All About Chiliers – A Complete Guide
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Looking for one word to describe Chilier dogs? Adorable! Seriously, there are many cute dogs out there, but Chiliers are in a class of their own.
Maybe it’s the eyes they inherit from their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel mother or father, maybe it’s the toy size they get from the other Chihuahua parent, but the result is an adorable mix-breed.
And if you’re looking for a new pet, a Chilier is everything you might want. These dogs are friendly and playful, and very good around children.
Here is everything you need to know about Chiliers.
Chiliers – The Breed Breakdown
Chiliers are a mixed breed or what is known as designer dogs. They only appeared a few decades ago as a very successful cross between two small and very popular breeds Chihuahua and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Both parents have some claim to royalty and their offspring couldn’t be otherwise. Many people who own a female chilier refer to their pet as ‘my princess’!
Chiliers are also known as Cava Chi, Cavachi or Chivalier.
Meet the parents!
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels can trace their roots back to King Charles II who took his “little dogs” everywhere.
Since the king of England loved them, everybody wanted a little spaniel, so this breed was quite popular across Northern Europe in the 17th century.
Later on, the King Charles Spaniels fell out of fashion, they were mated with other dogs and the famous bred seemed lost.
It was only in the late 19th century that dog breeders attempted to recreate the little pugs taking their inspiration from old paintings.
The result was the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, which was recognized as a breed in the 1940s. The American Kennel Club describes it as an “elegant, energetic toy breed that is compatible with city or country life.”
Chihuahua is a breed that comes from the Mexican state of the same name, where it was discovered by American visitors in the 1850s.
The origin of this breed is shrouded in mystery, but one of the theories is they are the descendants of a dog called Techichi, revered by the ancient Toltecs, who attributed magical powers to this miniature dog.
The image of this dog with a reddish coat can be found in old carvings from the Toltec era. When the Aztecs conquered the Toltecs they adopted these dogs who were thought to have healing powers.
The dogs were allowed in temples, but when the individual a Techichi was supposed to heal died, the poor dog was killed, cremated and buried with the deceased.
Fortunately, their lives changed for the better when the first Chihuahuas were imported from Mexico to the US.
Since they’re not purebreds, Chiliers are not recognized by the American Kennel Club, but they are registered with many other dogs’ associations in the US.
The lottery of Chilier pups
No two Chiliers are alike and it is difficult to predict what traits a pup will inherit from its parents. This is especially true of first-generation Chiliers.
One might get its spaniel father’s bulging eyes and droopy ears, while another in the same litter will have the mother’s pointy ears.
The same goes for the coat – some Chiliers have short hair like a Chihuahua, while others have long silky hair like a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Physical traits of Chiliers
The average height of a Chilier is between 8 and 10 inches, shorter than a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, but a bit taller than a Chihuahua.
The average weight of a Chilier is 6 to 12 pounds, with females being sometimes noticeably smaller.
The color of the coat varies, the prevalent colors being white, black, various shades of brown, cream or golden.
It is rare to find a Chilier with a monochrome coat and most present spots or patches of different colors. They have a coat of normal density and they have straight hair.
Chiliers usually have brown eyes and black noses.
Temperament of Chiliers
The Chiliers make excellent pets as they are very sociable, outgoing and playful. They are highly intelligent and very loyal to their owners.
Much like the physical traits, a Chilier’s personality depends on what he inherited from his parents.
If he takes after the spaniel parent, the Chilier will be very sweet and affectionate, while one that takes after the Chihuahua mother will show some of the stubborn nature of that breed and be more of an individualistic dog.
On the whole, this won’t cause any problem for you as its owner, but you might need to be a bit more firm during training.
Some Chiliers develop a definite preference towards one member of the family and can become quite possessive and jealous, although they will continue to behave nicely with other family members.
Chiliers have a strong sense of their rights as full members of their family and love to spend a lot of time with them, especially if they take after the spaniel in their lineage.
As they’re very smart, you might want to give them a chance to exercise their brain with the occasional interactive toy.
Your Chilier will love something that stimulates his brain. Also keeps him from getting bored when you need to work.
Attitude towards children
Being very playful they love the company of children and relish the attention they’re given. However, if you have young kids make sure to supervise their interactions with the family dog.
Children are unpredictable and, sometimes so is a bossy little Chilier that has inherited the stubborn streak in his Chihuahua mother’s blood.
