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Rat Terrier

Rat Terrier Dog Breed Information

In a Sentence:

A small, energetic and intelligent dog breed with a short coat and a playful personality.

Scientific Name:

Canis lupus familiaris.
Type:Mammal

Size:

Rat Terriers are considered a Small Dog breed.
Weight:3-6 kg.
Height:25-36 cm (10-14 inches).
Length:30-46 cm.

Lifespan:

The average lifespan of a Rat Terrier is 15-18 years

Behavior:

What type of dog is a Rat Terrier, how do they behave and what temperament do they have? See below for a detailed overview of their traits and personality.

Personality & Temperament

Rat Terriers are small, energetic dogs with a lively and friendly personality. They are known for their intelligence, loyalty and affectionate nature. These dogs are highly adaptable and can fit into a variety of living situations, including apartments and homes with large yards.

Rat Terriers are very active and require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. They love to play and are always up for a game of fetch or tug-of-war. They are also excellent at agility and obedience training, as they are quick learners and eager to please their owners.

In terms of temperament, Rat Terriers are generally friendly and outgoing with people and other animals. They are not typically aggressive or territorial, but they can be protective of their owners and may bark at strangers or unfamiliar animals. They are also known for their high prey drive and may chase small animals like squirrels or rabbits.

Rat Terriers are highly social dogs and thrive on human companionship. They are affectionate and love to cuddle with their owners, but they can also be independent and enjoy spending time alone. They are great with children and make excellent family pets.

Overall, Rat Terriers are lively, intelligent and affectionate dogs with a friendly and outgoing personality. They require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy, but they make great companions for active families and individuals.

Intelligence

Rat Terriers are considered to be highly intelligent dogs. They are quick learners and are known for their problem-solving abilities. They are also highly adaptable and can easily adjust to new situations and environments. With proper training and socialization, Rat Terriers can excel in various activities such as obedience, agility and even hunting. Overall, Rat Terriers are smart and versatile dogs that make great companions for active and attentive owners.

Trainability

Rat Terriers are generally considered to be intelligent and trainable dogs. They are eager to please their owners and respond well to positive reinforcement training methods such as praise, treats and play. However, like all dogs, Rat Terriers have their own personalities and can be stubborn at times. Consistency, patience and persistence are key when training a Rat Terrier. It is also important to start training early and socialize them with other dogs and people to prevent behavioral issues. Overall, with proper training and socialization, Rat Terriers can be well-behaved and obedient companions.

Sleep

Rat Terriers typically sleep for around 12-14 hours per day, although this can vary depending on their age, activity level and individual personality. Puppies and older dogs may sleep more, while highly active or working dogs may sleep less. It’s important to provide your Rat Terrier with a comfortable and quiet sleeping area where they can rest undisturbed.

Bark

Rat Terriers are known for being vocal dogs and can bark quite a bit, especially if they are not properly trained and socialized. However, with proper training and socialization, they can learn to bark only when necessary and be relatively quiet. It is important to note that excessive barking can be a sign of anxiety or boredom, so it is important to provide your Rat Terrier with enough mental and physical stimulation to prevent this behavior.

Drool

Rat Terriers are not known to be excessive droolers. They may drool occasionally, especially when they are excited or anticipating food, but it is not a common characteristic of the breed. Overall, Rat Terriers are a relatively low-maintenance breed when it comes to drooling.

Lick

Rat Terriers can be prone to excessive licking, especially if they are anxious or bored. However, the amount of licking can vary from dog to dog and is not specific to the breed. If you notice your Rat Terrier licking excessively, it may be a sign of an underlying issue that should be addressed by a veterinarian.

Jump

Rat Terriers are known for their agility and athleticism. They are capable of jumping up to 3-4 feet high, depending on their size and physical ability. However, it is important to note that excessive jumping can be harmful to their joints, so it is recommended to provide them with proper training and exercise to prevent any injuries.

Dig

Rat Terriers are known to be avid diggers and their digging behavior can vary from dog to dog. Some Rat Terriers may dig only occasionally, while others may dig more frequently and with greater intensity. This breed was originally bred for hunting rodents, so their digging behavior is a natural instinct. To prevent excessive digging, it is important to provide your Rat Terrier with plenty of exercise, mental stimulation and toys to keep them occupied. Additionally, providing a designated digging area or sandbox can help redirect their digging behavior.

