Apr 10

Life with a Chipin

What is a Chipin?

Nano the Chipin

Nano the Chipin


A Chipin is a cross between a Chihuahua and a Miniature Pinscher.  Chi’s and Min Pins, as they are affectionately known, can each be a handful, and when combined, watch out!  You may have a sassy, willful, opinionated, and smart dog–possibly too smart–with an energy level that is off the charts.

Although the name Chipin sounds similar to Chin Pin, a Chin Pin is a very different dog.  A Chin Pin is a cross between a Miniature Pinscher and a Japanese Chin, aka Japanese Spaniel.

Meet Nano the Chipin

My Chipin, Nano, was a rescue surrendered to my local animal welfare in a box of puppies.  As best as we can tell, he was in a puppy mill that bred both Min Pins and Chihuahuas.  Even though he was not intentionally bred as a “designer dog,” I still call him that.  However, I doubt he cares if he is called a designer dog or a mutt.  He is happy to be loved, fed, and played with frequently.

Nano has all of the characteristics listed above, and in this post, I am going to share some insights I’ve gained by training him as well as some breed characteristics of both the Miniature Pinscher and Chihuahua and how those traits can intermingle when combined in the Chipin.

  • Chihuahua + Min Pin = Chipin

    • High Energy
    • Major Attitude
    • Full of Themselves, BUT

    Once You Own a Chipin, You Can’t Live Without One!

Energy:  Nano is Short for Nanosecond

Miniature Pinschers and Chihuahuas are known for their high energy level, but our Chipin, Nano (short for Nanosecond), has the energy of both a Miniature Pinscher and Chihuahua combined.  When we rescued Nano from the local animal shelter, we of course noted that he was a hyper, energetic dog.  We have owned Min Pins for more than a decade, so we thought we were prepared for Nano.

Our new little Chipin, was malnourished, but he just needed a few good meals or so we thought. What we didn’t know at the time was that he was actually sick.  His behavior was so hyper that no one ever guessed he was ill.  After having four abscessed teeth pulled and a round of antibiotics, we now observed his normal energy level.  It was beyond anything we had seen, and we were used to hyper dogs.

How to Exercise a Chipin if You are not an Olymptic Sprinter

Below is a video of Nano “chasing” the laser, but if you watch closely, you will notice that he is not chasing it, but actually racing it.  If it “wins,” he turns around and gets a head start for the next race.  In other words, he cheats!



Chihuahuas are officially listed as small dogs with medium energy by the AKC1.  According to the breed standard, they should not weigh more than 6lbs, have an apple domed head, and some Chi’s have long coats while others have smooth.  The Chihuahua expression is “saucy,” and their temperament is “alert,” projecting the ‘terrier-like’ attitudes of self importance, confidence, self- reliance.”

In other words, Chihuahuas are full of themselves.  They think that they are the center of the world, and the world should cater to them.  Thus, reminding them of their place in the pack is important.

Miniature Pinschers

Miniature Pinschers are slightly larger dogs, although like Chihuahuas, they are also in the Toy category.  Miniature Pinschers are 10-12 1/2 inches tall at the withers (shoulders) and have sloped foreheads.  In my experience, a healthy weight for a Min Pin is about 12lbs.  AKC2 uses words like “fearless animation, complete self-possession, and his “spirited presence” to describe the Miniature Pinscher temperatment.
Miniature Pinschers were originally bred to hunt vermin on farms and often went for long periods without human contact.  Therefore, Min Pins developed a mentality that did not depend on the approval of humans.  The lack of human contact along with the self-reliance necessary for survival shaped them into the “independent thinkers” that they are today.  In other words, they prefer that you are pleased with them, but it is not their whole world.


Since both Miniature Pinschers and Chihuahuas are intelligent breeds, it is no surprise that Chipins are no dummies.  Nano loves to create games complete with rules.  Then, I am supposed to follow the rules and he cheats!  For example, in one game, we race to the toy.  He lays the toy down, and then to make sure he gets to it first, he positions himself between me and the toy.  In another version of “race to the toy,” he hides around the corner and, because I am “unsuspecting,” he can grab the toy before I get to it.
He also has an active imagination.  When I throw his toy, sometimes, he pretends that he doesn’t know where it went.  He runs in tangents to it, and eventually, he “finds” it.  I am supposed to be impressed.


