The lovely little Pomchi is a lively and loyal companion. They are a crossbreed (hybrid) between a Pomeranian and a Chihuahua and have a variety of other names including Chi-Pom, Chimeranian, Chiapom, Chiranian, Pomahuahua and Pomachi!
The first time a Pomeranian is crossed with a Chihuahua, a generation of very variable puppies is produced. They could be very different appearances and temperaments even within the same litter. Successive breeding will produce a more standardised dog. Here’s everything you need to know about this new breed of pooch.
The History of the Pomchi Breed
The Pomchi is one of the new designer dog breeds. The motivation for starting the cross-breed was to fulfil the growing demand for cute designer dogs which has been partly fuelled by celebrity culture. The Sheepadoodle, the Maltipoo and the Shorky to name just a few, have been bred for similar reasons and are a common sight on Instagram posts!
Designer cross-breeding is not without its critics and does present some risks. Fans of the activity believe that it’s a good thing and helps to avoid the health issues associated with years and years of pure breeding. Opponents of the activity believe that unqualified breeders are now getting involved and that pups with genetic heart, lung, nerve and skeletal problems caused by bad breeding will be the result. It is certainly true that smaller dogs are more sensitive to genetic defects if poor breeding practices are employed. Therefore, it is important to find an experienced and reputable breeder.
No one actually knows when the Pomchi breed originated, or who came up with the idea, but it was in the United States within the last three decades. Enthusiasts of the breed aim to develop it as a successful hybrid line. The plan is to breed them for seven successive generations and seek status as a purebred dog by registering with prestigious canine registries.
Until then, it is important to realise that no puppy is guaranteed to inherit specific physical or emotional traits from their parents. You could end up with a very different mixture to what you expected. They could have any traits of either breed and even littermates can look and behave very differently from each other!
Who are the Parents?
As a new hybrid breed is so unpredictable, it is vital that you do your research into the parents of every pup. A reputable breeder will have no problem answering your questions.
The Pomeranian breed
Pomeranians (Poms) are descendants of the German Spitz which were large, working dogs from the Arctic area. They are named after the province of Pomerania which straddles modern-day Germany and Poland. The breed was originally much larger and was used for herding sheep. Selective breeding reduced its size by over a half by the 1800s and it became a popular companion dog.
Poms are known for being outgoing and sociable and are always in the Top 20 choice of dog in the United States.
The Chihuahua Breed
The Chihuahua is an ancient breed of dog. There are archaeological records indicating that it lived in Mexico as far back as 100 AD. It was common in the Aztec period and was used as a hot water bottle by sick or injured people!
It was officially named in the 1850s after the Mexican State of Chihuahua and was first brought to the United States sometime during the 1800s. They are confident, brave and alert and very similar in temperament to terriers.
Check out the Parents
Pomchi breeders are plentiful and with pups priced at anything from $700 to $1,500 it is a profitable business to get into. Always visit the breeder’s premises and ask to see the mother. If the Dad is the Chihuahua, ask to meet him too as you need to establish his temperament. Chihuahuas can sometimes be aggressive and snappy.
Ask for proof of health checks. Pomeranians and Chihuahuas can suffer from the following health issues so you need to rule them out:
- Patellar luxation
- Heart problems
- Dental problems
- Hip dysplasia
- Collapsed trachea
- Open Fontanel
- Eye problems
Quick Facts about the Pomchi Breed
Here are ten very quick facts about Pomchis to kick-start your knowledge about the breed:
- Group of breed. Pomchis are classified as a toy dog which means that they have been bred to be a small companion dog. They are sometimes called lap dogs. They usually have friendly temperaments, love human company and don’t need a lot of exercise.
- Breed size. Males are usually six to ten inches high and weigh five to 12 pounds whereas females are six to nine inches high and weigh four to 11 pounds. They are basically small lap dogs and are easy to pick up and carry around if you want to.
- Coat colour. There is a lot of variety here. The coat colours could follow that of the Mom, of the Dad or could be any kind of combination of the two. It depends on the relative strength of the genetic influence of the parent. The colour is often based on black, white or brown (could be some red) but could be solid, merle, sable or any combination of these at the same time!
- Coat length. The Pomchi coat is also very variable. It can be long or short but is always straight and not wiry. It can also be single, double, dense or sparse. Longer coats will need more care and grooming to keep them looking soft, full and shiny. Shorter coats require less work but still needs to be checked regularly.
