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What Is A Mini Hippo Dog? With Pictures, Care, History & Facts

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

mini hippo dog

Are you curious about the new designer pooch making its way into people’s hearts? The Mini Hippo dog is a new breed that is taking the world by storm, and for good reason. This adorable mixed breed has become increasingly popular due to its cute appearance, sweet disposition, and family-friendly attitude.

In the article below, we will go over all the different aspects of this pup from their disposition and character traits, to their origins and health care. Plus, we will share their care requirements and a few little known details. Basically, you will get all of the information you need to decide whether this breed is right for you.
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History and Origins

Mini Hippo dog
Image Credit: tuti61, Pixabay

The Mini Hippo, also known as a Cocker-Pei, is a fairly new mixed breed with polar opposite parents. The original origins are unknown, although it is believed they originated in the United States. This cute pup is half pure breed Cocker Spaniel and Chinese Shar-Pei.

When you think about those two individual breeds, they seem to be far from compatible; however, their offspring seem to carry the best of both their traits and personality quirks. On one side, we have the sweet-tempered and family-orientated Cocker Spaniel. Let’s take a closer look at this pup first.

The Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel
Image Credit: Katrina_S, Pixabay

The Cocker Spaniel has been a favorite breed among families for generations. As the smallest member of the sporting family, this floppy-eared pooch has a mild-mannered disposition. They are easy-going, gentle with children, and have an abundance of energy.

This is a type of pup that loves to play, run, and frolic. One great trait of this breed is although they are a high-energy dog, they do not feel the need to constantly burn off the energy. They are not likely to chew or become agitated if a daily walk is missed.

There are many different types of Cocker Spaniels that all share the same playful and happy personality characteristics. Another important note about this breed, though, is their general vulnerability. Cocker Spaniels have more tender feelings than other breeds. They don’t do well with aggressive yelling or harsh punishment.

More stressful environments can cause this type of pooch anxiety. That being said, early training is advised, so negative reactions are less likely to affect their mental well-being. Obedience training is also a good idea for socializing this pooch as they can be shy if not exposed to other dogs early. Typically, this type of pup is good with other dogs, as well as other pets.

The Shar-Pei

Image Credit: christels, Pixabay

The Shar-Pei is the other half of the Mini Hippo. This ancient breed comes from China, and their ancestors are believed to stretch back as far as 200 BC. This extremely loyal dog is protective of their family and territory.

It is thought that the Shar-Pei was originally bred to protect and guard upper-class citizens. They were also used to hunt and herd, and in later years, they were also bred to fight. Many of these ancient traits still exist today. The stocky, short-snouted pooch is a great family dog as long as a firm hand is taken right away.

This type of pooch is calm, good with children, and very intelligent. They can also exhibit aloofness and independence. Where the Cocker Spaniel lives to please you, the Shar-Pei exists to protect you; whether you need it or not.

Like the Cocker Spaniel, though, early training is a must for this pooch; otherwise, they will take over the home. They can be stubborn but they are always loving and fiercely loyal. Not surprisingly, they are not keen on strangers or other dogs.

The Mini Hippo

Mini Hippo Shar-Pei
Image Credit: christels, Pixabay

Now that you know the background of this new breed, we can move on to the meat on the bone, if you will. As mentioned, the Mini Hippo Dog has inherited traits from both of their ancestors to create a sought-after new breed of canine. Since they are ever so cute, we will look at their physical traits first.


Even though it has been mentioned several times already, this is one adorable pup! The Mini Hippo Dog name comes from their short, padded, and wrinkled snout that resembles a hippopotamus in mini form. They are typically short, small to medium-sized dogs that are squarish in the body.

The Mini Hippo is part of the designer, companion, sporting, and non-sporting family. They can be anywhere from 40 to 65 pounds and be 18 to 21 inches in height. The fur color of the Mini Hippo Dog varies depending on their patronage, and they will have one of three coat types:

  • Bear Coat: This is the most desired type of fur for this breed. It is soft, wavy, and smooth, plus it is typically longer than 1 inch.
  • Brush Coat: The brush coat is soft and glossy, and very similar to the one above, although it is 1 inch in length.
  • Horse Coat: The last type is a rougher textured fur that is ¾ an inch or shorter.
shar pei puppy
Image Credit: Tiago Vasconcelos, Unsplash

All three types of fur do not have an undercoat, so their shedding is minimal. They also do not cause severe allergy flare-ups. Beyond that, the Mini Hippo often has green eyes with either a black or pink nose.

When it comes to their tail, many breeders opt to cut it during their infancy. If it is left to grow, it generally curls upwards and wags a mile a minute. Mini Hippos have smaller floppy ears, razor-sharp teeth, and a surprisingly deep bark.


When it comes to the temperament of this breed, they have opposing traits that collide to create a loyal, intelligent, sweet disposition. Take a look at the most dominant traits of the Mini Hippo Dog below:

  • Calm
  • Intelligent
  • Protective
  • Stubborn at times
  • Suspicious
  • Loyal
  • Friendly
  • Playful
  • Energetic
  • Independent
  • Social
  • Alert
  • Cool-tempered
  • Jealous

Each dog is going to develop their personality based on their owner’s care and individual factors, but for the most part, the Mini Hippo Dog will exhibit most of these characteristics to some degree.