Good Fit for You?

Is a Rat Terrier the right dog for you? Keep reading to find out how compatible you are with a Rat Terrier.

Exercise

Rat Terriers are an energetic breed that require a moderate amount of exercise. They should have at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, but they will benefit from more if possible. This can include walks, runs, playtime in a fenced yard or interactive games such as fetch or agility training. Rat Terriers also enjoy mental stimulation, so puzzle toys and training sessions can be a great way to keep them engaged and active. It’s important to note that every dog is different and their exercise needs may vary based on age, health and individual temperament.

Space

Rat Terriers are small to medium-sized dogs that can adapt well to different living spaces. They can do well in apartments as long as they get enough exercise and mental stimulation. However, they also enjoy having a yard to run around in and explore. A fenced yard is recommended as they have a strong prey drive and may chase after small animals. Overall, Rat Terriers need enough space to move around and play, but their size allows them to do well in smaller living spaces as long as their exercise needs are met.

Apartment

Rat Terriers can be a good dog for apartment living as they are small in size and do not require a lot of space to move around. However, they are an active breed and require daily exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. It is important to provide them with regular walks, playtime and training sessions to keep them happy and healthy. Additionally, Rat Terriers can be vocal and may bark excessively if not properly trained and socialized. Overall, Rat Terriers can be a good apartment dog if their needs are met and they receive proper care and attention.

Left Alone

Rat Terriers generally do not tolerate being left alone for long periods of time. They are social dogs and thrive on human companionship. If left alone for extended periods, they may become anxious and destructive. It is important to provide them with plenty of exercise, mental stimulation and attention to prevent boredom and separation anxiety. If you need to leave your Rat Terrier alone for an extended period, it is recommended to provide them with toys, puzzles and a comfortable space to relax in. Additionally, consider hiring a dog walker or pet sitter to provide them with some company and exercise during the day.

Kid/Family Friendly

Yes, Rat Terriers are generally good with kids and families. They are known for their playful and energetic nature, which makes them great companions for children. They are also loyal and affectionate and enjoy spending time with their human family. However, as with any breed, it is important to supervise interactions between dogs and children to ensure safety for both. Additionally, early socialization and training can help ensure a well-behaved and well-adjusted Rat Terrier in a family setting.

Perfect Fit

Rat Terriers are active and energetic dogs that require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. They are also very loyal and affectionate with their owners. Therefore, a household that is active and has plenty of time to devote to their pet would be a perfect fit for a Rat Terrier. They also do well with families with children, as long as the children are taught to treat the dog with respect. Rat Terriers can adapt to living in apartments, but they do best in homes with a yard where they can run and play. They are also good with other pets, but early socialization is important. Overall, a household that is active, has plenty of time to devote to their pet and can provide a safe and loving environment would be a great fit for a Rat Terrier.

Pros and Cons:

Rat Terriers are a popular breed of dog that are known for their high energy and intelligence. While they can make great pets for the right owner, there are both pros and cons to owning one. Here is a table outlining five of each:

Pros:
  1. Loyal and affectionate companions
  2. Excellent watchdogs due to their alertness and protective nature
  3. Low maintenance grooming requirements
  4. Highly trainable and eager to please
  5. Small size makes them suitable for apartment living
Cons:
  1. High energy levels require daily exercise and mental stimulation
  2. Can be prone to separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time
  3. Can be stubborn and difficult to train without consistent and patient guidance
  4. Can be prone to health issues such as allergies and skin irritations
  5. Can have a high prey drive and may not get along with other small animals or cats.

Cost:

The cost of a Rat Terrier in Australia can vary depending on several factors such as the breeder, location, age and pedigree of the dog. On average, a Rat Terrier puppy can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 AUD. However, it is important to note that purchasing a dog should not be based solely on price, but also on the reputation and ethics of the breeder, as well as the health and temperament of the dog.

Breed History:

Rat Terriers were originally bred in the United States in the early 20th century for the purpose of controlling rats and other small vermin on farms and in households. They were developed from a mix of various terrier breeds, including the Fox Terrier, Manchester Terrier and Whippet, among others.

