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Rat Terrier Information & Dog Breed Facts

Collection of all the general dog breed info about Rat Terrier so you can get to know the breed more.

Group Hunting Dogs
Popularity Rank97
Reviews1
User Ratings
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OriginUnited States
Other Names
What other names does the Rat Terrier have? The dog breed also known as...
American Rat Terrier, Ratting Terrier, Decker Giant, RT, Rat, Rattie
Breed Type
What type of dog breed is it?
Purebred
AKC Group
Is Rat Terrier recognized by the American Kennel Club?
Recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2013 as a Terrier breed.
FCI Group
Is Rat Terrier recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI)?
Not recognized by FCI.
Breed Recognition
What kennel clubs and organizations recognize or register the Rat Terrier breed?
American Canine RegistryAmerican Kennel ClubAmerica's Pet RegistryDog Registry of America Inc.North American Purebred Registry, Inc.American Canine Association, Inc.Continental Kennel ClubNational Kennel ClubUnited Kennel Club
Price
How much does the Rat Terrier puppy cost? What is the price range of this puppy? What is the average price of this dog in the United States? Is this puppy expensive? How much should I pay for it? Rat Terrier price:
$300-$500
If you choose to purchase the Rat Terrier, you should know that the mentioned amount of money is an average of the collected data from breeders’ sites and puppy finder places. If you have a Rat Terrier for sale, please advertise it on a reliable website to make sure the Rat Terrier gets to a happy place.

History

According to researchers, it all began in England around the 1820s. At that time they were known as “Fyce” because of their spirited nature when going after their prey, in America, it is pronounced as “Feist”. However, others claim that it is an American breed even though the breed was brought to the USA in the 1890s. What we know for sure is that they were the result of working with the Fox Terrier, Bull Terrier, Manchester Terrier, and Old English White Terrier, to name a few.

Being a farm and a hunting dog, the need for the Rat Terrier to catch prey and pests drove breeders to start adding new strains to the breed in the 1910s and 1920s. In the Midwest, the breed was bred to Whippets and Italian Greyhounds to produce a quicker dog who could control the jackrabbit problem. The new and improved Rat Terrier could keep up with the fast-moving rodent and continued to prove his value.

Furthermore, when they first came to America the breeding process was based on function. They were mostly black and tan colors with their ears buttoned over and they were around 8kgs, a medium size. According to some historians, president Theodore Roosevelt is said to have named the breed as he called his own dog Rat Terrier who had solved the White House rat problem, but not everyone agrees. He kept many Rat Terriers as house pets for their keenness, intelligence, and perfect self-groomed appearance. He often hunted with the breed as well. There is still an ongoing debate whether the dog that the president owned was in fact the same Rat Terrier as appears today. The short-legged dog that Roosevelt had has become the accepted breed standard for the terrier named after him. Not so much later, they quickly became popular throughout the Southern and Central American regions. The settlers found that the breed could easily adapt to different climates and they had an excellent ability to keep the farms free of rats and foxes. However, the Americans started modifying the breed for their needs. The Smooth Fox Terrier was re-introduced setting the predominance of white coat color and the breed was also bred to the Beagle to create a more pack-oriented dog. This was the time when the Rat Terrier earned an even stronger sense of smell and faster speed which came from the Whippet.

Moreover, the breed was very popular between the 1910s and 1940s but eventually started to decline after farmers started using poison to control rodent populations. By the end of the 1950s, the breed was no longer widespread. However, a handful of breeders did not give up and managed to sustain the breed until a reemergence in the late 1970s.

The Decker Rat Terrier is a strain of the breed that gained popularity. It all began with a dog who was owned by a hunter called Milton Decker, who thought that his own dog, Henry, had terrific qualities that he wanted to preserve in his breeding program. He started producing a larger Rat terrier with fixed ears, a hunting dog who could even retrieve from water. The Deckers were used by many people for hunter wild pig, deer, and bear as well as in more traditional Rat Terrier roles.

