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Mi-ki Dog Breed Guide: Your Ultimate Overview - PawSafe

Mi-ki Dog Breed Guide: Your Ultimate Overview

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

Mi ki dog breed

If you’re looking for a small companion dog that is as affectionate as they come, you might want to consider the Mi-ki. This breed may not be as well-known as some teacup varieties, but the Mi-ki (pronounced mee-kee) certainly doesn’t lack in personality or charm. They are known for their friendly demeanor, which makes them excellent companions for just about anyone – from singles to families with children.

Mi-ki puppies are quite the sight, with their expressive eyes and soft coats. They’re great around other pets and adapt well to various living situations, all thanks to their adaptable and easygoing nature. Often mistaken for a toy breed, Mi-kis remain puppy-like in both size and behavior throughout their lives.

When you’re getting your Mi-ki through a breeder, it’s important to look for someone reputable, perhaps affiliated with the American Mi-Ki Club and The Mi-Ki registry, which ensures responsible breeding practices. This assures you of a healthy puppy both in body and spirit. These delightful dogs tend to form strong bonds with their humans and are always eager to be part of your daily activities, whether it’s curling up on the couch or going for a pleasant walk.

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The Mi-Ki is a captivating small dog breed that is growing in popularity. It’s a toy breed, meaning it’s quite small and perfect for keeping on your lap. Originating not too long ago, this breed brings together the charms and qualities of various toy breeds from across Asia and Europe.


  • Size: Toy
  • Group: Various, including conformation, agility, and obedience

What you’ll love about Mi-Kis is their versatility. They’re not only companions that can easily adapt to apartment living due to their size, but they’re also skilled in a range of activities. If you’re looking to show off in dog agility or obedience competitions, a Mi-Ki might just be your eager partner.

On top of that, their gentle nature makes them wonderful therapy and service dogs. Their skills in these areas show how intuitive and sensitive they are to human needs.

Activity Requirements:

  • Moderate activity
  • Enjoys playtime and mental stimulation

In terms of appearance, Mi-Kis come in various coat types and colors, which means they can look quite unique from one another. Despite their diverse looks, they all share the same affectionate and sociable demeanor. Their small size coupled with a heart full of love makes them ideal domestic companions.


  • Affectionate;
  • Sociable; and
  • Adaptable.

When you meet a Mi-Ki, you’re bound to be charmed by their endearing nature. Whether you’re looking for a lapdog, a competitive little athlete, or a supportive service animal, the Mi-Ki could be the right choice for you.

Mi-ki Breed Origin and History

red and white Mi-ki puppy laying on grass

Developing over three decades, the Mi-ki is a rare toy breed stemming from a thoughtful blend of multiple other breeds. Its creation is credited to Maureen van Wormer, starting with just a pair of Shih-tzus and leading to the diverse genetic tapestry we see today.

Genetic Ancestry

You might wonder what breeds contributed to the making of a Mi-ki. It’s a mix of several small breeds, each chosen for their distinctive qualities. The breeds include Shih-tzu, Tibetan Spaniel, Maltese, Papillon, Japanese Chin, and Yorkshire Terrier. The goal was to combine the best traits of these dogs to create the Mi-ki, a dog with a gentle demeanor and a sociable nature, perfect for companionship.

The foundation dogs were few, with less than 30 intermingling until the birth of what van Wormer considered the finished version of the breed in the early 1990s. These dogs, resulting from specific crossbreedings, laid down the genetic groundwork for today’s Mi-kis. The breed carried on with closed registries but maintained genetic diversity through selective breeding.

Recognition by Kennel Clubs

When it comes to recognition, you might be curious about the Mi-ki’s status with major kennel clubs. While not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Mi-ki has gained recognition from several rare breed organizations and kennel clubs. It’s a breed still paving its way through clubs like the United Kennel Club (UKC), which as of 2016, recognizes the long coat Mi-ki.

The breed has been featured in conformation shows across various platforms, including internationally, and has captured the interest of dog lovers and breeders worldwide. Through the efforts of numerous breed clubs and associations such as the American Mi-ki Registry Association (AMRA), the Mi-ki continues to gain popularity and legitimacy as a unique and cherished breed.

Origins of the Smooth-Faced Mi-Ki

The Smooth-Faced Mi-Ki, often adored for its charming demeanor and toy-like appearance, descends from a diverse canine heritage. Initially, breeders aimed to produce a long-haired, non-shedding dog. However, the introduction of breeds such as the Papillon, Japanese Chin, and Tibetan Spaniel — known for their lack of significant facial hair — paved the way for the smooth-faced variety.

