Rat Terrier

Type: Terrier

Height: Standard: 13 - 18 inches; Miniature: under 13 inches.

Weight: 10 - 25 lbs.

Life Span: 13 -16 years.

Litter Size: 5 - 7 puppies.

Country of Origin: England, but developed in the United States.

Activity: Medium

Watch-dog: High. Rat Terriers are very sensitive and ALERT to sounds, great alarm dog.

Guard-dog: Medium. They are protective and alert, but not the most threatening breed. They can deliver a painful bite if provoked though.

Description: The Rat Terrier is small, powerful, and very intelligent. They are great for sports, utility, or as a companion dog. Very loyal, loving, and protective of their loved ones and possessions, the Rat Terrier is also a great hunter. In fact their original use, hence the name, was for ratting. And if the occasion call, they can be quite the comedian. Rat Terriers are very low maintenance and once you have one...you've got to have another! They are energetic, intelligent and curious. They are game dogs, very tenacious when hunting and affable at home. They are not overly energetic, and tend to have moderate activity. They are very affectionate, playful and desire to be with their people all day. They get along well with their peers, including other pets as well as children. Rat Terriers are small and quaint, but not quite as small as the Chihuahua. They are still rather sturdy little dogs, and somewhat resemble a miniature Jack Russell Terrier. There are several different standards with this breed that vary greatly from country to country. In America, there are Miniature and Standard Rat Terriers, while in other countries they recognize those as well as a Hairless version. Either way, the personality is the same. With lots of praise, Rat Terriers can be trained to do anything, they love to please!

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Colors: Black/white tri, blue/white, red, red brindle, apricot, chocolate, lemon, sable, fawn, and tan. They are often white with black and tan tricolors, or white with chocolate or black or tan patches.

Coat: Smooth, short hair.

Temperament: Rat Terriers are semi-active, easily trained, sociable, loving, and loyal. They are very affectionate, and love to be around their owners. They are also eager to please, energetic but not overly excited, curious, and intelligent. Rat Terriers are hardy and tenacious in the field, and affable at home. They get along well with children and other pets. They are very alert, and make good watchdogs.

With Children: Yes, Very protective and loving of children it lives with.

With Pets: Yes, whatever a Rat Terrier is raised with, it will love and protect.

Care and Training: Rat Terriers are low maintenance and need little grooming. They are easily trained and this should be done so with positive reinforcement. The Rat Terrier needs a brushing every once in a while. Ears, teeth and nails should be checked and/or groomed on a regular basis, as with any breed.

Learning Rate: High. Rat Terriers have a fast learning rate and are highly intelligent. Obedience - High. They love to please. Problem Solving - High.

Special Needs: Exercise, human companionship, socialization, sun protection and training.

Living Environment: Rat Terriers prefer to be inside with their family, but can be outdoors. They are very adaptable as well, and can cope with either active or sedentary people. The best owner for this breed would be a wide range of people, including active to sedentary people living in a rural to city environment.

Health Issues: Allergies, bite problems, hip and elbow dysplasia, luxating patellas and mange.

History: Considered an all American Breed, they originated in England in 1820. The Rat Terrier was a cross between a Smooth Coat Fox Terrier and a Manchester Terrier. They were bred and raised for the sport of "rat baiting", and the all time record of rats killed in a seven hour span within one barn by this breed was 2,501! Brought to the U.S. in 1890, President Theodore Roosevelt reintroduced them while in the "White House" for pest control, and for their great companionship and hunting abilities. He often took them on hunting trips, and created the popularity for the breed that still continues today. When they were brought to America there only existed the black and tan version, until it was bred with the Smooth Fox Terrier again, which created the white color. They were also bred with the Whippet, which added to their speed and probably the blue coloring, and Beagle, which added to the red color and their extensive trailing abilities and bulk. Later the Chihuahua was added to create the Miniature version. The Standard type has mostly been used for hunting rats, squirrels, raccoon, and other vermin. Even today, some believe the breed is only valuable as a hunter: "They don't deserve to be ruined by people who might just want 'pets'."

First Registered by the AKC: 2013

AKC Group: Terrier Group

Class: Terrier

Registries: UKC, UKCI, NRTR, CKC, AKC