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Rat Terrier - Dog Breed You Must Don't Know

Updated by Amy Granger on Dec 1, 2021

Are you those fans of energetic dogs? If you are a lively dog lover, let's dive into discovering one of the most playful and cutest apartment dogs, which has attracted animal lovers for a long time.

Ready to get started? Let's buckle up for a ride as we will take a close look at the exterminator of the canine world, the rat terrier.

Terriers generally are a tenacious and tough bunch known as great escape artists and rodent chasing. They are also often the size of their prey.

rat terrier
  • History
  • Rat Terrier Size, Weight and Appearance
  • Temperament and Family Life
  • Trainability and Intelligence
  • Exercise Needs
  • Health and Lifespan
  • Feeding and Diet
  • Coat Colors and Grooming
  • People Also Ask

The history of rat terrier refers to the 19th century, which in that period, it had been gradually bred in the USA as a farm dog.

Breeders first crossed the rat terrier from two famous breeds, the Smooth Fox terrier and the Manchester terrier. Mixed terrier again crossed this mixed terrier with Beagle and Whippet after sixty years. It was for only one purpose, and that was hunting rats. So the name "rat terrier" comes from its earliest ancestors in the US that Americans had been using rat terriers in rat-baiting.

That was because of the high speed this breed had, so they began to steadily use their speed in other cases like controlling the vermin and hunting small animals such as rabbits and squirrels.

In the same way, the usage of this specific dog expanded to hunting deer, coon, and wild boar over time. Also the president Teddy Roosevelt was a person who first named the American Rat Terrier.

rat terrier coat color

So let's now talk about rat terrier's appearance and how they look. Rat terriers generally are separated into seven different main versions. The differences don't include the personality and other features other than the physical appearance, so let's introduce you to these six versions.

  • The Standard version of rat terrier weighs about 10 to 25 pounds, and its height is often about 15 to 18 inches.
  • The second type is called Miniature, which is smaller and weighs about 10 to 18 pounds with 13 to 15 inches in height.
  • And the third version, which is the smallest, is the Toy rat terrier that weighs approximately 5 to 10 pounds with a maximum of 12 inches in height.
  • Unlike the Toy, the Decker is the huge one weighing in at a minimum of 25 pounds with about 19 inches in height.
  • Teddy Roosevelt is the fifth. It's significantly more muscular with shorter legs than the other varieties, and its bones' density is also heavier. Also, Teddy Roosevelt's height is often 8 to 15 inches, and its weight is usually about 8 to 25 pounds.
  • And finally, the American hairless terrier first appeared as a mutation in 1970 in the United States.

The common feature of all versions is their alertness. Their alert appearance is caused by the erect ear carriage they have. The rat terrier's hair is always smooth and short with high density, no matter its version. Also, their coat color varies from black with piebald marking to blue, lemon, merle, apricot, chocolate Isabella (a shade of pearl), and brindle. These colors mostly appear in tri-color combination with some amount of white.

Some people think that rat terriers have their tails docked. But they are just short-tail dogs. Although their tail is mostly shorter than usual, they are all born with a tail, unlike some people consider.

rat terrier size
rat terrier coat color

Although rat terriers are often wary of strangers, they highly love their human families, and this is noticeable when you encounter a rat terrier for the first time.

One of the other exciting features, which could be either a benefit or a negative point, is their zero fear. So it's vital to train your terrier from when it's just a puppy to make it socialized enough unless they have the potential to be aggressive with people later. The key to raising an adjusted canine is early socialization. You have to expose it to different people and places as it's still a puppy to get used to it.

Remember that rat terriers are extremely prey drive, so for those who already have small pets such as rabbits or hamsters, rat terrier is not a proper choice.

rat terrier exercise

Generally, the rat terriers are intelligent, alert enough, eager to please, and easy to train. There might be just a little struggle you may feel, as rat terriers mainly have a stubborn personality.

While you're training your furbaby, it's essential to be firm (not stern) and take the lead when you give commands. If the dog doesn't obey your commands or does something wrong, be careful not to punish him as you are just making the condition worse by doing this. Instead, it would be best if you rewarded him for his positive behaviors.

