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Chestie (Chihuahua & West Highland White Terrier Mix): Pictures, Info & Care

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on June 20, 2024 by Dogster Team

Chestie playing toy outdoor

Chestie (Chihuahua & West Highland White Terrier Mix): Pictures, Info & Care

The Chestie breed is a designer dog crossbred from a Chihuahua and the West Highland White Terrier. This dog has gained popularity due to its brilliant, fun personality and attractive outlook. As a small dog, it can be easily carried around and is adorable.

Both parent breeds are very adaptable to different environments. They have unique characteristics that are inherited by the Chestie breed

The Chihuahua originated from the Techichi, which were a larger breed in Mexico. This breed’s ancestry is closely tied to the Aztec culture until the 1800s, when Americans took an interest in the breed.

With this growing interest, the first Chihuahua was registered by the American Kennel Club in 1908. Over the years, these dogs have become some of the most popular pets among celebrities and the general population.

Breed Overview


8 – 10 inches


5 – 10 pounds


13 – 15 years


White, black, chocolate, fawn, cream, brown, and red

Suitable for:

Families and individuals looking for a playful and affectionate dog suitable for apartment living


Playful, Friendly, loyal, and intelligent

On the other hand, the other parent breed, the West Highland White Terrier, dates back to the 1600s. They became known after King James I ordered dogs from Argyllshire.

Unlike the Chihuahuas, these Terriers began as working dogs. Farmers reared these Scottish breeds for hunting rodents.

These Terriers are primarily white and got bred for hundreds of years before making their first appearance at a Scottish dog show in 1896. The hunting abilities are still exhibited in this breed during competition events where it showcases its searching and digging abilities.

The Chestie draws temperaments and abilities from both parent breeds, making it an excellent choice for a pet. It’s an easy dog breed to train and works well for families that need a playful dog.

If you are looking for a small dog with a strong prey drive, here’s all you need to know about the Chestie dog breed.

Chestie Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Chestie Puppies

Because both parent breeds are popular, these puppies might be scarce. In addition, both parent breeds have health concerns that also affect the Chestie breed availability. When sourcing for a puppy, it’s best to buy from reputable breeders. This is because they are most likely to carry out recommended health screenings. These medical check-ups are essential because of the parent breeds’ history.

If the price of the puppy is unbelievably low, the chances are that they have medical problems, have not been vaccinated, or are dewormed. Have the breeder show you records to guarantee you’re bringing home a healthy puppy.

When you bring home a Chestie, give them a warm welcome by having a comfy dog bed, treats, and toys ready for them. Be sure to read the Chestie’s full care guide so you know what they need in terms of food, exercise and grooming.

Photo by: Left- vlaaitje, Pixabay|  Right – anetapics, Shutterstock

Temperament & Intelligence of the Chestie 🧠

The Chestie makes a great pet. He is friendly, playful, and an intelligent dog. As a loyal dog, he loves his family members and will tend to follow their owners where they go.

Chesties love being around people and like to be the center of attraction at all times. With the right mix of playfulness, it’s entertaining to own a Chestie.

This dog breed is not aggressive and loves learning new things because they want to please the owners. Once you get a Chestie, you have to contend with the digging habits that come with this breed.

Their instincts to hunt inherited from the Terrier parent fuels their strong prey drive. Therefore, your puppy will come with a bit of the stubbornness and tenacity of the Terrier.

Like its parent, the Chihuahua, these breeds are warm and lovable and tend to be shy away in front of strangers. Chesties draw their intelligence from their parents since Terriers are intelligent dogs and curious, whereas Chihuahua’s are smart and confident. These characteristics make them independent.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Yes, these breeds are suitable for families. They adjust well in any environment due to the mix of characteristics from both parents.

They are also friendly with kids, therefore perfect if you have children. However, you’ll need to watch them carefully because they tend to bark or nip at kids if they feel annoyed.

Chesties are clingy and demanding. Apart from following you around, they don’t like been left alone. Otherwise, they’ll develop separation anxiety.

Therefore, if you are not home often, it might be better to shop for another breed instead. However, if you need a pup who showers you with love and attention, this breed might be the best choice for you.

It’s essential to keep them pampered when they need attention; otherwise, they’ll just become sad or start barking a lot.

