Rat Terrier Dog Breed Information - All About Dogs

Rat Terrier

Rat Terrier



The development of this breed has begun in 1820 in the United Kingdom, whereupon it was brought to the US by working-class British migrants in the 1890s. Rat Terriers are farm dogs, created for the purpose of rat-baiting hunting small game. The Rat Terrier originated from the Smooth Fox Terrier (from which he inherited a red color, keen hunting instinct and a strong constitution) and the Manchester Terrier (blue and brindle coat color, speed and agility). It is believed that President Theodore Roosevelt has given the breed its name after his own terrier. The Rat Terrier was officially recognized by the AKC in 2013.

Height: 14-23 inches  Weight: 10-25 pounds  Lifespan: 12-18 years


Like any other terrier, the Rat Terrier tends to be very stubborn. He is very cold with strangers but never aggressive. Despite their small size, these dogs are bold and determined. This breed is in great need of constant communication with humans and has is prone to vagrancy, which causes a great concern to its owners. Comparable Breeds: The Jack Russell Terrier and Toy Fox Terrier.


Very energetic, lively and alert, the Rat Terrier is a wonderful companion for all generations. If socialized at an early age, Rat Terrier will find a common language with practically everyone, including the smallest pets and cats.

Coat / Care:

The Rat Terrier has a very short coat, close fitting to the body. The coat must be hard to the touch and glossy in appearance. Taking care of this breed is not too demanding. Periodically, excess hair should be removed with a mop or a stiff brush. Since Rat Terriers have very sensitive skin, make sure to bathe your pet not more than twice a year. This will preserve the natural properties of the skin. In addition, in very low temperatures, the Rat Terrier must wear a warm sweater or blanket.

Health Problems:

Rat Terriers are generally healthy, but like any other breed, they have a tendency to certain health issues, including allergies, patellar luxation, incorrect bite and demodicosis. The Rat Terrier has a life expectancy of 12 to 18 years.

Weight / Height

The male Rat Terrier dog breed’s height is around 10-13 inches (miniature), 13-18 inches (standard) and weighs around 10 and 25 pounds. Female Rat Terrier dogs can reach a size from 10-13 inches (miniature), 13-18 inches (standard) and weighs between 10 and 25 pounds.


The Rat Terrier can be hyperactive and somewhat willful, so training can be extremely challenging. For this reason, lessons should be varied, motivational and fun in order to keep the dog focused. Hence, early socialization and obedience training is highly important for Rat Terriers.


Rat Terriers enjoy spending time with the family. Despite the fact that this dog loves to frolic freely, it is better to keep it on a leash or in a fenced yard. If properly trained, the Rat Terrier will be a great companion for jogging or hiking. This breed is prone to laziness and obesity, so the Rat Terrier should exercise at least 40 minutes a day.

Photo Credit: John Liu/Flickr

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