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Rat Terriers

Rat Terrier

The Rat Terrier is an American dog breed. While it was common to see them on farms throughout the 1920s and 30s, they are generally considered to be a rare breed of dog. Today, the Rat Terrier is popular as a family pet. These little dogs were bred as all-round hunting dogs and still perform that job today, often hunting vermin. The Rat Terrier is a well-built, muscular dog. Their bodies are compact and sturdy.  They have large ears and get their name from the vermin they were bred to hunt.


The Rat Terrier, like many working and hunting dogs, is intelligent, active and alert. This breed is often mistaken for the Jack Russell Terrier despite differences in the profile and temperament. They do have the Terrier personality, but they tend to be a little calmer than most other Terriers. These dogs are loving and affectionate towards their owner and enjoy plenty of attention. They are easy to train and are happiest when they have a job to do or when they are outside playing or exercising. Socialization is required from an early age for the Rat Terrier to be able to live with other dogs, children and especially small animals.

  • Height, Weight

    Height (Standard): Dogs 14-23 inches (35-59cm) Bitches 14-23 inches (35-59cm) (Mid-sized): Dogs 8-14 inches (20-36cm) Bitches 8-14 inches (20-36cm) (Toy): Dogs 8 inches (20cm) Bitches 8 inches (20cm)

    Weight (Standard): Dogs 12-35 pounds (5-16kg) Bitches 12-35 pounds (5-16kg) Weight (Mid-sized): Dogs 6-8 pounds (3-4kg) Bitches 6-8 pounds (3-4kg) Weight (Toy): Dogs 4-6 pounds (2-3kg) Bitches 4-6 pounds (2-3kg)

  • Health Problems

    Rat Terriers can be prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. They are also prone to allergies and bite problems. Their small size, especially the toy sized breeds, are prone to injuries also.

  • Living Conditions

    Rat Terriers will do fine in apartments as long as they are sufficiently exercised. They are quite active while indoors and love to play. They prefer having a yard to run around in as well.

  • Exercise

    This breed needs quite a lot of exercise considering its size. It should be taken on long, daily walks and be allowed to run around off-leash while monitored. It enjoys playing games, particularly challenging ones.

  • Life Expectancy

    About 15-18 years.

  • Litter Size

    5-7 puppies on average.

  • Grooming

    Rat Terriers are very easy to groom. They require a simple brushing and combing once a week to remove dead hairs and dirt. Ears should be checked regularly also and cleaned if needed, along with teeth.

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  • Recognition