When searching for the perfect small dog breed, many prospective pet parents find themselves debating between the Pomeranian vs Chihuahua. These two iconic breeds have plenty of love and energy to offer, but what sets them apart? And what makes one more ideal for you than the other?
When discussing the Chihuahua vs Pomeranian, you’ll find plenty of differences and similarities. For one, the Pom is generally a little taller, more extroverted, and possibly more intelligent. Meanwhile, the Chihuahua is smaller, known to attach to one person, and is often cheaper to buy.
Pomeranian and Chihuahua Comparison
The Chihuahua and Pomeranian are different in many ways. But what exactly are we looking for when it comes to the Pomeranian vs Chihuahua? Although both are toy breeds, they differ in size, weight, facial features, temperament, price, lifespan, and trainability.
|Size||Toy breed||Toy breed|
|Height||6 to 12 inches||5 to 8 inches|
|Weight||3 to 7 pounds||Less than 6 pounds|
|Facial Features||Wedge-shape skull, “foxy” eyes||Round skull, large eyes|
|Temperament||Extrovert, vivacious, independent||Alert, confident, self-reliant, loyal|
|Price||$800 to $6,000||$400 to $1,500|
|Lifespan||12 to 16 years||12 to 20 years|
|Training||Ranked 23rd in Intelligence||Ranked 67th in Intelligence|
|Shedding||Double-coat, more shedding||Single or double coat, less shedding|
The Chihuahua’s early years are shrouded in mystery. Most likely from Mexico, the Chihuahua is also said to have been brought from Malta by Spanish conquistadors. Others suggest that the breed may have come from China. According to William Miller, the Toltec people of Mexico kept very small dogs known as Techichis.
These dogs had large, Chihuahua-like ears, but were “fat and large.” When the Aztecs took over, these small dogs may have been crossed with the Xoloitzcuintli to produce the Chihuahua we see today. Fast-forwarding a little, the AKC recognized the breed in 1904, and then the Chihuahua Club of America was founded in 1923.
The Pomeranian’s history is discussed by the American Pomeranian Club in fascinating detail. Today’s Pomeranian descended from Spitz family dogs in Iceland. The original dogs were much larger and worked as herding and sled dogs. Later on, the Spitz came to Europe, where it found its place in the Baltic region of Pomerania.
It’s believed that the Pom was downsized to 30 to 40lbs here. Prior to settling on the breed name of Pomeranian, these dogs went by many other names – Fox Dog, Lulu, Pommer, Volpino, and German Spitz to name a few. The AKC recognized the Pomeranian in 1900.
There are many characteristics that set the Chi and the Pom apart. Both breeds are unique in their own ways, with their own dedicated breed standard that dictates what makes the breed special. Some of the most important aspects of their breed standards are their height, weight, facial features, and coat types.
To find out more about the Pomeranian vs Chihuahua, be sure to consider these points.
The Chihuahua and the Pomeranian are similar in height. While the Chihuahua should stand at five to eight inches tall, the Pomeranian should stand at six to seven inches tall. The AKC breed standard for the Pomeranian states that the breed should have a ratio of body length to height at the withers being 1 to 1, as it is a square breed with a short back.
On the other hand, the Chihuahua breed standard describes the breed as being “off-square”, hence slightly longer when measured from the shoulder to the rear than the height at the withers. Generally speaking, the Pomeranian is a little taller than most Chihuahuas, but exceptions will apply.
When weighing up the differences in the Pomeranian vs Chihuahua, weight is another point to consider. Pomeranians should be three to seven pounds according to the AKC breed standard. Ideal show dogs are four to six pounds.
Similarly, the Chihuahua breed standard states that these little dogs should not exceed six pounds. Where a dog is over six pounds in weight, disqualification from the show ring is likely. This makes the two breeds similar in weight.
The AKC breed standard for the Pomeranian describes several facial characteristics. The head should be in balance with the body, forming a wedge-like shape. The expression is fox-like, denoting an alert and intelligent nature.
Also, the eyes are dark and bright, and set well into the skull with black eye rims. The stop should be well-pronounced, and the ears small and mounted high. Some disqualifications include a wry bite, light blue eyes, and a round, domed skull.
The Chihuahua should have an “apple dome” skull. This breed should also have a “saucy” expression, with full and round eyes. Blue eyes or two colors within one iris are a serious fault. The ears are large and erect, the stop well-defined, and the cheeks and jaws lean. The AKC disqualifies dogs with broken down or cropped ears.
Fur Length and Color
The Pom is a double-coated breed. As such, its body should be well covered with an abundant outer coat. The coat forms a ruff around the neck, framing the head. The tail is also well-furnished with a plume. A soft, flat, or “open” coat leads to disqualification. Lastly, the AKC accepts many colors. These are as follows:
- Black and tan
- Blue and tan
- Blue merle
- Chocolate and tan
- Orange sable
- Red sable
- Wolf sable
- Cream sable
- Blue Sable
According to the AKC breed standard, smooth-coat Chihuahuas should have a coat of soft texture. It should be close and glossy, with a ruff on the neck preferred. For long-haired Chihuahuas, the coat should be either flat or slightly wavy with a preferable undercoat. The ears are fringed and the tail is full and plumed. Chihuahuas come in many colors that are accepted by the AKC. These are as follows:
- Black and tan
- Blue and tan
- Chocolate and tan
- Fawn and white
According to the AKC breed standard for the Chihuahua, this breed must be alert, projecting a “terrier-like” attitude of self-importance. They should be confident and self-reliant. The CCOA adds that the breed should possess loyalty, charm, and a “big-dog” attitude.
