Mini Hippo Dog: Complete Guide

Mini Hippo Dog
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You’ve probably heard about the Mini Hippo Dog or are interested to learn more about this dog breed. Well, you’ve landed on the right article. The Mini Hippo Dogs is the newest designer dog breed and they are great for both small and large families alike. If you’re wondering whether you should get a dog, a Mini Hippo Dog could be the perfect addition to your household.

Let’s get right into it and learn everything you need to know about them.

Mini Hippo Dog: At a Glance

Weight40 to 60 pounds
TemperamentIntelligent, protective, calm, and stubborn.
PersonalityEager to please, loyal, social, and alert.

What is a Mini Hippo Dog?

mini hippo dog breed info
mini hippo dog breed

A Mini Hippo Dog is a cross between the Chinese Shar-Pei and the Cocker Spaniel. Also known as a Cocker Pei, the Mini Hippo got its name from its large and square hippo-like face. 

Mini Hippos are relatively new on the scene. They are a “designer breed”: a dog mixed after carefully selecting parents with combinable traits.

Mini Hippo Dog: History and original purpose

Mini Hippo Dogs or MHDs were introduced only a few decades ago in the United States. They haven’t found mainstream success yet, but pet enthusiasts worldwide love this unique hybrid.

As Mini Hippo Dogs were bred recently, they don’t have much of a history. However, records of their parent breeds can be traced back centuries.

The Shar-Pei

Shar-Peis are an ancient breed. They gained the admiration of the Chinese royalty and were used as royal guard dogs. During the mid-20th century, Shar-Peis reached the brink of extinction in China. But these dogs were rescued and re-introduced in other parts of the world. 

The Cocker Spaniel

The Cocker Spaniel originated as a hunting dog in Spain about 700 years ago. In the 1800s, they came to the USA and became a favorite family pet in no time. The American Cocker Spaniel was the most popular dog breed in America during the 1940s and 50s.

Mini Hippo Dog: 5 Fun Facts

1. Varying characteristics

Mini Hippo Dogs can display varying characteristics. It’s possible to have one pup in the litter resemble a Cocker Spaniel, and another resembles a Shar-Pei.

2. Unique name

Their broad, square snout resembles that of a hippopotamus, hence the moniker. Although Mini Hippo Dogs also go by Cocker-Pei and Cocker-Shar, those names haven’t caught on as much as Mini Hippo Dog.

3. Best of both worlds

Breeders analyzed the personalities and temperaments meticulously before deciding to crossbreed the Shar-Pei and the Cocker Spaniel. The result was an adorable pooch with the desired qualities of both breeds.

4. Attractive pricing

Mini Hippo Dogs cost around $350 to $650, which is far lower than the $1,000 to $2,000 you need to shell out for a Shar-Pei or a Cocker Spaniel. The Mini Hippo Dog gets you both the Shar-Pei and the Cocker Spaniel qualities at a bargain.

5. Excellent guards

Don’t let the droopy eyes and the adorable face fool you. Mini Hippo Dogs are alert, clever, and protective of their homes. They get that from Shar-Peis, who used to be great guard dogs in ancient China.

Mini Hippo Dog Appearance

Mini Hippo Dogs are stocky, medium-sized dogs with droopy faces, wrinkly coats, and signature hippo-like muzzles. They have fluffy, silky fur, and it’s hard to resist petting them.

The Mini Hippo Dog usually has green eyes, a dark nose, and a square-ish body resembling a hippo. Their chunky flabby look makes them tremendously huggable.

Handy Hint: Dogs with fluffy or long coat needs to be groomed regularly. We share 15 at-home dog grooming tips in our article Dog Grooming For Beginners At Home: Dos and Don’ts so be sure to check it out!

Mini Hippo Dog Weight

Mini Hippos are stocky dogs that can weigh anywhere between 40 to 60 pounds. The weight disparity is due to the size difference between its parents. The Cocker Spaniel is a small dog weighing under 30 pounds, whereas the Shar-Pei can be as heavy as 60 pounds.

Mini Hippo Dog Height 

Don’t let the “mini” in their name deceive you. Depending on which parent they take after, Mini Hippos can be 14 to 20 inches tall.

Mini Hippo Dog Coat type

mini hippo dog full size
full grown mini hippo dog

Mini Hippo Dogs have a soft, velvety, and wrinkly coat that looks as if they’re wearing an oversized dog costume. Depending on which parent the Mini Hippo takes after, the Mini Hippo Dog may have one of these three coat types:

1. Bear coat

The bear coat is the most desirable coat in Mini Hippo Dogs. This coat is the longest of the three types and has silky, wavy fur over an inch long. This coat resembles a Cocker Spaniel’s, only shorter.

2. Horse coat

This coat is dense and rough to the touch. At ¾ of an inch, this coat type has the shortest hair among all coat types.

