Rat Terrier Dog Breed: Characteristics, Diet, Training, Facts, and Names

The Rat Terrier is an American breed which is famous as great digging escape artists. They have a background as a farm dog as well as a hunting companion. They are intelligent little dogs who are very active and thus kept for pest control as well as a family dog. He is a cheerful little dog who is also very sensitive. He is also known to be much calmer than more of the other terrier breeds.

The rat terrier loves resting on the lap of his owners and spending time with them.

Rat Terrier Dog Breed Overview

rat terrier dog breed overview

Group: Terrier
Size: Small (10-25 pounds)
Lifespan: 12-18 years
Best Suited For: Families
Temperament: Friendly, Attentive, Loveable
Exercise Needs: Moderate
Drooling Potential: Low
Grooming Needs: Moderate
Similar Breeds: Toy Fox Terrier, Boston Terrier, Smooth Fox Terrier

1. Basic Features

This little dog is always filled with fun. He is always active and excited. He is a great companion to his owners. This little one is a well-muscled dog with a deep chest and strong shoulders. The Rat Terrier has solid neck and powerful legs. Although he has a compact body, it is muscled and meaty.

Their ears are upright or can be tipped. The tail, on the other hand, may be short or full-length. This may be left in its natural state or may be docked off at an early age.

Pearls, sables, chocolates, red and white, tri-spotted, solid red, black and tan, blue and white and red brindle are some of the common colors.

2. Rat Terrier Origin

Several breeds were worked together in order to produce a Rat Terrier. Some of them are Fox Terrier, Bull Terrier, Manchester Terrier, the Old English White Terrier.

They were basically used to hunt rats as their name suggests. Rat Terriers were used in farms to protect the grain from rats. They were later used as hunting partners, watchdogs and henhouse guardians as well.

Later, the Rat Terrier was bred with the Beagle which created a more pack-oriented and bulky dog. The hunting and trailing ability were also increased due to this. On breeding with the Whippet, an increase in blue and brindle colors was seen.

He is considered to be a hard-working farmhand. These dogs are one of the best dogs for rat-baiting pits.

3. The Personality of Rat Terrier

The dog is socially very sensitive. They are outgoing and cheerful. He loves being around his family all the time and is very adaptable. They are intelligent dogs and are active at most times. Rat Terriers make a great companion for energetic owners.

He is rather a very well-mannered and a well-rounded dog.

4. Rat Terrier Behavior

These dogs are not much of barkers but will make other noises like grousing, grumbling, and mumbling to talk to their owners.

Rat Terriers are good with children and friendly with strangers. Although, they make good watchdogs as well. They are lively, quick and fearless like most of the other terriers.

However, it is important that the dog gets a rather firm and a consistent owner. This would avoid the Small Dog Syndrome.

5. Exercise Requirements

running rat terrier

Rat Terriers were bred to work. They are high in energy and need a good amount of exercise daily. A daily walk and some exercise daily are mandatory. You could also let him play some games. Indoor games and tennis ball chase in a fenced area are great too.

Make sure he exercises sufficiently because due to the absence of exercise, he may get bored which may further lead to destructive behavior. Moreover, they enjoy digging and may damage your yard in the process. Supervising a Rat Terrier while he’s outside is a must as he is a great escape artist. He may dig a tunnel under a fence or may even find other ways to escape.

6. Diet Needs

Taking your dog’s weight into consideration before setting up a diet for him is important. All-natural ingredients like chicken, fish, and vegetables are great. Animal byproducts are considered low on quality and should be avoided.

Many commercial dog foods contain corn and soy as fillers. They are cheap to produce and have health effects on your pet. Excessive stool, dry and itchy skin are some of the health effects. Many dogs may also be allergic to grains which result in itching. There are many other health compilations that come along with the grain-based diet.

Also, do not overfeed your dog as this may lead to obesity. Check the amount of food you’re feeding him for every meal.

7. Trainability

rat terrier training

Rat Terriers are eager to please and pick up training rather easily. They are intelligent and that makes training even easier. These dogs are great in agility work as well.

However, they may be stubborn at times and cause a problem. To start training your dog at a very young age is the best option. The earlier they begin to learn the basics, the easier it will get to train him further. After teaching the common tricks then go on into agility and other activities.

8. Common Health Problems

There are a few health problems with the Rat Terrier which may be of major concern to us. They may develop a number of allergies like food allergies, contact allergies and inhalant allergies which can cause further problems.

Malocclusion or an incorrect bite is another condition which is a deformation in the jaw structure leading to misalignment. In such a case, surgery may be necessary in certain cases.

Patellar luxation, Legg-Perthes syndrome, epilepsy, and Demodectic Mange are some of the other common health issues occurring in Rat Terrier.

9. Who Should Adopt a Rat Terrier?

rat terrier pup

A Rat Terrier is an energetic dog who can be stubborn at times. He is for an owner who is assertive and can control the dog. Rat Terriers love people and may become attached to them. This may cause separation anxiety in the dogs whose owners leave them alone for hours.

If you are someone who stays busy or traveling most of the time then the Rat Terrier may not be for you.

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