Designer dogs, also known as hybrid dogs, are crosses of two purebreds to form a distinct type. Cheagles are a cross between the beagle and the Chihuahua. Bhihuahua just didn't have the same ring to it. The American Kennel Club does not recognize cheagles as a breed.
Crossing a small- to medium-size dog such as a beagle with a tiny Chihuahua results in a dog that matures at about 12 pounds. Height varies, with the dog usually smaller than a beagle, but bigger than a Chihuahua. Males are larger than females.
Cheagles often have beagle-like heads with the smaller Chihuahua snout. Your dog may have the black, tan and white beagle coloring, a solid coat like a Chihuahua, solid with white markings or spotted. He may have some ticking on his legs or body -- those small freckle-like spots common in beagles. The coat of this cross of two short-haired breeds is easy to maintain, with regular brushing keeping it in good order.
Beagles and Chihuahuas are very different types of dog. As a hound, the beagle loves to hunt; his nose rules him. He can hunt for miles, and nothing distracts him from the scent. Beagles tend to have happy, outgoing personalities and get along with other animals as well as people. Chihuahuas are alert, bright little dogs requiring little exercise. The cheagle is generally friendly, although he can be aggressive in play.
A major drawback for this cross is that both breeds are notoriously hard to housebreak. That doesn't necessarily mean your cheagle will be a problem, but be prepared with lots of papers and praise. Cheagles may inherit overbites, so have your vet inspect your dog's teeth in case dental work is necessary. Like many small breeds, Chihuahuas may suffer from dental issues due to overcrowding of the dog's 42 adult teeth in the small mouth. If the cheagle inherits a tiny Chihuahua jaw, dental problems could result.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.