Attitude towards strangers
If your new Chilier puppy has inherited his spaniel father’s gene he will be friendly with strangers and will welcome regular house guests by wagging his tail.
If he takes after his mother, a Chilier is more cautious around strangers, not threatening, but not exactly welcoming until the gets used to the unfamiliar face.
As you can pretty much guess, Chiliers are not good as guard dogs. Neither their attitude, nor their size qualifies them for that.
Interaction with other pets
In most cases, Chiliers get along quite well with other pets in the same household.
However, when you bring a Chilier puppy into your house take the time to introduce the other pets and set the rules for their interactions from the very beginning.
Something like ‘Hey, this is our beloved cat. She’s been with us for 7 years now, this is the place where she likes to sleep and you’re not to bother her’.
Well, maybe not in as many words, but you get the idea.
Cats are more individualistic, but if you have other dogs pay special attention if they also have a possessive nature. You don’t want to deal with two dogs fighting for your attention.
If they’re acceptant towards other family pets, don’t expect them to be as tolerant with other small animals that might venture into your backyard.
Every dog has a wolf in his family tree and you might witness your little darling valiantly chasing a squirrel or rabbit. Not with much luck, but, hey, a dog’s gotta try!
Socializing your Chilier puppy
The key to having a good-natured Chilier is to properly socialize him when he’s young.
Take your puppy to a place where dog lovers in your area usually meet, but take care he doesn’t come in contact with large or aggressive dogs.
Chiliers are not fearful by nature, but a negative experience might make a strong impression and affect their sociable personality.
At the same time, keep your dog on a tight leash in such social circumstances if he seems to take very much after his Chihuahua mother.
As you might have heard, Chihuahuas sometimes forget their diminutive size and try to take on much larger dogs and this is not good usually.
If your Chilier starts barking at the wrong dog, take him away as quickly as you can and teach him some manners. Knowing his place is in his best interest in this case.
Another way of encouraging your new pet to be friendly is to take every opportunity to interact with other dogs during your daily walk.
If you meet someone walking a small or medium dog stop for a chat, allowing your dogs to do some introductory sniffing.
If you’re relaxed while talking to a stranger the dog will pick up the clue and behave likewise.
How to care for a Chilier
Chiliers are low-maintenance dogs, so they won’t be much of a bother to you.
The amount of shedding is low to moderate for Chiliers, but this obviously depends on the type of coat they inherited.
A dog with short hair will be perfectly fine with brushing his coat once a week, but a dog with silky long hair will require brushing two or three times a week.
Bathe your Chilier only when needed as too much water might make their skin dry.
Experts say you should only wash your Chilier when it really stinks or after the occasional roll in the mud. For a dog with long hair use a dog shampoo.
Getting your pet a haircut is optional and this only refers to Chiliers with long hair.
The short-haired guys don’t need to meet a professional groomer ever saving you a lot of money in the process.
People go nuts over Chiliers with long droopy ears, but these require special care.
Check the insides of their ears at least once a week and gently remove wax buildup and dirt, to prevent infections.
When you come back from a walk, always check your Chiliers’ paws as they are quite sensitive and can be easily damaged.
Also, keep an eye on its nails. If the daily exercise is not enough to wear down the nails, give them a trim every two weeks or so.
Brushing the teeth
Experts recommend brushing the teeth of your Chilier at least twice a week, using a toothpaste specially designed for dogs. You don’t need a special toothbrush too.
Putting some toothpaste on your finger and gently rubbing it on the dog’s teeth will be enough.
Large dogs can keep their teeth clean by chewing on a big marrow bone, but small dogs like Chiliers cannot really handle such bones.
However, you can look for commercially-available fake bones that can do the job of removing plaque and food bits from their teeth and massaging the gums.
And, of course, keep them entertained.
How much exercise does a Chilier need?
Chiliers are very energetic dogs and they need regular exercise.
Typically, half an hour of daily exercise should be enough, but it needs to be vigorous exercise.
If your idea of activity is taking the dog for a stroll around the neighborhood, this won’t be enough to keep your Chilier in shape.
If you don’t have more time than that, take your dog for a (very) brisk walk.
To compensate, take your sweet little pet to a dog park every weekend or find another place where the dog might get a chance to run around freely.
As a rule, make sure your Chilier walks at least 7 miles per week.
Since this type of dog is full of energy it would be a great idea to take him with you on a little hike, but make sure the trail is easy.
