such as length of coat, having one or two coats, colors and size. All variations, provided that they match the breed standard, are simply known as Pomchis. However, there are some notable concerns a dog owner should be aware of with the teacup version of the breed.
The standard Pomchi weighs in at an average of 7 to 10 pounds, but because they can weigh as little as 4 pounds and as much as 12, the smallest of this breed are sometimes referred to as Teacup Pomchis.
While these teensy-tiny versions of the Pomchi are pretty darned cute, and highly sought after, you should take every precaution when looking for a Teacup Pomchi puppy. Buyer beware, as the saying goes, as most of these diminutive dogs tend to come from puppy mills. Irreputable breeders are known to mate two of the smallest Pomchis they can find, seeking to create even smaller versions of these dogs. Teacup breeds, and other dogs from irresponsible breeders, are known to come with more numerous and more serious health problems, so it’s always wise to seek a Pomchi from someone both knowledgeable and reputable.
Health Concerns For The Pomchi
An average healthy, happy Pomchi with no major health issues lives 12 to 15 years, and some have been known to live as long as 17. They more than likely owe this lengthy life expectancy to their chihuahua genes. Chihuahuas are known for being one of the longest living dog breeds. However, there are some semi common health problems for the breed that owners should be aware of.
Patellar luxation is a common among toy breeds, and it can be a problem for some Ponchis. In this condition, the dog’s kneecap becomes dislocated from the femur. The condition can be mild or severe, and it may or may not require surgery. Generally, this condition is mild to moderate, and the dog will not even experience pain. You may notice your dog skip, run in an ungainly fashion or limp from time to time if he has a case of patellar luxation.
A lot of times, if the condition is not severe or causing pain, they are able to relocate the kneecap themselves by kicking the leg to one side or lifting it until the muscles relax. In severe cases, the condition occurs frequently or constantly, and the dog may require corrective surgery.
Dental issues are another common concern for the Pomchi. As with 80% of all dogs, both parent breeds deal with a lot of tooth-related problems like tartar buildup, gum disease and tooth decay. However, you can prevent, or slow the progression of, many oral hygiene issues in your Pomchi by ensuring that you brush his teeth regularly.
Some small breed dogs are also prone to developing a collapsed trachea. This condition is characterized by a weakening of the cartilage in the trachea, or windpipe, and can cause symptoms like coughing and difficulty breathing. This condition is more common in older dogs, but it can happen at any age, especially if your dog is overweight. The condition can be managed at home for most dogs. The owner of a Pomchi with a collapsed trachea should monitor the dog’s weight, providing a low-fat diet.
You should also avoid overexerting a dog with this condition, as prolonged or strenuous exercise can aggravate symptoms. Keeping your home free of environmental pollutants, like dust and smoke, can also help your Pomchi breathe easier. Canine appropriate cough medicines and other medications may also help. These can be acquired from a vet.
Weight Gain And Obesity
The Pomchi, as with many small dog breeds, can be prone to weight gain and obesity. Overweight dogs are more susceptible to a wide array of conditions and diseases. Maintaining a healthy diet, keeping a feeding routine and providing daily exercise will help prevent your tiny dog from becoming pudgy.
These other conditions may also affect Pomchis: progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, hypothyroidism, epilepsy, various heart problems and hypoglycemia. Some conditions are more likely where one or both parents has the condition or possesses the gene to carry the condition.
Typical Temperament Of The Breed
As in many mixed breed dogs, when you combine the Pommeranian with the Chihuahua, you can get a wide variety of personality traits. Your Pomchi’s personality will likely exhibit many traits of the Pomeranian and the Chihuahua, but he will likely also exhibit a temperament specifically similar to one or both parents.
Pomchis typically make wonderful companion dogs because they are loyal and affectionate. Due to their small size, they are also easy to hold and cuddle. In fact, they tend to love being around their humans so much that they can be prone to bouts of separation anxiety. These little guys do best in homes where owners are present most of the time.
