Among all the dog breeds worldwide, Rat Terrier is the most sensitive and cheerful among them. They are adorable, little, funny, energetic, and lively in nature. Despite being a purebred dog, you may mostly find them protecting shelters or rescue groups.
They normally adapt to every situation and make people happy all the time. However, they can become extremely stubborn and destructive when bored.
Similarly, it is recommended to know about each dog breed before bringing them home. Continue reading this blog to get a detailed profile of the Rat Terrier mix along with their history and characteristics.
Rat Terrier History
Rat Terrier’s ancestors include Old English White Terriers, Smooth Fox Terriers, Manchester Terriers, and Bull Terriers. The working-class British immigrants brought this dog breed to America in the 1800 century. They were used to protect the farms and homes from rodents.
Similarly, they were originally bred as the most popular farm dog in America in the early 1900s. Moreover, President Theodore Roosevelt also kept Terriers in the White House.
Throughout the 1910s and 1920s, Midwestern farmers mixed the Terriers with Whippets and Italian Greyhounds. It aimed to enhance their efficiency in protecting the crops and controlling jackrabbit populations.
In South America, the breed was mixed with Beagles to improve hunting skills and create more pack-oriented dogs. Furthermore, in the late 1920s, Toy Fox Terriers were bred with Rat Terriers.
However, their population declined in the 1940s and 1950s when farmers started to use poison to control pests. Though this breed again came back in popularity in the 1970s.
Two other types of Rat Terriers have been developed at that time including the Decker Rat Terrier and the Hairless Rat Terrier. Nevertheless, they vary in size.
The Decker Rat Terrier was a larger dog, whereas the Hairless Terrier was smaller and hairless.
Rat Terrier Physical Attributes
Rat Terriers is small to a medium-sized dog giving an appearance of fitness and elegance. The following are some significant physical attributes of this breed.
Body Size - This breed comes in two different sizes. Miniature breeds usually weigh 10 to 18 pounds. In contrast, the Decker Rat Terrier weighs 22 - 40 pounds.
Height - A male Rat Terrier is 16 - 19 inches in height, while a female breed is about 16 - 17 inches. However, a miniature dog should not be taller than 15 inches.
Head - The head of this dog breed appears as a smooth, blunt wedge from a front view. It widens towards the ears’ base in an unbroken line and fills up under the eyes.
Eyes - The eyes are small and oval in shape, but colors vary from dark brown to hazel. Similarly, the expressions are intelligent, alert, and full of interest.
Ears - They are V-shaped and set on the top outer edge of the skull. Though they must match in shape and carriage when alert.
Skull - The skull is moderate in width when viewed from the front. Moreover, it is flat on the top and rounded at the crown.
Nose and Lips - The nose is pigmented and matches the body color. However, the lips are clean, spotted, and pink in color.
Tail - The tail is docked between the second and third joint. Nevertheless, the length is normal in size.
Coat - These dogs have a short, close-lying, shiny, and smooth coat. But the texture can be a slight ruff or wave along the back.
Color - They are broad patches of two or more colors combined with white. However, it can be in dark colors, including black, chocolate, red, apricot, orange, and blue.
Rat Terrier Personality
Rat Terrier dog breeds are intelligent, stubborn, and wary. They have friendly behavior with their family but may become aggressive to outsiders and other animals. Because of being a hunting dog, they are also fearless.
Similarly, these animals are perceptive and intuitively respond to your moods by following you around the house. They also do everything to please, love and praise you.
Since they bred to work on the farm all day, rat terriers need a lot of exercise. However, if bored, they might become destructive. Thus, their owners live with the concept that a tired dog is a good dog.
The early socialization of the terrier group to different people, sights, sounds, and experiences is a sign that they will grow up as a well-rounded dog. For this, most people enroll them in a Rat Terriers puppy kindergarten class for training. Meeting neighbors regularly also helps the small dogs to polish their social skills.
