Do you have a Chihuahua Rat Terrier mix or are you contemplating bringing one home? In either case, this article will give you some valuable insights into their temperament, probable size, grooming and care needs, and any specific health conditions.
What is a Chihuahua Rat Terrier Mix?
A Chihuahua Rat Terrier mix is a crossbreed or “designer dog”, as people like to call them, between the feisty little Chihuahua, who everyone knows, and the almost-equally-well-known American Rat Terrier.
There are, of course, several famous Chihuahua Terrier mixes, such as the Jack Russell Chihuahua mix, Yorkshire Terrier Chihuahua mix, Fox Terrier Chihuahua mix, and Bull Terrier Chihuahua mix.
However, we will be talking about the mix between the American Rat Terrier and the Chihuahua. Another popular name for the combination is the Rat-Cha or Rat-Chi.
The Chihuahua Rat Terrier mix is perfect for a single person, seniors, or families with older kids that want an incredibly affectionate and attention-seeking little fur companion.
Admittedly, the Rat-Chi prefers to bond with one family member and will gravitate more towards that person.
Chihuahua Rat Terrier Mix Appearance
Dog breeders introduced the first Rat-Cha in the 1990s, and since then, the mix has steadily grown in popularity, and today is one of the most popular purebred crossbreeds.
Rat-Cha Physical Characteristics
The Rat Terrier Chihuahua mix tends to fall somewhere in-between the size of the two-parent breeds; they are still typically small dogs and will weigh between 12 and 25 pounds. Rat-Chas are not tall and grow between 12 and 18 inches.
Typically Rat-Chas have a short, smooth coat, however, because there’s a version of the Chihuahua with long coats, you might see a Rat-Cha with longer hair.
Rat-Chas tend to have small round heads with triangular, erect ears that look a little too large. Their eyes are large dark, and while they don’t bulge out as much as a Chihuahua’s, the eyes are slightly prominent.
As your Rat-Cha pup grows, you might begin to notice dental issues because both parent breeds have dental problems such as overcrowding, overlapping, or missing teeth; it’s likely to pass down to the mix.
The Rat Terrier and the Chihuahua have an enviable healthy life expectancy, so you can expect the Rat-Cha to live between 12 and 18 years.
Chihuahua Rat Terrier Mix Personality
Chihuahuas make exceptional companion dogs; they live for the attention of their owners. Chihuahuas are lively and active dogs, even though most people consider them only lapdogs.
Chihuahuas can be excellent family pets; unfortunately, they have a reputation for being snappy and irritable little dogs and don’t get on too well with smaller children. This type of behavior isn’t always the case if a Chihuahua is socialized adequately and is treated and handled respectfully.
Chihuahuas can be stubborn and possess a temperamental side where they attempt to be the boss in the home; owners can prevent this behavior with early socialization and obedience training.
Rat Terriers are agile and exceptionally active little dogs with a genuine enjoyment of playtime. Highly intelligent and smart when it comes to problem-solving.
Rat Terriers can be okay with cats and dogs if they grow up with them, but they have a strong prey drive, especially towards small pets such as mice, hamsters, etc.
Renowned for their stubborn streak, Rat Terriers are also attentive and affectionate towards their family and love their companionship. Rat Terriers make excellent watchdogs and are protective of family members.
While you cannot classify the Rat-Cha as a genuine terrier, you will notice they exhibit certain terrier traits in their personality. For example, they are wary and untrusting around strangers and typically okay around dogs they have grown up with; they don’t feel warm and fuzzy with dogs they don’t know. However, they won’t show the same amounts of aggression a true terrier might show.
Rat-Chas are wary of small children and tend to try and keep their distance. This behavior can be overcome precisely as with the parents by early socialization and obedience classes.
When you raise a Rat-Cha in this way, they can be taught not to fear small, loud children by making them meet strangers, children, and other dogs when they are very young.
In addition, if you have small children at home and you want a Rat-Cha for a family pet, you should teach children how to handle small dogs and how to treat the dog with respect.