Their small size, agility and high energy level made them ideal for hunting and killing rats, which were a common problem in rural areas at the time. Rat Terriers were also used for hunting other small game, such as squirrels and rabbits.

Today, Rat Terriers are popular companion dogs and are known for their intelligence, loyalty and playful personalities. They are still used for hunting small game in some areas, but are primarily kept as pets.

Current Usage

Rat Terriers are primarily kept as pets, but they are also used as working dogs in various capacities. Here are some examples:

  1. Vermin control: Rat Terriers were originally bred for their ability to hunt and kill rats and other small rodents. Today, they are still used for this purpose on farms, in warehouses and in other settings where rodents are a problem.
  2. Hunting: Rat Terriers are also used for hunting small game, such as rabbits and squirrels. They have a strong prey drive and are quick and agile, making them well-suited for this type of work.
  3. Therapy dogs: Rat Terriers are intelligent, affectionate dogs that make great therapy dogs. They are often used in hospitals, nursing homes and other settings to provide comfort and companionship to people in need.
  4. Agility and obedience competitions: Rat Terriers are highly trainable and excel in agility and obedience competitions. They are quick learners and love to please their owners, making them a popular choice for these types of events.
  5. Search and rescue: Rat Terriers have a strong sense of smell and are often used in search and rescue operations. They can track missing persons and locate survivors in disaster situations.

Overall, Rat Terriers are versatile dogs that can be used in a variety of settings. While they are primarily kept as pets, they have a long history of working alongside humans and continue to do so today.

Guard Dogs

Rat Terriers are not typically considered good guard dogs. They are small in size and have a friendly and outgoing personality, which makes them more suited for being a companion dog rather than a guard dog. While they may bark to alert their owners of strangers or unusual activity, they are not known for being aggressive or protective. However, they can be trained to be watchdogs and can be very alert and attentive to their surroundings. Ultimately, their effectiveness as a guard dog will depend on their individual temperament and training.

Where Are They Found?

Rat Terriers are most popular in the United States, where they were originally bred. They are also gaining popularity in other countries such as Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. However, they are not as widely recognized or popular in other parts of the world.

1. United States6. France
2. United Kingdom7. Spain
3. Australia8. Italy
4. Canada9. Russia
5. Germany10. Brazil

Climate

Rat Terriers are adaptable dogs and can thrive in a variety of climates. However, they are best suited to moderate climates with temperatures between 50-80°F (10-27°C). They can tolerate colder temperatures with proper shelter and clothing, but extreme heat can be challenging for them. It is important to provide them with plenty of shade, water and air conditioning during hot weather. Additionally, they should not be left outside for extended periods in extreme temperatures.

Population

It is difficult to determine the exact number of Rat Terriers in the world as there is no centralized database or registry for this breed. However, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Rat Terrier is ranked as the 24th most popular breed in the United States, with over 10,000 registered annually. Additionally, the breed is recognized by other kennel clubs around the world, including the United Kennel Club (UKC) and the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC). Therefore, it is safe to assume that there are tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Rat Terriers worldwide.

Physical Appearance:

Rat Terriers are small to medium-sized dogs with a lean, athletic build. They have a short, smooth coat that can come in a variety of colors, including black, white, tan and brown. Their ears are often erect and triangular and their eyes are usually dark and alert. Rat Terriers have a wedge-shaped head with a pointed snout and a strong jaw. They have a long, straight tail that tapers to a point. Overall, Rat Terriers have a lively and energetic appearance, with a confident and curious expression.

Coat:

Colours:

Rat Terriers can come in a variety of colors, including black, white, tan, chocolate, blue, fawn, apricot, lemon, red, sable and brindle. They can also have markings such as spots, patches or ticking.

Hair/Fur Length:

Rat Terriers can have short to medium length hair. Their coat is smooth and shiny and can come in a variety of colors and patterns. Some Rat Terriers may have a slightly longer coat, but it is still considered short to medium in length.

Shedding:

Yes, Rat Terriers do shed. They have a short, smooth coat that sheds moderately year-round. However, regular grooming and brushing can help reduce shedding and keep their coat healthy and shiny.

Grooming:

The Rat Terrier has a short, smooth coat that requires minimal grooming. They shed moderately and only need to be brushed once a week to remove loose hair and keep their coat shiny. Bathing should be done as needed, typically every few months.

