You found it:
The ultimate guide about the one and only Rat Terrier Chihuahua mix (Rat-Cha in short).
Besides cute pictures and a video, you’ll discover:
- The energy levels of Rat-Chas.
- Whether Rat-Chas are one-person dogs.
- 13 interesting facts that every Rat-Cha parent should know.
- How to train your Rat-Cha (simple tips that even work for first-time owners).
- And more interesting titbits…
Table of contents
- Rat Terrier Chihuahua Mix (Rat-Cha)
- 13 mind-blowing Rat-Cha facts
- #1: Rat-Chas can live to be 18 years old
- #2: The Rat-Cha is a designer dog
- #3: They don’t weigh more than 15 pounds
- #4: Rat-Chas can have long, short, and multicolored coats
- #5: They have high energy and love to play
- #6: Rat-Chas are a lifelong lap dog
- #7: Rat-Chas will bond with one person in the family
- #8: They have an aggressive streak
- #9: Rat-Chas need regular grooming and teeth cleaning
- #10: Rat-Chas have several health concerns future owners should take into consideration
- #11: Rat-Chas don’t do well in the cold
- #12: They love to chase small animals
- #13: They are excellent companion watchdogs
- How to pick the perfect Rat-Cha puppy
- Tips for training a Rat-Cha
- Final Thoughts
Rat Terrier Chihuahua Mix (Rat-Cha)
Rat-Chas are a crossbred version of the American Rat Terrier and the Chihuahua. They are a high-energy, lovable designer dog that will bond with their owner for life. They have high life expectancies and come in several different coat colors.
13 mind-blowing Rat-Cha facts
#1: Rat-Chas can live to be 18 years old
The average lifespan of a Rat-Cha is 12-18 years. That’s quite long for a crossbred dog!
So, don’t take adoption lightly. It can likely become an 18-year commitment. Adopt a Rat-Cha from a breeder with documented bloodlines.
Why adopt from a reputable breeder?
You’ll have a better idea of how long the pup will live. You’ll also know of potential health problems that may arise in that timeframe.
#2: The Rat-Cha is a designer dog
Rat-Chas are not purebreds. They’re a cross between two popular breeds: Rat Terrier and Chihuahua. Rat-Chas are a popular designer breed, and so are its parent breeds.
There isn’t a lot of history or documentation on the breeding origin of the Rat-Cha. They first appeared in the 1990s.
If you know your Rat-Cha’s parents, look into their histories. Determine how much of each breed resides in your four-legged friend.
Rat Terriers are an American dog bred to get into tight places and hunt rats, hence the name.
President Theodore Roosevelt even owned a Rat Terrier! It was the resident rat handler at the White House during Roosevelt’s tenure.
On the other side…
Chihuahuas originated from Mexico. Humans bred them as rodent hunters and companions, dating as far back as the ninth century.
The breed eventually made its way into the United States, where it became one of the most popular dog breeds.
#3: They don’t weigh more than 15 pounds
Rat-Chas are a small breed that won’t grow to more than 15 pounds or 18 inches (at the shoulder), but it can vary by dog.
Why? A Rat-Cha’s Rat Terrier parent often determines the size and weight of the pup.
If your Rat-Cha is small, then its parent may have been a Mini Rat Terrier. The size varies with every Rat-Cha.
Male and female Rat-Chas are nearly the same size. Males are sometimes larger.
#4: Rat-Chas can have long, short, and multicolored coats
While a Rat-Cha’s size depends on the Rat Terrier, its coat length depends on the Chihuahua.
If a long-haired Chihuahua helped breed the dog, its coat would be longer. Most often, a Rat-Cha’s coat is sleek and soft.
Either way, did you know Rat-Chas are regular shedders? Keep a vacuum and lint roller handy! You should brush your Rat-Cha’s fur weekly to remove excess hair.
A Rat-Cha’s fur color also varies, even among siblings.
The most typical colors include:
They could have solid or multicolored fur.
Often, Rat-Chas have the coat color of a Rat Terrier with triangular Chihuahua ears. Some have floppy ears, though.
Despite the coat and color variation, Rat-Chas will almost always have brown eyes and a black nose.
#5: They have high energy and love to play
They love to jump, play, and explore. Rat-Chas use energy in short, lively bursts. They can manage small apartment living but thrive in outdoor areas where they can run and jump.
Rat-Chas should have at least 30 minutes of activity each day. A short walk and some playtime each day is all they need.
They prefer playing on their own terms, though. Rat-Chas are independent and headstrong. They don’t like being told what to do!
When boredom or loneliness sets in, Rat-Chas might chew or destroy things.
#6: Rat-Chas are a lifelong lap dog
Though they’re playful and energetic, Rat-Chas would prefer laying on your lap all day.
They love attention – and their owners. They will spend all day on your lap or in bed with you if they could.
Rat-Chas often burrow under the blankets and cuddle up to their owners for a good night’s sleep.
They’re intelligent. The breed knows being next to you means getting all the scratches and attention in the world.