Now that you know the Mini Hippo temperament, we can look at the fun stuff. Such as, how these traits shape their personality. First, like their parents, this pup is friendly, calm, yet very protective and loyal. They are suspicious of strangers and are likely to be found on patrol in the middle of the night.

This protectiveness can also lead to jealousy, however. If your Mini Hippo pup leans more towards these personality traits, they may be better off as the only pet. With that being said, this is also a playful and gentle pup that is great with children. They are energetic, friendly, and can be very social if trained early.

In regards to the loyalty and jealousy we mentioned, this pup does not do well with prolonged alone time. If you work away from home for eight to ten hours a day, this might not be the right breed for you.

The Mini Hippo loves to cuddle and impress you with their tricks. Their superior intelligence makes them a quick study for training and allows them to remember their specific antics that make you laugh; which they will do often.

Besides jealousy, the Mini Hippo also inherited independence from their forefathers. This trait makes training at an early age important. This brings us to our next topic…

Cocker Spaniel
Image Credit: Katrina_S, Pixabay

Training and Obedience

A Mini Hippo Dog can be stubborn and independent at times. Like the Shar-Pei, if they are not dealt with in a friendly yet firm manner, they can run amuck in your home. That being said, this breed responds very well to positive reinforcement training. Their intelligence, calmness, and cool temperament usually make puppy school easy.

Consistency is typically the key with most breeds. As this particular pup is in it to please and protect, training is pretty basic. On the other hand, this type of pooch has been successfully trained to be a guard dog, herder, and sighter.

Mini Hippo Dogs have also been used in military work and racing. They have not yet been used in any official capacity as a seeing-eye dog or other service jobs, but as a new breed, we are confident they will excel at this job too.

Heath, Care, and Grooming

The care for a Mini Hippo is much like other breeds but can differ depending on the individual dog. Furthermore, keep in mind that this is a fairly new breed on the scene, so time will tell regarding ongoing care tactics. Let’s look at the basics, though.

Image Credit: andrescarlofotografia, Pixabay

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Mini Hippo Dog Care Guide

Grooming and Diet

As far as grooming, the Mini Hippo is pretty basic. Longer coats should be brushed and groomed often, and regular bathing routines are recommended. Their diet is also very basic. They should be given wholesome healthy foods with nutritious ingredients. Owners of the Mini Hippo Dog have found that meals without wheat or corn do best. Also, feeding them two smaller meals a day seems to be more in line with their digestive system.

On a side note, many people are under the impression that this breed is hypoallergenic. Technically, this term is reserved for things that will not cause any type of reaction whatsoever. As the Mini Hippo has fur, allergies are possible. That being said, they do not have an undercoat and only shed minimally twice a year.


The Mini Hippo, in general, enjoys robust health, although there are a few things to keep an eye out for:

  • Allergies: The Mini Hippo has been known to suffer from mild to moderate seasonal allergies, although it is nothing that cannot be treated with your vet’s help. Also, as we mentioned in regard to diet, some pups experience sensitivities to wheat and corn. A grain-free diet is usually recommended.
  • Ear Infections: Another ailment common to this breed is ear infections. This can be caused by allergies or other factors. Ear cleaning should be done once a week, or when earwax is visible to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Eye Issues: Eye infections are also common, but can typically be treated with ointments and cleaning out any visible gunk. Unfortunately, though, the more serious cherry eye is also a common ailment of this pup, and it will require surgery to repair.
  • Teeth: This breed has been known for its sharp teeth, though they stay pretty strong with regular chew toys and a healthy diet. You should note, however, that bad breath is common.

Other than these issues, Mini Hippo Dogs are healthy, happy pups that should receive regular check-ups from your vet.

Cocker Pei lying down
Image Credit: JumpStory

General Care of the Mini Hippo

For the most part, these cute furballs have typical needs that are common to other breeds. Mini Hippo Dogs require daily mild to moderate exercise. Please note, however, that these pups are prone to overheating, so more frequent breaks are necessary.

Due to their inability to cool themselves as fast as other dogs, this pooch is not a fan of hot and humid temperatures. On the other hand, they do not like the cold, either. This pet is not a recommended candidate for extended dog house stays unless you live in a mild-temperature climate.

As stated above, Mini Hippos also require a good deal of companionship, attention, and love. They can become jealous, and they do not do well with prolonged absence. Other than that, they are a pretty easy four-legged friend to care for in the long run.

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This cute pup is a great addition to most families that will welcome in a playful, loyal, and intelligent member of the family. The Mini Hippo does well in apartment settings and would be okay for a novice dog owner.

Always ready to protect you and make you laugh, be aware that this smallish size pooch has a big bark for its size. Mini Hippo Dogs will also not hesitate to be vocal when they are displeased, suspicious, or over-excited. They are not what we would call an “avid barker,” however.

Overall, we hope this has given you a full rundown of this brand-new designer breed. Although they have not been around for centuries like their parents, they have certainly made their mark on the world.

Featured Image Credit: Vasiliy Khimenko, Shutterstock

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