- General appearance. Pomchis are certainly visually appealing dogs. Their large, round brown or amber eyes and little black noses give them the ‘cute’ factor. Your Pomchi will be small but well-proportioned and their body will be slightly longer than their height. They have a round head but a delicate face with a distinctively pointed muzzle. They have short and slender, yet strong, legs which end in small and rounded paws.
- Life expectancy. Most Pomchis are thought to live for 12 to 18 years. In comparison, a Pomeranian usually lives for around nine years but have lived as long as 17 years and Chihuahua usually live for seven to 12 years but some have lived over 19 years. Carefully selecting a pup from parents who have been health tested gives you the best chance of having a dog that will reach the upper age expectancies. Hybrid dogs do have a tendency to live longer than their pure breed parents.
- Health problems. As it is a fairly new breed, the health conditions that could potentially affect the Pomchi are not yet fully understood. They could inherit conditions from either of their parents including patellar luxation, hypoglycemia, heart problems, collapsed trachea and Legg-Calve Perthes Disease.
- Training. There can be a stubborn streak in Pomchis and they respond much better to treats and praise than to harshness. Overall, they are an intelligent dog but can be bossy. It is vital that you exert your authority right from the start.
- Your Pomchi will probably have a big appetite for their size! They need food with plenty of lean meat and complex carbohydrates. They may not do very well on commercial dog food because the fillers can cause blood sugar issues and they tend to have sensitive digestions. It is also bad for their teeth.
- Exercise. Pomchis are called lap dogs for a reason! They are very happy curled up inside your home and will get enough exercise by running after a few toys. They don’t need to be walked for miles, a few short walks a day will be sufficient. They will enjoy the fresh air and will be stimulated by the sights, sounds and most of all, the smells! A few toilet stops on the way are also useful.
Things You Should Know
Before you rush out and buy a Pomchi pup, there are a few things that you should know to make sure that you will be happy with each other.
- Not all Pomchi breeders are reputable
Sadly, there are plenty of people out there who are trying to make a fast buck from the growing popularity of hybrid lap dogs. This means that you need to exercise extreme caution when choosing a pup.
Take some time to locate a responsible breeder who is fully aware of the health risks in the parent dogs. Some breeders will even use genetic testing and will be able to produce health certificates for the parents. Buying a dog is a big commitment and you need to know what you are getting into. Spend some time researching the medical conditions that a Pomchi is predisposed to, so you can be on the lookout for them before and after you buy your pup. Never be afraid to ask questions.
Most humans fall in love as soon as they see a Pomchi pup so don’t even visit the breeder until you have done your checks!
- Pomchis can be hard work!
Pomchis are small dogs but they can have a big attitude. This is because they have Chihuahua heritage and Chihuahuas can be aggressive towards humans (including their owners) and other dogs. You will have to make an effort to socialise your pup and this has to start early and continue throughout their lives. Don’t treat them like a baby, treat them like a dog. Socialise them with lots of other humans and dogs and work hard on their training. They are quite easy to house train and can be taught to use a litter box. Using gentle encouragement and treats works well but you have to be patient.
- Grooming is going to be a big part of your life
Pomchis are described as ‘average’ shedders. If your Pomchi pup has a longer, fuller coat, it is going to take a lot of work to keep it looking healthy. Shorter-haired pups won’t need as much grooming. Matted hair is bad for your Pomchi and will make them unhappy so it must be prevented with grooming.
You need to equip yourself with a pin brush, a slicker brush and a comb. Brush their coat every day or at least every other day with the soft-bristled brush. Pomchis can have very sensitive skin and a harsh metal brush will cause irritation and discomfort. At the same time, you can clean any discharge out of their eyes and wipe their ears with a damp cloth. Check for inflammation in the ears which can be caused by seeds or dirt. By all means, bathe your pup using a mild shampoo but only do this when they are actually dirty to avoid irritating their skin and disturbing the natural oils. Try to make grooming a fun activity that you can both enjoy.
You will need to visit your local groomer every two to three months for nail clipping and hair trimming.
- They are not hardy outdoor types!
Are you looking for a dog that loves bounding through frosty fields for miles at a time? If you are, a Pomchi is definitely not the dog for you. They are much more suited to urban living. Think chic city apartment rather than quaint country cottage. Of course, you can own a Pomchi is you live in a country cottage but they are equally suited to an apartment which has no garden. As long as their walks add up to around eight miles a week, they will be happy. They are not hardy and do not like cold weather. Walks should be short and sweet and you cannot leave them outside for long periods.