They can sleep all day with you, but they shouldn’t. Rat-Chas need some activity to suppress destructive behaviors.
#7: Rat-Chas will bond with one person in the family
Rat-Chas devote themselves to their owners, many times one person above all in a household. That person will be the dog’s lifelong companion and vice versa.
Be ready for many cuddling sessions and happy memories!
Once they pick a person, these dogs will follow their person everywhere. They’ll join you in the kitchen, the bedroom, and even the bathroom!
But did you know that Rat-Chas have an aggressive streak? Their bond with a single person could lead to problems in the household. They will snap and growl as a protective measure.
#8: They have an aggressive streak
The Rat-Chi often displays the aggressive temperament of both Rat Terriers and Chihuahuas. They are very protective of their people and things. They’re also very suspicious of strangers.
They’re also prone to aggression with other dogs, especially when around their owner. Have you ever noticed your Rat-Cha suddenly change mannerisms with another dog?
Rat-Chas are very independent dogs. They don’t care to play and socialize with other dogs, especially larger breeds. They do best as the only dog in a household.
The breed can also exhibit possessiveness over toys and food. If your Rat-Cha is very possessive, consider hiring a professional trainer to help.
But your Rat-Cha will learn to get along with other pets with proper training. Early socialization is the key to a happy dog and a happy owner.
You can also fix some aggression and possessiveness with spaying or neutering.
Train your Rat-Cha in a few different ways:
Early training and socialization will ensure your Rat-Cha behaves positively with others. They’ll be friendly toward strangers and other dogs. Use these tips when training your Rat-Cha:
- Use treats and rewards.
- Stay consistent and offer positive praise.
- Establish yourself as the pack leader early on.
- Start socializing with other dogs as early as possible.
- Consider investing in obedience training – it goes a long way!
#9: Rat-Chas need regular grooming and teeth cleaning
As a small dog with usually short, sleek fur, it might seem Rat-Chas don’t need a lot of grooming. But, they tend to shed a moderate amount.
Did you know short-haired Rat-Chas shed more than their long-haired counterparts? They also shed more fur in stressful situations.
Brushing a Rat-Cha’s fur straightens tangles and removes debris. It will also disperse the natural oils found in the dog’s coat.
Rat-Chas are prone to teeth problems. They need regular dental care and vet check-ups to ensure everything looks healthy.
Use the following grooming tips to help your Rat-Cha be as happy and healthy as possible:
- Regularly trim the nails.
- Inspect and wipe ears each week.
- Brush the dog’s teeth at least twice a week.
- Brush your Rat-Cha at least three times each week.
- Bathe your Rat-Cha when needed – after a muddy walk, etc.
#10: Rat-Chas have several health concerns future owners should take into consideration
Rat-Chas are very healthy. They have fewer issues than other Chihuahua-mixed breeds. Little health problems arise during their long lifespans.
But, watch out for these potential health issues in your Rat-Cha:
Patellar luxation, or dislocated kneecaps, is a common health problem amongst small breeds. It’s prevalent in Chihuahuas, Rat Terriers, and their mixes.
It often affects both knees and results from an injury.
Symptoms of patellar luxation include:
- Shaking or extending the injured leg.
- Bow-legged rear legs (common in puppies with the disease).
- Depending on the severity, vets can perform manipulations or surgery on the kneecaps.
Caused by ill-developed bones, hip dysplasia features weakness in the hip joints. It often occurs in larger breeds, but the disease usually occurs in Rat-Chas.
Watch for these signs of hip dysplasia in your Rat-Cha:
- Difficulty with stairs.
- Popping sounds in their joints.
- Sensitive in the hip and joint area.
- Developing strange walking habits.
Both Rat Terriers and Chihuahuas carry genes for a variety of eye problems, including:
- Progressive retinal atrophy.
- Lens luxation (fibers in the eye become loose).
Purebred dogs more commonly suffer from heart problems.
Chihuahuas have an increased risk of heart issues.
These issues can carry on to Rat-Cha descendants.
Reputable breeders will examine their dogs for signs of heart diseases before breeding.
Diabetes and obesity
The Chihuahua bloodline, including Rat-Chas, carries a high risk of obesity and diabetes. Human food will dramatically increase the dog’s weight.
Certain foods cause issues and increase the risk of health problems. Never feed your dog chocolate, grapes, or foods with xylitol. Avoid human food as much as possible.
Invest in nutritious dog food and feed your Rat-Cha no more than one cup of dog food each day. Split it up into at least two meals.
The degeneration of a dog’s windpipe is common in small breed dogs and can carry on to puppies.
A good breeder keeps a history of this issue. Ask yours if there is a history of tracheal collapse in your puppy’s family.
Hydrocephalus is a congenital disability often seen in Chihuahuas. Have you seen a chihuahua with a very wide forehead? It may have hydrocephalus.
Puppies with hydrocephalus have a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid around their brain.
Symptoms vary in severity with each case and need a vet diagnosis. Treatments range from medicines to surgeries.