Rat Terrier Temperament
This dog breed is loyal, energetic, playful, keenly observant, adventurous, and obedient to command. Moreover, they are also friendly with other dogs and always eager to learn. But they do have a stubborn streak and can get bored and distracted easily.
However, most Rat Terriers are not excessive barkers. They can also be friendly with cats if properly socialized. But over aggression and shyness are the two most crucial attributes of these dogs.
Rat Terrier Care and Grooming
Rat terriers have a high energy level and exercise needs because of being a working and hunting dog. You can expect them to exercise for at least 40 minutes a day. As they have a very strong prey drive, it is recommended to set up a fenced-in area for them to play and run.
Proper training is required to keep your rat engaged. Make it more interesting by incorporating different games and rewards. In case your training methods don’t work, try another technique.
Despite being a dog with high exercise needs, they are relatively low-maintenance when it comes to grooming. You are required to brush them only once a week with a soft brush to remove hair. Similarly, they have a short and smooth coat; thus, you can bathe them only when needed. However, they do experience heavy shedding during fall and spring.
Besides, the ears should also be checked weekly for any signs of infection. If they are red and inflamed, it can be a sign of injury. Use a cotton cloth instead of swabs to clean the wax in the inner-ear structures.
Dental hygiene is also very important when it comes to caring for your dog. It is ideal to brush daily; however, brushing once a week can also protect him against dental and oral diseases.
Trim the nails with dog nail clippers at least once or twice a month and handle his paws softly. Moreover, eyes must be clear with no redness. Also, check for sores or rashes in the nose and mouth.
Lastly, don’t stick your rat in a crate the whole day. They are involved with people and are not meant to spend their lives locked up in a cage.
Make this grooming session a positive experience for the dogs. Such a careful examination will help you identify health problems early.
Rat Terrier Diet and Nutrition
Your Rat Terrier’s diet depends largely on age, size, metabolism, and activity levels. They are like humans and don’t need the same amount of food every single day. Instead, it is believed that an active dog will need more food than a lazy one.
In addition, the food quality does make a difference. The better the dog food would be, the more it will nourish your terrier. However, give treats in moderation as overeating can lead to dangerous health issues, including heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
The following is the recommended daily amount of food for your dog.
||Amount of Food
|Less than 10 pounds
||1/4 to 1/2 cup per day
||1/2 to 1 cup per day
||3/4 to 1.5 cups per day
||1.5 to 2 cups per day
Rat Terrier Health Problems
Rat terriers are considered healthy dogs, but they are also vulnerable to a few health problems. There is no guarantee that your dog will or will not develop these conditions. However, it is important to be aware of the symptoms beforehand.
Here are some health issues that are commonly seen in a terrier group:
It is a condition found in all terrier dog breeds and has three major types: food, contact, and inhalant allergy.
Food allergies can be treated by restricting some food items from your dog’s diet. In contrast, a reaction to any material such as powders, shampoos, and other chemicals can cause contact allergy. However, inhalant allergies are caused by pollen or dust.
Keep in mind, all types of allergies can be treated through medications, dietary restrictions, or environmental changes.
A deformed jaw bone can result in an incorrect bite. The following are the three different types of bites reported in Rat Terriers.
Overshot Bite - It happens when the upper jaw is extended over the lower one, causing difficulty to grasp.
Undershot Bite - It is caused when the lower jaw is stretched beyond the upper jaw. However, it can lead to severe health conditions and may need to be corrected with surgery.
Wry Mouth - It mainly happens with a twisting of the jaw and causes trouble in grasping and eating.
The incorrect bites can sometimes self-correct when the dog is at a growing age. Nevertheless, surgery is required if it has not recovered even after ten months. These include crown height reductions, tooth extraction, or the use of spacers.
It is a common issue in small dogs and involves the dislocation of a knee joint. This can lead to extreme pain.
This health problem is caused by Demodex mites and can directly affect dogs with weakened immune systems. Red patches and balding on the head, neck, and forelegs are some of its major symptoms.
Check out the health clearances if you are planning to buy a terrier puppy. It will be proof that the dog has been examined for a specific health issue.