Loving And Intelligent
Along with being a loving dog, a Pomchi is often also intelligent, courageous, curious, sassy and stubborn. Both Parent breeds are known for their stubborn streaks, and, together with their intelligence, this can lead to some frustrations in training for dog owners. But their intelligence and curious natures can also lend themselves to some fun and humorous adventures, play sessions, tricks and games. The Pomchi is an entertaining dog!
On top of all that, Pomchis make really good watchdogs. They’re always listening and watching, alert to the slightest sound or motion around them. You may instinctively wish to quiet your litlte dog when he barks excessively, but in his mind, he’s probably being the protective, brave canine guardian that you need in your life. In this way, they exhibit a lot of terrier-like qualities.
Good With Children
On a final note, while they’re generally really sweet tempered, especially when properly trained and adequately socialized, these little dogs aren’t usually good with young children. Small humans tend to come across as aggressive to Pomchis, and this can result in barking, growling or snapping. Small children don’t always know how to treat dogs, and if a little kid pulls a Pomchi’s tail, tries to share his dinner or pulls a toy away, the interaction is likely not going to end well.
If you do choose a Pomchi as a family dog, you may want to wait til your children are older. At the very least, ensure that your Pomchi is fully trained and socialized before introducing it to babies and toddlers, and make sure your kids understand how to treat the dog.
Intelligence And Training For the Breed
As mentioned above, this breed is known for their intelligence. Chihuahuas especially get a lot of flack and a false reputation for not being smart. But many small dogs are highly intelligent, and this little dog is no exception.
Having a brainy canine companion means you won’t have much trouble getting your Pomchi to understand training procedures. However, because they are clever and stubborn, they may balk under command simply because they can. Your Pomchi may think he is in charge, so you’ll have to implement a firm, but loving, regime to acquire optimum results. Consistency is key, and following through with rewards is essential.
Socialization is an important part of training for the Chiranian. They are loving and friendly, but they can be completely disinterested in or even distrustful of strangers. Taking your puppy to the dog park early on is a great way to start the socialization process. This way, he can begin to get used to other dogs and other humans.
Dog training classes and socialization playdates are also great ways to get your Chi-Pom to stop being a wallflower. If you are not sure where to start, invite a friend, and her dog, over to your house for dinner. Like a child who is uncomfortable around relatives she doesn’t see often, eventually your little dog will get used to the idea that it’s ok to interact with others.
Feeding And Exercising
Another benefit of a small dog like the Pomchi is that you won’t be spending a lot of money on dog food. You can expect to feed your dog half a cup to one cup of food per day. Your dog’s specific needs will be determined by the animal’s weight, age, sex, BMI and potential dietary restrictions or requirements.
Dry kibble is the best option for Pomchis, mainly because it’s better for the teeth than wet food. Pomchis are sometimes prone to obesity, so choosing a high quality, nutrient-packed food that is low in fat is preferable. Since they eat so little, it’s important to ensure that the little food they do eat is, by volume, largely comprised of necessary ingredients and not overloaded with fat and other fillers.
Low Activity Level
With a low activity level, Pomchis are great for people who don’t have a lot of time for walks and trips to the park. They also don’t require large indoor living spaces or backyards to run around in, making them a good choice for apartment life and city-dwellers.
As far as exercise, these little nippers are low maintenance, only requiring short walks to stay fit. But they do need those walks. Many owners of smaller dogs find that it’s easy to accidentally overfeed, which can fast lead to your Pomchi becoming overweight if you aren’t careful. About 30 minutes a day should be plenty of exercise, and you can even divide this into two or three really short walks to fit your schedule and keep your pupper toned and lean.
Since these doggies are curious and smart, they usually enjoy learning tricks and playing games, which can also be a great way to supplement their exercise routine on rainy days, or when you’re too busy to go for a walk.
