Last Updated on 02/08/2021 by Veronica Jones
A crossbreed between the American Rat Terrier and the Chihuahua, the Rat-Cha or Rat-Chi (Rat Terrier Chihuahua Mix) is often a lap dog that likes to spend its time around people.
In general, they are known to be quite territorial, but most negative qualities can be eliminated with the right training at an early age.
Perhaps, more than their cute appearances, they are sought after because of their playful personality. They also tend to be less of maintenance due to having a short coat.
Therefore, the Rat-Cha might be the dog for you if you want to own a pet, but your allergies and/or asthma are getting in the way.
The alert ears and quirky personality is what makes these little frisky pets an excellent choice for those who want a playful and fun-loving apartment or condo unit buddy.
If you want to know more about the Rat-Cha, then we have this article just for you. It will detail more about the crossbreed, such as its history, temperament, how to take care of it, food, exercise, and the like.
Meet the Parents
The Rat-Cha has been one of the oldest designer dog breeds in the world. Let’s check out a bit of history and background from the parent dogs:
American Rat Terrier
An old breed from USA (hence the name), the Rat Terrier has been recognized by the AKC in 2013 despite being a long-time dog breed.
They have appeared in movies and TV, and they have also been serving the U.S. government for a long time. Eventually, the Rat Terrier has been used for crossbreeding with various other breeds, such as the Beagle.
The Rat Terrier is well-known not only as an affectionate and loving dog but also as packs a lot of intelligence, alertness, and fun attitudes.
They are common pets for people who often travel, such as those living an RV life, camper, or those in the truck industry due to being energetic yet cuddly dogs.
The Chihuahua is a descendant of the Techichi dog, hailing from Mexico.
They were originally the dogs of the Toltecs around the 9th century, and the discovery of the Chihuahua that we know of today was around the 19th century.
Originally, the Techichi’s purpose was for serving religious ceremonies other than for companionship.
Did you know that they get buried alongside their masters at death?
That’s how they were loved during the Aztec days. Eventually, the breed evolved into the Chihuahua and was rediscovered much later on.
The Chihuahua debuted in the United States and then became recognized by the AKC in 1904. Eventually, the Chihuahua became a hit when it comes to dog popularity, starring in many Hollywood movies.
Today, it still ranks high in the AKC charts due to being an adorable pet.
Chihuahua-Rat Terrier Mix History
Now that we know about the parents let’s talk about the crossbreed. The Rat-Cha originated in the 90s when designer breeds were still starting to bloom.
Like many crossbreeds, they are officially recognized by the Designer Dogs Kennel Club (DDKC) and the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC).
Due to the immense popularity of the Chihuahua in general and the long-time history records of the Rat Terrier, the Rat-Cha is claimed by many as one of the best designer dogs of all time.
Let’s look at how the Rat-Cha commonly appears (which may sometimes depend on genetics, as it is a crossbreed, after all):
Size and Shape
- Height: 12 to 18 inches
- Weight: 12 to 15 pounds
As a small breed, the Rat-Cha inherits most of its parents’ physical qualities, most notably its large and pointy ears.
They tend to have a sense of alertness in their looks, which makes them popular among celebrities and casual pet owners. The ears could sometimes be floppy, but that depends on which genes they inherit more.
They tend to have a long tail, short legs, round eyes, and a black nose. However, the most common feature is that they will most likely look like a Chihuahua rather than a Rat Terrier.
The coat of a Rat-Cha is often short and straight but tends to be soft. This is good news for people who want to own a dog but don’t want all the hassle of constant shedding, grooming, and allergic reactions.
This also makes the Rat-Cha popular among apartment dwellers or those with limited time for grooming.
When it comes to coating colors, the Rat-Cha may have any of the following: tan, golden, cream, brindle, white, black, white, and brown. In some cases, a Rat-Cha may also have a tri-color coat.
Temperament and Behavior
The following are the most common traits of a Rat-Cha to help you decide if it is the breed for you:
A loving dog
The Rat-Cha is known to be a loving dog when it comes to affection. Therefore, if you want a pet that loves to cuddle all day, the Rat-Cha will be a life companion.
They are also known to be lap dogs because they tend to love the human touch and cuddle you as much as possible.
They have a great attachment to their human owners, so this is a plus point if you want an affectionate dog.
Loyal but sometimes possessive
When it comes to loyalty, the Rat-Cha is the answer. They make great guard dogs because they’ll always attend to your side when they feel a threat.
However, this loyalty may sometimes get out of hand as the Rat-Cha is known for being possessive and territorial sometimes.
In simple terms, expect your dog to be quite a protective little four-legged friend. If they have not been properly socialized, they might have difficulty mingling with other pets, dogs, and neighbors.
If you prefer your Rat Terrier Chihuahua Mix to be at ease with others, you have to train them at an early age.