In 1972, the first hairless Rat Terrier was born and from that little hairless dog a new strain of the breed was developed further and it became known as the American Hairless terrier which comes in two sizes. Overall we can say that the Rat Terrier is a breed of many breeds that have brought in their own individual characteristics and traits. It has also been recognized by the American Kennel Club and several other American clubs.

General Appearance

Size
What size is this breed? How big is this dog? Rat Terrier size:
Small
Weight
How much does the Rat Terrier weigh? Rat Terrier weight:
Standard: 12-35 pounds (5.5-16 kg)
Avg. Weight
What is the average weight of the Rat Terrier? Rat Terrier average weight:
Standard: 23.5 pounds (5.10.5 kg)
Height
How tall is the Rat Terrier? Rat Terrier height:
Standard: 14-23 inches (35.5-58.5 cm)
Avg. Height
What is the average height of this fido? Rat Terrier average height:
Standard: 18.5 inches (35.5-58.5 cm)

Hair & Care

Coat
What type of coat does the Rat Terrier have? What does this canine coat look like?
DenseShiny
Colors
What color is the breed's coat? What color is a proper Rat Terrier's coat?
TanBrownWhiteBlue TricolorBlack
Grooming
How to groom the Rat Terrier and how often?
Effortless: The Rat Terrier requires minimal grooming. Seasonal flea treatment is needed, but cutting the dog's hair by a professional groomer isn't necessary. Ears and eyes should be cleaned sometimes to avoid infections. Rat Terrier is one of the best choices if you don't have the time, skill or money to take care of a high maintenance dog. Highly recommended for beginners.
Shedding Level
How much do Rat Terrier dogs shed? How to control, reduce and prevent the shedding of the American Rat Terrier? Rat Terrier shedding level:
Rat Terriers shed above average. It's a natural process of the hair growth cycle. The amount and frequency of hair loss mostly depend on their health status and breed type. If you don't like vacuum cleaning, you might have to reconsider your choice of having a puppy from the Rat Terrier breed.