Average Cost of Rat Terriers
The average Rat Terrier price may vary, but it typically costs between $300 to $4000. However, the purebred terrier dogs are about $425 with papers.
Purchasing this dog breed does not come cheap. Instead, to get a true cost, you will also need to consider some other expenses related to it. It includes food, supplies, toys, equipment, and medical bills.
Generally, it all cost around $1200-$1500. Nevertheless, you always have an option to adopt from a rat terrier rescue group or shelter.
Here are some of the factors that can influence the price of a Rat Terrier.
- Pedigree and Bloodlines - It is the biggest factor as the more steller a lineage is, the higher the cost of an animal would be.
- Breeder Location - It is another crucial factor. Remember, the rat terriers breeders living far from your area will also charge you shipping.
- Breeder’s Reputation - A reputed breeder will also affect the cost of your dog. However, it is also recommended to buy from them as they will ensure proper breeding practices.
- Litter Size - The normal litter size for terrier dogs is between 5 to 7 puppies. It will make a difference as the breeders will charge more if the size is smaller.
- Training and Socializing Efforts - The more time and effort the breeder will put into a dog, the more it will charge.
- Color and Markings - Some certain colors and markings are extremely rare. Thus, it can be another contributing factor to the price.
Rat Terrier Interesting Facts
Below-given are some interesting facts about the Rat Terrier dog breed.
Rat Terrier as an Emotional Support Animal
Rat Terriers can make amazing companions for emotional support. It is because they are extremely devoted and want to spend time with their families. However, be aware as this breed can be a bit stubborn at times.
These dogs are intelligent and eager to learn new things quickly. Because of their friendly nature, they can easily get along with children and even other dogs. By keeping them as an emotional support animal, you will never feel lonely and unsafe.
Therefore, if you are thinking about owning an ESA, Rat Terriers is one of the best options with fewer grooming requirements. But it is better to know everything before deciding to keep this loving and affectionate terrier breed. There are many breeders offering rat terriers for sale.
Here, the first and most important thing you need to do is get a valid ESA letter. It is a prescription from a mental health professional that makes you eligible to keep a support animal.
You can contact us at RealESALetter.com and get your letter within 24 hours.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are they called rat terriers?
The breed name comes from the occupation of their earliest ancestors brought to the US by working-class British migrants. These dogs were used in rat-baiting and controlling vermin; thus, they were called rat terriers.
Do rat terriers kill rats?
Yes, rat terriers can kill hundreds of rats in a short time. They even hold the record of killing 2500 rats in seven hours.
How do you calm a rat terrier down?
You should calm your rat terrier dog without yelling. Just tell him to ‘quiet’ by using a firm tone of voice. At first, they won’t recognize the word and may take few minutes to calm down. However, you have to wait patiently for them to stop barking.
Are rat terriers clingy?
Yes, rat terriers are very clingy and become destructive if they feel they are not getting any attention. Moreover, they are also prone to anxiety and can create a lot of ruckuses.
Why do rat terriers shake so much?
Rat terriers usually shake because of the excitement and removing excess water or debris from their coats. The rainwater sitting on the coat’s surface can become heavy and uncomfortable for the dog.
Can rat terriers be left alone?
No, rat terriers should not be left alone or unsupervised. They are extremely quick and energetic, and you will have a hard time catching them. Therefore, they are not suitable for living outdoors and should be on-leash.
Do rat terriers have separation anxiety?
Yes, rat terriers can suffer from severe separation anxiety if they don’t get the attention they deserve. These dogs are quite affectionate and friendly and, thus, always want to be with their family.
Are rat terriers hypoallergenic?
No, rat terriers are not classified as hypoallergenic because they don’t shed like many other breeds. In fact, no dog is 100% hypoallergenic.
Are rat terriers easy to housebreak?
Yes, rat terriers are easier to housebreak because they are crate-trained. This type of training teaches the dogs that the crate is their safe place to keep them out of mischief.