Rat Terrier Dog Breed: What You Need to Know

rat terrier

The rat terrier might not have the most appealing name on the vast list of many dog breeds, but that does not detract from the fact that this is a very loving and kind dog. It is one with a vast intelligence, and it’s a very lively dog; as one might expect of any dog in the terrier breed. It might not be one of the first dog breeds that people take into consideration when choosing a new dog for their family, but it is one that makes a great pet. Like any other dog breed, however, we always recommend that you get to know the rat terrier before you make a final decision to bring one into your home. While it might be the perfect breed for many, the rat terrier may or may not be the right breed for you. We want you to know this information before you decide to get one of your own. Here is everything you ever wanted to know about the lively and active rat terrier dog breed.

Personality and Temperament

This is one intelligent dog, despite the fact that many people are prone to judge a book by its cover and assume that anything with the name “rat” is not all that intelligent. This is a very curious dog known for getting into things and wanting to know what’s going on in moment of the day. The rat terrier is a dog that is great with kids, but never more so than when it is brought into a home with kids when it is still a baby. These are great dogs that love to play with the kids and love to watch out for them. They’re not large, so many people don’t consider them protective of kids, but they really are.

If you live near the water or have a boat, the rat terrier is going to be the dog for you. An avid swimmer, it’s one that is a lot of fun to have around. They are quite fearless and they are very feisty, which means they are going to give an inexperienced owner a run for his or her money. This is a dog that needs a strong owner with a bold personality. You have to make sure the rat terrier knows you are the boss at all times. This is not a dog that does well with a meek owner. The good news, however, is that while the rat terrier is a very lively and active dog, it’s all one that is very well-behaved. It seems to have a very instinctual nature when it comes to good behavior, and that works for many dog owners. Whether you are looking for a rat terrier to keep on the farm as a working dog, to hunt with or just to keep your family company, the rat terrier is a great breed.

Lifestyle and Expectation

The rat terrier is not a very large dog. For the most part, they are anywhere from 14 to 22 inches tall and weigh anywhere from 12 to 35 pounds. It’s common for the rat terrier female to be a lot smaller than the male, and this is a dog breed that does come in a mid-sized and a toy size. These are very lively dogs, so many people assume that they will not do very well in a small house or an apartment, but the rat terrier actually does all right in both. This breed is not one that can stay in a small space for a long period of time, so a nice long walk on a daily basis and some time in a yard or park is going to help tremendously.

Remember that the rat terrier is a dog that is not going to do well if it does not have something to keep it entertained or stimulated on a regular basis, so it’s a good idea to give this breed a task of some sort when you have a chance. This is not a dog that cares too much where it is playing so long as someone is playing with it, so the kids will do a great job keeping it entertained during the day inside or out.

What you will really appreciate about the rat terrier is that it’s a dog that will grow up with your kids. This breed lives, on average, anywhere from 15 to 17 years, which makes it a great companion for small kids looking to grow up with their best friend. Additionally, there are no breed-specific health issues to worry about with the rat terrier. You will also find that this is a dog that is very easy to groom, it does not shed too much and is very easy to keep at home.

Breed History

The rat terrier has a very long history. It was first developed in Great Britain many years ago. It was the 1820s when this dog was first introduced by mating a Manchester Terrier and a Smooth Fox Terrier. The purpose of this dog was used to kill rats at the time. Since rates were known to carry diseases so easily spread to humans, they had to be killed and numbers had to be kept down. This means that the rat terrier was used to contain and kill them, and it still has a natural instinct to want to kill rats, which is why so many people choose to keep this dog around in their barns and on their property.

The rat terrier, despite being around for many years before, was named the rat terrier by President Teddy Roosevelt when he realized that this small terrier had a great desire to keep the rat population down. It was a very genius move to name this dog after precisely what it does, and that name stuck even all those years ago. While it’s not used to keep the general rat population down so much today as it was way back when, it is still used to keep farm vermin at bay for many.

Photo by Getty Images

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