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Rat Terriers

Rat Terriers were developed in the US late 1800's to keep vermin down on the farm -- hence the "rat" in "terrier".

Sturdier and larger than their closest cousin, the Toy Fox Terrier, they have an erect ear and a short coat with color spots such as black, chocolate, red, apricot, blue, fawn, tan or lemon on a white background. They shed occasionally and need to be brushed at times with a soft brush.

If you looking for a small dog that is smooth coated, lively and a great playmate for the kids, a dog bigger than a Chihuahua or Miniature Pincher but still small enough to pick up, a good watch dog but not as noisy as many other small to mid-sized terriers, this breed may be right for you.

They can be suspicious of strangers but are loyal and playful with their people. They are especially good with active families that enjoy a busy lifestyle.


They were developed by American immigrants looking for an all-around farm dog. They were created from a cornucopia of small breeds including Fox Terriers, Old English White Terriers, Manchester Terriers and Bull Terriers, to name a few.

Later on, more Fox Terriers, Beagles, Toy Fox Terriers, Whippets and Italian Greyhounds were added. Between 1910 and 1930 the Rat Terrier was as common on American farms as Jack Russells are today; their job was to keep barn and home free of rats and other varmints.

By the Numbers

Size: MINIATURE: At least 10 inches at the withers, not to exceed 13 inches. STANDARD: 13 to 18 inches. They have moderate bone in proportion to size.
Coat Care: 2 – low. They shed occasionally and need to be brushed at times with a soft brush. Also from time to time (especially after an encounter with something smelly) a bath will do them good.
Trainability: 9 – high. They are eager to please and learn easily.
Energy level: 8 - high. They are a high energy terrier, busy and happy. They are good watchdogs and need daily exercise. They like to have a job and do not do well as couch potatoes.
Good with Children: 8 – high They really enjoy children who share their adventuresome spirit.
Noise level: medium – 5 Will bark vigorously to defend their home.
Low Shedding/hypoallergenic: 4 - low They shed occasionally but less than many other breeds.

To get more information or to find a puppy, contact the

Rat Terrier Club of America.

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