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BaxterBoo Blog
July 6, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Rat Terrier

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  • Height: Standard 13-18", Miniature 10"-12"
  • Weight: 10-25 pounds
  • Historical function: Vermin controller, farm dog
  • Modern function: Companion
  • AKC classification: Terrier

Physical Characteristics:

The Rat Terrier is a compact, well-muscled dog with a deep chest and a sleek, athletic look. The tail has traditionally been docked to 2-3" but natural bobtails are common in this breed. Natural tails are also accepted. The coat is short and sleek. Coat colors vary widely but often include lots of white with colored patches. There may be spotted ticking in the white. 

History of the Breed:

The Rat Terrier was developed by American immigrants from various terriers and hounds and were used to control vermin on farms and in factories. They are hard-working farm hands, able to clear a barn of rats in no time. Due to its wide genetic heritage, this dog enjoys hearty health.  


The Rat Terrier has a lively, fun and alert personality. They are clever, and considered to be less aggressive than the Jack Russel Terrier (which they are often confused with.) They are quick and outgoing. They make excellent family companions and watchdogs but are not yappy. They are quick to be trained and are very active. Can be happy in an apartment with sufficient mental and physical exercise. 

  • Best suited for: Active families willing to include this bright pup in as many activities as possible. 
  • Preferred living conditions: This adaptable dog just prefers to be with his people. 

Care and Health:

  • Grooming requirements: Easy-care short coat sheds seasonally.
  • Exercise needs: Daily walk as well as mental challenges such as trick training or puzzles.
  • Life expectancy: 15-18 years.
  • Health concerns: None.

Breed Club Links: Rat Terrier Club of America. Perfect Pairings: Because this is such a busy dog that enjoys the hunt, we recommend our Busy Buddies collection to keep your pet entertained and challenged. 

Have any stories about a Rat Terrier? Please share!

Photo courtesy of Photogramma1.

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This entry was posted by Mary.

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