Chat Terrier

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic

A new and relatively rare mix, the Chat Terrier is known by a variety of names, including the Rat Cha, and Chiterrier.


Chat Terrier Basics

Mixing two spunky, energetic, and willful dog breeds into one can result in nothing but tons of fun! The Chat Terrier is quite a unique designer breed that will make your daily life a lot less boring. Energetic, playful, fun, and affectionate, these smart little dogs are the crossbreed offspring of a Chihuahua and a Rat Terrier. They are super cute and small, relatively easy to care for, and are very loyal and loving. What more can an owner ask for? 

Of course, you need to be prepared before beginning your Chat Terrier adventure! Caring for designer breeds such as this one can be a bit of a challenge, so it is best to know what you’re heading into. Read on as we cover all the essentials surrounding this unique breed, and give you crucial insights into caring for a Chat Terrier. After all, proper knowledge is every dog owner’s best tool! 


A new and relatively rare mix, the Chat Terrier is known by a variety of names, including the Rat Cha, and Chiterrier. Still, the origins remain the same: this crossbreed came from the union of the Chihuahua and the Rat Terrier. Both of these breeds share many similar traits and have long histories behind them. 

The Chihuahua is a relatively old breed and loved across the globe for generations. The first mention of it comes from the Spanish Conquistadores, who spotted these dogs amongst the ancient Aztecs. Ever since it has become a goofy little four-legged friend for many around the globe. The Rat Terrier evolved probably in the early 1900s, developed in America from the earliest English hunting terriers. As such, this small dog was a hunting companion and a working breed, its main purpose being the hunting of rats. The Rat Terrier was a staple of every American farm, as it made the environment protected and free from rats. Over time, thanks to their great traits, they became loved as a family pet. 

The Chat Terrier is still very much younger than either of its parent breeds. They likely originated in the 1990s in America, where a period of crossbreeding amongst various breeds was at an all-time high. Many designer breeds emerged around this time, the Chat Terrier being one of them. 


Unlike purebred dogs, designer dogs don’t have a set of appearance standards or a pedigree. A lot is left to chance, as breeders usually don’t know how a litter would turn out, as all Chat Terriers are first-generation mixes. Still, there are a few features that are common to this designer breed. These dogs can have variations in height and head appearance. They will either inherit the height of a Chihuahua or a Rat Terrier, and the face of either one.

In general, these are small dogs whose height will average between 12 and 14 inches, and whose weight won’t exceed 15 pounds. They usually have pointy small tails, large pointed ears, and moderately-sized snouts. Well-proportioned for the most part, the Chat Terrier can have a bit stubby legs, if they take on the Chihuahua side. 

Food / Diet 

A proper diet is essential for any dog. The Chat Terrier, being relatively small and having a moderate energy level, will require a balanced diet with measured portions. Choose a formula that is specialized for their size and energy levels and is made from wholesome, natural ingredients. Meat should be the first ingredient on the list, and there shouldn’t be any bad fillers in the formula, such as meat meal and byproduct, wheat, corn, soy, or artificial ingredients.

As a small breed dog, Chat Terriers won’t need a lot of food in order to be full, and can even display a lack of interest in food. Due to this, it is important to establish a solid eating routine that your pet will depend on. Also, it is imperative that portions are well measured and nutritious, with high-quality kibble that is rich in protein. 


The Chat Terrier can be a surprisingly intelligent little dog, with a good grasp of commands and authority. All you need is patience, a bit of free time, knowledge of positive reinforcement methods, and an attitude of authority. Of course, it is best to start early on, as puppies are quicker to learn than adult dogs. Remember that a Chat Terrier responds superbly to praise and rewards, so don’t skimp on either one. Sometimes, these dogs can have a stubborn streak, but that’s nothing a bit of patience and a positive approach won’t help with.

Socialization also plays an important role in the training process. Begin early, and make sure that your dog is exposed to strangers and new dogs. This is the key to making them friendly and helps eliminate their distrustfulness of strangers and bossiness towards other dogs that Chat Terriers can develop in some cases. 


A small-sized breed, the Chat Terrier is between 10 and 15 pounds in weight on average. And when combined with their average height, these dogs are generally well-proportioned. Thanks to their size and weight, the Chat Terrier is suited for a variety of living environments, ranging from apartments to standard homes. Of course, the more free space – the better. If you have a fenced-in yard, your pet will greatly benefit from that. After all, there’s no substitute for the green grass and the open skies above! It can make a world of difference for any dog.

Proper diet should be a priority when caring for a Chat Terrier. If overfed and under-exercised, these dogs can become chubby and eventually obese. This is a big no-no, as it leads to many health issues such as diabetes and causes aching joints and mobility issues in the long run. 

