Mini Hippo Dog – Cocker Spaniel X Chinese Shar-Pei Mix

The Mini Hippo Dog is a relatively new mixed breed that looks like a miniature hippopotamus – hence the name. Chances are you’ve never even heard of it. But this dog’s popularity is growing, thanks to its cuteness, affectionate nature, and loyalty. 

There is not much information out there about the Hippo Dog, also known as the Cocker Pei or Mini Hippo Dog. The breed is fairly new, however, you’ve come to the right place to learn everything you need to know about the Hippo Dog.

What is a Mini Hippo Dog Mix?

The Hippo Dog is an unusual crossbreed between the Cocker Spaniel and Chinese Shar-Pei. The Cocker Pei hasn’t been around for long, but the parent breeds have existed for centuries. Let’s briefly look at the history of the parent breeds to understand where the Hippo Dog is coming from.

A Cocker Spaniel standing the snow
Photo Credit: cockerspanielworld
Photo Credit: chinesesharpei_lovedog

Cocker Spaniel

The Cocker Spaniel was developed in the UK during the 20th century to hunt Eurasian woodcocks. In the same century, they also came to the United States and were further developed to pursue the American woodcock. So, generally, the Cocker Spaniel is primarily a bird hunting breed.

Eventually, Cocker Spaniels became popular human companions. In Britain, the breed gained nobility status thanks to Lupo. He was a Spaniel owned by Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Chinese Shar-Pei

The Chinese Shar-Pei is an ancient dog breed that comes from south China. The primary reason for breeding this dog was hunting. This pedigree also served as a loyal companion and trusted watchdog.

Historians believe the Chinese Shar-Pei has been around since 200 BC. At the height of its popularity, the breed was a staple in dog fights. But it started to become less prevalent when larger breeds from the West came to China. 

By the 20th century, the Chinese Shar-Pei was on the brink of extinction until its popularity suddenly grew. With the demand of the dog picking up again, breeders replenished its numbers. The Shar-Pei was saved from going the way of the dodo, which is good because the Hippo Dog would have never existed without it.

Mini Hippo Dog Health & Appearance at a Glance

The physical characteristics of a Hippo Dog will depend on the parent she takes after the most. You shouldn’t expect your Cocker Pei to look like anyone else’s. You won’t know what you get until you receive your pup.

A mini hippo standing with mouth open
Photo Credit: itsminihippo

Build, Height and Weight

The Cocker Spaniels are well known for their broad muzzle and drooping ears. They have feathers (long hair) all over their chest, belly, and legs. They are small dogs that grow to about 14 to 15 inches and weigh between 25 to 30 pounds.

The Chinese Shar-Pei is known for its broad hippo-like muzzle, wrinkled fur around its head and body and tiny, folded ears. The breed also has a distinctive blue-black tongue similar to the Chow Chow’s (also from China). They’re medium-sized dogs, growing to about 18 to 20 inches and weighing between 45-60 pounds.

Generally, your Hippopotamus Dog will have a hippo-like muzzle and folded skin like its Chinese Shar-Pei parent. An average adult Cocker Pei will reach a height of 18 to 21 inches while weighing about 40 to 65 pounds.

Colors and Coat

A Cocker Spaniel has a thick, flat and silky double coat. It comes in various colors, including black, tan, light cream, red and brown. The fur’s color can be solid or particolored.

The Chinese Shar-Pei has a bristly coat. It can be subdivided into a horse coat, which is rough and really short (less than ¼ inches), and a longer brush coat with a smooth and soft texture. Standard coat colors include blue, sable, black, cream, red and fawn.

A Hippo dog will have a single coat that will either be a brush, horse or beat (wavy, flowing and soft). You can expect it to either be black, cream, red, brown, tan, silver or blue in color. Some Mini Hippo dogs even have a tri-colored coat.

Life Expectancy and Possible Health Issues

The Cocker Spaniel and Chinese Shar-Pei live around 12 to 15 years and 8 to 12 years, respectively. However, it appears the Hippo Dog can outlive either of its purebred parents, as its average life span is 10 to 15 years.

The potential owner of a Cocker Pei has to look out for possible health issues that can either shorten its lifespan or decrease the pup’s quality of life. The most common ones include hip dysplasia, eye and ear diseases and infection, and skin fold infections. Regular checkups with the vet and early treatment can prevent many conditions from developing or becoming too serious.

