Care Considerations for a Rat-Cha Mix

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The rat terrier was developed as a working farm dog.
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Ratcha dogs, or rat-cha dogs, are a Chihuahua rat terrier mix. When acquiring a mixed breed dog, whether from a breeder or through adoption, it's sort of a mystery exactly what you're going to get. While this is somewhat true of any dog, it's certainly true of mixes because the offspring may take after one parent more than the other in appearance and temperament. To get an idea of how your dog's personality might develop or to make some sense of the puzzling things your dog does, it helps to look at the traits and temperaments of both parents; for a Chihuahua rat terrier mix, you need to learn about both Chihuahuas and rat terriers.

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Cherish the Chihuahua in your rat-cha

Chihuahuas are a breed recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in the toy group, meaning they are tiny dogs. They are cherished by their owners for their charm, sass, intelligence, alert attitude, loyalty, and big personalities. Though they like lap time, they also are nearly always up for playing and sometimes a short walk, avoiding overexertion. Due to their small size, Chihuahuas don't do well in homes with small children who may be too rough with them. And if you take them outside in cold weather, they should wear a sweater to keep their tiny bodies warm.

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Chihuahuas are described as having an apple head or a deer head. The apple head is rounded like an apple, while the deer head makes the Chihuahua look like a little deer. They can have long or short coats in many colors and color mixes, and typically have bright eyes and erect ears. Chihuahuas are between 5 and 8 inches tall at the withers, which are the tops of the shoulder blades. Their bodies are off-square, meaning they measure slightly longer than their height. The key statistic for Chihuahuas is that they should weigh no more than 6 pounds. With proper care and nutrition, Chihuahuas can be expected to live between 14 and 16 years.

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Enjoy the rat terrier's loveable traits

Rat terriers got their name from being raised to chase rats on farms, and their solid, muscular bodies can still give a good chase. They are very playful, too, and in spite of being one of the calmest terriers, rat terriers are still energetic dogs that need daily walks and exercise. A bit larger than Chihuahuas, even miniature rat terriers stand 10 to 13 inches high at the withers. They tend to weigh at least 10 pounds; standard rat terriers can weigh as much as 25 pounds, although a miniature would weigh closer to 15 pounds at most. With health care and good nutrition, rat terriers usually live between 12 and 18 years.

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These friendly, loveable dogs have smooth-haired, shiny coats that are pied, meaning that large patches of color are mixed with white. Intelligent, intuitive, and sensitive, rat terriers are fairly easy to train and like to please their owners, but can sometimes be stubborn. They are usually good with children and like being part of a family, but they can be aloof with strangers. Rat terriers are not aggressive dogs, however.

Unravel the mystery of your rat-cha dog

While it cannot be predicted which genes and traits will be dominant in any rat-cha, they often have the face of a Chihuahua and the slightly larger size of a rat terrier. Rat-chas average 12 to 18 inches high and weigh an average of 12 to 15 pounds. To put it into perspective, that's at least twice the size of a Chihuahua in both weight and height. Rat-chas can have either erect or floppy ears and a short or long coat that sheds moderately. Keep their coats shiny and neat with weekly brushing and a monthly bath.

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Rat-chas are affectionate, like both of their parents, but can be wary of strangers at first. They are usually a bit territorial, but since they need to learn to get along with other dogs, it's best to introduce them in neutral territory like an area of a park or dog park. Because of their still small size, rat-chas may not do well with large dogs. Being larger than Chihuahuas, they're usually good with children, but are still better with older children. They are bound to be intelligent, eager to please, and easy to train, except when that rat terrier stubbornness comes through.

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Obesity is an issue for all dogs and can severely affect their health and lifespan. For small dogs like rat-chas, owners must be judicious about not overfeeding. Along with giving the amount and type of food your veterinarian recommends, you need to also count the calories of any human food and treats you give. By keeping annual vet checkups and recommended vaccinations, following your vet's advice, providing daily exercise, and watching your rat-cha's weight, you can expect a rat-cha to live between 13 and 18 years.

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