3. Brush coat

Brush coat lies somewhere between bear and horse coats. It’s silky, shiny, and has medium-length fur that grows no longer than an inch. It’s the most common coat among Mini Hippo Dogs.

Mini Hippo Dog Coat colors

The Mini Hippo Dogs come in black, fawn, white, gold, cream, and shades of brown. The coat color of the parents determines the coat color of the offspring, and the Mini Hippo Dogs would inherit the color of one of its parents.

Mini Hippo Dog Temperament

Mini Hippo Dogs are calm, gentle, and patient dogs that would never attack a human or another pup. Nevertheless, socialization at an early age can ensure the dog doesn’t behave unpredictably as an adult. 

Don’t get too worried if your Mini Hippo Dog seems too quiet; these dogs don’t bark a lot, and their silence is normal.

Mini Hippo Dog Personality

Mini Hippo Dogs are caring, smart, and kind dogs that are friendly with kids. The watchdog traits of the Shar-Pei make them excellent guard dogs, whereas the hunting genes they get from Cocker Spaniels make them agile, alert, and intelligent.

Mini Hippo Dogs can show varying personality traits due to the contrast between the characteristics of their parents. These dogs are independent but like sticking around people. They are somewhat stubborn but are also compelled to please their owner.

Fun Fact: Mini Hippo Dogs love being around people and getting pets so don’t be surprised if you start to hear purr-like sounds when you’re petting or hugging them.

Importance of Socialization

The Mini Hippo Dogs are known to be burly dogs – large and strong. This means leaving an untrained pooch with other dogs can be disastrous. Early socialization with people, pets, and other dogs will prevent any behavioral misconducts and altercations when your Mini Hippo Dogs meet someone new.

Mini Hippo Dog Diet

A high-quality diet for your Mini Hippo Dog would be rich in protein and low in fats, carbs, and filler material. Go for meat-based dry kibble as it has high protein and low-fat content.

Feeding 2.5 to 3 cups of dry kibble a day is enough to satisfy your Mini Hippo Dog’s dietary needs. Split it into two meals to keep the dog nourished throughout the day. These dogs are prone to obesity if they eat excess calories, so avoid feeding them any snacks in between their meals.

Mini Hippo Dog Training

Mini Hippo Dogs are stubborn but eager to please their owner. Overall, training them is a breeze. Mini Hippo Dogs are quite clever and would try to have their way during training—either by appealing to your sentiments or completely ignoring you—but you can keep them on track if you show firmness.

Mini Hippo Dog Exercise requirement

Mini Hippo Dogs are fairly active; however, unlike some other energetic dogs, their behavior doesn’t get destructive if they miss a day of exercise. These dogs also get tired and overheat quickly, so make sure to keep physical activity to a moderate level.

Mini Hippo Dog Grooming

The Mini Hippo Dog’s coat grooming frequency depends on its length. The horse coat requires less upkeep than the bear coat as the bear coat sheds more than the horse coat.

Regardless of which coat type, your Mini Hippo Dog would need a bath once a month, and they need to be brushed at least twice a week.

Mini Hippo Dog Health Issues

1. Allergies

These dogs suffer from mild seasonal allergies. They’re also sensitive to certain foods, and you should avoid feeding them grain.

2. Ear infections

Make sure to clean your Mini Hippo Dog’s ears regularly to prevent excess wax buildup. Ignoring your dog’s ear hygiene can subject them to some nasty ear infections. Mini Hippo Dogs have big, floppy ears that hide what’s beneath, and any disease may go unnoticed until it’s too late.

3. Cherry eye

The droopy eyes can collect gunk, leading to different eye infections. One such disease is called cherry eye, and it requires surgical treatment. Cherry eye occurs when the dog’s third eyelid swells and hangs out of their eye socket. 

You may be interested in Why Do Dogs Wink?

4. Tooth decay

The Mini Hippo has short, closely-spaced teeth that can be difficult to clean. Moreover, their long lifespan takes a toll on their teeth. Dental and gum diseases can make your Mini Hippo Dogs lose their precious pearls, which would alter their feeding habits and affect their health.

5. Skin infection

The Mini Hippo Dog’s folds can provide breeding grounds for bacteria, fungi, and subsequent infections. Failing to clean their coats thoroughly or not drying them after bathing can subject them to painful skin infections.

The five health problems mentioned above have been observed in Mini Hippo Dogs. However, they can also inherit one or more health conditions from their Cocker Spaniel or Shar-Pei parent, so let’s have a look at what health issues these dogs can experience.

American Cocker Spaniel Parent

  1. Eye infection.
  2. Hip dysplasia.
  3. Liver problems.
  4. Hypothyroidism.
  5. Cardiac issues.
  6. Kidney stones.
  7. Ear infection.
  8. Allergies.

