Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Chigi
Michelle Ress /

Chigis are new designer dogs that have been developed by breeding together the regal Corgi with the confident Chihuahua. This designer dog, sometimes known as a Cohuahua, 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. 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 a large number of other hybrids, Chigis 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 due to the fact that the Corgi is quite a rare dog internationally.

The Chihuahua

Chihuahuas are small Mexican dogs with larger than life personalities and, in spite of their small skull size, plenty of brains. It is believed that they were used by the Aztecs 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.

The Corgi

Corgis are a British breed that were used on a number of 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!


Chigi Large Photo
Michelle Ress /

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 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 (who is famed for being the smallest breed in the world) but is still a diminutive 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 shade, 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 be able to adapt to a new family remarkably well. They are playful and lively so do enjoy the opportunity to clown around with other dogs as well as 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 have a tendency to like things a certain way and to ‘herd’ other pets and the 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 bark loudly the moment 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, Chigis are fun to train and can easily master a number of 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 being 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.

Patellar Luxation

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 feel alone, they will typically take some radiographs to further assess the knee joint.

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. For those with more serious deformities, they may well need specialist surgery to ensure a good quality of life and adequate mobility.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease will not only 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 is something that must be introduced from a young age and practiced regularly if it is to be successful.

Tracheal Collapse

The honking cough that is 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 day care. 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, which will be during the hotter months. Brushing them twice a week will be plenty to keep on top of the dead hairs shed and to 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!).

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