The Ratcha sounds like a fun dance move, and this is fitting considering the type of dog this moniker accompanies.
Small, agile, quick and animated, the Ratcha (sometimes known as Rat-Cha), is a family-friendly and comedic companion that a variety of dog-lovers adore.
Of course, Ratcha dogs have their pros and cons and they aren’t the ideal dog for everyone. If you’re considering investing in a Ratcha, there’s plenty you should know.
With that in mind, join us today as we talk all about the Ratcha, what’s great about them, what’s not so great about them, and how you can get your hands on a Ratcha puppy or rescue dog.
Introducing The Ratcha Dog
The Ratcha is a crossbreed mix between the Rat Terrier and the Chihuahua.
Also Known As: The Ratcha, the Rat-Cha, The Ratchi, The Rat-Chi, The Rat Terrier Chihuahua Mix
Parent Breeds: The Rat Terrier and the Chihuahua
Height: 12 to 18 Inches
Weight: 12 to 15 Pounds
Temperament: Intelligent, Animated, Affectionate, Active
Best Suited For: Dog owners with a flexible schedule, families with older children, singles and active seniors or retirees
Common Health Issues: Hypoglycemia, Dental Disease, Heart Issues, Patellar Luxation, Jaw Issues, Tracheal Collapse, open Fontanel, Hydrocephalus, Allergies, Shivering, And Demodectic Mange
Lifespan: 13 to 18 Years
The Ratcha, also known as the Ratchi or Rat-Cha, is a popular designer dog known for his intelligence, affectionate nature and natural comedic timing.
Ratchas are a cross between the purebred Chihuahua and the purebred Rat Terrier. Both of these purebred dogs have similar appearances, though they can have very different temperaments and vary in size.
Compact yet sturdy, Ratcha dogs make great companions for families and they enjoy being outdoors with their families. When properly raised, trained and socialized, the Ratcha can do well with children and other pets.
However, this is a dog with a high prey drive, so he should not be left unsupervised with smaller pets like rodents, birds or reptiles. It’s also important to always walk your Ratcha on a secure leash and harness to ensure he is safe.
Is a Ratcha the right dog for you? Before we find out more about this adorable and spirited canine, let’s go over a few things you should consider about the designer dog debate.
The Ratcha – What You Should Know About The Crossbreed Controversy
Crossbreed dogs like the Ratcha are controversial because they can be unpredictable.
Though the Ratcha is a popular hybrid throughout the United States, he is riddled with some controversy. This is due to the fact that he is a designer dog..
Also known as a crossbreed, mixed breed, or hybrid dog, designer dogs are dogs that are the offspring of two purposefully chosen purebred parents.
While this practice has been ongoing for centuries, it has only recently become popular for people to breed and sell these dogs over the last two decades.
Originally, crossbreeding was a practice utilized by breeders and canine enthusiasts working to create an ideal type of dog for working purposes. In fact, most purebred dogs we know and love today are the results of careful crossbreeding.
With that being said, it does take generations for a crossbreed dog to finally be considered a purebred. Purebred dogs are dogs with a breed standard, which means traits like coat type, coat color, size, health and temperament are predictable.
When it comes to crossbreed dogs, and especially early generation crossbreed dogs like the Ratcha, traits like health, temperament, appearance and size are generally left up to genetics and chance depending on the two purebred parent breeds.
Still, there are some benefits when it comes to earlier generation crossbreed dogs. For example, hybrid vigor suggests that designer dogs may actually be healthier than their purebred counterparts thanks to their widened gene pool.
The idea is that purebred dogs have been overbred for centuries in an effort to maintain their breed standard, and this has led to them being more susceptible to certain genetic health issues.
Ratcha dogs and other cross breeds like them may have a lesser chance of developing certain health issues from one parent breed over the other.
However, there is a catch to hybrid vigor. You see, while crossbreed dogs may have a widened gene pool, they may also have a longer list of genetic health issues to contend with as they are the offspring of two different purebred parents.
Regardless of this controversy, crossbreed dogs like the Ratcha continue to rise in popularity. While they are not recognized as their own breeds and are therefore not eligible for show, they continue to make incredible companions, therapy dogs and even working dogs.
So, with that in mind, let’s move on to learn more about the Ratcha in particular and find out if this adorable dog is the right dog for you.
Where Does The Ratcha Dog Come From?
Ratchas are a mix between two different and interesting purebred parents.
As we covered briefly above, the Ratcha is a hybrid mix between the Rat Terrier and the Chihuahua.
Bred specifically for companionship, the Rtacha still hails from two purebred parents that have specific origins that play a role in their temperament and appearance.