Genetic Traits:

  • Long coat Mi-Kis: Dominant furnishings gene
  • Smooth-faced Mi-Kis: Recessive furnishings trait from each parent

Inevitably, the first acclaimed Mi-Ki, In-Chan-Ting Man, carried this recessive gene, leading to both long-coat and smooth-faced offspring. Pairings within the early gene pool confirmed that this characteristic was indeed inheritable.

Breeding Outcomes:

  • Long coats: Referred to as full-furnished, they sport an abundance of hair.
  • Smooth-faces: These Mi-Kis lack the “furnishings,” presenting a smoother appearance.
  • Tweeners: A colloquial term for long coats with shorter hair and less feathering, erroneously attributed to a mix of both types.

The propagation of the smooth-faced trait has become less common in some breeding circles, leading to a focus on long-coated Mi-Kis. Yet, other breeders embraced and continued breeding the smooth-faced variety, vital for sustaining a diverse gene pool.

Did You Know?

  • Approximately 19% of Mi-Kis registered are smooth-faced, slightly less than the expected 25% from two carriers.
  • DNA analysis shows that 42% of the Mi-Kis carry the smooth-faced gene.

Today, several registries recognize both varieties, honoring the rich heritage and contributions of the smooth-faced Mi-Ki to the breed as a whole. Whether you’re drawn to the plush long coat or the sleek smooth face, Mi-Kis continue to captivate hearts with their cheerful and accommodating nature.

Physical Characteristics

Mi-Ki dog face close up white nose

The Mi-Ki is a small yet refined toy breed, characterized by its elegance and balanced physique. As you get to know this breed, you’ll appreciate its various distinct features, from its luxuriant coat to its expressive eyes.

Size and Weight: How Big Does The Mi-Ki Get When Full-Grown?

Your Mi-Ki should ideally stand no taller than 10 inches (25.4 cm) at the withers and tip the scales at under 10 pounds (4.54 kg), with the sweet spot for weight being between 4 and 8 pounds (1.81 to 3.63 kg). Proportionality is key in this breed; it should never look too leggy or overly stout.

Coat and Colors

Mi-Kis flaunt a single coat that comes in two distinct varieties: the long coat with furnishings and the smooth-face with no furnishings. Their coat colors are diverse, with hues ranging from red and black to softer tones like silver, cream, and apricot. Moreover, these dogs can carry their color in various patterns, including solid, sable, or a combination of colors.

Distinctive Features

The Mi-Ki’s large, round eyes and mobile ears are a window into their gentle soul, confirming their status as the sweetheart of toy breeds. Whether you opt for the long coat bearing a full beard and mustache, or the clean lines of the smooth-faced Mi-Ki, this breed’s adorable features, including the proud carriage of its plumed tail, underscore its charming demeanor.

Your Mi-Ki can also exhibit a well-defined structure with a level topline and a squarely built body that moves with grace and agility. To appreciate more about these features, you can check out the official Breed Standard which can provide a detailed look at the Mi-Ki’s requirements.

Personality and Temperament

The Mi-ki is a breed that epitomizes affection and companionship. With a demeanor that ranges from playful to serene, they make an ideal match for various lifestyles.

Behavioral Traits

  • Calm and Quiet: These dogs are known for their even-tempered nature, often remaining calm and quiet. A Mi-ki may alert you with a bark if necessary, yet they typically refrain from excessive yapping.
  • Intelligent and Trainable: The hallmark of the Mi-ki is its intelligence paired with an eager-to-please attitude, resulting in a breed that is easy to train. Whether it’s basic commands or more complex tasks, Mi-kis catch on quickly.

Is the Mi-ki Good with Kids and a Good Family Dog?

  • Child-Friendly: Absolutely. Mi-kis are sweet and gentle, making them a loving addition to homes with children. Their happy demeanor and tolerant personality mean they often forge strong bonds with younger family members. However, because of their small size, children should be taught how handle them carefully and avoid accidents with bigger animals.
  • Companionable Nature: As a true companion dog, the Mi-ki cherishes family time. Their affectionate nature shines in household environments, making them fantastic family pets.

Sociability with Other Animals

  • Playful with Pets: Mi-kis are typically very sociable with other animals, integrating well into multi-pet households. Their playful spirit makes them friendly companions for other pets.
  • Adaptable Socializers: While they may display hesitancy in new situations, Mi-kis generally adapt with grace, making friends with both people and animals before long.

