Chigis are new designer dogs that have been developed by breeding together the regal Corgi with the confident Chihuahua. Sometimes known as a Cohuahua, this designer dog is both affectionate and confident with an independent streak. They are kept purely as companion animals and integrate well into homes with both children and other animals.
The Chigi is a small but sturdy dog with over-sized ‘bat’ ears and thick but short limbs. They have barrel-shaped bodies and quite long tails; and many will have the skinny ‘rat-like’ face of their Chihuahua parent, only less exaggerated. Their short fur is straight and easy to manage.
About & History
As with many other hybrids, Chigi’s were likely first developed in the States during the late 20th century. Since then, they have been bred in small numbers and remain a rather unpopular crossbreed. This is likely because the Corgi is quite a rare dog internationally.
Chihuahuas are small Mexican dogs with larger than life personalities and plenty of brains despite their small skull size. It is believed that the Aztecs used them as a source of meat. They have been around for centuries, but the dog we know today was refined sometime during the 1800s.
They belong to the Kennel Club’s Toy Group who recognise both the smooth and long-coated varieties. Though the Chihuahua was never a ‘worker bee’ many owners did once rely on them as sources of heat during cold weather snaps.
Corgis are a British breed that was used on several farms to both herd their livestock and guard their property. Within their native land, they are relatively uncommon, and they are even less popular worldwide. Corgis are thought to have descended from a mixture of Pedigrees, such as Dachshunds and Welsh Sheepdogs.
Due to their obedient nature and relative athleticism, they can make adequate competitors in canine sports, such as Flyball and Agility today. However, their short and stubby limbs do not lend themselves to sprinting for long distances!
Chigis are somewhat larger and stockier than Chihuahuas, with broader heads. Their ears are comically big and stand well-spaced apart at the top of their skull. They have a wide and flat forehead and rather expressive ‘eyebrows.’ Their eyes are brown and almond in shape, often with a small amount of wrinkled skin in between them. They have a well-defined stop and a good-sized, wedge-shaped muzzle. Their bodies are longer than they are tall, and they have stumpy legs.
The Chigi is not as small as the Chihuahua (famous for being the smallest breed in the world) but is still a miniature breed. They measure from 18cm to 25cm and will weigh between 4kg and 9kg. Chigis have a rather short coat, which is straight and comes in several shades, including fawn, brown, grey, cream, and white. Commonly, dogs will be a light brown colour with white patches of fur.
Character & Temperament
The Chigi is a good-tempered, easy-going dog that makes a suitable family pet. Even if adopted at an older age, they seem to adapt to a new family remarkably well. They are playful and lively, so they do enjoy the opportunity to clown around with other dogs and children. They are affectionate with their owners, who may find it difficult not to spoil them!
If the Chigi takes more after their Corgi parent, they may like things a certain way and ‘herd’ other pets and kids. Unless this becomes a frequent habit, it shouldn’t cause any issues and can be quite humorous to observe.
Most owners concur that their Chigi makes a phenomenal watchdog as they are always on the lookout for new arrivals and will loudly bark when one arrives. As barking can prove an issue for some, owners should try to nip this behavior in the bud before it becomes a bad habit.
Smart and quick to learn, Chigi’s are fun to train and easily master several different tricks. Some will have a short attention span, so do better with short sessions and may need encouragement to maintain their interest.
The Chigi will live to about 12-15 years and is generally thought of as a healthy crossbreed. However, there are certain ailments and conditions that they will be more prone to than others.
Allergic Skin Disease
Owners often tell veterinarians that allergic skin disease is the most frustrating condition they have ever encountered in their pet, and vets tend to agree with this viewpoint! Frustratingly, while we can both diagnose and manage allergies, it is rare that they can be cured completely. Initial signs tend to include pink skin, itching, and secondary skin infections.
Allergies may be mistaken for parasitic infestations and other diseases such as Ringworm. As so many dogs are affected with allergic skin disease, novel therapies are being developed all the time, so it is realistic to expect there may be a cure in the pipeline soon.
Knee caps that pop in and out of place are not uncommon in small dogs, and individuals will be affected to varying degrees, with the luxation being graded from a one to a four. When the patella pops out of place, it is possible to both hear and feel this happening, and a vet will often manipulate it in and out of place during their diagnostic assessment. While most vets can diagnose the condition from feeling alone, they will typically take some radiographs to assess the knee joint further.
Some breed members will be minimally affected and will be able to lead a relatively normal life without much intervention. These dogs benefit from maintaining a lean body condition score and taking anti-inflammatories and pain relief during flare-ups. Those with more serious deformities may well need specialist surgery to ensure a good quality of life and adequate mobility.
Periodontal disease will lead to issues such as a sore mouth and trouble eating but can increase the bacterial load in the body and lead to infections in organs, such as the heart. Thankfully, good dental hygiene can often prevent periodontal disease, though this must be introduced from a young age and regularly practiced to be successful.
The honking cough associated with tracheal collapse can be alarming to hear, and some owners will wonder if their dog has developed Kennel Cough or has perhaps got a foreign body, such as a bone obstructing their airway.
On an x-ray, the trachea will be noticeably narrower than it should be. While there is a surgery available whereby stents are placed along the airway, most dogs will be managed with medical therapy, including cough suppressants and bronchodilators.
Exercise and Activity Levels
These dogs can have their exercise needs met within their houses and back yards as long as they are taken on a few short walks a day. On top of this, owners should stimulate their minds with scenting games and interactive toys to prevent boredom from setting in.
Most enjoy exercising alongside other dogs and do well in dog parks and doggy daycare. To ensure they are sociable, they should be actively encouraged to play with other dogs from a young age.
These dogs do not shed much except during their shedding season, during the hotter months. Brushing them twice a week will be plenty to keep on top of the dead hairs shed and keep their coat looking sleek and shiny.
Owners should aim to brush their teeth at least three times a week, though daily would be preferable. Flavoured toothpaste can be used to increase tolerance and make the experience less of a chore (for the Chigi, at least!).