They also like attention and are very loyal to their families. Experienced Chi owners add that Chihuahuas often gravitate towards one person and do well with just one owner. However, this also means that they can be prone to separation anxiety.
The AKC breed standard for the Pomeranian describes the breed as an extrovert, exhibiting great intelligence and a vivacious spirit. The APC adds that the breed is active, sassy, independent, and a stubborn Nordic companion. Some Poms tend to develop a strong attachment to one person. Much like any other breed that attaches to one person, Pomeranians may be prone to separation anxiety.
All dog breeds require grooming, regardless of their size and coat type. You should groom your Pomeranian at least three times a week using a slicker brush. This may become as often as once a day during times of heavy shedding.
Similarly, a long-haired Chihuahua would benefit from a thorough brushing once a week with a pin or slicker brush. A short-haired Chihuahua will also benefit from weekly grooming, though the tools required are less intensive – you’ll only need a rubber curry brush to get the job done.
Despite being toy breeds, don’t be mistaken – Pomeranians and Chihuahuas both require plenty of exercises every day. Both breeds benefit from having at least half an hour of exercise each day. By giving these breeds regular exercise, routine, structure, and boundaries, you’ll find them thriving mentally and physically.
However, be aware when taking your small breed to open places like dog parks. Avoid spaces where large dogs you don’t know and dogs who are not controlled by their owners are likely to interact with your dog. Try going to these places at low-traffic times, such as the early morning or late evening when there are fewer dogs and your own pup is easier to manage.
Unfortunately, due to these breeds’ small sizes and reputation for being “purse” dogs, some dogs aren’t fulfilled the way that all dogs should be. There is often a lack of training involved, wasting these two breeds’ full potential. Both the Chihuahua and the Pomeranian are highly trainable dogs. Both breeds excel in obedience and can even be found in agility classes like many other breeds.
While your Pomeranian or Chihuahua may not appear to be an adept working dog at first glance, they do indeed excel in certain fields of work. For example, Pomeranians and Chihuahuas are known to make excellent medical alert dogs. A medical alert dog can help by alerting diabetic, hypoglycemic, asthmatic, and heart crises.
Poms are also known to work as hearing dogs for the Deaf. The main issue with toy breeds in service, though, is the presence of other dogs and people interfering. It’s well known that people will approach and distract any type of service animal, but toy breeds are especially vulnerable to being picked up by strangers or approached by very large dogs.
If you subscribe to Stanley Coren’s dog intelligence ranking, you’ll find that the Pom sits at 23rd place while the Chihuahua sits at 67th place. This puts the Pomeranian in the “excellent working dog” category, wherein dogs understand new commands with 5 to 15 repetitions.
In contrast, the Chihuahua falls under the “fair working and obedience intelligence” category. This category describes dogs who understand new commands with 40 to 80 repetitions. So, Pomeranians may be a little smarter than Chihuahuas – but don’t be fooled, for the Chi is very trainable and intelligent in its own right!
Common Health Issues
Chihuahuas are prone to several health issues. These include luxating patellas, hip dysplasia, entropion, heart disease, tracheal collapse, Legg-Perthes disease, dystocia, hydrocephalus, and syringomyelia. This breed is also prone to dental problems such as overcrowding and retained teeth. Lastly, the Chihuahua Club of America recommends testing for the patellas, heart, and eyes.
Pomeranians are also prone to several health issues. These include luxating patellas, elbow dysplasia, syringomyelia, hydrocephalus, tracheal collapse, hypothyroidism, cataracts, entropion, and Cushing’s disease. The American Pomeranian Club recommends health tests for the patellas, heart, and CERF (eyes.) Like the Chi, Poms are also prone to dental issues due to having small mouths.
Even the most conscientious breeder may run into these problems. However, be sure to only buy your puppy from a reputable breeder who utilizes health testing. Always check the OFA database for the results of your puppy’s parents and ask to see a copy of them from your breeder.
Keep in mind that both Chihuahuas and Pomeranians are small breeds that are prone to becoming overweight. As well as this, both breeds are very active. You’ll need to support their active lifestyle with high-quality nutrition, ideally with food that is higher in protein and a little lower in fat. Look for high-quality protein sources like chicken, turkey, and lamb.
Both breeds benefit from nutrient-dense ingredients, too, like flaxseed and salmon oil to support heart, eye, and coat health. Both breeds will also need kibble that’s smaller than their larger counterparts would eat. This will help to control dental issues as well as ensure that they’re getting enough wholesome food with each meal.