Remember, these general traits may vary by individual, but overall, the Mi-ki is a breed tailor-made for companionship and affection.

Mi-Ki Health and Lifespan

When choosing a Mi-Ki as your pet, it’s important to understand their potential health issues and how to care for them to ensure a long, happy life. Let’s explore what you need to know about their health and expected lifespan.

Common Health Issues

The Mi-Ki dog breed, while generally healthy, can be prone to certain health issues. Some to be mindful of include:

  • Dental Problems: Due to their small mouths, Mi-Kis can suffer from overcrowded teeth, leading to dental disease if not regularly cleaned.
  • Patellar Luxation: This condition involves the dislocation of the kneecap and is relatively common in small breeds.
  • Heart Diseases: Mi-Kis can develop heart problems, such as Mitral Valve Disease, especially as they get older.
  • Obesity: As with many breeds, maintaining a healthy weight is crucial, as obesity can lead to further health complications.
  • Hypothyroidism: This hormonal disorder can occur in Mi-Kis, affecting their metabolism and overall health.
  • Brachycephalic Syndrome: While not as severely brachycephalic as some breeds, Mi-Kis can still experience breathing difficulties associated with this syndrome.

It’s important for you to be aware of these issues so that you can spot any signs early and consult your veterinarian.

Caring for a Mi-ki’s Health

To support your Mi-Ki’s health and possibly extend their lifespan, here’s what you can do:

  1. Diet & Exercise: Feed your Mi-Ki high-quality dog food and ensure they get regular exercise to prevent obesity.
  2. Regular Check-ups: Annual vet visits can help catch and manage health issues early.
  3. Dental Care: Brush your Mi-Ki’s teeth regularly to prevent dental problems.
  4. Observe & Act: Keep an eye on your dog for any signs of lethargy, changes in appetite, or discomfort, which can signal health issues.

Your Mi-Ki may not be hypoallergenic and can have a low to moderate shedding level. While no dog is truly hypoallergenic, regular grooming can help manage shedding and keep your Mi-Ki’s coat healthy.

By providing proper care and attention to your Mi-Ki’s health, you’re taking essential steps toward a long life together. Remember, a proactive approach is key to managing your furry friend’s well-being.

Grooming and Maintenance

Taking care of your Mi-ki’s appearance is not just about good looks; it’s essential for their health too. Proper grooming and maintenance can prevent skin issues and keep your little friend comfortable.

Coat Care

Your Mi-ki has a beautiful long coat that requires regular brushing to avoid matting. Brush at least three times a week with a soft bristle brush. Pay special attention to areas behind the ears and under the legs, as these are matting hotspots. They also need regular trims to keep their coat neat.

Hygiene Routines

Beyond the coat, other grooming essentials include dental care and ear cleaning. Brush your Mi-ki’s teeth several times a week to prevent tartar build-up. Wipe the ears out weekly with a gentle, vet-approved cleanser to prevent infections.

Does the Mi-Ki Shed a Lot?

Mi-kis are considered low-shedders, meaning they have minimal shedding. This is good news for your furniture and clothes! However, this also means that regular grooming is crucial to remove loose fur and keep their long coat glossy.

Training and Exercise

Mi-ki dogs are known for their adaptability and intelligence, making them quite receptive to training. They have moderate energy levels, meaning daily exercise is important for their health and happiness.

Training Techniques

Your Mi-ki can be easy to train because of their eagerness to please and quick learning ability. Positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise, work best. Start with basic commands like sit, stay, and come. Consistency is key, so try to have short training sessions every day. Mi-kis also excel in rally and agility sports, which can be a fun way to train.

Daily Exercise Needs

Mi-kis do not require a large amount of exercise, but a daily walk and some playtime will help to keep them fit. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. This can be broken into two or three shorter walks combined with playtime. Remember, their energy levels may increase your own; regular exercise can be a joyful activity for both of you.


Early and frequent socialization is crucial for your Mi-ki. Expose them to different people, animals, and environments to ensure they grow up to be well-rounded. Mi-kis can also make wonderful therapy dogs due to their gentle nature and love for companionship. Involve them in group training classes or doggy daycare to encourage positive social habits.

Living with a Mi-ki

Living with a Mi-ki means bringing a versatile and adaptable companion into your life. These dogs are known for their loyalty, making them ideal for both families and individuals looking for a therapy or companion dog.