Characteristics

Temperament
What kind of personality does the Rat Terrier have? What characteristics does the breed have?
AffectionateInquisitiveLovingAlertLively
Intelligent Rank
How smart is the Rat Terrier? Are they intelligent?
Smart: Rat Terrier's has great intelligence. They understand and memorize new commands in 15-25 repetitions.
Trainability
Are Rat Terrier dogs easy to train? Do they go well on dog training?
Rat Terriers are quite easy to train. Sometimes they can be challenging, but if you're consistent in teaching new commands they will obey for sure.
Playfulness
How playful is this breed?
Rat Terriers, like any other dog breed, like playing. Sometimes they bark as excitement for playing, but they are not the most playful dog breed.
Sensitivity Level
How sensitive are they? Rat Terrier sensitivity:
They are a little bit more sensitive than other dog breeds. Soft punishment affects them emotionally. Rat Terriers don't tolerate irregular daily routine, noisy household and frequent guest visits really well. They are receptive to their owner's emotions and make wonderful family companions.
Affection Level
How affectionate are they?
Rat Terriers are genuinely loyal, soft and gentle, loving and affectionate dogs toward their handlers. They enjoy quality time with their owners despite the activity and considered as a great therapy dog for those in need. This breed responds strongly to their handler's emotions because they bond closely. Their happiness is your happiness.
Social Needs
How much social interaction does the American Rat Terrier need? Rat Terrier social needs:
Rat Terriers need a lot of social interaction. They desire to always be with someone or around people. This breed hates being left alone.
Barking
Do Rat Terrier dogs bark a lot? Why does my Ratting Terrier bark?
Average: The Rat Terrier barks occasionally. They can change their barks depending on their emotional level and what they're trying to say. Different barks could mean the same and same barks could have a different meaning. Top reasons for barking: protection, alarm, fear, boredom, attention seeking, greeting, separation anxiety, compulsive barking.
Watchdog Ability
Is Rat Terrier good as a watchdog?
Rat Terriers are average watchdogs. If they sense something different, they will alert you, but the observation isn't considered as their main job.
Territorial
Do Rat Terrier dogs have an aggressive behavior to protect their territory?
Rat Terriers are extremely protective guard dogs. This breed doesn't hesitate to protect their territory so the Rat Terrier can be a good choice if you want an excellent guard dog. Keep calm and the Rat Terrier will take care of unwanted people or animals.
Biting Potential
Do Rat Terrier bite humans? How likely are you to get bitten from the American Rat Terrier? What are the odds of getting bitten by a Rat Terrier? Why do dog bites happen?
Low
The Rat Terrier has a low chance of biting somebody. Top reasons for dog bite: protection, pain, excitement, herding instinct, being provoked. (Data based on the available online bite statistics.)
Mouthiness
How much mouthing/nipping/play biting does the Rat Terrier do?
Rat Terriers have lower than average tendency to nip, chew, play-bite, or herd people. It's a common habit during puppyhood, not aggressive behavior. These "bites" don't hurt, but Rat Terriers need to be taught for a good attitude.
Impulse to Wander or Roam
How likely is the Rat Terrier to run away? Does this breed explore or wander a lot? Does Rat Terrier roam?
Wanderlust potential of the Rat Terrier is strong enough to escape from home. They have a strong desire for exploring the world. Safer to walk them on a leash unless you teach them how to get back to you on command.
Prey Drive
Do this canine have a strong prey drive? Does Rat Terrier have high prey drive?
Rat Terriers have a higher impulse to chase and catch something than other dog breeds. Cats or any other small animals might be in danger. It's a natural instinct, doesn't necessarily mean that Rat Terriers are aggressive. Better to keep this breed on a leash.
Apartment Friendly
Is Rat Terrier good as an apartment dog? Can they live in a flat?
Rat Terriers are very apartment-friendly dogs. Besides the daily walk outside they don't require a big garden.
Adaptability
Are they adaptable and easy-going?
Rat Terriers adapt very well to lifestyle changes and basically all living environments. They don't mind moving from one place to another with their owner.
Tolerates Being Left Alone
Can you leave this breed home alone?
Rat Terriers tend to have separation anxiety when their owners left them alone at home because they bond very closely with them.
Fighting Dog
Where Rat Terrier dogs used as a fighting dog in the history?
Not really
In history, this breed was not really used for combat dog.

