The Rat Terrier is a multipurpose companion dog that is capable of hunting rodents and vermin above and below ground as well as coursing small game.Read More
Rat Terrier Overall Status
- 10 to 13 inches (miniature), 13-18 inches (standar
- Friendly, Inquisitive, Lovable
- 10 to 25 pounds
- Life Expectancy
- 12 to 18 years
- Coat Color
- Black and Tan, Blue, Brown, Tricolor, White
- Barking Level
Rat Terrier Quick Factors
- Dog Friendly
- Exercise Need
- Grooming Needs
- Strangers Friendly
- Family Affectionate
Rat Terrier Daily Care
Rat Terriers have short, easy-care coats. Brush them weekly or more often with a soft bristle brush or rubber curry brush. The more often you brush, the less loose hair you'll have floating around your house. Rat Terriers shed moderately year-round and they have a heavier shedding season in the spring and fall. An occasional bath is all he needs to stay clean.
Be sure you don't trim your Rattie's whiskers, and don't let a groomer do so. Whiskers are important tactile aid for the Rattie.
The rest is basic care. The nails should be trimmed at least monthly, keeping them short and neat, as overly long nails can be painful to the dog. Check his ears weekly, and remove any excess wax and debris, which can cause ear infections. Teeth should be brushed daily if possible, using a toothpaste formulated for dogs.
Don't let its size fool you - the Rat Terrier as plenty of energy to spare. It needs at least 40 minutes of exercise a day in order to keep healthy and happy. If you live on a farm, this breed will go to work keeping the rodent population in check. If not, take your Rat Terrier for walks a few times a day, or take him to the dog park to work off all that excess energy. And there's nothing that the Rat Terrier likes more than to play catch for hours on end.
Early socialization is a must, and puppy training classes are recommended. The Rat Terrier has a strong prey drive, and they should never be allowed off lead, as most will not be able to resist the urge to chase when faced with a strange cat or squirrel.
Because this is a high-energy dog, you'll need to feed your Rat Terrier the proper amount of a high-quality kibble - a quality dog food can make all the difference. Feed your dog twice a day rather than leaving the food out all day long.
If you get a Rat Terrier puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements.
Treatscan be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about whichhuman foodsare safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog's weight or diet.Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don't walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.
But this is an extremely long-lived and healthy breed, with an average life span of 13 to 16 years. Breed health concerns may include food and contactallergies, elbow andhip dysplasia, malocclusion (bad bites), demodicosis (demodectic mange) and patellar luxation.
The Rat Terrier is extremely intelligent and trainable, although some can be stubborn and determined at times. They can excel in agility, obedience, rally, and other canine sports. They are unusually sensitive and intuitive, and they love to please their owner-they thrive on praise and respond quickly to positive training methods. Most are patient and tolerant of children but may be reserved with strangers.
After you've conquered the basics, your Rat Terrier will be ready to take training to the next level. This breed excels at agility training and Earthdog activities. Anything you can do to keep these dogs occupied is helpful, as it keeps both their minds and bodies active and engaged.
Rat Terrier History
Here's a breed that says up front what they're all about: Rat Terriers are terriers bred to kill rats. A good ratter was standard equipment on old-time farms, where a rodent infestation could mean the difference between having enough grain to last the winter and going hungry. But practical-minded farmers expected their dogs to be more than specialists, so RTs also earned their keep as all-purpose hunting partners, watchdogs, henhouse guardians, and sturdy childhood playmates.
For many years, Rat Terriers were simply farmed dogs and pets. They faded in popularity as more people moved to cities and fewer lived in rural areas. Fortunately, they weren't completely forgotten and in 1999 the United Kennel Club recognized Rat Terriers as a distinct breed. In the American Kennel Club, the Rat Terrier belongs to the Miscellaneous Class, the final step before AKC recognition.