Chesties are so small that you could easily miss them. This makes them highly prone to injuries. For the smaller kids, it’s best to educate them about the right way to interact with a dog of this size.

If you live in an apartment, this dog will tend to bark a lot which can get noisy for your neighbors. Therefore, consider whether this breed is the perfect choice for you.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽 

Chesties are pretty vocal; therefore, they will bark a lot when they see other dogs and animals. They tend to feel intimidated or afraid because of their small size.

To avoid issues with other dogs, it’s better to socialize Chesties at an early age. If they interact with other canines during early development, you’ll have a better experience if you have multiple pets in your home.

The drive to chase other pets in your household comes from the Chihuahua and White Terriers. They pick these traits from the parent breeds and will often chase smaller animals such as cats.

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Things to Know When Owning a Chestie

Getting a Chestie requires commitment. It can be a handful, especially with characteristics drawn from each parent breed. As a pet that needs constant attention, you’ll need to know its food and nutrition requirements, exercise needs, training, grooming needs, and health conditions.

Food and Diet Requirements 🦴

Like other dog breeds, Chesties need a highly nutritious, protein-filled diet. Because they are very active, you should feed them food that fulfills their daily energy needs. However, when feeding small dogs, you’ll need to be careful to ensure the dog gets enough nutrients without becoming overweight.

It would be best if you had a balance to protect them from getting diabetes. When growing, the food should be caloric dense and often given to keep their blood sugar levels stable and prevent hypoglycemia. Fast-growing breeds like the Chestie require good nutrition to support their development.

Therefore, as you buy pet food, ensure that the products match the dog’s needs at each size. The food should contain enough fiber, protein, and carbohydrates and less fat content.

You can also include small portions of dry food but avoid commercial pet foods that contain soy and corn by-products. Make sure you read the labels carefully.

Due to their small size, you should feed them 2-3 meals daily at equally spaced time intervals.

Exercise 🐕

As a fairly active dog, Chesties will enjoy a couple of daily walks to keep him happy. Although they might not need many exercises like other dogs, two to three walks a day keep them healthy and prevent them from excess weight gain.

If you live in an apartment, make sure they get in a walk to keep the energy levels low. This time is also a perfect opportunity to bond with your pet, especially now that they crave a lot of attention.

This breed also needs toys and games for mental stimulation; otherwise, they’ll quickly become bored. You can also take them to a dog park and let them run around on a leash.

Keep them safe in a dog park, especially if they are playing with the larger dogs. Scheduling these types of exercises will keep your pet happy and engaged.

Training 🎾

Since Chesties are intelligent dogs, they can quickly learn new tricks. However, they tend to get moody sometimes, making them hard to train. When this happens, they require a high level of patience and expertise.

The fact that they love to please makes the training much more effortless. These pets may react faster when they want to gain favor from their owners. However, they are also sensitive and don’t react well to reprimands.

Avoid yelling and using harsh language during the training if you want them to react well.

If you want to train your Chestie faster, add some treats to the process. If this does not work out, use professional trainers who understand their temperaments much better. Some owners find Chesties easy to train, whereas others find them quite a challenge.

Grooming ✂️

Grooming Chesties depend on the dominant breed. You’ll need to regularly brush the fur coat about three times a week to remove loose hair, keep it mat-free and remove ticks if any. Removing parasites is essential because they carry pathogens that can cause diseases.

This dog sheds moderately; therefore, there might be some loose hairs hanging around your home surfaces. Don’t bathe your dog every week to avoid drying out the fur coat and skin. You can occasionally use dog shampoo.

Your dog’s dental health is also essential. Brush their teeth at least once a week and keep the nails short and trimmed.

Health Conditions ❤️

The popularity that comes with smaller breeds makes them susceptible to a host of diseases and disorders. This happens because of a lot of inbreeding which increases the chances of your dog getting medical problems.

However, there are a lot of health screenings that can get done to spot these health problems early. Because of this, it’s advisable to get your Chestie from a reputable breeder who tests their puppies and dogs before breeding.

With a 13-15 years lifespan, Chesties are typically healthy breeds. However, they are prone to the following diseases, some genetic and others not. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Minor Conditions
  • Deafness
  • Cherry Eye
  • Dental Problems
Serious Conditions
  • Collapsed Trachea
  • Cushing’s Syndrome
  • Craniomandibular Osteopathy
  • Patellar Luxation

Minor Conditions

Most of these health issues can be managed by dog owners to prevent them from becoming severe.