Mi-kis are remarkable in their ability to adapt to various living situations. Whether you reside in a spacious house or a compact apartment, your Mi-ki will comfortably make themselves at home. They have a versatile nature, which means they can easily adjust to changes in environment and routine, a characteristic that makes them excellent companion dogs.

Mi-ki as a Family Member

Embracing a Mi-ki as a family member is a joy because of their loyal and affectionate demeanor. These dogs often form close bonds with all family members and can be particularly gentle with children. As potential therapy dogs, they can provide comfort and support with their calming presence.

Is the Mi-Ki Hypoallergenic?

Although no dog is truly hypoallergenic, Mi-kis are often well-tolerated by people with allergies. Their coat, which can be kept long or short, sheds minimally. This means less dander around the home, which is the usual cause for allergies.

Can the Mi-Ki be Left Alone for Long Hours?

It’s not ideal to leave a Mi-ki alone for extended periods regularly as they thrive on companionship. While they can be left alone for a few hours, making arrangements for enrichment activities or having someone check on them can prevent feelings of loneliness or anxiety.

Can the Mi-Ki Live in Apartments?

Absolutely! Mi-kis are well-suited for apartment living due to their small size and quiet nature. They do not require excessive space to be happy but do benefit from regular walks and playtime to fulfill their exercise needs. Their adaptability comes into play by adjusting well to the indoor environment and neighboring community.

How Much Does A Mi-ki Puppy Cost?

Mi-ki puppy teacup small puppy black

When you’re thinking about getting a new puppy, especially a Mi-ki, one of the main things you’ll probably wonder about is how much they cost. Well, the price can vary quite a bit depending on a few factors. Typically, a Mi-ki puppy might cost you between $1,500 and $3,000. But why such a range, you ask?

  1. Breeder Reputation: If you’re getting your furry friend from a well-known breeder who has a history of healthy and happy puppies, you might pay more.
  2. Pedigree: Does the puppy have champion bloodlines? If so, that can increase the price.
  3. Location: Where you live can affect the cost too! If Mi-kis are rare in your area, they might be pricier.
  4. Health Testing: Some breeders do extensive health testing on their puppies and parents to ensure they’re free of genetic diseases. This is important for your peace of mind, but it can add to the cost.
  5. Registration: Is the puppy registered with a canine organization? This can make a difference in the price as well.

Remember, while the cost can give you a general idea of what you’ll pay, it doesn’t cover everything. Don’t forget you’ll likely need to budget for other initial expenses like:

  • A cozy bed;
  • A sturdy leash and collar;
  • Vaccinations and vet visits;
  • Toys and treats; and
  • Grooming supplies.

Your new Mi-ki will rely on you for everything, so make sure you’re ready, not just with your wallet, but with your time and heart too!

Breed Varieties and Related Breeds

When you look at the Mi-ki, you’ll notice it has a variety of appearances that align with its unique lineage, which also gives a nod to its many related breeds.

Varieties of the Mi-ki

The Mi-ki breed isn’t just a single-note dog; it comes in two distinct varieties. First, there’s the Long Coat, flaunting a luxurious, flowing mane that’s silky to the touch. Then there’s the Smooth Coat, which has a shorter, sleek fur that’s easier to maintain. You’ll notice the Long Coat Mi-kis often remind people of the elegant Maltese or the poised Shih Tzu with their impressive tresses.

Similar Breeds

If you’re fond of the Mi-ki’s charming looks and demeanor, you might also be drawn to a few similar breeds that share its characteristics:

  • Maltese: Known for their pure white fur and friendly personality.
  • Shih Tzu: With a face that’s hard to forget, they sport a lovely, flowing coat.
  • Yorkshire Terrier: Bold in attitude and sporting a beautiful blue and tan coat.
  • Japanese Chin: They have a distinct Asian flair with a plumed tail and squarish face.
  • Papillon: Recognizable by their butterfly-like ears and dainty frame.
  • Pomeranian: These fluff balls are full of energy with a vibrant, thick coat.

Each of these breeds shares something special with the Mi-ki, whether it’s their toy size, their coat, or their lively yet loving personality. You may also want to look at other designer breeds like the Maltipom.

Breeding and Puppies

When considering adding a Mi-ki puppy to your family, select a breeder committed to the breed’s health and temperament. This process includes knowing the breeder’s practices and understanding the developmental needs of Mi-ki puppies.