Hippo Dog Personality Traits

The Hippo dog is friendly and affectionate, especially towards family members. That means if you have kids, your furry companion will get along with them. Since Hippo Dogs are small-medium dogs, you won’t have to worry much about them being too much to handle for your children.

Photo Credit: itsminihippo

When the Hippo Dog bonds with you and your family, it will become a loyal companion. This loyalty translates to a need to protect (remember, the Chinese Shar-Pei was a watchdog). So don’t be surprised if you find your dog on high alert when a stranger comes into the house or is at the door.

Hippo Dog Temperament and Instincts

Your Cocker Pei will most likely have a high prey drive – both the Cocker Spaniel and Chinese Shar-Pei have high prey drives too. A strong prey drive means it might be hard to get your Hippo Dog to get along with other animals. He will always want to display some form of dominance. 

For instance, if you’re playing in the yard and your Hippo Dog spots a cat or squirrel, he will chase after it. If he is unable to pursue, your Cocker Pei might have a barking fit. Luckily, you can tame a high prey drive by socializing your Hippo Dog with other animals from a young age.

How to Care for a Mini Hippo Dog?

Taking care of the Cocker Pei isn’t that different from taking care of any other mixed breed. You just need to pay attention to a couple of straightforward things, and you’ll do just fine.

Grooming and Shedding

Both parents of the Hippo Dog shed very little, meaning your pup won’t be a heavy shedder. If you have allergies, the Cocker Pei might just be a good dog for you. 

The Hippo Dog’s coat needs to be brushed to prevent matting and remove dirt and debris. It is advisable to brush your Hippo Dog’s fur a few times a week for general upkeep and coat maintenance.

You also need to give your Mini Hippo dog regular baths – at least once every three months. You can brush your pooch’s teeth every day (this will make them get used to it and even enjoy it) or 2-3 times a week at the least. Don’t forget to take them to an animal dental clinic for a professional cleaning at least once a year.

As for the ears, as a good rule of thumb, you should check and clean them once a month. The same applies to trimming your Cocker Pei’s nails.

Diet and Feeding

A good, fixed diet should be enough to keep your Hippo Dog satiated and fulfill all their energy needs. Be sure to give your pooch the highest quality dog food. Low-quality food can have disastrous effects, from increased shedding to gassiness to obesity.

The best diet for the Cocker Pei is a high-quality meat-based kibble (one with minimal by-products). Instead of giving it to your furry friend as one big meal, split it into 2-3 smaller ones throughout the day.

Activity and Exercise Requirements

The Hippo Dog requires moderate exercise every day just to keep the legs active. So be sure to schedule short walks around the block. Short play sessions also work, and your pooch will love them.

It is worth noting that the Hippo Dog is not a high-energy dog like most crossbreeds. If you have an intense workout in mind, be sure to do it every other day, or you’ll tucker your pup out. If you have an active lifestyle, your Cocker Pei won’t keep up.

How to train a Mini Hippo Dog

When all is said and done, you’re ultimately responsible for how your pup turns out. The Hippo Dog is intelligent, which can make the breed challenging to handle unless adequately trained. Many standard training techniques will work as long as you make them short and exciting. Also, use training as the means for the Hippo Dog to get in some exercise as well.

Positive reinforcement is key to making sure that your furry friend follows your commands. At the same time, you shouldn’t be afraid to demand respect.

Known Mini Hippo Dog Health Problems

When you buy a Hippo Dog, you might be worried about the health problems he can inherit from his parents. While this is hard to predict, you shouldn’t worry about it too much. The breeder will ensure that the purebred parents get regular checkups and treatment to produce healthy pups.

With that said, it does help to look into the common health problems that afflict the pedigree parents. For the Cocker Spaniel, these include hip dysplasia, epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy, luxating patella, glaucoma and cataracts. Common problems for the Chinese Shar-Pei include glaucoma, cataracts, retinal dysplasia, entropion, skin fold infections, autoimmune thyroiditis, patellar luxation and hip and elbow dysplasia.

While mixed breeds are certainly genetically predisposed to the parents’ inheritable conditions, they generally tend to be healthier than purebreds. The reason for this is that mixes have a more diverse gene pool.

Daily Routine for a Happy Mini Hippo Dog

As the owner, you know your dog and what’s best for them – there’s no one-size-fits-all routine. If you’re at a loss and don’t know how to come up with one, here’s a sample routine that you can tweak as needed:

Potty break, short walk, breakfast, and then nap (6 AM).

