They are a more rare breed today because the breed died out quite a bit due to the invention of pesticides in the 20s – 40s used on farms.
They are often mistaken for a Jack Russell Terrier, although they never have a wiry coat, they are finer boned, have a more refined head, and are considerably less aggressive.
All-in-all, they are typical terriers, loving to explore and tear around the yard, but they also love to lounge around with their owners.
Rat Terrier Dogs
By Chris Suckow
The Rat Terrier dog is an energetic spunky dog which makes it a great watchdog and family companion. Another characteristic is that Rat Terrier dogs get along well with other pets too.
The Rat Terrier dog was named by President Teddy Roosevelt. They were developed in Great Britain from a cross between Smooth Fox Terriers and the Manchester Terriers of the 1800’s. They were brought to America around 1900, and they quickly spread in popularity. In America, breeders crossed this breed again with the Smooth Fox Terrier, the Beagle to retain hunting instincts. It was also crossed with Whippets for their speed, agility, and the blue and brindle color coats.
Rat Terrier dogs are available in many colors. The most common colors are red and white, tri-spotted, solid red, and black and tan. They have a very short hair coat which is easy to groom and this breed does not tend to shed a lot. Brushing does not need to be done on a regular basis, a couple of times a month should do. Baths are also not required too frequently, a couple of times a year should suffice.
The Rat Terrier dog is a small dog standing between 14 and 24 inches and weighing 12 to 35 pounds. Although small this dog does display the toughness of most other Terrier breeds. Untrained they can be destructive and aggressive, but with proper socializing as a young dog, you can easily have a great companion.
Rat Terrier dogs can be a good choice if you live in a small house or apartment. But be sure to give them enough stimulation otherwise they can develop destructive habits if not given the proper outlet for their aggression.
Click here for more information on Rat Terrier Dogs!
It is believed that the now extinct English White Terrier was also used in combination with the Manchester Terrier, Smooth Fox Terrier and Whippet in England. After 1890, when the breed became more popular, it was crossed with a number of other breeds to increase the breed’s abilities, such as scenting, speed and compact-size. These extra breeds were likely the: Beagle, Italian Greyhound, Miniature Pinscher, and Chihuahua.
This extensive genetic diversity is the reason for the breed’s overall great health, soundness of breed and intelligence.
I hope you enjoyed today’s installment of Terrier Lover. I learned a lot about this breed! Until next time…
Love Your Terrier,
P.S. Make sure you get your “very hard to find” Rat Terrier Calendar for 2008 before all of the good ones are gone! This is a great one:
- Jack Russell Terrier – Controversial in Origin
- Scottish Terrier – The Fearless Soul
- The Cesky Terrier is a Rare & Newer Breed
- How To Train Your Yorkshire Terrier
- Wanting To Adopt A Yorkshire Terrier?