Mi-Ki Dog

Pippa Elliott
Dr Pippa Elliott (BVMS MRCVS, University of Glasgow)
Photo of adult Mi-Ki Dog
rejohnson71 / Wikipedia.org

If this is the first time you’ve heard of the Mi-Ki dog, that’s because it’s a new breed that’s only been around since the 1980s. With its distinct Papillion-like ears and their flowing feathering, this toy dog breed is a tiny wonder with a touch of Ewok about him.

Originally breed to create a calm and placid canine companion, the Mi-Ki is a blend of around 4 to 6 toy breeds. As well as being loving and affectionate, the Mi-Ki is intelligent and has a placid character all of its own. Still establishing itself as a breed, even within the Mi-Ki community, there is still some disagreement as to the exact breed standard and its physical characteristics. What can be said with confidence is that the Mi-Ki is a charmer, and for the owner looking for a loving, loyal companion of diminutive size then the Mi-Ki may well measure up.

About & History

We read about breeds, such as the Greek Harehound and Pekinese that are ancient breeds with their origins lost through the distance of time. Compared to these venerable breeds the Mi-Ki is a mere babe in swaddling with their history starting in the 1980s.

Given the relative shortness of the Mi-Ki’s existence, you would expect us to know a lot about how their origins. Bizarrely, this is not the case. What is known is the Mi-Ki first put in an appearance in America in the 1980s. So, at the same time Madonna was Desperately Seeking Susan and Wham! were topping the charts, so those first Mi-Ki pups were snuffling around, getting ready to break hearts with their cute appeal.

The likely origin of the Mi-Ki is a dog developed by Micki Mackin. Unfortunately, Micki kept no records so the exact make up of the dogs she bred, leaving the picture unclear. As well as the Maltese, Papillon, and Japanese Chin that are widely accepted as making up the foundation stock; it’s possible there’s a smidge of Shih Tzu and even Yorkshire Terrier in those early Mi-Ki dogs.


Mi-Ki Dog Large Photo
MyPark110 / Wikipedia.org

In an “I am Spartacus” like competition for recognition, there are several breed clubs that each claim to be guardians of the Mi-Ki dog’s breed standard. Each club gives the dog a slightly different description and yet all claim they are guardians of the Mi-Ki. Go figure!

What can be said with certainty is these are a small, toy dog with a sweet appearance. These cuties have a muzzle that is around one-quarter the length of the head. They may be winged or drop ears, with the former being reminiscent of a Papillon with a generous fringe of feathering hanging down.

The body should be slightly longer than the dog is tail, with a nice straight back leading to a plumed tail that is carried high and slightly curved. The coat is described as being single, soft, and long, lacking an undercoat or coarse outer coat. When it comes to coat colour, anything goes, with the exception of the complete lack of pigment that’s known as albinism.

Character & Temperament

It’s said that Micki Macklin’s original purpose was to create as placid and reliable companion breed. In this she succeeded. Indeed, the Mi-Ki is described as having cat-like qualities, being something of a sun-worshiper and proud of the appearance of their coat.

The Mi-Ki has a reputation for lots of good characteristics, including being friendly, gentle, placid, and slow to anger. The breed is also said to be intelligent, and reliable around children. They are also considered highly adaptable and will take change in stride so long as they’re with their owner. The breed is well suited to being therapy dogs given their inoffensive nature and calmness under stress.

The Mi-Ki makes for a good family dog with the exception of their size. Being a small dog with fine bones, they are physically unable to cope with a lot of rough and tumble. This means they may get injured in a chaotic household with energetic children.


The Mi-Ki is placid but intelligent and eager to please. This makes them highly trainable. Obedience training is strongly advised despite their small size. It should not be forgotten that small dogs are apt to get above themselves and develop bad habits when not properly trained. Training helps them understand who is in charge.

Despite the compliant nature of the Mi-Ki, they have the potential to soil the house or be naughty when not properly trained. For their own safety, they should be taught to walk, heel, sit, stay, and come when called. Plus, the one-to-one attention of training helps them feel secure and bonded to their owner.


The relative newness of the breed and its rarity mean there isn’t much data on the frequency of health problems. What is interesting is the American Mi-Ki Registry Association requires mandatory testing for certain genetic conditions. This reflects the problems that are most troublesome in the original parent breeds, and aims to reduce their impact in the Mi-Ki breed. These conditions are:

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

This inherited condition causes a slow onset blindness that can occur distressingly early in life. With no known cure, it’s vital not to breed from affected dogs so that the faulty genes are not passed down to the next generation.

Von Willebrand’s Disease and Hemophilia

These two conditions both concern an inability to clot blood properly. Minor knocks and bumps can result in severe bruising, and small cuts bleed for days. There a special concern when these dogs either have surgery or a more major accident, since the body lacks the appropriate mechanism to form blood clots and stop the bleeding.

There is no practical cure for either condition, with management playing an important role. Dogs with either of these conditions should avoid rough and tumble, and a blood transfusion should be available should they need elective surgery. Again, affected dogs should not be bred from due to the likelihood of passing on the genes for these inherited conditions.

Patellar Luxation (Wobbly Kneecaps)

Wobbly kneecaps are a common condition in most small or toy dog breeds, including those that formed the original Mi-Ki parent stock. A luxated patella varies in severity from a mild niggle, which causes the dog to hop occasionally, through to a physical handicap that causes premature arthritis.

Whilst pain relief or corrective surgery can improve the quality of life of the individual dog, it is preferable not to perpetuate the problem. Again, affected dogs should not be bred from.

Exercise and Activity Levels

The Mi-Ki may be a small dog, but they are active. Like any dog, they need plenty of opportunity to stretch their legs with exercise and play. Despite their appearance of being a cross between a teddy bear and an Ewok, they do need daily walks and should be treated as a dog rather than a plush toy.


The Mi-Ki dogs’ coat does require care and regular grooming to keep it looking at its best. Two coat types are recognised, including smooth and long. Either way, the fur is soft, silky, and with the long variety, grows to quite a length. The ears and tail are especially blessed with long curtains of silky fur, which is prone to picking up twigs and burrs. A quick daily comb through is advisable, followed by a buff with a brush to spread the natural oils to condition the coat.

Take care not to over-bathe the Mi-Ki, as shampoo will disturb the natural balance of the skin and can lead to dryness.

Famous Mi-Ki Dogs

Is it an Ewok or a cuddly toy? No, it’s the Mi-Ki on Pinterest.


This young breed is still seeking its own identity with some disagreements between breeders about the breed standard. The Mi-Ki is type of hybrid dog that is in the process of stabilising and therefore isn’t deliberately used to cross-breed at this moment in time.

User comments

There are no user comments for this listing.