The Chihuahua’s lifespan ranges from 12 to 20 years. However, a study conducted by the Royal Veterinary College states that the average Chihuahua lifespan is 8.2 years, with females generally outliving males. They also note that the most common causes of Chihuahua deaths are heart disease (18.8%), lower respiratory tract disorders (16.3%), and traumatic injuries (13.8%.)
The Pomeranian’s lifespan ranges from 12 to 16 years, the average possibly sitting at around 14 years. According to the Pomeranian Information Centre, the leading causes of death in Pomeranians are gastrointestinal issues (15%), traumatic injury (13.1%), and infection (8.6%.) However, the source of these statistics is not described.
As with all dog breeds, the price of a puppy varies depending on many factors, such as the breeder’s reputation and whether champion lines are involved. So, when searching for a Chihuahua or Pomeranian puppy, you can expect to pay anywhere from:
- Chihuahua average price: $400 – $1,500
- Pomeranian average price: $800 – $6,000
Some breeders, however, will charge more depending on less important factors. These include the puppy’s color, coat pattern, and size. Bear in mind that all puppies in a litter will cost the same amount to raise – there is no reason for a breeder to charge more for a “rare” color unless they know customers will pay more for them.
You’ll find that “teacup” varieties of these breeds sell for higher prices. The term “teacup” refers to a puppy with smaller dimensions than the standard. Because of the increased demand for so-called “teacup” puppies in recent years, some unethical breeders are incentivized to breed their Chis and Poms to be as small as possible to generate more income. By breeding for size or color, some bloodlines will sacrifice good temperament and health in favor of these aesthetic traits.
Which One Is a Better Pet?
Chihuahuas are fantastic dogs for first-time owners. Despite common misconceptions, Chihuahuas are very loyal, very trainable, and easy-going dogs. They are not difficult to train, though, their stubbornness can require more patience.
These dogs are also affordable for first-time owners due to their smaller size requiring less food, and their shorter coats (in short-hair individuals) requiring less maintenance. However, because Chihuahuas are prone to dental issues, it’s recommended to brush their teeth regularly and to provide plenty of quality chew toys.
Like the Chihuahua, the Pomeranian will also make an excellent pet for first-time dog owners. Contrary to the misconceptions surrounding toy breeds, Poms are very trainable, sociable, and intelligent. What sets them apart from Chihuahuas, particularly the short-hair varieties, is the grooming schedule.
Your Pomeranian will require a thorough brushing at least three times a week to prevent painful mats and tangles. But, like the Chihuahua, Poms are prone to dental issues too and will require more dental maintenance than some larger breeds do.
Both breeds are incredible in their own ways. Our advice is to look at your own lifestyle. If you prefer to stay at home, a Chihuahua might be a friend for you. If you’re more about adventures and meeting new people, a Pomeranian might be the one for you.
Pomeranian Vs Chihuahua: FAQs
Have any more questions about the Pomeranian vs Chihuahua? Feel free to check out our FAQ for more details. If in doubt, always talk to reputable breeders for advice.
Which breed is better for you will depend on your personal circumstances. As a first-time dog owner, either breed makes a good choice. However, the time and knowledge you have for grooming may influence your decision.
The Pom is also generally slightly larger than the Chihuahua as well as slightly more expensive to buy. If in doubt, ask reputable breeders of both breeds for their opinion. They will be able to match you with the ideal dog for your circumstances.
When considering the Pomeranian vs Chihuahua, take a look at your own lifestyle. If you prefer to stay in and want a friend to be with you, the Chi might be a better fit. If you’re the type to get outdoors and meet new people often, a Pom may be more suitable with their extroverted nature.
No, Pomeranians are not just furry Chihuahuas. To reduce another breed to this comparison is unjust, as both breeds are entirely unique in important ways. While both breeds can be independent, Pomeranians are more extroverted.
You may find that a Pom makes new friends easier than a Chihuahua does. While there are indeed similarities when discussing the Pomeranian vs Chihuahua, one will be more suitable for you than the other.
Generally speaking, Pomeranians tend to be a little taller than Chihuahuas, able to reach heights of 11 inches. In comparison, the ideal Chihuahua stands at 5 to 8 inches tall. The Pomeranian may also appear slightly larger due to its abundant fluffy coat.
Both breeds may struggle to coexist with young children. This is due to no fault of the breeds’ own – rather, young children must be taught to respect a small dog’s space and bodily autonomy. Many people, not just children, feel entitled to invade a toy dog’s space by petting them or picking them up without reading their body language first or making a friendly introduction beforehand.
Just because a dog is very small, it does not mean that you are entitled to overstep their boundaries – treat them as you would a larger dog, with respect and care for their own emotions and anxieties.
No dog is completely free from dander, so there will always be a risk of allergic reactions when it comes to owning dogs. However, a hypoallergenic dog can be defined as a dog that carries a significantly lower risk due to being low-shedding. As such, a Chihuahua may be a better match for owners who are sensitive to shedding – but even Chihuahuas are moderate shedders, much like many other short-haired dog breeds.
When deciding between the Pomeranian vs Chihuahua, consider your own lifestyle. While the two breeds have their similarities, they are not identical.