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Rat Terrier Breed Information

Rat Terrier

Recognized By: ACR , APRI , CKC , NKC , NRTA , UKC , UKCI
AKA: Feist, American Rat Terrier
Mispellings: Ratterrier, Tierier

Living with a Rat Terrier

Temperament: The Rat Terrier is an intelligent, alert, inquisitive, loving, affectionate dog. They truly have the Terrier temperament.

Family Dog: The Rat Terrier is good with children especially if they are raised together from puppyhood. They are typically friendly with strangers.

Grooming: The coat of the Rat Terrier is easy to groom requiring only an occasional brushing to remove dead hair.

Training: The Rat Terrier is intelligent and eager to please. They are usually very quick to respond to training.

Behavior: The Rat Terrier is well-mannered, well-rounded, playful dog.

Barking: The Rat Terrier is not a yapper.

Exercise: The Rat Terrier requires a fair amount of exercise every day including a long walk or jog. They should have a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a day but would love more. They love to play and enjoy romps in the Dog Park.

Living Conditions: The Rat Terrier will make a fine apartment dog provided they get the recommended amount of exercise daily. They are relatively active inside but still need a yard in which to play. They tend to be diggers so be careful if they are left outside unsupervised in a fenced in yard as they may escape underneath it quite easily.

Rat Terrier Appearance

Appearance: The Rat Terrier is a muscular dog with strong shoulders, solid neck, a deep chest, powerful legs and a compact body.

Size: The Rat Terrier comes in three different sizes. The Standard variety which has an overall height of 14 to 23 inches and an average weight of 12 to 35 pounds; The Mid-sized Rat Terrier has a height of 8 to 14 inches and a weight of 6 to 8 pounds and the Toy variety which has a height under 8 inches and a weight ranging from 4 to 6 pounds.

Companionship: The Rat Terrier makes an excellent, energetic companion dog.

Head: The Rat Terrier has a fairly long, blunt wedge shaped head with head with moderately developed cheek muscles. The distance from the nose to the stop is approximately the same length as the distance from the stop to the occiput. The top of the head is broad, full and slightly domed.

Nose: The nose of the Rat Terrier is Black in color or should match the eye, eye rim and coat colors.

Eyes: The eyes of the Rat Terrier are medium in size, dark brown to light hazel in color and round to somewhat almond in shape. They are slightly prominent, filled in and set well apart in the head giving a lively alert expression.

Ears: The Rat Terriers v-shaped ears are set off the skull. They can be prick, semi-prick or buttoned. The can be folded into a rose position when the dog is in motion but should be erect when the dog is alert.

Muzzle: The Rat Terrier has a medium to long straight muzzle that tapers toward the end. The lips are clean and tight and free from flews.

Teeth/Bite: The Rat Terrier has a very strong that is hinged far back in the mouth giving it plenty of length to catch and easily carry game. Their teeth are evenly spaced meeting in a scissor bite or level bite.

Neck: The Rat Terrier has a moderately long, clean, muscular neck with slight arch at the crest. It should be well set-on and gradually broaden downward into the shoulders. The skin should be clean and tight without dewlap or throatiness.

Body: The Rat Terrier is a small to medium sized, sturdy, compact dog. The back is straight, level and moderately long. It can be slightly arched over the loins and hipbones sloping gently into base of tail. The underline has moderate tuck-up.

Forequarters: The Rat Terrier has long, sloping shoulder blades that are well laid back. They fit fairly close together at the tips giving freedom of movement during activity. The chest is moderately broad and oval with a discernable breastbone and brisket extending almost to the elbows. The ribs are long and well sprung providing for good expansion. The upper arm is straight, muscular and well under the brisket with the elbows held close. The pasterns appear nearly vertical when viewed in profile.

Hindquarters: The Rat Terriers hindquarters are strong and muscular with long, powerful thighs, moderately bent stifles that turn slightly outward. The hocks are firm and well let down.

Gait: The Rat Terrier has a smooth and lively gait with the ability to cover ground with free and easy strides. The legs converge under the body as speed increases. Forelegs should provide good reach while the hind legs give good forward drive.

Feet: The Rat Terrier has compact, oval feet with well-arched, close-fitting toes, deep tough pads and strong, hard nails. The front feet should point straight ahead while the rear feet point slightly outward. The dewclaws should be removed.

Tail: The Rat Terrier can be born with a short or full length tail which can be left natural or docked. The tail is medium set and follows the line of the croup. It is carried slightly above the horizontal to erect when the dog is excited.

Color: The coat of the Rat Terrier can be pearl, sable, chocolate, red, orange, lemon, blue, red & white, tri-spotted, tri-colored, solid red, black & tan, blue & white, black & white with tan or rust or red brindle. They have cream to rust markings on the cheeks, eyebrows and eye dots. Tan trim is also acceptable on the chest, vent, legs and inside of ears. Any type of facial marking is acceptable.

Coat: The Rat Terrier has a short, dense, smooth, and soft to somewhat hard coat with sheen.

Rat Terrier Facts

Category: Terrier

Life Expectancy: The average life expectancy of the Rat Terrier is 15 to 18 years.

Characteristics: Rat Terriers make good watchdogs. They are very good swimmers.

Rat Terrier History

History: The Rat Terrier was originally developed in 1820 in Great Britain from the Smooth Fox Terrier, Old English White Terrier, Manchester Terrier and Bull Terrier. The first Rat Terrier was brought to the United States during the 1890s while they were still their original color of black and tan. American breeders then crossed the existing Rat Terrier again with the Smooth Fox Terrier and also the Beagle, Whippet, Italian Greyhounds and other Feist breeds. The Rat Terrier can attributed its increased bulk, red color as well as its trailing and hunting ability to the Beagle and their speed, agility and blue, brindle coloring to the Whippet. The Toy Rat Terrier was created from the Smooth Fox Terrier and the Chihuahua. The Rat Terrier excelled at rat-baiting pits as well as being a hard-working farm dog. During the early 1900s, the Rat Terrier was one of the most common farm dogs.

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