You cannot expect a small little dog to climb on rocky terrain.
Chiliers fare better in large families with at least one kid willing to play with the dog more often so he can get enough activity.
Feeding your Chilier
The first thing you need to know about feeding your Chilier is that free access to food all day long is a really bad idea.
Chiliers are prone to obesity more than other dogs so you need to keep an eye on what they eat.
They should be fed twice or three times a day in small portions.
For a toy dog, the recommended amount of food per day is 1/2 to 3/4 cups of dry food.
The food requirements of your dog will change with age and you can look for specially-formulated kibble for puppies, adult or senior dogs.
It’s not only about calories, but also about the amount of proteins and minerals dogs need at certain points in their lives.
You might need some tasty treats when you train your pet and you should offer them freely, but don’t make a habit of it as a Chilier can get overweight pretty fast.
Keep in mind that these food recommendations are formulated for dogs who get the required amount of daily exercise.
Reduce the amount of food if the weather or a health issue don’t allow your dog to get enough exercise.
Talk to your vet about your dog’s dietary needs as he is best qualified to give advice on what sort of food is best for your new pet.
Store-bought food will cost $20-$30 per week on average.
How to train a Chilier
While very friendly and sociable, Chiliers need an experienced owner, someone who knows how to train a dog and has the patience to do it.
Chiliers can be very manipulative using those big round eyes to get whatever they want from you. Don’t fall for it.
What you need to keep in mind is the Chihuahua heritage and the tendency to be stubborn at times.
The best way to train a Chilier is by using positive reinforcement.
Whether you want to train your dog how to behave on the street or around the house, reward him with a small treat every time he obeys your command.
Punishment rarely works, especially with a headstrong little devil.
The good news is that being very intelligent, they are highly trainable. They like to learn new tricks and are happy to show what they can do.
If you get a Chilier, you will have something to entertain your friends at a party.
Tip: You can teach your dog the name of certain objects in your household and touch. Point to a table or chair, touch it, and say its name clearly.
To make the dog understand what he needs to do go near that object holding a treat visibly in your hand and command the dog to touch the object with its paw.
He will probably try to get to the treat, but don’t let him have it until he places his paw on the object. Now that’s quite a neat little trick to show off in front of your friends!
No, your pet Chilier is not likely to cause many problems with your neighbors with excessive barking.
Chiliers rarely bark – sometimes while playing with you or when first meeting a new person.
However, as they make friends easily with strangers that won’t create a problem.
Can you keep a Chilier in an apartment?
As it is a toy dog, it’s a good candidate if you want a furry friend but have little space.
Dogs can adjust very well to living in an apartment, although he’d be happier in a house with a garden of its own.
One thing to keep in mind is the dog’s need for vigorous exercise.
Tolerance for being left alone
If you’re a single person considering buying a Chilier, please keep in mind they are very sociable dogs and your new pup won’t be happy to be left alone for longer periods, for instance when you go to work.
On the other hand, if you work from home most of the time, you and your puppy will be very happy together and neither of you will be feeling lonely.
Plus, you’ ll have a good reason to get up from your desk and go for a walk!
How much damage can a Chilier do?
When you get a puppy you pretty much sign up for it. Chewing is natural for dogs and most puppies like to try out their teeth.
As far as mouthiness is concerned, Chiliers are rated moderate and just a bit on the high side.
For you, this means there will be some playful biting and nipping, which should go away with good training. And you might lose some slippers to the dog’s natural instincts.
As a precaution, don’t leave valuable items where your puppy might reach them and try to satisfy his chewing instinct by providing rubber toys and bones.
They’re cheaper than your wife’s new shoes anyway!
What climate is best for a Chilier?
Though small, a Chilier can thrive even an area with cold winters, especially if he has long hair.
However, for a winter with very low temperatures you might want to buy your companion a warm winter coat. Make sure its paws don’t freeze if the streets are covered in snow.
As for hot weather, their tolerance is rated as moderate.
Chiliers are considered healthy dogs, so they’re not likely to give you any trouble or require many trips to the vet.
However, Chiliers can inherit from their parents the tendency to develop certain health problems.
You shouldn’t overly concerned about any of these, many other breeds are prone to hip dysplasia, while vision loss is a common concern for many dogs once they reach their senior years.
Patellar luxation is a common problem for small breeds and consists of a dislocated kneecap, unpleasant but treatable.
