The mini Hippo is a well-loved designer dog breed. Its unique appearance and lovely character traits make it a compelling pet for just about anyone.
However, before rushing out to get one, there are a couple of things you should know about the mini Hippo dog.
For starters, did you know that the mini Hippo dog is a fairly inexpensive designer dog breed? Well, now you do!
This guide is filled with a ton of cool and useful facts such as this one, so make sure to stick around until the very end.
Here, we will talk about the origin, different coat colors, common health issues, and places to find mini Hippos for sale. You will also find answers to a handful of useful FAQs in this guide. Let’s get straight to it!
What Is a Mini Hippo Dog?
The mini Hippo dog is a hybrid of a Chinese Shar-Pei and Cocker Spaniel. This mix is also called the Cocker Pei or the miniature Hippo. Their name comes from the fact that their snouts resemble that of a hippopotamus.
Some would argue that Chinese Shar-Peis and Cocker Spaniels are far too different to bear a lovely hybrid. However, the mere sight of a Cocker Pei would prove them wrong!
Cocker Peis are lovely-looking dogs with a lovely temperament. They are a fairly new hybrid that is constantly gaining popularity in the dog community.
The wide snout of the Cocker Pei is perhaps the most striking feature that sets it apart from other dogs. Their muzzles are noticeably chubby that, at times, they can appear as if they are swollen!
This unique physical feature of mini Hippos gives them an extremely cuddly look, which many people love.
On top of that, these pooches also come in a bunch of coat color variants, which make them even more eye-catching.
Mini Hippo Dog History and Origin: Where Does the Miniature Hippo Dog Come From?
The mini Hippo is fairly new to the dog world. These pooches do not have a long and rich history yet; however, there are still a couple of interesting things about their origin. So, where exactly does the miniature Hippo dog come from?
Miniature Hippos come from the crossbreeding of a Chinese Shar-Pei and an American Cocker Spaniel.
It is believed that the very first mini Hippo hybrid originated in the United States. As to when this mix was first developed, however, remains a mystery.
Breeders of the mini Hippo focus on producing healthy puppies with no genetic and temperamental issues. As a result, Hippo dogs are healthy, and they bear desirable qualities from both their parent breeds.
That said, the population of mini Hippos pales in comparison to other hybrids. As of writing, there are not a lot of miniature Hippo breeders yet.
Despite having no solid evidence that traces back to the roots of the miniature Hippo, the future of these pooches is promising. It will only be a matter of time before mini Hippos become one of the most favorite mixes.
Mini Hippo Dog Appearance: What Does a Mini Hippo Look Like?
The mini Hippo, from its name alone, is quite literally a small version of a hippopotamus. Their resemblance is most noticeable in their wide snouts.
Aside from their peculiar snout appearance, however, the mini Hippo also has other standout physical features.
In terms of size, miniature Hippos are considered a medium-sized breed. They are well-rounded dogs with thick muscles, squarish faces, and folded pairs of ears.
While some mini Hippos will inherit the unique “folds” of their Shar-Pei parent, others will exhibit this physical trait more subtly.
If you love dogs with fun coat colors, you will love the fact that miniature Hippos come in a handful of coat colors. The most common colors for hippo dogs are red and white, fawn, black and white, and merle.
When it comes to their coats, miniature Hippo dogs can have any one of three coat types: bear coat, horse coat, and brush coat.
Bear Coat Mini Hippo Dog
The bear coat is characterized by wavy fur that feels extremely soft to the touch. This coat type is typically longer than an inch and may even have a silk-like texture. The majority of mini Hippos have this type of coat.
RELATED: The Bear Coat Shar-Pei: What Makes This Breed Extra-Special?
Horse Coat Mini Hippo Dog
On the flip side, the horse coat is a coat type that is rough in texture. It is a bit coarse, and it is slightly shorter in length compared to the bear coat.
The maximum length of a horse coat in mini Hippos is about three-quarters of an inch.
Brush Coat Mini Hippo Dog
The third coat type in mini Hippo dogs is known as the brush coat. Measuring at about an inch, the brush coat falls in between the bear and horse coat when it comes to length. The brush coat has a shiny appearance and a soft texture.
READ NEXT: Chinese Shar-Pei Colors: All 21 Coat Colors Explained With Pictures
Mini Hippo Dog Size and Weight: How Big Do Mini Hippo Dogs Get When Fully Grown?