Good With

Stranger Friendly
Are they friendly with strangers?
Rat Terriers are stranger friendly dogs.
Child Friendly
Are Rat Terrier dogs kid-friendly? Are they good with young children? Rat Terrier and children:
Rat Terriers are very kid-friendly dogs. This breed enjoys being surrounded by children.
Cat Friendly
How well do Rat Terrier dogs get along with cats? Are they good with kittens? What is this fido's temperament with cats?
Rat Terriers are cat-friendly dogs.
Dog Friendly
Is Rat Terrier good with other dogs? Are they dog-friendly dogs? How well do Rat Terrier dogs get along with other dogs? What is this canine temperament with other dogs?
Rat Terriers are dog-friendly dogs. If you want more dogs in your family or you'd like to join dog meetups, the Rat Terrier can be a great choice.
Office Friendly
Are Rat Terriers good office dogs? Do Rat Terriers make good office friendly dogs? Can Rat Terriers be office dogs?
No
Rat Terrier is not the best dog breed for office environment.
Senior Citizens Friendly
Are they senior citizens friendly dogs? How well do Rat Terrier dogs get along with the elderly people? What is the American Rat Terrier temperament with senior people? Are Rat Terrier dogs good for elderly owners?
Rat Terriers are one of the best breeds for elderly people.
Pet Friendly
Are they pet-friendly dogs? How well do Rat Terrier dogs get along with other pets? Are Rat Terrier dogs good with pets? What is this canine temperament with other pets?
Rat Terriers are usually friendly towards other pets.
Good For First Time Owners
Is Rat Terrier breed good for first-time owners? Do they make a good dog for novice owners?
No
Rat Terriers are not good for novice owners, due to their stubborn personality.
Service Dog
Are they good as service dogs? Can Rat Terrier be a service dog?
Not really
This breed generally not used as a service dog. A service dog is a term used in the USA to refer to any type of assistance dog specifically trained to help people who have disabilities, such as visual impairment, hearing impairments, mental disorders, seizures, mobility impairment, and diabetes. Service dogs are protected under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). Rat Terrier is not the best breed for service purposes.
Therapy Dog
Are they good as therapy dogs? Can Rat Terrier be a therapy dog?
Not really
This breed generally not used as a therapy dog. A therapy dog is a dog that might be trained to provide affection, comfort, and love to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, disaster areas, and to people with anxiety disorders or autism. Rat Terrier is not the best breed for therapeutic purposes.
Detection Dog or Sniffer Dog
Are they good as detection dogs? Can Rat Terrier be a sniffer dog?
Not really
A detection dog or sniffer dog is a dog that is trained to use its senses (mostly its smell) to detect substances such as explosives, illegal drugs, wildlife scat, currency, blood, and contraband electronics such as illicit mobile phones. Rat Terrier is not the best breed for detection purposes.
Search and Rescue Dog (SAR)
Are they good as SAR dogs? Can Rat Terrier be a search and rescue dog?
Yes
The use of dogs in search and rescue (SAR) is a valuable component in wilderness tracking, natural disasters, mass casualty events, and in locating missing people. The Rat Terrier breed is a good choice for SAR purposes.
Boat Dog
Are they good as boat dogs? Can Rat Terrier be a boat dog?
Not really
Rat Terrier breed usually doesn't like being on a boat.
Cart Pulling or Drafting Dog
Are they good as cart pulling dogs? Can Rat Terrier be a drafting dog?
Not really
A drafting dog or draft dog is a dog bred and used for cart pulling. Dogs bred for this work have strong builds and qualities that are needed, strength and determination. Rat Terrier is not the best breed for drafting purposes.

Health Factors

Health Issues
Is it a healthy breed? Do Rat Terrier dogs have health problems?
The Rat Terrier is a healthy breed, but there are certain health issues that you should check with your vet regularly.
Health Problems
What health problems does the Rat Terrier breed have? What are the health issues and concerns of the Rat Terrier breed? Health risks of Rat Terrier:
Eye ProblemsHeart ProblemsHip DysplasiaLegg-perthes DiseasePatellar Luxation
Life Expectancy
How long do Rat Terrier dogs live? What is the average lifespan of this breed? How old can a Rat Terrier be?
15-18 years
Hypoallergenic
Is the Rat Terrier breed hypoallergenic?
No
Rat Terriers don't do well with allergy sufferers by causing allergic reaction. Some of the dog breeds are even considered to higher the possibility of an allergic response. Coat type isn't necessarily relevant, because most people are allergic to dander (flakes on the dog's skin) or saliva, not actually to dog hair.
Energy Level
How much energy does the Rat Terrier have?
Rat Terriers are high energy dogs. Active lifestyle makes them happy.
Exercise Need
How much exercise does this dog need? How much exercise do Rat Terrier dogs require per day?
Rat Terriers have an average exercise need. This breed is satisfied with short walks every weekday and a long one on weekends.
Sleeping Need
How much sleep does this fido need?
Rat Terriers don't need too much sleep. They are energetic and desire to live an active life. If you think naps are overrated, this breed can be the best choice for you.
Weight Gain Potential
How easy to gain weight for this dog? Rat Terrier risk for obesity:
Average. The Rat Terrier has an average risk for obesity. Daily walks should be on schedule. To make your dog happy and fit, feed him with quality dry dog food and live an active life together. Try to find the happy medium between exercise and feeding. If you notice any weight gain, consult your veterinarian and make a diet plan. Reduce unhealthy food and snacks, and measure the Rat Terrier's weight regularly.
Weather & Climate
Which weather condition is preferred by this dog? Can they tolerate hot and cold weather & climate?
Prefers warm weather
Stinkiness
How stinky is this dog? Why does it smell bad and how to get rid of the smell?
Medium
The Rat Terrier has an average chance of bad smell. Top reasons for dog stinkiness: infection of bad tooth/ear/skin folds, gas attacks.
Drooling tendency
Does the Rat Terrier drool?
The Rat Terrier is a perfect example for very low drooling tendency. If you're disgusted by slobber spots on your clothes, the Rat Terrier could be a perfect choice for you. Drooling is the unintentional saliva flowing outside of the mouth. It can be completely normal or a sign of a health problem. Certain dog breeds drool minimal compared to others, just like the Rat Terrier. If you notice any change in your dog's drooling habit, you should contact a vet as soon as possible.