Grooming For The Breed
Some would-be Pomchi owners are hoping for a hypoallergenic dog. Unfortunately, this is not a feature of the Pomchi. It may be that they cause less allergic reaction than some breeds simply because, due to their minute proportions, they don’t shed the same volume of fur that larger dogs do.
While you shouldn’t need to make frequent trips to the groomer, a home grooming routine will keep your Pomchi looking well and healthy. Grooming can also be a great time to bond with your lap pup.
Their coats should be brushed daily to prevent matting and tangling, or, at the very least, several times a week. Long haired coats will need to be brushed more frequently than short. Brush your Chi-Pom pal with a soft bristle brush, rather than a wire one, using gentle strokes. These little fur balls are somewhat delicate, and you don’t want to scratch their skin with the bristles.
You won’t need to shave or cut your Pomchi’s hair, but some minor trimming may be required occasionally. Areas to trim include: around the ears, toe pads, tail and hindquarters. Trimming the excess hair around your Pomchi’s feet can prevent slipping and tripping.
Bathing is only needed once a month, or less. Despite their curious personalities, Pomchis don’t tend to like getting dirty, and you should only need to bathe when they are smelly or dirty. You can clean around your dog’s eyes and inside the ears in between baths.
Since Pomchis don’t do a lot of strenuous exercise, and they only require short walks, their nails don’t usually wear down enough naturally. For maintenance purposes, you will probably need to trim your doggie’s nails around once a month to every six weeks.
Since dental problems can be an issue, it’s important to maintain an oral hygiene routine for your Pomchi. Ideally, brush your dog’s teeth daily, but even doing so once or twice a week is beneficial. You can get canine appropriate toothpaste and toothbrushes from a veterinarian or some pet supply stores. Alternatively, you can ask your vet to do an occasional dental cleaning.
FAQ On The Pomchi
1. Is the Pomchi right for me?
If you’re looking for a small dog, you can’t do better than the Pomchi. These breeds are great for those with small living quarters, but if you live in an apartment, remember that these overly vocal pups could easily get on the nerves of your neighbors. You’ll also need to provide a strong, consistent training regime for the Pomchi, being prepared to regularly socialize, exercise and play with your dog. They don’t tend to make great family dogs, so if you have children, you may want to consider a Labrador or a Golden Retriever.
2. Where can I get a Chi-Pom Puppy?
Like many other small designer dogs, the Chi-Pom is often sold by disreputable breeders who run puppy mills. Stay away from these backyard dog manufacturers if you want a healthy Pomchi dog. Always ask to see whatever paperwork the breeder has available. And if you aren’t able to find a good breeder, you can try contacting one of the official Pomchi organizations mentioned in the history section above or one of those listed in question three below.
3. Who has official information on Pomchis?
While the Pomchi is not accepted in the AKC, there are many official organizations that do accept this breed. The following clubs, registries and organizations can offer official information on this breed: the American Canine Hybrid Club, the Designer Breed Registry, the Designer Dogs Kennel Club, the Dog Registry of America, International Designer Canine Registry and the Pomchi Club of America. These organizations may also be a good place to start if you are trying to find a Pomchi puppy, and you aren’t sure where to look or who to trust.
4. Are Pomahuahuas aggressive?
You’ve probably heard many little breeds referred to as “yappers,” and perhaps you’ve even heard people describe Chihuahuas and Pomeranians as aggressive, or even vicious. By nature, these dogs are loving and companionable, but there are certain situations and experiences that can lead to aggression in any dog. Behaviors like loud, incessant barking, growling, snapping and biting are often deeply rooted in the dog’s sense of protectiveness. Whatever the breed, if the dog doesn’t know that his behavior is inappropriate, it is probably due to improper or inadequate training.
Dogs that have endured abuse by former owners, or who have lived in shelters long-term, may also exhibit some aggressive tendencies. Proper, consistent training is enough to keep most Pomchis from developing a mean streak. For dogs that have been abused, you will probably need a lot of patience and, possibly, some specialized, professional training.