On average, full-grown mini Hippos can weigh anywhere between 40 and 60 pounds. In terms of height, these dogs grow around 18 to 21 inches.
One of the major factors that plays a role in the size of a miniature Hippo is the size of its parents.
For example, a mini Hippo born from an American Cocker Spaniel parent will be smaller than one with an English Cocker Spaniel parent. This is because the American Spaniels are a tad smaller than their English counterparts.
As a rule of thumb, you can have a rough estimate of the full-grown size of a mini Hippo by looking at the size of its parents.
Miniature Hippos, despite having “miniature” in their name, are not technically small dogs. They are considered to be medium-sized dogs.
For reference, mini Hippos are about the same height as a Border Collie or a Chow Chow. They are larger than the average Cocker Spaniel but a bit smaller, if not the same size, as a Chinese Shar-Pei.
READ NEXT: How Big Do Shar-Peis Get? Puppy Growth Chart and FAQ
Mini Hippo Dog Temperament: Do Mini Hippos Make Good Family Companions?
If you find the cuddly looks of the miniature Hippo dog irresistible, you would be pleased to know that it also has an amazing personality.
In general, Hippo dogs are loyal, intelligent, and loving. They are also naturally easy-going and friendly.
If you have kids around the house, they will most likely get along with a miniature Hippo dog.
However, due to their protective nature, a mini Hippo dog breed might interfere with two toddlers quarreling with each other. So keep an eye out for that!
That said, mini Hippo dogs also make great watchdogs. They are effective guards on your property, and they can be trained to alert their families whenever there are strangers around.
On the flip side, miniature Hippos can exhibit jealousy towards other pets. They enjoy getting all the attention from their owners. As a result, these dogs may become aggressive to your other pets if you have any.
In addition, mini Hippo dogs should not be left alone for long periods. They may experience separation anxiety whenever they are not around their family.
If your lifestyle requires you to leave your pet for long hours, you might be better off with a different dog breed.
In addition, mini Hippo dogs are easy to train. They are intelligent dogs that perform best with positive reinforcement training.
Simply put, the miniature Hippo is a fantastic family pet. If trained properly from a young age, Hippo dogs will grow up to be well-behaved adult dogs.
Mini Hippo Dog Lifespan and Health Issues: Are Cocker Peis Healthy Dogs?
Mixed breed dogs are generally healthier than purebred dogs. This is because breeders make conscious efforts to eliminate inheritable genetic faults. A dog will only be bred if it passes a set of rigorous DNA testing.
This is the case for all hybrid dogs including the miniature Hippo, especially the ones from reputable breeders. But does that mean mini Hippos are not at risk of health issues? What about the lifespan of these dogs?
In terms of lifespan, the average life expectancy of a mini Hippo dog is 10 to 15 years. They are generally healthy dogs with manageable health issues, if any.
Mini Hippos are usually free from inheritable health issues from both the Chinese Shar-Pei and the Cocker Spaniel.
However, this is not to say that these dogs are immune from health issues brought by factors other than genetics.
Here are some common health issues of the miniature Hippo dog:
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA is a group of canine degenerative diseases that targets the eyes. A dog with PRA will have steadily deteriorating eyesight. If left untreated, PRA leads to blindness in dogs.
- Bladder Stones: Bladder stones is another common issue in mini Hippo dogs. This condition is commonly accompanied by blood in the dog’s urine or straining when urinating. Surgery is required to remove stones from a dog’s bladder.
- Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism in canines is a condition that causes bodily functions to slow down. Some signs of hypothyroidism include lethargy and weight gain. It may also be accompanied by abrupt changes in coat and skin.
- Bloat: Gastric dilation-volvulus, also known as bloat, is a fatal and urgent health issue in dogs. It occurs when a dog’s stomach is twisted internally. Bloat is highly life-threatening and can kill a dog in a matter of hours.
All of these health issues are curable at the very least. In fact, most of these are preventable. As always, one of the best ways to keep your mini Hippo puppy away from health-related complications is to visit the vet regularly.
How Much Does a Mini Hippo Dog Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses
If you are a dog lover and you can’t wait to get a mini Hippo, hold your horses! You first need to know about the price and expenses that come along with owning one of these pooches.
First and foremost, the price of a mini Hippo itself. How much does a mini Hippo puppy cost? Are they expensive dogs?