If time permits try to get in a lunch break.

Dinner time, a good time for some training as well.

Last trip out for the day, sometime after 8 pm typically.

Is a Hippo Dog the right dog for you?

Due to the Hippo Dog’s high intelligence and general aloofness, a potential owner needs a firm hand to keep the pooch in line. If you’re the kind of parent to let things slide, your pup will figure it out and use that to their advantage. You need him to know that you’re the alpha of the pack. 

If you’re willing to do this, the Cocker Pei is the right dog for you. But this need for assertiveness doesn’t make this breed ideal for first-time owners. 

Furthermore, you also can’t leave them alone for extended periods. When lonely, this breed tends to grow anxious. That means having a 9-5 job and being a parent to this dog is not ideal.

Overall, if you’re willing to lay down the law, be present and shower the dog with lots of love and attention, you’ll be a happy owner. Most importantly, your dog will be happy too.

Should you buy or adopt a Mini Hippo Dog

The Hippopotamus Dog is not a cheap pup, but it is more affordable than other mixed breeds on the market. You can get a puppy for about $350 to $650. 

Photo Credit: itsminihippo

The price could be higher or lower depending on a few factors, with lineage being the most important one. As within many crossbreeds, their purebred parents are more expensive, with a Cocker Spaniel costing $800 to $2,000 and a Chinese Shar-Pei coming in at $1,000 to $1,500.

Before buying a Hippo Dog, you should always make sure that you’re purchasing one from a reputable breeder. Ask them for papers that clearly show the pup’s heritage. This documentation will verify that the puppy you’re purchasing comes from purebred parents. Health test certificates also matter as they demonstrate that the puppy you’re buying has perfect health.

If you’re adopting, the Hippo Dog might come at a price lower than $350. But finding one might not be easy since they are still new to the dog breeding market. You can check in shelters that cater to mixed breeds in your area or those with either the Cocker Spaniel or Chinese Shar-Pei.

Some people prefer to adopt rather than buy because the shelter will make the dog adoption-ready. They will take the dog to the vet to get him up-date on any shots. They will even provide information on the pooch’s personality and temperament so the potential owner knows what they’re getting.

FAQs about the Hippo Dog

How much does a Mini Hippo Dog puppy cost?

Costs vary whether you’re purchasing the pup from a shelter or a breeder. You should expect a Hippo dog puppy to set you back somewhere between $350 and $650 on average. This amount is cheaper than most designer dogs.

Is the Hippo Dog a hypoallergenic breed?

If you suffer from allergies, then you wouldn’t want to get a non-hypoallergenic breed. Fortunately, Hippo Dogs aren’t heavy shedders. So allergy sufferers don’t have to stress much about their pet’s hair and dander triggering their allergies a lot with the Hippo Dog.

How long does the Mini Hippo dog live?

On average, you should expect your Cocker Pei to live between 10 and 15 years. And for your pup to live this long, it requires special attention to its diet, health and exercise needs.

How big can a Hippo Dog get?

The Cocker Pei isn’t a large breed. You should expect a fully-grown Hippo Dog to grow between 18 and 21 inches. This height makes the Hippopotamus Dog a small to medium-sized dog. They generally weigh 40 to 65 pounds.

What breed is the Cocker Pei?

The Cocker Pei is a mixed breed and a relatively new one in the dog lovers community. However, its popularity is on the rise. The Hippo Dog is what you get when you cross a purebred Cocker Spaniel with a purebred Chinese Shar-Pei.

Does the Cocker Pei drool a lot?

The Hippo Dog has a tendency to drool sometimes. For some people, dog saliva can trigger allergic reactions. If you’re one of them, the Cocker Pei might not be the right pooch for you.

Does Cocker Pei make a good family pet?

The personality and temperament of mixed breeds are usually hard to predict. If you want a dog to be a good family pet, you need to train and socialize them properly. The Mini Hippo Dog is no different.

Mini Hippo Dog Facts and Figures Summary

NameHippo Dog
Other Names Mini Hippo Dog, Cocker Pei
Parents Cocker Spaniel, Chinese Shar-Pei
Life Span 10-15 years
Height 18-21 inches
Weight 40-65 pounds
Personality Friendly, loyal, protective
Temparament High prey drive
Shedding Level Minimal
Puppy Cost $350-$650