Reproducibility

Gestation Length
How long does this dog's pregnancy last? How long is the Rat Terrier pregnant? How long does it take to have this dog puppies? Rat Terrier pregnancy time period:
60-64 days
Reproductive cycle of the female Rat Terrier: The first period called Proestrus lasts for about 9 days. During this time the females start to attract males. You can notice by swelling vulva and bloody discharge. The second part is the Estrus when the bitch is receptive for the male. It lasts for about 3 to 11 days. The sign of the proestrus part is the soft and enlarged vulva. The discharge decreases and lightens in color. The third part is the Diestrus. Normally, it occurs around day 14. In this period the bitch’s discharge changes for vivid red and coming to its end. The vulva returns to average, and she will no longer permit mating. The fourth part called the Anestrus. The time frame between heat periods normally lasts about six months.
How often can the Rat Terrier have a litter? Once a year.
More frequent breeding is not healthy. It is very important not to buy a dog from a puppy mill, where the needs of the pups and their mothers are ignored. It's an inhumane high-volume dog breeding facility, where puppies born several times a year.
Litter Size
How many puppies can the Rat Terrier have? What is the average litter size of this fido?
5-7 puppies

Pros & Cons of Rat Terrier

Pros
  • Intelligent Rank: Smart: Rat Terrier's has great intelligence.
  • Apartment Friendly: Rat Terriers are very apartment-friendly dogs.
  • Grooming: Effortless: The Rat Terrier requires minimal grooming.
  • Drooling tendency: The Rat Terrier is a perfect example for very low drooling tendency.
  • Mouthiness: Rat Terriers have lower than average tendency to nip, chew, play-bite, or herd people.
  • Adaptability: Rat Terriers adapt very well to lifestyle changes and basically all living environments.
  • Child Friendly: Rat Terriers are very kid-friendly dogs.
  • Cat Friendly: Rat Terriers are cat-friendly dogs.
  • Dog Friendly: Rat Terriers are dog-friendly dogs.
  • Senior Citizens Friendly: Rat Terriers are one of the best breeds for elderly people.
  • Search and Rescue Dog (SAR): The use of dogs in search and rescue (SAR) is a valuable component in wilderness tracking, natural disasters, mass casualty events, and in locating missing people.
Cons
  • Hypoallergenic: Rat Terriers don't do well with allergy sufferers by causing allergic reaction.
  • Shedding Level: Rat Terriers shed above average.
  • Impulse to Wander or Roam: Wanderlust potential of the Rat Terrier is strong enough to escape from home.
  • Tolerates Being Left Alone: Rat Terriers tend to have separation anxiety when their owners left them alone at home because they bond very closely with them.
  • Office Friendly: Rat Terrier is not the best dog breed for office environment.
  • Good For First Time Owners: Rat Terriers are not good for novice owners, due to their stubborn personality.

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Reviews

  • Chris

    Nov 25, 2019, 1:41:44 AM:

    I have a rat terrier and he is the best dog. He is very protective of children, he loves to cuddle in bed with me, and he took care of my mom when she was going through chemo. He is very active and loves to play and walk.