Finding a Responsible Breeder

A responsible breeder is crucial for ensuring that your Mi-ki puppy is healthy and well-socialized. Look for breeders who perform genetic testing and provide health clearances to avoid common hereditary issues. A good starting point is the American Mi-Ki Club’s Breeder Referral list, which connects potential Mi-ki owners with reputable breeders. Ensure the breeder you choose prioritizes the welfare of their animals and is transparent about their breeding practices.

Raising Mi-ki Puppies

Once you’ve found the perfect Mi-ki puppy, raising them into a well-adjusted adult dog is your next adventure. During the first few months, your puppy will go through critical periods of socialization and development. Raising Mi-ki puppies involves consistent training, providing a balanced diet, and ensuring they receive appropriate medical care. Interacting with both male and female dogs in safe environments can help with social development. It’s also valuable to engage with members of the American Mi-Ki community or join affiliated rescue groups to stay informed and receive support in raising your puppy.

The Mi-ki Community

The Mi-ki community is vibrant and welcoming, with clubs that unite Mi-ki lovers and events where you can show off your dog’s skills.

Clubs and Associations

American Mi-Ki Club (AMC): This club is at the heart of the Mi-ki community. They’re focused on preserving the breed standard, and as a member, you get to be part of this mission. They collaborate closely with the American Kennel Club (AKC) to ensure the Mi-kis’ health and well-being.

  • American Mi-Ki Registry Association (AMRA): If you’re looking for authenticity, the AMRA is where you can register your Mi-ki. This ensures your furry friend is recognized and can participate in breed-specific events.

Events and Activities

  • Show Ring: For the competitive side of you, participating in the show ring helps showcase the Mi-ki’s beauty and poise. Both AMC and AKC organize events where you can enter your Mi-ki.
  • Rally: If you’re into teamwork, rally events are perfect. Navigate courses with your Mi-ki and strengthen your bond.
  • Agility: Is your Mi-ki an athlete? Agility competitions are great for burning off their energy and displaying their physical prowess.

Remember, joining clubs and attending events is a perfect way to meet other Mi-ki lovers and learn more about your own dog.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a Mi-ki?

A Mi-ki is a small, loving dog breed that’s known for its calm and affectionate nature. They’re intelligent and enjoy being with their families, fitting in well with other pets and children.

How big do Mi-kis get?

Mi-kis are a toy breed, usually weighing between 5 to 10 pounds, and are part of the small breed category. They are perfect for cozy living spaces or apartments.

What colors do Mi-kis come in?

Their coats can be a variety of colors, such as red, tan, black, white, and blue, with parti colors (multi-colored patches) also being common.

Are Mi-kis hypoallergenic and do they shed a lot?

Mi-kis have hair that grows similarly to human hair, making them a great option if you’re looking for a hypoallergenic breed. They have minimal shedding, but regular grooming is important to keep their coat beautiful.

Health ConsiderationDescription
Dental ProblemsRegular dental care is crucial since they can develop problems.
Brachycephalic SyndromeSome may have respiratory issues due to their facial structure.
Exercise NeedsThey have a moderate energy level and need regular exercise.

What should I feed my Mi-ki?

You should provide high-quality kibble formulated for small breeds. Your vet can give you personalized food recommendations.

Are Mi-kis hard to train?

No, they’re quite trainable! Mi-kis are intelligent and playful, making training sessions fun and effective.

Are Mi-kis good for first-time dog owners?

Yes, their quiet and loving demeanor makes them excellent companions, especially for those new to owning dogs.

Remember to check the breed standard if you’re interested in showing your Mi-ki and always purchase from reputable breeders to avoid common health issues. Despite being a rarer breed in the United States, Mi-ki puppies are becoming more popular due to their desirable traits.

Mi-ki in Pop Culture

Have you seen a Mi-ki before? They’re adorable little dogs with an expression that’ll melt your heart! These pups might be small, but their popularity is huge, especially on social media. Imagine scrolling through your feed and seeing a fluffy Mi-ki — it’s easy to see why they’ve become celebrity pets.

What Makes Mi-kis Stand Out?

  • Size: They are a perfect lap size.
  • Looks: They have a sweet, almost human-like expression.
  • Temperament: Mi-kis are friendly and adapt well to various environments.

Why are They All Over Social Media?

Mi-kis are what you’d call ‘photogenic’. Spotting them on Instagram or Twitter isn’t rare. You’ll often find Mi-kis in cute outfits or doing something cheeky. They have this knack for getting tons of likes and shares.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.