Chilean Terrier Dog: Characteristics, Origin, Lifespan

The Chilean Terrier dog was initially used to hunt vermin. But the breed is now most often kept as family pets. Owners appreciate their confident nature and the affection they show their families. It is an attentive watch dog, and nothing goes unnoticed when the dog is about.

The Chilean Terrier dog is the first dog from Chile. It dates back to the late 19th century, resulting from the crossing of the Smooth Fox Terrier. It is also known by some other names such as Chilean Rat Terrier, Ratonero and Chilean Fox Terrier.

The breed was originated from breeding the English Fox Terrier with a number of local South American breeds. And the breed has been kept as both a rat hunter and a much-loved family pet for several centuries.

It is difficult to confirm the exact dates when the Chilean Terrier breed developed. Most agree that this breed was first bred in the early 1800s. Once they had been imported, local people admired the British Fox Terrier for it’s tenacity and vermin killing instincts.

While fox hunting was not a recognised sport, the newly introduced breed was soon put to good use hunting smaller prey. Chileans also liked the fact that the British Fox Terrier was a small dog that could adapt well to urban life and did not need a large amount of food to thrive.

As well as having a somewhat different physical appearance, the Chilean Terrier is more suited to the South American climate than the British Fox Terrier and can cope better in the heat.

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Surprisingly, it was not until the breed was popularized within a cartoon strip that was developed in 1949 that they became well-known. ‘Washington’ is the name of the little Chilean Terrier that stars in the strip called Condorito and is a favorite of many children.

Today the Chilean Terrier is present throughout the country, it has the virtue of adapting to a variety of climates of Chile, still being used in rural areas as a hunter of mice and in the city, including an excellent dog company, attentive and lively. But the breed is not recognized by the FCI, UKC and AKC yet. The Chilean Kennel Club have categorized the breed within their Terrier group.[1]

Chilean Terrier Dog Characteristics

The Chilean Terrier dogs are small in size, but they are very beautiful. Their main color is white, which is accompanied by black and brown markings.

The breed has shorthaired undercoat that sometimes hints at some dark spots visible through the white mantle. Their ears are set high with a forward-leaning as a ‘V’ tip. The breed has well-developed teeth and bite.

Average body height of the mature dogs is between 12.5 and 15 inches at the withers for males, and between 11 and 13.7 inches for the females. Average live body weight of the mature dogs is between 5 and 8 kg for the males, and between 4 and 7 kg for the females.

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Temperament

The Chilean Terrier dogs are active, affective and one of the healthiest and cleanest dog breeds. They are very easy to train. They are excellent as watch dog, they will attentively patrol their property and ensure their owner knows immediately if anyone new has arrived. However, their small stature means they are not well-suited to work as a guard dog.

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Having been bred for many years to aggressively pursue prey and kill it, these dogs do have a heightened prey drive and can be incredibly determined when it comes to making a kill. These natural instincts make the Chilean Terrier unsuitable to house alongside small pets. Anecdotally, many individuals can be dog aggressive unless raised alongside other dogs from a young age.

Lifespan

Average lifespan of the Chilean Terrier dog is about 15 years.

Feeding

How much a mature dog eats depends on it’s size, age, build, metabolism and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don’t all need the same amount of food.

The Chilean Terrier dogs are smaller in size, but they are very active. So, their diet should be formulated for a smaller sized breed with high exercise needs. You can consult with a vet in your area for better feeding recommendations.

Caring

Taking good care of the animals is very important for raising Chilean Terrier dogs. You should always keep up with your dog’s regular veterinary checkups to detect any health concerns early.

The Chilean Terrier dogs are small, but they enjoy keeping active very much. They will benefit from a couple of 30 minute of vigorous walks or run each day and also enjoy being allowed to scent and trail.

Without adequate physical and/or mental stimulation, it is likely that the Chilean Terrier will start to develop some undesired behaviors. Incessant barking, furniture chewing and digging may all develop in bored dogs when left alone for too long without any form of stimulation.

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The very short coat of the Chilean Terrier is particularly low maintenance and should be brushed once weekly. At the same time, their ears can be checked for any waxy build-up.

Health

The Chilean Terrier dogs are generally healthy. But like all other dog breeds, they are also prone to certain health conditions.

Their common health problems include patellar luxation, progressive retinal atrophy and legg Calvé Perthes disease. Always try to keep good contact with a vet in your area.

Breed NameChilean Terrier
Other NamesAlso known as Chilean Rat Terrier, Ratonero and Chilean Fox Terrier
Breed SizeSmall
HeightBetween 12.5 and 15 inches at the withers for males, and between 11 and 13.7 inches for the females
WeightBetween 5 and 8 kg for the males, and between 4 and 7 kg for the females
Good as PetsYes
Climate ToleranceAll climates
ColorMain color is white, which is accompanied by black and brown markings
LifespanAbout 15 years
Good for ChildrenYes
RarityCommon
Country/Place of OriginChile