How can you ensure your Rat-Cha is as healthy as possible? Work with a breeder who has outlined parent histories. Take your furry friend on regular vet visits.
As mentioned above, Rat-Chas can run into some dental issues during their lifetime. You can prevent many problems with regular brushing and teeth cleaning.
Buy hard rubber toys for your Rat-Cha to chew. These types of toys are fun for the dog and healthy for their teeth!
#11: Rat-Chas don’t do well in the cold
They’re small and have little body fat.
Cold weather is not a Rat-Cha’s friend. They don’t like spending a lot of time outside in cold temperatures. They might need a sweater during winter walks.
Some Rat-Chas are sensitive to all extreme temperatures. They might not like being out in hot weather, rain, or snow.
Plan walks ahead of time by checking the weather. Your pup will have a better time outside if the weather is in its favor!
#12: They love to chase small animals
Rat-Chas could chase small rodents for hours! Both parent breeds originated as vermin hunters. It’s no wonder your Rat-Cha might chase the pet rabbit around the house.
If you have small pets like rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters, keep them away from your Rat-Cha. Even if it’s in a case, your dog will obsess over the small animal.
#13: They are excellent companion watchdogs
Rat-Chas are mainly a companion dog. They are here to give you love and crave your attention. In return, they’ll make it their mission to protect you.
The Rat Terrier part of the Rat-Cha faces its fears head-on. Their fearless personality shines when protecting their pack.
Despite their aggression and suspicion toward strangers, Rat-Chas are an excellent watchdog.
Their overprotective trait arises in certain situations. The Rat Terrier part comes out, and they will make their presence known.
How to pick the perfect Rat-Cha puppy
Rat-Chas are some of the cutest puppies! Watch this video of Rat-Cha puppies playing:
Rat-Chas are a famous designer dog. So, there’s no shortage of reputable breeders offering some of the cutest puppies.
Consider the following when picking the perfect Rat-Cha puppy for your household:
- Rat-Cha puppies incur a lot of costs upfront.
- Between one and four puppies are born at a time.
- Research professional breeders that keep detailed histories of puppies and their families.
- Ask about health histories, the puppy’s parents’ information, and whether you could meet the parents or not.
Are you considering adopting a Rat-Cha for your kids?
This designer breed doesn’t always manage well with kids. Its inherently boisterous – and sometimes aggressive – temperament can get the best of them.
Rat-Chas often bond with one person in the family. Consider looking into more kid-friendly dog breeds if you have children.
Do you absolutely want a Rat-Cha? If you have kids, supervise their playtime with the Rat-Cha. Intervene immediately if things get out of hand.
Training also goes a long way in suppressing aggressive behavior.
Tips for training a Rat-Cha
Rat-Chas can develop an aggressive, off-putting personality. Avoid behavior issues with early training.
Early socialization helps ease aggression toward strangers and other animals. If you have more dogs or other animals like cats, socialize early and often.
Socialization will help your Rat-Cha live harmoniously with its furry family members. You’ll have less to worry about – and your furry friends will have a great time together.
Rat-Chas are very intelligent, and once bonded, will work hard to please their owner. Use this to your advantage!
Read also: Are Chihuahuas good with cats?
Stay consistent with potty training
Rat-Chas are notoriously difficult to housetrain and need strict, consistent training. Their stubborn and energetic personality can get in the way.
Familiarize your Rat-Cha with your house. Take it outside after naps, meals, and before bedtime.
Take your pup to the same place every time to relieve itself. Offer praise and rewards for a job well done.
Socialize Rat-Chas with many different animals and people
Socialize your Rat-Cha with as many people, places, things, and animals as possible.
Take your Rat-Cha on playdates, to the dog park, or even dog-friendly stores. It’ll be a fun outing with your pup and a great way to practice social skills.
Hold play dates with other dogs in a neutral zone. Stay away from territorial places like your house.
Go to the park or a neighbor’s yard for the best location for socializing.
Begin basic obedience training
Teach your Rat-Cha the basic commands (‘sit,’ ‘stay,’ ‘come,’ etc.) as soon as possible. Commands establish you as the pack leader.
Basic commands also keep your Rat-Cha safe in socialization situations. A well-trained Rat-Cha will stop what it’s doing and listen to its owner.
Rat-Chas aim to please and will pick up basic commands quickly. Once it has learned the basic commands, move on to more challenging training.
Practice proper leash training
With any breed, especially the assertive Rat-Cha, practical leash training is a must.
Use a short leash, but keep it loose. Don’t pull your pup with the leash.
If your Rat-Cha is new to wearing a leash and collar or harness, practice walking around inside. Use positive reinforcement when the pup behaves well.
Use cue sounds to keep your dog from attempting to lunge toward distractions. If your dog is tugging, stay still until it comes back to you.
Owning a Rat Terrier Chihuahua is a longtime commitment in a tiny body. Any dog owner is lucky to own such a lovable pup, but in order to do so, you need to be prepared for anything.