The price of a mini Hippo can vary between $350 and $600. When you compare this price to the likes of the Goldendoodle, Pomsky, and Maltipoo, you will realize that this is a fairly reasonable price.
At this asking price, mini Hippos might just be the most affordable designer dog breed!
However, the price of the dog will not be your only expense when getting one. There are a bunch of other things to consider.
Here’s a list of all the things you need to buy for a miniature Hippo pup:
|Type of Expense||Average Cost|
|Collar and Leash||$20|
|Toothbrush and Toothpaste||$10|
|Total Initial Cost||$310|
The list above will vary depending on what items you already have. If you already owned a dog in the past, you may already have some of the items listed here.
However, a rough estimate is that you will need to shell out about $310 for your mini Hippo’s essential needs.
On top of these initial expenses are the recurring costs of owning a miniature Hippo.
This covers the dog food budget, veterinary checkup fees, vitamins, treats, and more. For these, you will need about $1,500 to $2,500 per year.
Places to Find Mini Hippo Puppies for Sale or Adoption
Since mini Hippos are fairly new to the dog community, they are harder to find than other dog breeds.
While there are a few breeders of this mix, they may not be within your area so you would need to have your mini Hippo shipped or you may need to travel to get this pup as your family dog.
The same is true for adoption. If you are looking to save a bit of money by adopting a mini Hippo instead of buying one, your luck may be slim.
That said, don’t lose hope! With a bit of patience, perseverance, and the right resources, you will be able to find a miniature Hippo in no time.
Below are some breeders and services where you can find mini Hippo puppies for sale:
- 316 Mini Hippos – 316 Mini Hippos is one of the fewest mini Hippo breeders with a social media presence. They have been operating since July 2020, and they have already sold a bunch of puppies. Be sure to check them out if you are interested in a mini Hippo pup!
- Furry Babies – Furry Babies is a mini Hippo breeder based in three different cities in Illinois: Aurora, Lombard, and Rockford. If you live near those areas, Furry Babies might be your best bet! You may view their contact information on their contact page.
- PuppySpot – PuppySpot is an online platform for selling and buying different kinds of dogs. You may visit their website to stay updated about available Cocker Pei puppies. They will send you an email once a pup is available!
Below are services where you can find mini Hippos for adoption:
- Adopt-a-Pet – Adopt-a-Pet is an adoption site hosting a wide selection of pets. Their search feature makes it easier to find pets near your location. Listings for Cocker Peis in Adopt-a-Pet are typically rare; however, you should still visit their site occasionally to look for mini Hippos.
- Pets4You – Pets4You is a trusted online service that hosts both cats and dogs for adoption. This site is yet to feature a mini Hippo on their list of adoptable pets but you might be able to find one in the near future. Check out their listings from time to time.
It is recommended to check out all of the sources listed here before buying or adopting a mini Hippo dog. In some cases, you can find good deals with just a little bit of extra effort.
READ NEXT: 13 Ways to Find Free Puppies in Your Area for Adoption (2023)
How to Take Care of Your Mini Hippo Dog?
For the most part, caring for a mini Hippo dog is not that different compared to caring for other dog breeds.
However, there are a few noteworthy tips that owners should keep in check from time to time. Let’s have a look at the things you need to know to keep your mini Hippo dog in tip-top shape!
Feeding and Diet
The diet of mini Hippo dogs is not that different from other breeds. In fact, one could say that their diet is extremely basic. All you need to do is to feed your Hippo dog with nutritious dog food and you’re pretty much set.
Just make sure that you are buying the appropriate kibble for your dog’s age and activity level. You may need to try out a bunch of different brands to find the one your dog will like the most.
You may also throw in homemade white meat and vegetables from time to time to add variety to your dog’s meals. As long as you are not feeding your Hippo dog anything from the list of toxic foods for dogs, it will be fine.
Cleaning and Grooming
In general, miniature Hippo dogs do not require a lot of grooming. They do not have an undercoat, and they only shed minimally twice every year.
Depending on the length of hair of your mini Hippo, you may need to brush it between three and five times a week. Mini Hippo dogs with bear coats will require more frequent brushing than those with horse or brush coats.
In terms of bathing, you may bathe your mini Hippo dog as often as twice a week. You should also make sure to keep its nails properly trimmed and its ears clean.