To understand more about your Ratcha and what makes him tick, it’s helpful to dig a bit deeper into the histories of his purebred parent breeds.
Meet The Chihuahua
The Chihuahua has long been considered the world’s smallest purebred dog. A superstar in his own right, Chihuahua dogs are the official dog of Mexico and they are known for their human-like temperament, animated disposition and comedic timing.
Though tiny, Chihuahuas are packed with personality. They are ancient dogs hailing from Mexico and are likely ancestors of the mute Techichi dogs that were once the beloved companions of the Toltec people.
Today, Chihuahuas make popular companions for singles, seniors and retirees. They are active and vocal enough to make wonderful guard dogs, but they are not the ideal companion for homes with other pets or small children.
If not properly raised, trained and socialized, Chihuahuas can be feisty and are known to nip. They should also be handled carefully as they are prone to injury if dropped or played with too roughly.
Meet The Rat Terrier
The Rat Terrier is an American bred dog specifically designed to help wrangle and catch vermin like – you guessed it – rats.
Small, agile, and whip fast, the Rat Terrier comes in two sizes including miniature and standard. Even at his largest, he stands no taller than 18 inches and is just compact enough to make a portable yet sturdy companion dog for a number of homes and owners.
Though he has a high prey drive, the Rat Terrier has a delightful disposition and is highly adaptable to a number of different environments. He is friendly and playful and gets along well with children and other pets like dogs and cats.
However, he can be prone to going after smaller animals, so do not leave him alone with pets like rodents, birds or reptiles. It’s also important to always walk your Rat Terrier on a proper leash and harness to ensure he stays safe when out and about.
What To Expect From A Rat Terrier Chihuahua Mix
Though Rat Terriers and Chihuahuas have a similar appearance, they are very different in size and temperament.
It can be difficult to say what you’ll get with a Ratcha mix when it comes to these varying traits, and you could wind up with a dog that is more like one parent breed over the other. Or, you may get a hybrid that is a perfect mix between the two.
As we discussed above, these traits will be left up to chance. However, there are some things we can predict when it comes to the Ratcha, and we are going to talk more about those traits further down.
Does The Ratcha Mix Make A Good Family Dog?
Ratcha dogs become very bonded with their owner, but they can have bossy temperaments.
Chihuahuas specifically are not ideal family dogs as they tend to be impatient and even snappy with smaller children. On the flip side, the Rat Terrier is a friendly and adaptable companion who gets along with a variety of different owners.
Depending on your specific Ratcha, you may wind up with a dog that adores his family setting and gets along well with children. Or, you could wind up with a dog that prefers to be around one owner in particular and prefers to keep away from youngsters.
Either way, it’s very important to raise and socialize your Ratcha at an early age to help ensure he is well rounded and to reduce anxiety.
Understanding basic canine body language can help reduce potential issues in the future, including dog bites or injury to your dog.
We also suggest that you don’t leave very young children unsupervised with your Ratcha.
But what about the basic temperament of a Ratcha in general?
Ratcha dogs are generally happy and outgoing. They are animated and affectionate companions, though it’s quite common for a Ratcha to bond most closely with one person in the household.
Extremely intelligent, Ratcha dogs are very trainable and love to be challenged, though they are also self-thinkers and tend to become stubborn.
They enjoy outdoor activities and playtime, and will do best in homes with owners with flexible schedules who have time to be with them.
With all of that being said, these dogs make wonderful apartment dogs. They are independent, smart, and small. However, they are quite vocal and can become destructive if they’re not kept adequately mentally stimulated, so keep that in mind.
Tips On Training and Socializing A Ratcha Dog
Ratcha dogs respond best to positive reinforcement.
Ratcha dogs are incredibly intelligent, which can be a double-edged sword when it comes to training.
While these dogs certainly have the ability to pick up cues and tricks quickly, they are also self-thinkers and prone to becoming stubborn during training sessions, especially if these sessions are not kept short, fun and gamelike.
The best way to get the most out of your Ratcha during training is to ensure you build a strong and trusting bond with your dog. This means you should refrain from using aversive training methods like scolding and punishment, which can result in your dog shutting down or even becoming fearful and aggressive towards you down the road.
Instead, stick with positive reinforcement training techniques utilizing treats and praise. Also try to keep training sessions short and fun. Five minute sessions with playtime in between can help keep your Ratcha engaged, as can ensuring that training feels more like a game than a lesson.
It’s never too early to begin training your Ratcha, and you can begin from the moment you bring him home as a puppy!