Shar Pei Parent

  1. Eye infection.
  2. Arthritis.
  3. Joint dysplasia.
  4. Blood clots.
  5. Cancer.
  6. Respiratory issues.
  7. Ear infection.
  8. Mange.
  9. Bone inflammation.
  10. Shar-Pei fever.
  11. Patellar luxation.
  12. Skin sores and fungal infections.

Finding a Healthy Mix

Healthy Mini Hippo puppies can only be ensured by having a healthy Cocker Spaniel mate with a healthy Shar-Pei. Before you get a Mini Hippo pup, make sure to meet its parents. Once you’re confident that both dogs are perfectly healthy and have no inheritable diseases, you can rest easy knowing your Mini Hippo pup will be healthy and well.

Rescuing a Mini Hippo Dog

Hundreds of thousands of dogs face abandonment each year, and they would like nothing more than being in a loving home. Mini Hippo Dogs have a hard time living alone and crave human companionship. If you want a Mini Hippo Dog, it’s best to start by checking out your local shelters before buying one.

Mini Hippo Dog Breeder

Before buying a Mini Hippo puppy, it’s vital to do proper research for reputable breeders in your area. A responsible breeder would have no issues letting you check out the puppy’s parents, its living quarters, and other dogs on their facility. 

When dealing with genuine breeders, you often get a health guarantee on your puppy. Although these breeders usually charge a higher-than-market price, it’s worth every penny to have a fully healthy pup.

Raising a Mini Hippo Dog Puppy

Raising and caring for a Mini Hippo puppy isn’t much different from raising any other puppy. The first thing to learn is the puppy’s dietary needs. Next, the teething phase can be a rough time for you and the pup, so be mentally prepared to go through that.

You’d also need toys for the mental and physical stimulation of the pup’s developing brain. Training comes next, with potty training and socialization with the owners and other people and animal being a priority. With a little extra effort during your puppy’s first year, you’ll get a well-behaved dog to enjoy for many years.

Pros And Cons of Getting A Mini Hippo Dog

Someone in the market for an exotic dog would want to know about the pros and cons of getting a Mini Hippo Dog. So let’s give them a quick look:


  • They make fantastic family pets. 
  • They require minimal socialization. 
  • They don’t shed much and are safe for people with mild allergies.
  • They make vigilant guard dogs.
  • They don’t cost a fortune.
  • Due to their Shar-Pei parentage, they sometimes don’t need potty training.
  • They love spending time with people.


  • Being a hybrid, they cannot enter most dog shows.
  • Their alertness can get annoying as they sometimes bark at every passerby.
  • They can have bipolar personalities due to their parents’ opposing traits.

Comparing types of Cocker Spaniel

The Cocker Spaniel has an American and an English variant. There are slight differences between the two Spaniels; however, these dissimilarities are enough for the AKC to consider them separate breeds. 

Let’s see how the American Cocker Spaniel differs from the English Cocker Spaniel:

  • Dimensions: the ACS is shorter in height but longer, whereas the ECS is almost as long as it is tall.
  • Muzzle: the ACS has a short muzzle, whereas the ECS has a longer and thicker muzzle.
  • Coat: the ACS has longer hair than the ECS
  • Weight: the ACS is lighter than the ECS due to its smaller dimensions
  • Grooming: the ACS is slightly more high-maintenance than the ECS
  • Hunting drive: the ACS doesn’t have a hunting drive as high as the ECS
  • Personality: the ACS prefers the indoors, whereas the ECS likes the outdoors

As you can see, whether it’s the ACS or the ECS, their cross with a Shar-Pei would produce a Mini Hippo Dog with only marginal differences.

Do Mini Hippo Dogs make good family pets?

Mini Hippo Dogs were bred for human companionship, and their fondness for people makes them perfect family pets. They are intelligent and gentle, making them ideal for kids. Whether you live in an apartment or a house with a yard, the Mini Hippo Dog will be happy as long as it is around the family.

Related Questions

What kind of dog is a Mini Hippo?

Mini Hippo Dog is a cross between two purebred dogs: the Shar-Pei and the Cocker Spaniel. Unlike random mixes, this dog is a designer breed.

How much do Mini Hippo Dogs cost?

You can get a Mini Hippo Dog for about $350 to $650. The price depends on the age, health, color, and size of the dog.

How big do Mini Hippos get?

Mini Hippos can grow 13 to 20 inches tall and weigh around 40 to 65 pounds. The weight depends on the size of each parent.

Is there a miniature hippo?

Aside from the dog breed, there is such a thing as a miniature hippo. It’s called a Pygmy hippo, and it grows to about 3 to 5 feet long. While it may not seem too small, it’s still just ¼ the size of a regular hippopotamus.

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