BaxterBoo Blog
November 14, 2019

Meet the Breed: The Mi-Ki

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This rare chocolate Mi-ki features erect ears


  • Height: 7" - 10"
  • Weight: 4 - 8 pounds
  • Historical function: Companion
  • Modern function: Companion, therapy dog
  • AKC classification: None
  • UKC classification: Companion dog group

Physical Characteristics:

The Mi-ki dog is a small dog that easy to travel with. The breed features a long coat that comes in a wide range of colors. The body is slightly rectangular being longer than tall. The topline is level. Feathering must be present on the legs and tail. When relaxed, the front feet may turn slightly outwards. The tail is set high and arches over the body with a fringed plume. The gait should be lively but smooth and graceful. 


The Mi-Ki has a small, domed head. It has a short, wide muzzle with a defined stop. The muzzle is fairly short. The bite may be level or slightly undershot. The round eyes are large and set well apart, usually dark except in lighter self-colored coats (i.e., dark blue eyes with a blue-colored coat.) The nose is dark except in the dilute colors of chocolate and blue, medium in size with wide nostrils. 


Mi-ki ears can either be erect, dropped, or winged (folded.) Mi-ki ears are highly mobile and expressive in all the ear set types. The fringed mobile ears are one of the defining characteristics of the breed. Mi-kis with erect ears show the influence of the Papillon ancestors. Up or down ear sets are accepted and both types often display "winging" when the dog is excited. 

Coat Types

The Mi-Ki comes in two coat varieties -- smooth-face and long coat. The smooth face has a long demi-coat and the face has no beard or mustache. Ear fringe is present. There is also fringe on the legs and tail. The smooth-face Mi-ki is not considered to be hypoallergenic but is easy to maintain since the coat stays the same length. Shedding is minimal. The smooth-face Mi-ki is not recognized in all Mi-ki clubs. This recessive trait is only found in about 22% of all Mi-kis.

The long-coated type has a silky or cottony coat that may be straight or slightly wavy. There is long feathering on the ears and on the front and rear legs, and on the tail. The long-coated Mi-Ki has a beard and mustache but is groomed with a shaved head that tapers into the ears. The long-coat type of the Mi-Ki is non-shedding and may be a good choice for those that suffer from allergies.

All coat colors are allowed except for merle. Solid colors are rarer in the breed as are chocolate and blue colors. Mi-ki coat colors often change significantly from puppyhood to adulthood.

Mi-ki dogs have a variety of coat colors and ear sets

Mi-kis come in a variety of colors and ear sets.

History of the Breed:

The Mi-Ki is pronounced "Me-Key." The history of the Mi-Ki dog breed is difficult to trace. According to the American Mi-ki Club, Maureen van Wormer (aka. Westburg, Mackin), created the Mi-Ki by crossing Shih Tzus with various other breeds over a period of 30 years beginning in 1959.  Early breeding records were lost in a fire, but the Mi-ki is said to share ancestry with the Shih Tzu, Maltese, Japanese Chin, and the Papillon. There is also a small amount of Yorkshire Terrier and Pomeranian in the breed, according to recent DNA studies. The many contributing breeds are the source of the variety in coat type both in color and in length as well as ear set. 

The Mi-ki has been officially recognized as a breed by the United Kennel Club as of January 2016. 


The Mi-Ki is perhaps the perfect companion for those looking for a small dog. They are considered to be very intelligent, calm, sweet natured, and very much in tune with their people. They are friendly but their activity level is mellow to moderate, yet they are not dull. They are friendly and alert. They are great companions for the disabled and autistic persons as they are calm, easy-going, attentive and are not overly barky. When a Mi-Ki is vocal, they may have a funny yodeling sound or happy twitter. 

Because of their intelligence and people-pleasing nature, Mi-Kis do particularly well in obedience training. They make poor watchdogs as they aren't usually prone to bark and love strangers. The Mi-Ki is not aggressive and has an affinity for children, other dogs and other animals, including horses.

This dog is so adaptable, that many people who have resigned themselves to not being able to have a dog, such as the elderly or apartment dwellers, can often live very comfortably with a Mi-Ki.

  • Best suited for: Apartment dwellers, families with children, senior citizens, people requiring medical or emotional support animals
  • Preferred living conditions: This dog is pretty much content anywhere as long as they can be with people

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: The long-haired version doesn't shed but requires regular grooming. A show cut in the long-haired version has a nearly-shaved head, trimmed feet, and ears that taper into the body. The smooth-coat requires regular brushing and no trimming except between the toes.
  • Exercise needs: A daily walk is preferred but Mi-kis can enjoy play indoors and get sufficient exercise.
  • Life expectancy: 13-15 years.
  • Health concerns: As with most toy breeds, patellar luxation (slipped kneecaps) can be a problem but most don't require surgical intervention. Strict health testing is keeping the breed healthy.

Tri-color long-coat Mi-ki Puppy

A tri-colored Mi-ki puppy.

Breed Club Links: American Mi-Ki Registry Association, American Mi-ki Club, International Mi-ki Registry Perfect Pairings: Clickers and other obedience training tools.

Have any stories about a Mi-Ki? Please share!

Photos: Courtesy of Royal T Mi-kis.

Claire on November 17 at 6:09 PM said:

AdOrAbLe...I would LOVE to be owned by a 'Mi-Ki'!!! <3

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This entry was posted by Mary.

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