The Rat Terrier is alert, intelligent, active, lively, fearless, feisty and playful. Rat Terriers are sometimes described as having double personalities as they can be tireless, courageous hunters on the one hand while also making friendly, gentle companions on the other. Rat Terriers get along with everyone including, children, household pets, other dogs and also with strangers. Rat Terriers love being included in family activities and thrive on human companionship. They are generally quick to learn and straightforward to train with positive reinforcement. Rat Terriers make great alarm dogs, without being yappy.
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Rat Terriers are simple and easy to groom with their short coats. Occasional brushing is sufficient to remove any loose or dead hairs.
Rat Terriers are active, adenalin-charged and always alert. These dogs need frequent outdoor activity, especially for the standard sized variety. This breed enjoys games and romping in the garden. They should have regular exercise and be included in family activities.
Rat Terriers were originally developed in England during the 1820s from Manchester Terriers, Smooth Fox Terriers and Whippets. These dogs then arrived in the United States, where the Beagle and Italian Greyhound bloodlines were introduced to make a gentler dog with strong hunting instincts. The toy variety evolved form the Smooth Fox Terrier and the Chihuahua. Rat Terriers are one of the best ratters and one of these dogs was reported to have killed over 2,500 rats within seven hours in a rat-infested barn. This breed's popularity was increased by President Teddy Roosevelt, who frequently hunted with his Rat Terriers.
General Appearance: Muscular, compact, curious and alert.
Color: White, tri-color, bi-color, black, tan, chocolate, blue, apricot and lemon. Tri-colors and bi-colors must have some white.
Coat: Smooth, short, dense and glossy.
Tail: Tapering, carried in an upward curve and preferably docked or as a natural bob (natural tails are not penalized).
Ears: V-shaped and either erect, tipped or button when alert. Matching ears are strongly preferred.
Body: The body should be slightly longer than tall and the backline is level and strong. The croup slopes slightly downwards and the loin is slightly arched, short and muscular with moderate tuck-up. The ribs are well-sprung and extend well back. The chest is deep and moderately wide and when viewed from the side, the forechest extends in a shallow oval shape in front of the forelegs.
- Rat Terriers are not good swimmers and should be supervised when around water.
- These dogs have the typical terrier personality of being lively, feisty and fearless. If you think of a Jack Russell times two then you'll have a good idea of the Rat Terrier's temperament and needs.