It’s also never too early to begin socializing your dog. In fact, it’s best to start socializing your Ratcha during puppyhood to help reduce anxiety, fear and behavioral issues like fear-based aggression.
Socializing your dog includes introducing him to as many new experiences and environments as possible and ensuring first impressions are positive.
This should include introducing your dog to new sights, sounds, places, people, children and other pets.
We also suggest getting your Ratcha used to having his ears, nose, tail and paws touched and played with to help down the road when it comes to grooming.
While it is important to ensure your dog is well socialized and to encourage him to have new experiences, it’s also vital not to pressure or force your Ratcha into a situation that is clearly frightening for him. This could cause his fears to be exasperated and can lead to behavioral issues down the road.
What Are the Exercise And Mental Stimulation Needs of A Ratcha?
Though small, Ratchas require routine exercise each and every day.
The Ratcha is typically a small dog, however he still requires routine exercise and mental stimulation each and every day to ensure he is happy and healthy. Without proper exercise and mental stimulation, Ratcha dogs can become bored and anxious, which can lead to destructive behaviors like chewing, barking, marking and digging.
Luckily, the Ratcha can have his exercise needs met in a variety of ways. He should have at least thirty minutes or so of dedicated exercise each and every day, including a brisk walk, games of fetch or chase in the backyard, or runs through the park.
Curli Vest Dog Harness
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When you are walking your Ratcha, make sure you invest in a quality dog harness that is designed to reduce pressure put on your dog’s throat and trachea. Ratcha dogs are small, and they can be prone to something known as tracheal collapse.
This often occurs when pressure is put on a dog’s trachea, which can lead to coughing and breathing issues or worse.
The above dog harness is designed specifically for smaller breed dogs prone to tracheal collapse, and it is made with comfortable and breathable mesh materials that reduce pressure put on your dog’s throat. This harness comes in different sizes and a variety of colors as well, which is always a plus!
Along with dedicated exercise, your Ratcha will also enjoy free playtime. Because he’s so smart, you may find that having him complete homemade obstacle courses is a good way to keep him both mentally and physically exercised at the same time.
Though the Ratcha will enjoy having a backyard to play in, he doesn’t need a yard and can make a great apartment dog.
With that being said, do remember that the Ratcha is a vocal dog and you may need to work on training him when to stop barking from time to time.
But this training could be a great way to help keep your dog metnally stimulated. Just as Ratcha dogs need physical exercise, they also need to stay mentally fit.
By keeping training consistent, you can ensure your Ratcha is happy and feels challenged. However, when you’re away it is not uncommon for your Ratcha to become bored, which could lead to him getting into trouble.
Providing your Ratcha with plenty to do to keep him occupied while you are gone is a great way to reduce problematic behaviors.
KONGS for small breed dogs can help keep your Ratcha busy, as can different types of puzzle toys that utilize high value treats to hold your dog’s attention.
Nina Ottosson Puzzle Toys
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The Nina Ottosson Puzzle Toy above is ideal for smaller dogs like the Ratcha, but it is still very stimulating and will help ensure your dog is engaged and busy.
We like that this toy comes in different levels and is designed to utilize food to help hold your Ratcha’s attention. You can use anything from Kibble to dog treats to bits of chicken or hot dog, and your Ratcah will enjoy solving the puzzle to get his reward.
Once your dog has mastered this puzzle toy, you can order another at a different difficulty level to keep him challenged.
Grooming and Basic Ratcha Dog Care
Ratchas are small dogs that may come in two coat varieties.
Depending on your Ratcah dog’s generation and the coat types of his parent breeds, he can come with different coat types. Though Rat Terrier’s have smooth, short coats, Chihuahuas have both long and short coats.
However, for the most part Ratcha dogs have short, smooth coats that shed year round. They shed heaviest during the shedding season which occurs during spring and fall, though even then they only require occasional brushing to help collect loose hair.
To help keep your Ratcha dog’s coat as healthy as possible, we suggest brushing your dog at least once a week to remove loose hair, debris and build up from being outside. It’s also important to bathe your Ratcha on occasion, though he shouldn’t be bathed more often than once a month.
When you are bathing your Ratcha, be sure to use a quality shampoo specified for canine use. Avoid shampoos that contain dyes, parapines, alcohols, or other ingredients that could strip your dog of the natural oils his skin produces to help keep his coat healthy.
It’s also important to keep an eye on your Ratcha dog’s ears. Like all dogs, Ratchas can be prone to ear infections, so try and ensure your dog’s ears are kept clean and free of waxy buildup, moisture and debris.