As for haircuts, Rat Terriers do not require regular haircuts as their coat naturally stays short. However, some owners may choose to trim their dog’s hair around the ears or paws for a neater appearance. It is important to use proper grooming tools and techniques to avoid injuring the dog’s skin or coat.

Hypoallergenic:

Rat Terriers are not considered hypoallergenic. They do shed and produce dander, which can trigger allergies in some people. However, some individuals with mild allergies may be able to tolerate being around Rat Terriers with proper grooming and cleaning of the home. It is important to spend time with the breed before bringing one into your home if you have allergies to ensure that you can tolerate being around them.

Speed:

Rat Terriers can run at a speed of approximately 40-48 kph (25-30 mph).

Health:

Rat Terriers are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health issues. Some of the most common health issues Rat Terriers are faced with include:

  • Patellar luxation: a condition where the kneecap slips out of place, causing lameness and pain.
  • Hip dysplasia: a genetic condition where the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, leading to arthritis and pain.
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease: a condition where the blood supply to the hip joint is disrupted, causing the bone to die and leading to pain and lameness.
  • Deafness: Rat Terriers can be prone to congenital deafness, which is present from birth and can be caused by genetics or other factors.
  • Allergies: Rat Terriers can be prone to allergies, which can cause skin irritation, itching and other symptoms.

It’s important to work with a reputable breeder who screens their dogs for these and other health issues to minimize the risk of your Rat Terrier developing them.

Teeth:

Rat Terriers typically have 42 teeth, which is the same as most other dog breeds.

Eyesight:

Rat Terriers are known for having excellent eyesight, which is one of the reasons they are often used as hunting dogs. Their sharp vision allows them to spot prey from a distance and track it down quickly. Additionally, their keen eyesight makes them great watchdogs, as they can easily detect any potential threats or intruders.

Nipples:

Rat Terriers typically have 8 to 10 nipples, arranged in two rows on their underside.

Gestation:

Litter Size:

The typical litter size for Rat Terriers is 4 to 6 puppies. However, litter sizes can range from 1 to 10 puppies.

Gestation Period:

The gestation period for Rat Terriers is approximately 63 days, which is the same as most other dog breeds. However, it is important to note that the gestation period can vary slightly depending on the individual dog and other factors such as litter size and health. It is important for owners to provide proper care and nutrition to their pregnant Rat Terriers during this time to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

Heat:

Rat Terriers typically go into heat twice a year, although this can vary depending on the individual dog.

Male vs Female:

Male and female Rat Terriers differ in a few ways. Generally, males are larger and heavier than females, with a more muscular build. They also tend to be more dominant and territorial, which can sometimes lead to aggression towards other dogs. Females, on the other hand, are typically smaller and more agile, with a leaner build. They are often more affectionate and easier to train than males, but can also be more independent and stubborn. Additionally, female Rat Terriers may experience heat cycles and have the potential to become pregnant, while males do not have these concerns.

Tips and Advice:

Rat Terriers are energetic and intelligent dogs that make great companions. They are known for their loyalty and affection towards their owners. If you are considering getting a Rat Terrier or already have one, here are some tips and advice for caring for them:

  • Exercise: Rat Terriers are high-energy dogs and require daily exercise to keep them healthy and happy. They enjoy walks, runs and playing fetch.
  • Training: Rat Terriers are intelligent and eager to please, making them easy to train. Positive reinforcement training methods work best with them.
  • Socialization: It is important to socialize your Rat Terrier from a young age to prevent them from becoming shy or aggressive towards strangers or other dogs.
  • Grooming: Rat Terriers have short, smooth coats that require minimal grooming. Brushing them once a week and bathing them as needed is sufficient.
  • Health: Rat Terriers are generally healthy dogs, but they may be prone to certain health issues such as allergies, dental problems and patellar luxation. Regular vet check-ups are important to keep them healthy.
  • Diet: Rat Terriers require a balanced diet that is appropriate for their age, size and activity level. It is important to feed them high-quality dog food and avoid overfeeding them to prevent obesity.
  • Dental care: Rat Terriers are prone to dental problems, so it is important to brush their teeth regularly and provide them with dental chews or toys.
  • Safety: Rat Terriers are curious and adventurous dogs, so it is important to keep them safe by providing a secure fenced yard and supervising them when they are outside.
  • Love and attention: Rat Terriers thrive on love and attention from their owners. They are loyal and affectionate dogs that enjoy spending time with their family.