  • Deafness

Like other dogs, Chesties need proper and regular ear cleaning sessions. This is essential in dealing with potential ear infections that could result in deafness.

  • Cherry Eye

Cherry eyes are pretty prevalent in dogs. This condition occurs when a tear gland in a dog’s third eyelid becomes inflamed.

Although it might not be painful, your pet will occasionally rub against it. The constant rubbing might irritate it further. If left untreated, it increases the risk of your pet getting conjunctivitis.

  • Dental Problems

If you don’t brush your dog’s teeth regularly, they are prone to dental problems, which might affect their eating habits.

Serious Conditions

These medical problems can be fatal if left untreated.

  • Collapsed Trachea

The trachea in your Chestie may collapse due to their not having enough cellular rings of cartilage. When this happens, the dog starts coughing, wheezing, having difficulty breathing, and vomiting.

If your dog has a collapsed trachea, your pet will experience bouts of respiratory distress. This condition is inherited from the parent breed Chihuahuas and is common in middle-aged dogs.

  • Cushing’s Syndrome

This condition happens when the dog becomes overweight with very little hair. The syndrome develops when the adrenal glands go wild and produce too much of the hormone cortisol. When canines secrete too much cortisol, they gain weight, lose a lot of hair, and start drinking and eating a little more.

In addition, this also suppresses the immune system, which may cause bacterial infections, especially in the bladder.

  • Craniomandibular Osteopathy

Also known as lion jaw, this condition is a bone disease common in dogs between 3-8 months. The symptoms for this condition include difficulty eating, firm swelling of the jaw, and drooling, pain.

The West Highland White Terrier is one of the most commonly affected breeds. These health problems are then transferred to the Chestie.

  • Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation is common in small dog breeds such as the Chestie. It occurs when the dog’s kneecap, which usually sits on the groove of the femur, shifts out of alignment. In dogs, it can occur in one, or both, of the hind legs.

Patella luxation can result from a traumatic injury or an abnormality with the joint or limb structure.

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Male vs. Female

With small dogs such as Chesties, the differences between the male and female are minimal. They come in similar sizes and have the same personalities. However, the temperament will differ according to the specific dog.

When getting your pup from the breeder, you may have to pay more for neutering or spaying. It’s also more expensive for the female than the male. Therefore, before deciding on the pet you want to get, consider the extra charges for surgery.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Chestie

Here are some facts about Chestie’s parent breeds. As a recent designer dog, it comes with a mix of traits and looks from each parent.

1. Chihuahuas Have a Strong Musical Connection

Chestie’s parent breed, the Chihuahuas, are very popular dog breeds. Spanish bandleader Xavier Cugat made this breed famous by making it part of his trademark during performances. He always cradled a Chihuahua in his arms.

With celebrity backing, most people decided to get one for their homes. To this day, it’s still one of the most famous small dogs.

2. Hollywood Celebrities Love Chihuahuas

Due to its small stature, a Chihuahua can easily fit into a handbag. Because of that, they are very popular with other celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Billie Holiday, and Marlene Dietrich.

With more connections in the celebrity world, this breed also became attractive to the general population.

3. The West Highland White Terrier Has Close Relations

To get rid of rodents, breeders created this White Terrier alongside other breeds for the same purpose. These breeds include the Scottish, Cairn, and Dandie Dinmont Terriers. Each of these species picked different personalities that were needed for hunting courtesy of selective breeding.

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Chestie dog breed makes excellent pets. Inheriting characteristics and genetic traits from the parent breeds, they have become popular pets. Due to their small size, they are famous designer dogs perfect for apartment living and families with kids.

They require little maintenance as long as you schedule exercise sessions, feed them well and cater to their grooming. Due to their history, they are more prone to health conditions inherited from their parents. Therefore, before you take this breed home, ensure that the breeder has done the necessary tests and can provide the records.

Chesties are good family dogs. They are clingy and love getting attention from their owner. Therefore, if you need a dog that stays with you all the time, Chesties are the way to go.

Looking for more crossbreeds? We have full lists of both Chihuahua Mixes and West Highland White Terrier Mixes!

Featured Image Credit: Victoria Rak, Shutterstock

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