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Rat Terrier

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Rat Terrier.jpg

Photo credit: Liza Lee Miller.


Physical Characteristics

Breed Group:

Terrier group.


Approximately 10-25 pounds.


Approximately 13-18 inches.


This breed typically comes in hound colors. Rat Terriers can either be tricoloured or bicoloured, with the most preferred colourings being white and black and white and tan.


The dense coat is short and smooth.



Rat Terriers are active and playful dogs as well as intuitive hunters. Intelligent and devoted, Rat Terriers are also wonderful, pleasant companions.

Country of Origin:

United States.


This breed was developed in the United States by early immigrants who crossed common nineteenth century breeds such as Fox Terriers, Manchester Terriers, and Bull Terriers. In later stages of the breed's development, the Rat Terrier was also mixed with Beagles, Italian Greyhounds, and other breeds. Highly valued as vermin killers by American farmers in the 1800's, Rat Terriers enjoyed a high level of popularity during the 1920's, 1930's, and 1940's. Although no longer so popular, the breed has still been maintained.


Additional names for this breed include American Rat Terrier, Ratting Terrier, Feist, and Decker Giant.


Rat Terriers are protective dogs that tend to be rather aloof with strangers. While typically happy-go-lucky, these terriers are also quite sensitive to the moods of their owners and to everything happening in the environment around them. Rat Terriers are happiest when they have plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.



Due to their social sensitivity, Rat Terriers are very easy to train. At the same time, they require significant socialisation from an early age.


These active dogs require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation in order to keep them happy and healthy.


These days, Rat Terriers are kept as farm helpers and as family pets. Potential owners should be aware that these dogs require significant daily exercise as well as plenty of mental stimulation. These playful and cheerful terriers are pleasant to have around and make very loyal and devoted companions. Rat Terriers thrive on human attention and love to spend time with their owners.


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