Hailing from two small breeds, the Rat-Cha also packs a lot of intelligence, so ensure to bring them activity toys.
Just because they are great apartment dogs doesn’t mean you can slack off with training them! Always give them something to do, especially when you’re out of the house, so they won’t get separation anxiety.
This intelligence is also what causes them to be extremely loyal to their master. They will cuddle you endlessly until they get the attention they want, so why not give them some TLC when they need it?
Full of energy
As we mentioned above, the Rat-Cha is a power-packed crossbreed, so you’ll need to have a lot of energy when playing with it. That’s also why we think that this designer dog breed is more suitable for older kids.
Although they make great apartment or condo unit dogs, they still need a lot of exercise. Make sure you have physical activities ready for them to avoid getting bored and overweight.
If the pointy ears didn’t give it away, you should know that the Rat-Cha is quite an alert breed. If you or your neighbors have a problem with loudly barking dogs, then this breed might not be for you.
However, excessive barking can be tamed and corrected with the right kind of training, which should be done at an early age.
Usually, barking tendencies happen if your Rat Terrier Chihuahua Mix isn’t properly trained or socialized.
Therefore, if you get them used to the surroundings outside the house and take them outdoors for a breath of fresh air, they will less likely become aloof and become more accepting of others.
Training Your Rat-Cha
The Rat-Cha requires at least 30 minutes of physical activity due to being a high-energy breed.
They are adaptable for condo units, apartments, dorms, RVs, truckers, and campers, but they still need some outdoor time, nonetheless.
Consider giving them even a small space to run and jump around to spend their energy.
As with many high-energy breeds, they are likely to develop negative behaviors when bored or alone, such as chewing or digging.
Save your shoes and clothes from being torn apart by Fido and give them the necessary physical activity as needed. The Rat-Cha requires medium-scale activities and about 6 miles of walking per week.
Caring for a Rat Terrier Chihuahua Mix
So, you want to know how to take care of your Rat-Cha? Here’s how you manage their food, exercise, and grooming needs:
Always consider dog food that is meant for small breeds. Make sure that you only give them the right amount per day to avoid weight issues.
The recommended amount for this little four-legged companion is about 1 cup per day, divided into two meals.
If you want your dog to live longer, consider switching to organic food instead of brands that only have fillers and preservatives that are unnecessary for your dog’s health.
Talk to your vet about which dog food is the best for your Rat-Cha, depending on their breed history and healthy.
After all, some dogs will develop allergies if they aren’t fed the right kind of food. Make sure you know about your Rat-Cha’s health history to avoid such allergic reactions.
Training and Exercise
Since the Rat-Cha is a territorial dog, they could be possessive with toys, so you should train them at an early age.
If you feel that you can’t do the training by yourself, talk to your vet or local professional about it because Rat-Cha dogs tend to have aggressive behavior.
Exercise should be done 30 minutes a day, including walking outside, running around your yard, or even playing with toys indoors.
They are a medium-activity dog breed, so they will do well with moderately busy or working individuals.
When grooming your Rat-Cha, they only need to be brushed weekly because they only have a moderate shedding quality.
Although they are not completely hypoallergenic, even if you do have allergies, you can keep up with them if you groom them frequently or as needed.
A plus point for pet owners who don’t like doggy smell around their house is that the Rat-Cha isn’t a breed to emit foul smells.
They develop teeth problems, so you should always brush their teeth as needed and give them chew toys to keep them busy and maintain their oral health.
Aside from that, the Rat-Cha does best with a pin brush when it comes to grooming. Most dog breeds also need a nail clipper to maintain their paws and keep infections away.
The health of the Rat-Cha
Expect the Rat-Cha to live somewhere between 13 to 18 years.
You can help increase that number by taking care of your little friend and giving them the right TLC in terms of food, shelter, exercise, behavior training, and the like.
With that in mind, here are the common health problems that the Rat-Cha is prone to:
- hip and elbow dysplasia
- Patent Ductus Arteriosis
- collapsed trachea
- patellar luxation
- dental health problems
- progressive retinal atrophy
To help get an early diagnosis for your pet, consider having them (or their parents) run through tests such as an x-ray, eye exam, blood sugar, full physical exam, skin test, thyroid test, and radiograph.
The Rat-Cha is good with children and some other pets. However, be wary that they might get intimidated by big dogs since they are a small breed.
They may also have aggressive behavior when not properly trained and might not do well with smaller pets due to their predatory and alert personality.
Finding a Rat Terrier Chihuahua Mix
You can either look for a Rat-Cha on shelters around your locality or online, or you can check out a local breeder.
Whichever method you choose, always ask questions about the dog (or puppy) such as health history and any certificates for tests.
You may also want to visit the living quarters and meet the parents of the puppy, if possible.