Chipin postal alert

Chipins can be protective of their “pack,” and sometimes are wary of strangers to the point of being aggressive.  Caution is advised when introducing any dog to a stranger, especially on the dog’s home turf, but increased attention should be paid when a Chipin or either parent breed, the Chihuahua or Min Pin, is involved.  However, they are good watch dogs and will let you know if a stranger arrives at your house.  I sometimes refer to Nano as our postal alert system.


Chipins can be very snuggly.  In addition to eating and playing, some of Nano’s favorite hobbies are watching TV, reading books, and napping.  OK, he naps during all three.  He loves to be picked up, and thinks that he needs my full attention all the time.  How else should I spend my time?  The entire world revolves around him, you know.


Chipins, especially those with short coats from their Chihuahua side, require little grooming.  An occasional brushing and nail trimming is all the grooming they require.  Chipins are well suited to apartment and city life because they can exercise in small spaces.  They do need to burn off energy, though, so be prepared for games of all sorts.  Evening playtime with Nano is something I look forward to every day.  And morning playtime, and weekend playtime, and…  And he looks forward to it, too.

Chipins:  Can’t Contain the Cuteness!

Chipin puppies may be the cutest animals in the world.  Their puppy innocence and curiosity together with their mania-like energy level leads to action-packed antics.   In the video below, posted on YouTube by, Betti335, you can see the perfect example of cuteness and energy.

Works Cited

1.  American Kennel Club.  “Chihuahua.”  Accessed 4/29/2017.
2.  American Kennel Club.  “Miniature Pinscher.”  Accessed 4/29/2017

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook


  1. Stacey E.

    I got my “chipin” from the vet (who acts as a local shelter) because he was a “turn in” because he escaped all the time. During the first two years of having him, he’s taken off and returned when he felt like it, almost constantly. For about 2 years afterwards, we didn’t have a problem with it at all, and recently he’s started finding holes in the fence and escaping, again. I put rather heavy rocks in front of the areas he gets out of, and he pushes them out of the way and escapes, again. I have never seen such a muscular, tiny dog. He actually has bulging muscles, to the point where it looks like he works out when we aren’t at home. He’s also the most “huggy” dog I’ve ever encountered. I sometimes get the feeling that he knows more than a typical dog does. That he’s more aware of things than you’d expect of an average dog. He’s the only small dog we’ve ever owned, so far. I never knew they could be so charming. But I’ve learned from trying that he can’t be trusted off leash. I tried a few times in remote areas to let him off leash like the other dog, and within about 15 minutes he’d find an antelope or a cow to chase and I’d have to spend about a half hour of yelling for him and looking before I’d get him back. The worst part is when I can clearly hear him barking nearby, so I know he can hear me, and yet he’ll decide to ignore me until he’s done with whatever he’s doing. Despite all that, I absolutely adore him.

    1. Jana

      Hi Stacey,

      Absolutely every thing you said agrees with what I have read, seen, or heard about Min Pins, and I think the Chihuahua in mine just exacerbates it. Chihuahua + Min Pin = Double the trouble!

      It sounds like you have a Houdini dog! Thankfully, I have never had an escape artist like you have on your hands. Does he escape by digging under the fence?

      The way Min Pins were bred may explain their desire to escape as well as some of their other personality traits. They were bred as working dogs–mainly on farms, where their job was to catch vermin. They were often allowed to roam free and had less contact with humans, as compared to other breeds.
      They had to be smart to catch their meals. They are also independent. The breed standard refers to Min Pins as “independent thinkers.” In my experience, this translates to “I would prefer that my human is happy with me, but exploring something new might be more interesting,” which also means that most Mn Pins can’t be trusted off leash.

      Here is one example: I let one of my Min Pins off leash in a pasture. When he got out of sight, I tried to call him back.
      Me: Zeus, come here.
      Him: No response.
      Me: Do you want a treat?
      Him: No response.
      Me: Do you want peanut butter?
      Him: No response.
      Me: Do you want some cheese?
      He turned a 180 and made a mad dash to the house. I guess that not any treat would do. I had to offer the “right” treat. I think I was played.

      However, I don’t mean to imply that they are not affectionate, as you have found. In any case, you have your hands full! Have fun with your Chi Pin, and thanks for stopping by Min Pin Mania!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>