You don't have to be worried if you have no experience in training dogs; you can always take an experienced trainer to do it for you in the best possible way. You can instead use some helpful training devices which facilitate the training process a lot. Here is one of the high-quality training devices you can provide for your dog.

Now it comes to the most crucial part. As rat terriers are so energetic, they necessarily need at least 20 to 30 minutes of activity a day. Even more importantly, they are also a very active breed at home and always need something to do. Therefore if you own one of these firecrackers, make sure to provide enough toys and a place to provide a sufficient amount of exercise.

This case is exceptionally vital. Let me explain why. If you don't care about their exercise, they feel bored, and similarly, you'll probably face some disorders in the future. Furthermore, destruction is another everyday thing that this breed could commit in your house. Moreover, rat terriers are prone to escape, and lack of exercise could increase the chance.

You can supply this need with several options. You can take your rat terrier for a walk or play standard games like tug, war, and fetch. When you are busy with work or other things do not have time, there are some best dog toys for rat terriers: smart automatic interactive dog toys and puzzle toys. Many other games like "hide and go seek the treats" are also great to keep your dog in the best physical and mental mood. Make sure to change the routine with agility training, a dig in the sandbox, or a jog.

interactive toy

Not only is the rat terrier's lifespan incredibly longer than other similar breeds, but it's the longest in the canine cosmos. The rat terrier's lifespan is amazingly 15 – 18 years, and that's probably because of a "doggie gumbo" by-product it evolved. Most rat terriers suffer from health problems, which is expected because all rat terrier dog breeds are always prone to ailments.

Some possible illnesses that rat terriers are susceptible to are allergies, hip dysplasia, demodectic manage, malocclusion, patellar luxation, and Legg-Calve-Perthes syndrome (a disorder related to hip led by lack of blood in the head of their femur). However, it's not worrying when these are managed; nothing will keep your furbaby from living everyday life.

rat terrier training

Some people mistake that the more active the dog is, the more nutrition they necessarily need! And this is wrong because, as no one can define the exact amount of food every human should eat, it's not possible to do it for all the rat terrier dog breeds. And the thing you should consider is the amount of food your rat terrier needs. It depends on many factors such as size, weight, age, activity level, and metabolism. So please never rely on a single element.

Here is an explanation about the nutrition they need:

Generally, beneficial dog food must contain a combination of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. As most rat terriers are tiny, the protein should be more focused on their nutrients because of their dynamic personality, and they should be able to sustain more energy during the day. Be careful that dogs, like a rat terrier, essentially need a high-quality protein rather than a cheaper blend of chicken or fish meal.

Another thing you should consider is fatty acids and omega 3 because as rat terriers are miniature, they are prone to kneecap dislocation and joint issues. And there is another emphasis on supporting the dog's immune system with a special diet containing minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins. For rat terriers, these are usually added by vegetables and fruits.

As you already know, rat terriers have smooth and short hair. So regular grooming is not as considerable as it is in other breeds. Although only a weekly brushing would be enough for this type of dog, having a good-quality brush is very important. Here is our recommended grooming brush which you can safely use anytime.

For their teeth, it's recommended to brush them two or three times a week for the possible damages often caused by the bacterium.

And about trimming the nails, once or twice a month is usually enough. Some signs, like the sound of clicking on the floor, meaning the nails are too long. Try to constantly trim the dog's nail carefully because they are some blood vessels in their nail, and not paying attention to them can cause bleeding. Electronic nail grinders are always the best choice. You can provide now and never worry about shearing or pain.

How much does a rat terrier cost?
In the USA, Rat terrier costs $700 on average; however, this can vary from $500 to $1500 due to color, location, age, and bloodline.
Are Rat Terriers good pets?
Of Course. Rat Terriers are good family pet with their easy-going dispositions.
Amy Granger
Amy is an editor from iPetor, owns a 4-year experience in writing tips and tutorial for users. As a pet owner, she will share more pets care methods and recommend more useful products for all pet owners.
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