Rat Terrier vs Chihuahua

Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:
12 to 18 years
Size:

Small

Maintenance Level:

Low

Shed Level:

Low

Best For

Rat Terriers thrive in busy homes with a loving pet parent. They are good with kids, cats and other dogs as long as they're well socialized as puppies. But with their instinctive prey drive, don't...

Rat Terriers thrive in busy homes with a loving pet parent. They are good with kids, cats and other dogs as long as they're well socialized as puppies. But with their instinctive prey drive, don't even think about adding a pet mouse, hamster or bird to your brood.

Rat Terrier Temperament

Rat Terriers are a big personality in a compact body. Inquisitive and highly intelligent, these qualities work in their favor when it comes to puzzles and games that will provide seemingly endless entertainment. When they’re given a job to do, however, things get serious. They give 100 percent whether they̵...

Rat Terriers are a big personality in a compact body. Inquisitive and highly intelligent, these qualities work in their favor when it comes to puzzles and games that will provide seemingly endless entertainment.

When they’re given a job to do, however, things get serious. They give 100 percent whether they’re hunting vermin, running agility or having a training session. Since Rat Terrier dogs were bred to both function as a working dog and live with a family, they can master both equally.

These small-sized dogs are usually very friendly and tend to get along with kids and other dogs, but it’s important to remember that all dogs are individuals so this can differ from Rattie to Rattie. As long as your dog is properly socialized (aka introduced to different people and environments) from a young age, they’ll be a great companion for all the family, and a friend to anyone they meet.

As their name implies, these dogs kind of have a thing for vermin. So you may want to rethink a Rat Terrier if you keep house with rats, mice, hamsters or birds unless you take precautions to keep them separated. The same goes for cats, but with early and deliberate introductions as Rat Terrier puppies, the two can definitely thrive together.

Rat Terriers are good watchdogs, so don’t be surprised if they bark when someone comes to the door. If you feel that it’s excessive, there are options to help you reduce your dog’s barking.

Overall, Rat Terriers are devoted to their people and they love to be included, so don’t leave them alone for too long or they will pine for you. Don’t forget that they still operate on instinct—no matter their training, your Rattie might still make the occasional, sudden lunge for a squirrel on your afternoon walk. They’re just doing what they were bred to do!

Rat Terrier Traits

Friendliness
Exercise Needs
Health Issues
Barking Tendencies
Grooming Needs
Shedding Level
Training Needs
Good With Kids
Good With Cats
Good As A Service Dog
Good For Apartments & Small Homes
Biting Tendencies
Energy Level
Good With Other Dogs
Playfulness
Sensitive to Cold Weather
Sensitive to Warm Weather
Good For First Time Pet Parents

Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:
14 to 16 years
Size:

Extra Small

Maintenance Level:

Medium

Shed Level:

Low

Best For

Chihuahuas are best for households with no small children or other dominant pets, and retirees or work-from-home parents who can provide lots of attention.

Chihuahua Temperament

Chihuahuas are charming little scamps with an eye for mischief and a sense of bravery that outsizes their physicality. They’re playful pups who enjoy a good romp or game, even though it may not last long (depending on their energy level). And they love to snooze on laps an...

Chihuahuas are charming little scamps with an eye for mischief and a sense of bravery that outsizes their physicality. They’re playful pups who enjoy a good romp or game, even though it may not last long (depending on their energy level). And they love to snooze on laps and cuddle—that is, after all, what they’re bred to do.

They like a lot of attention and are quite portable. But even though they’re easily carried, they do still need to learn how to walk on their own and be able to engage in normal dog behaviors, like sniffing, exploring and playing. In other words, don’t pop them in a purse or a stroller and tote them everywhere—unless, of course, it’s somewhere risky with lots of feet that could hurt a tiny paw, like an airport or street festival.

The Chihuahua dog breed is said to resemble a terrier with their demeanor and can become quite feisty, especially if they feel threatened. Some sites report that the Chihuahua bite force is 3,900 pounds per square inch (psi), but those so-called Chihuahua facts are wildly inaccurate, when a lion is only at 600 psi. (In truth, they usually inflict no more than a Level 1-3 bite, with no puncture deeper than half the length of one of their canine teeth.)

To help your Chihuahua puppy overcome a nipping or protective tendency, socialize them by safely and slowly introducing them to new people and places from the get-go and start training when they are young. Early training will also help this smallest of dog breeds become wonderfully friendly and receptive to all members of the family, including other pets.

Chihuahua Traits

Friendliness
Exercise Needs
Health Issues
Barking Tendencies
Grooming Needs
Shedding Level
Training Needs
Good With Kids
Good With Cats
Good As A Service Dog
Good For Apartments & Small Homes
Biting Tendencies
Energy Level
Good With Other Dogs
Playfulness
Sensitive to Cold Weather
Sensitive to Warm Weather
Good For First Time Pet Parents
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