Temperament / Behavior

The Chat Terrier inherits a great combination of character traits from their parents that make them ideal as pet dogs. They are very smart and inquisitive and will respond to commands surprisingly well. On the other hand, they are also very affectionate and loyal and will love to play and make friends. But most of all, the Chat Terrier loves the owner’s attention. They year for praise and affection, and will love to snooze in your lap and to be held by you. Due to this, the Chat Terrier is a true lap dog in many ways. 

In general, these dogs display a great mix of traits - being fun and energetic on one side, and affectionate and sweet on the other. That makes them a real “jack of all trades” amongst dogs, and very easy to love and grow fond of. Just make sure to offer them affection, care, and to satisfy their needs, and in turn, you will have a loyal and loving friend.

Common Health Problems

Both Chihuahuas and Rat Terriers are known as hardy and long-lived breeds. The Rat Terrier especially is known as a sturdy and enduring breed, created for hard work and hunting of rats. Still, they both have some common health issues that are transferred to the Chat Terrier. The more serious inherited issues to look for can be patellar luxation, hip and elbow dysplasia, collapsed trachea, diabetes, hydrocephalus, and others. These conditions are rare – but not impossible to inherit. 

Those more common and less threatening issues are cataracts, dental issues, obesity, retinal atrophy, alopecia, and Legg-Calves Perthes disease. Still, there are no reasons to worry: the Chat Terrier is known as a long-lived and hardy crossbreed, and with plenty of care and vet checkups, you should have everything under control. Just remember that a lot depends on you as an owner. Provide your pet with quality and healthy food, plenty of exercise, and regular veterinary care, and in turn, you will ensure your pet is in prime form throughout their life.

Life Expectancy

The Chat Terrier is one of the designer breeds with the longest lifespan! They are expected to live between 13 and 18 years, which exceeds the average maximum lifespan for dogs by three years! These are hardy little fellows that do well in their golden years. If you are looking for a small lap dog with great character traits that will become a steadfast companion for a great portion of your life, then look no further than the Chat Terrier. 

Of course, you cannot expect your pet reaches 18 years of age all on their own. Like it or not, dogs depend a lot on their owners – such is their evolution. So make sure to provide them with devoted and undivided care, including a great diet, vet checkups, and healthy exercise. 

Exercise Requirements

With moderate to high energy levels, the Chat Terrier will be an easy dog to please if you lead an active lifestyle. Provide 30 to 60 minutes of quality and energetic exercise per day, as well as regular walks and set time for playing, and your pet will be satisfied and thriving. Although fun and full of energy, the Chat Terriers are not all over the place. They love a good snooze and don’t need much to burn off their energy. And, of course, they simply love the embrace of their loving owner, and to nap on your lap. So make sure to make some extra room on the sofa, after the playtime and exercise are done – it’s snoozing time! 

In the end, a fenced-in yard is your best choice as it gives you all the flexibility that a park offers within the comfort of your home. And it is a great benefit for your pet since they can run about and enjoy the fresh air as much as they want. Just be careful – the Chat Terrier might have a tendency of digging holes in the yard or trying to escape, so a secure fence is a must.

Recognized Clubs

The American Kennel Club doesn’t recognize any of the new designer dog breeds, Chat Terrier included. However, as one of the more common designer dog breeds, the Chat Terrier is recognized by the leading registries centered on hybrids, crossbreeds, and designer breeds, including the Designer Breed Registry (DBR), the Designer Dogs Kennel Club (DDKC), as well as the International Designer Breed Registry (IDBR).


The coat of the Chat Terrier is inherited largely from its parent breeds. The Rat Terrier has a smooth and short coat, while the Chihuahua can have it both short and long, which will influence the coat of their mixed offspring. The Chat Terrier can have a short or a long coat, depending on the parentage, and that can require different grooming routines. Short coat Chat Terriers are low maintenance with occasional brushing and baths, and those with flowy locks need daily brushing to keep their silky hair free of mats and tangles. As for the coat colors, the general variations are black, white, tan, spotted, and brown. 


Usually, a Chat Terrier litter will have 3 to 5 puppies, each unique-looking: some might look more like the Chihuahua parent and others can take up after the Rat Terrier mom or dad. In those early days, your puppy will be very fragile and delicate. Avoid large crowds where they can be stressed out and hurt. But after the early stages are over, you should begin socialization! It is a big part of puppy rearing and lays down a great foundation for their future. It makes them friendly and affectionate, and irons out all those wrinkles that a Chat Terrier might have. And, of course, it makes them become the best version they can be! Simultaneously, start with early training, with commands sit and stay as the first thing you’ll teach, before progressing to more complex training as your puppy reaches the 4 and 6-month mark.

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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