The little Pomchi is a delicate dog and will not cope with being ‘roughed up’ by bigger breeds so be careful where you exercise them because they can get hurt. Stay away from larger and aggressive dogs and keep them close to you in public areas.
They will also get injured by boisterous younger children and do not appreciate having their eyes poked or their ears pulled. They are not the most ‘easy-going’ of breeds when it comes to young kids and will get yappy and snappy if a young child tries to interfere with their food or take their toys off them. For that reason, they are not an ideal pet for a young family and may be more suited to single people, couples, retired people or families with teenage children.
- Take great care with food
For little dogs, Pomchis have big appetites but you must be careful what you feed them. If you opt for dried food, they need high-quality kibble formulated especially for small, active dogs. A fresh food diet with plenty of lean hamburger, white chicken breast and fish will suit them perfectly. They also love liver, kidney and brain. Don’t forget the vegetables, they thrive on sweet potatoes, baby zucchini, broccoli and spinach. Avoid corn but top up their carbohydrates with rice and pasta. Looking at their diet as a whole, they should be getting 40 per cent meat, 30 per cent vegetables and 30 per cent carbohydrates.
Moist, canned foods are not a good food for Pomchis. Not only can it trigger digestive problems but it encourages tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. In a breed that is already predisposed to dental problems this is a very bad idea!
- Dental health
Dental issues are one of the health problems that Pomchis can suffer from because both Pomeranians and Chihuahuas are predisposed to poor dental health. You can help by trying to select a pup from parents who have no known dental health problems. You can also help by feeding them a fresh diet and avoiding canned dog food. Some light weekly brushing with a toothpaste recommended by your vet will also help.
- Pomchis are not recognised by major canine clubs
To date, the Pomchi has not been recognised by the major United States dog registries including the American Kennel Club and the Canadian Kennel Club. It is also not recognised as a breed by the United Kingdom Kennel Club. It is, however, recognised by the registries that accept mixed breed dogs and this includes the American Canine Hybrid Club and the Designer Breed Registry.
The Pomchi Temperament
Your Pomchi is likely to be a little character! Here are a few things you need to know about their temperament.
- They will bond with you quickly and adore you for the rest of their life.
- They don’t like being left alone for long periods and will bark a lot if they are. Separation anxiety is a real issue and they can become destructive. Avoid leaving them alone if you value your furniture.
- To get the best out of them, you need to pay them a lot of attention. They are companion dogs after all!
- They are sweet, loyal and friendly with a very big heart and make an ideal first dog.
- Any pup can end up with a predominantly Chihuahua or Pom personality. Chihuahuas can be nervous and aggressive so be prepared for that.
- Socialisation is vital to prevent them from becoming yappy, aggressive and annoying. Puppy kindergarten/training classes are great for establishing basic manners and meeting new doggy friends to hang out with.
- They are very protective of their home and will alert you to strangers. In their heads, they are a Rottweiler and will take on intruders bravely!
- Physical or other harsh training methods don’t work with them but they respond well to calm consistency and treats. They are intelligent dogs and will pick up a variety of tricks but you have to make the training fun or they will simply get bored and walk away.
- They can be stubborn and wilful and, as the owner, you must be equally as persistent to get them to bend to your will. You absolutely must show them who is boss right from the start. You are the pack leader and not them!
- Pomchis love to cuddle up on the sofa with their owners but can be a bit aloof with strangers.
- You will get plenty of attention and affection from your Pomchi who likes nothing more than making you smile and laugh. That’s what a companion dog is all about after all!
The lovely little Pomchi has the potential to be a much-loved and loyal companion. They get on well with other dogs and humans, provided you have worked hard on their socialisation when they were puppies.
They are not huge shedders and are easy to feed because they have a great appetite. However, they do best on fresh meat, vegetables and carbohydrates. It is best to avoid canned dog food. They are fairly high-maintenance as they need to be groomed daily if they have a long coat. However, they are intelligent and easy to please so gentle persistence will eventually be successful when training. They require very little exercise and will be happy to simply play with a few toys and then curl up on the sofa beside you. This makes them suitable for inexperienced dog owners and they are a good candidate as a first dog.
They can suffer from inherited health conditions (especially dental disease) so it is essential that you get your pup from a reputable breeder and that you check out the health status of the parents. This gives you the best chance of enjoying many happy years with your adorable little Pomchi.