The Ratcha dog’s nails can also grow quickly and be prone to breaking or splitting during play. This can lead to pain and even infection, so it’s wise to trim your dog’s nails once every couple of weeks to keep them at a good length.
Last, keep in mind that Ratcha dogs can be especially prone to dental disease and tooth loss. To prevent this, we suggest brushing your dog’s teeth daily using dog dental wipes or a dog toothbrush and toothpaste.
Pet MD Doggy Dental Wipes
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It can be difficult to brush your smaller dog’s teeth with a toothbrush, so we would recommend you try the above doggy dental wipes. We like this product because it comes with pre soaked wipes that help to fight against tartar and plaque buildup. It is also flavored to help make brushing easier and more pleasant for your dog, and even helps to reduce bad breath!
Along with brushing, your vet may also recommend that your Ratcha be seen once a year or so for routine dental cleanings and checkups.
Common Health Issues You Should Know About When It Comes To The Ratcha
Though they have the benefit of hybrid vigor, Ratchas can be prone to genetic health issues.
Ratcha dogs are generally healthy little hybrids with a decent lifespan. In fact, they often can live up to 18 years, with their average lifespan being between 13 and 18 years overall.
Still, and in spite of hybrid vigor, remember that your Ratcha can still be predisposed to a number of genetic health issues and any of the health issues of his purebred parent breeds.
Some of the most common issues seen in a Ratcha dog include:
- Dental Disease
- Heart Issues
- Patellar Luxation
- Jaw Problems
- Tracheal Collapse
- Open Fontanel
- And Demodectic Mange
It can be difficult to predict what your Ratcha may develop down the road as he ages when it comes to health issues, though you can combat or stay on top of these issues by having your dog’s health screened at an early age.
Canine DNA kits are an excellent way to find out what your dog might be predisposed to in the future. We also suggest staying on top of routine vet visits. Most veterinarians recommend that smaller dogs be seen at least once a year for wellness exams up until they are between the ages of 7 and 9.
After that, they should be seen twice a year for routine checkups.
Along with keeping up with routine vet exams, you can also combat specific health problems by keeping your Ratcha on a healthy diet.
Like all dogs, Ratchas do best on a dog food specified for their age, weight and activity level. Whether you choose between wet dog food, raw dog food, dry dog food or homemade dog food, it’s important to choose a dog food that is made with real animal protein and contains a good source of water, carbs, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
Avoid dog foods that contain byproducts, fillers, additives, corn, soy, wheat or gluten.
Keeping up with solid grooming, exercise and training routines can also help ensure your Ratcha dog lives his happiest, healthiest life.
Do You Have The Ideal Home Type For A Ratcha Dog?
Ratcha dogs are adaptable and independent. They can do well in smaller spaces like apartments.
Are you considering investing in a Ratcha dog? These adorable canines are quite popular and do well in a number of different environments. Of course, and as we mentioned above, they’re not the ideal dog for everyone.
Remember, Ratcha dogs are shedding dogs who shed year round, so they may not be ideal for those who suffer from allergies.
Furthermore, they often become more closely attached to a single owner, though they can do well in homes with children and other pets when well trained and socialised at an early age.
These little fellows also make wonderful apartment dogs, though they are vocal. This barking can be frustrating for those who live in smaller spaces or have thinner walls, but the good news is that the Ratcha is quite intelligent and can be trained when to start and stop barking on command.
And while Ratcha dogs do not require too much exercise, they still need activity every day. The ideal owner of a Ratcha will be able to accommodate this dog’s needs and ensure he is kept both physically and mentally stimulated to reduce depression, anxiety and behavioral issues.
Tips On Finding Quality Puppies Or Rescue Dogs From Quality Sources
Ratcha dogs are are popular little hybrids.
If you’re looking for a Ratcha to call your own, be sure to go through reputable sources. Avoid backyard breeders, online sellers, or those offering to sell a Ratcha dog for much more or less than his typical worth.
On average, the price for a dog like the Ratcha is between $500 and $800, though this price can vary depending on the breeder you go through.
Remember, reputable breeders will be able to provide you with a health certificate proving their dogs have been screened and cleared of any serious health issues, and you may even be able to meet your puppy’s parents to get a better idea of what he will grow up to look like!
You also have the option of rescuing a Rtacha, which is typically a fraction of the cost of going through a breeder. Be sure to go through repaulbe shelters or rescues you trust and ask plenty of questions.
There are many benefits of going through a rescue to adopt a dog outside of price, and it’s very possible for you to find the Ratcha of your dreams via this route.
So, what do you think about the Ratcha? Is this adorable hybrid the dog of your dreams? Tell us why or why not below!
Thanks for reading!
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.