Food:

Rat Terriers are small dogs and typically require about 1/2 to 1 cup of high-quality dry dog food per day, depending on their age, size and activity level. However, it is important to consult with a veterinarian to determine the appropriate amount of food for your specific dog.

Rat Terriers are known to be food-oriented dogs and can be prone to overeating if not properly monitored. It is important to establish a feeding schedule and avoid giving them table scraps or too many treats. Additionally, providing them with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation can help prevent them from becoming overweight or developing unhealthy eating habits.

Facts:

Rat Terriers are small, energetic dogs that were originally bred for hunting rodents. Here are three interesting facts about them:

  1. Rat Terriers are excellent at catching rats. They have a strong prey drive and are quick and agile, making them ideal for catching rodents.
  2. Rat Terriers are known for their intelligence and trainability. They are quick learners and excel in obedience and agility competitions.
  3. Rat Terriers come in a variety of colors and patterns, including black and white, brown and white and tri-color. They also have a short, smooth coat that requires minimal grooming.

Names:

Rat Terriers are small, energetic dogs that are known for their lively personalities and intelligence. When it comes to naming a Rat Terrier, it’s important to choose a name that reflects their spunky nature and playful demeanor. Here are 15 names that would be a good fit for a Rat Terrier:

1. Ziggy6. Max11. Tilly
2. Pepper7. Ruby12. Toby
3. Buster8. Rocky13. Luna
4. Charlie9. Sadie14. Jack
5. Daisy10. Scout15. Bella

Famous:

Rat Terriers are known for their intelligence, loyalty and energetic nature. Over the years, many Rat Terriers have become famous for their appearances in movies, television shows and for their incredible feats. Here are some of the most famous Rat Terriers of all time:

  1. Skip – Skip was the Rat Terrier who played the role of Bruiser in the movie “Legally Blonde.” He became a fan favorite and even won a Golden Collar Award for his performance.
  2. Decker – Decker was a Rat Terrier who set a world record for jumping over a bar at a height of 68 inches. He was known as the “Flying Rat” and appeared on many television shows.
  3. Teddy Roosevelt – Teddy Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States and was known for his love of Rat Terriers. He owned several Rat Terriers during his time in the White House.
  4. Tuffy – Tuffy was a Rat Terrier who became famous for his ability to catch rats. He was known as the “Rat Catcher of Brooklyn” and was featured in many newspapers and magazines.
  5. Diamond – Diamond was a Rat Terrier who was owned by the famous singer, Britney Spears. She was often seen carrying Diamond around with her and even featured him in some of her music videos.
  6. Ratso – Ratso was a Rat Terrier who became famous for his role in the movie “Benji.” He played the role of Benji’s sidekick and won the hearts of audiences around the world.
  7. Nipper – Nipper was a Rat Terrier who became famous as the mascot for the RCA Victor company. He appeared in many advertisements and is still recognized as one of the most famous advertising icons of all time.

Overall, these Rat Terriers have left a lasting impression on the world and have become beloved by many.

Summary:

A Rat Terrier is a small to medium-sized dog breed that was originally developed in the United States for ratting and hunting small game. They are known for their high energy levels, intelligence and loyalty to their owners. Rat Terriers are typically friendly and outgoing, making them great family pets. They are also highly trainable and excel in obedience and agility competitions.

Rat Terriers have a short, smooth coat that can come in a variety of colors, including black, white, tan and brindle. They are generally healthy dogs with a lifespan of 12-18 years.

The breed has a rich history, with roots dating back to the early 19th century. They were originally bred from a mix of European terriers and American Foxhounds to create a versatile hunting dog. Over time, the breed evolved to become more specialized in ratting and small game hunting.

As pets, Rat Terriers are affectionate and playful, but they do require regular exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. They are also known for their strong prey drive, so they may not be the best fit for households with small pets like cats or rabbits.

Overall, Rat Terriers make great pets for active families who are looking for a loyal and intelligent companion.