Chihuahua Rat Terrier Mix Grooming
As we mentioned, coat length is typically short and smooth unless the Chihuahua is long-haired, but there are also several coat colors because Chihuahuas have dozens of color variations.
You’ll more than likely see these color coats:
You might also see the occasional Rat-Cha with the pied coat (white with patches of color) of a Rat Terrier.
The Rat-Cha is a pretty low-maintenance breed; as long as you brush them once or twice a week to collect dead hair and to keep their coats nice and shiny, that’s typically as much care you’ll need to put into their coat.
If dog allergies are an issue for you, this will not be the best choice of breed because Rat-Chas shed all year round; they aren’t massive shedders but more than enough to trigger allergies.
Rat-Chas tend to take after their Rat Terrier parent and are lively, fun-loving little dogs. You’ll need to provide daily exercise in the form of brisk walks around the neighborhood and to the local park, maybe. Rat-Chas will enjoy interactive activities where it tests their brains as well as physical needs.
One word of caution is regarding their prey drive. Should your Rat-Cha have inherited this part of the Rat Terrier personality, it can be unwise taking them off-leash when you’re outside. Any small creature that catches their eye and they’ll be gone in an instant.
Interactive exercises are best done in the backyard if you have one.
Rat Terrier Chihuahua Mix Training
Rat-Chas are not difficult dogs to train; they enjoy pleasing their owners; however, that Rat Terrier pesky stubbornness can come to the surface, so you’ll need plenty of patience. Be consistent and have plenty of treats and praise when they get the commands correct.
We have mentioned socialization a couple of times; but, it’s worth repeating because dogs typically are better behaved, calmer, and less anxious when correctly socialized.
Terriers, by nature, can be particularly territorial and over-protective; this type of behavior is not what you want. Meeting strangers, children, and other dogs in a neutral environment is excellent for curbing territorial and potentially aggressive behavior.
Chihuahua Rat Terrier Mix Health Issues
Perhaps unsurprisingly, with such a decent lifespan, Rat-Chas are typically pretty healthy dogs. However, there are some health conditions you should be aware of, especially if you intend to bring a Rat-Cha home.
Patellar Luxation: Which refers to the dislocation of the dog’s kneecaps. Your vet will be able to diagnose this condition if it’s present from about six months of age. There are treatments, for example, surgery; in any case, if it’s left, it will degenerate and cause mobility problems such as lameness and joint pain to your Rat-Cha. This health condition is hereditary, and you should request health clearance certificates on both parents from the breeder you’ve chosen.
Hydrocephalus: Refers to an excess of cerebrospinal fluid in the dog’s brain. Chihuahuas are particularly susceptible to this condition, and it can have severe consequences. Because one parent is a Chihuahua, you need to know the parent dog is not affected by this disease.
Heart Disease: Chihuahuas are susceptible to heart disease and heart defects. You should request health clearance documents for heart defects as well for both the Chihuahua and Rat Terrier.
Tracheal Collapse: Small breeds of dogs, such as Chihuahuas and older dogs, are susceptible to tracheal collapse. This is a progressive disease where the dog’s windpipe starts to degenerate. It’s believed that this is also an inherited disease, although the condition is not 100% understood.
We also touched on dental problems with the Rat-Cha mix; both the parent dogs have dental issues. It’s crucial to take care of your dog’s teeth because if not, dogs can get some nasty diseases.
When you don’t remove plaque and old food from the dog’s teeth and gums, it creates a banquet for bacteria, ultimately resulting in irritation and inflammation.
Initially, this will lead to tooth decay and loss of teeth. But if still allowed to get worse, toxins from diseased teeth can spread to other parts of your dog’s body, such as the brain, heart, and liver.
In a nutshell, is the Chihuahua Rat Terrier mix the best choice for you and your family? While no one can decide for you, hopefully, you’ve found some valuable information in this article to, at least, help with the decision.
The Chihuahua Rat Terrier mix isn’t the best dog for everyone; however, if you’re looking for a super affectionate, clingy, energetic, and fun-loving little dog, you’re probably onto a winner with the Rat-Cha.