The Hamilton Spectator

Have you heard of a chiweenie?


I have never owned a dog, although I am dog-adjacent — my sister has one and my kids have two.

When you have dogs, people automatica­lly ask, “What kind of dog do you have?” And you reply, if you’re my sister, “he’s a Westie!” and smile because when you see a Westie you can’t not smile.

I have cats. I’ve always had cats. When you have a cat, people ask you what colour your cat is. Or how old it is. Or if it’s fat. Because, unless you’re a fancy pants, the only breed of cat is cat.

Sometimes, we cat owners get a little 23andMe and say “tabby” or “calico” or “orange,” but that’s just cat owner shorthand before we whip out our phones and show you a tabby hanging from a screen door, a calico insisting on a different entree or an orange cat lying upside down with his tongue hanging out. All kittens are adorable and we all know we’re rolling the dice when we take one in.

The dog selection system consists of people (hopefully) going to a rescue or similar agency and adopting a pup. The cat selection system, though it can also work that way, also works by a cat sitting outside your window and looking incredibly pitiful while meowing. Cats adopt you, as the saying goes. When Pammy and Christer adopted their first pup, Alfie, he was a weird little ragamuffin who looked like he’d been assembled in the dark. They were told he was possibly a rat terrier with some chihuahua thrown in, although the order and the amount have been a head scratcher ever since. He carries himself like a little aristocrat, and in the end that’s probably all that matters.

Paco, their other pup, was rescued from the mean streets of Georgia. A lot of strays come from Georgia. In the pictures that broke Pammy’s heart (she really needs to stop searching on those websites), this wee black dog with ears like satellite dishes looked tiny and hungry and pathetic. There was obviously some chihuahua in there, but his ancestry was a little murky.

In the ensuing years, we’ve periodical­ly wondered what lurks in their doggy DNA. I had a friend who had a test done on her dog and it came back that she (the dog, not my friend) had a family tree with so many branches they effectivel­y just circled back to mutt. It was interestin­g if not informativ­e, and for what it cost it was best left a parlour game.

Christophe­r texted me last week. “We discovered Paco’s actual breed,” he wrote. “He’s a chihuahua-dachshund mix.” “DACHSHUND?” I yelled with my fingers. “HAHAHAHA WTH.” I like to yell when I text for maximum impact.

“There’s a name for the mix. Chiweenie.”

“OMG. I’m dyyyyyyyyy­yyyying,” I replied.

“Chiweenie. He’s a frickin’ chiweenie.”

“Stop saying it I can’t type,” I replied, laughing so hard my hands were shaking.

“We did some research on the traits and checked images. He’s identical.”

“You have a chiweenie.” I could barely type.

“Yeah, we are proud parents to a chiweenie named Paco.”

By this point, I was calling my sister to tell her about Paco, but mostly to say the word chiweenie. Every time I could get it into a conversati­on, I did so for the next two days. Mostly people were baffled, but I couldn’t stop laughing long enough to explain. Chiweenie.

I asked Pammy to send me some Paco pics, and I selected one that I felt best displayed his weiner heritage. I’m sure there are a few other things in the stew, but I also think the kids have discovered the missing main ingredient. Sweet Pea, my purebred feral backyard cat, rolled her eyes at the commotion.

“Be glad you’re just a cat,” I told her. “You could be a chiweenie.”

 ?? PAM HUFFMAN PHOTO ?? It was discovered that Paco is a chihuahua-dachshund mix — a “chiweenie,” if you will.
PAM HUFFMAN PHOTO It was discovered that Paco is a chihuahua-dachshund mix — a “chiweenie,” if you will.
 ?? ??

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