Training and Exercise
When it comes to training and exercise, the rule of thumb for mini Hippo dogs is to keep it short and exciting.
These dogs do not have the best endurance when it comes to physical activities but they still need to move frequently to stay healthy.
If you wish to teach your mini Hippo dog a couple of tricks, make sure to employ positive reinforcement training. This is the best way to train a miniature Hippo dog.
The most ideal setup for training your pet is a 20-minute training session in the morning and another 20-minute session in the afternoon. This is just enough to keep your dog entertained while making sure it won’t get overworked.
If you want to know more about training mini Hippo dogs, here’s a useful video to watch:
Advantages and Disadvantages of Breeding Shar-Peis and Cocker Spaniels Together
Crossbreeding is not only done to achieve good-looking hybrid dogs with peculiar features. There are also other advantages that go along with it.
However, this is not to say that crossbreeding is perfect. Oftentimes, crossing different breeds also has its disadvantages.
In the case of breeding Shar-Peis and Cocker Spaniels together, these are the advantages:
- Unique Appearance: In most cases, the main motivation for crossing different dog breeds is to achieve a more desirable appearance. Mini Hippo dogs have unique physical features inherited from their parent breeds. These features include their squarish face inherited from the Shar-Pei and their different coat types adopted from the Cocker Spaniel.
- More Variety: Breeding different dog breeds together introduces more variety in terms of coat color and size. Unlike its purebred parents, the mini Hippo comes in plenty of coat colors. Its range in size is also wider compared to both the Shar-Pei and the Cocker Spaniel. With hybrids, dog owners have the luxury of picking from a longer “list of features.”
- Reduced Risk of Genetic Issues: It takes years of experience for reputable breeders to come up with designer dog breeds. Also, crossbreeding dogs require parent dogs to be tested for genetic faults. As a result, designer breeds are less likely to bear genetic issues that are present in purebreds. In the case of the mini Hippo dog, genetic health problems present in the Chinese Shar-Pei and the Cocker Spaniel are greatly reduced.
On the contrary, here are some disadvantages of breeding the mini Hippo dog:
- High Cost: Since designer dog breeds take plenty of time, experience, and money to be developed, it is only reasonable for these dogs to cost a lot of money. However, the mini Hippo dog does not seem to follow this trend just yet. Selling for an average price of $500, miniature Hippos are relatively inexpensive compared to most hybrid dogs since mini Hippos are still new to the market. As they gain popularity, you can expect their price to take a steep hike!
- Sizing Problems: While crossbred dogs come with the perk of added size variants, these dogs may also introduce sizing problems. This means it is harder to predict the full-grown size of a mini Hippo dog compared to a purebred dog.
- Difficult Deliveries: Related to sizing problems, difficult deliveries are also common for hybrid dogs like the mini Hippo dog. Since the size of the litter is harder to predict, there might be unanticipated problems when it comes to delivering the puppies. The worst-case scenario when this happens is that a dog will need to undergo an emergency C-section.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Mini Hippo Dogs Shed?
Mini Hippos shed minimally and only twice a year. Depending on the coat type of your mini Hippo, it may be a minimal or a moderate shedder. That said, most mini Hippos are considered moderate shedders.
Are Mini Hippo Dogs Hypoallergenic?
Some people believe that mini Hippos are hypoallergenic; however, since most miniature Hippos are moderate shedders, they are most likely not hypoallergenic.
If you have very sensitive allergies, it might be best to look for a different dog breed that is more hypoallergenic.
Can Mini Hippo Dogs Be Left Alone?
It is not advisable to leave mini Hippo dogs alone. This is because they are prone to separation anxiety. You can leave mini Hippo dogs alone for a short while but never for an extended period.
Are Mini Hippos Aggressive?
Mini Hippo dogs are not aggressive. In fact, they often have a laid-back temperament. These dogs can get protective over their puppies or small children but they won’t show unnecessary aggression.
Mini Hippo dogs are hippopotamus look-alikes due to their wide snouts. These dogs are the hybrid between a Chinese Shar-Pei and a Cocker Spaniel.
Miniature Hippos are a relatively new designer dog breed, and they are priced quite inexpensively.
They make great family pets, and when trained properly, they can get along with kids as well as with other pets. They can also be amazing guard dogs!
If you want a loyal and loving best friend that is irresistibly cute, the mini Hippo is the dog for you!
My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and dogs. I’ve got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.