Some Chiliers also suffer from hypoglycemia, low levels of sugar in a dog’s blood. This can cause low energy levels and loss of consciousness in severe cases.
Another health issue affecting small dogs like Chiliers is having a soft spot or a hole in the skull, a condition known as open fontanel. This can cause stunted growth, seizures or blindness.
Chiliers are also prone to shivering, not necessarily because they’re cold.
They get this trait from the Chihuahua in their family tree. Shivering can be a symptom of a serious health problem, like poisoning, but many toy dogs just tremble a lot for no apparent reason or at least none that the experts have been able to identify.
Chiliers have a life span of 10 to 16 years, which is quite a lot for a small breed.
As you probably know, small dogs live longer than dogs from large breeds. Some Chiliers have been known to live up to 18 years.
Where should you get your Chilier from
If you’re getting your pup from a breeder you should visit his place before getting the dog and ask for health certificates for the puppy’s parents.
Also, take a look around the place, see how the animals are kept or if they look sickly.
Unfortunately, some dog lovers suffer a lot after getting a pet in poor health from an unscrupulous breeder who doesn’t take proper care of the animals.
The same goes for many pet stores where the doggie in the window is just for show, while the rest of the ‘stock’ is kept in desperate conditions at the back of the store.
If you want a Chilier you should visit the animal shelters in your area.
These cute little dogs have been rising steadily in popularity over the past few years, but, sadly, many people get bored with their new pets and abandon them.
Try adopting one of these little angels.
How much does a Chilier cost
If you want to get a Chilier from a breeder be prepared to pay anywhere between $400 and $800. Obviously, your new pet will need some shots, deworming probably and micro-chipping.
Add to this, the cost of buying a crate, collar and leash and you’re looking at a total of $350-$400.
Pet insurance and medical expenses, including check-ups and flea prevention, add up to $450 per year.
Other costs associated with special dog food and treats or toys might take you back $500 – $600 a year, but that depends on what sort of food you give your dog and how much do you want to pamper him.
Probably a lot since it’s such a cutie and so affectionate.
Are Chiliers good as service dogs?
As they are intelligent and affectionate, Chiliers can be wonderful service dogs, just like their parents.
While they might not be able to provide such services as fetching objects, Chiliers are excellent as service dogs for people suffering from anxiety or other mental health issues.
Yes, they are very energetic and require plenty of exercise, but on the other hand, there’s nothing such a dog loves more than cuddling with his owner and sleeping in his lap.
Chiliers provide emotional support and, being very small, they are easy to carry around, which is quite a blessing for people who have emotional problems when they find themselves in a social situation with many strangers.
Since the dog is very friendly, this might help the owner interact in a meaningful way with people wanting to play with their toy dog.
Do Chiliers run away often?
No, Chiliers are low flight-risk dogs. Their tendency to run away, the so-called wanderlust, is rated low to moderate.
This does not mean you shouldn’t keep an eye on your dog, especially during the mating season.
Did you know that it isn’t just male dogs running away from home when they sense or smell a bitch in heat in the neighborhood?
Female dogs in heat sometimes run away to hide from potential suitors!
Here are a few facts that you need to keep in mind about Chiliers
- Chiliers are a cross between a Chihuahua and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
- They’re a toy dog breed, so they don’t grow more than 10 inches tall.
- Chiliers are extremely friendly and loyal to their owners.
- They are low-maintenance dogs, they shed moderately and require an occasional bath.
- Chiliers are very energetic and need regular exercise.
- Keep an eye on how much your Chilier eats. 1/2 to 3/4 of dry dog food per day should be enough. Don’t indulge them and offer many treats as they are prone to obesity.
- If you need a service dog, know that Chiliers are great at providing emotional support and make wonderful companions for people who suffer from loneliness and are socially withdrawn.
Chiliers make excellent pets
If you’re thinking about getting yourself a new pet, Chiliers are a great choice.
They’re very smart dogs, they’re sociable, they like to be around kids and they won’t keep up the whole street barking all night.
As they are very small you can easily take them with you when you travel, so that won’t be a problem. Plus, they tend to get rather well with strangers you might meet on the road.
All you need is a little patience to train them because they might be a bit stubborn. That’s to be expected since they have Chihuahua blood in their veins.
But they can be just as sweet as a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. And, to be honest, they’re cuter than either of their parents!