Rat Terrier Dog Breed Profile

The Rat Terrier is an American farm dog breed common on family farms in the 1920s and 1930s. Today the Rat terrier is a relaxed and familiar domestic dog.

The American Kennel Club recognized the Rat terrier in 2013 as a rare breed.

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 Breed Summary

  • Group: Terrier group
  • Country of Origin: United States of America
  • Weight:  10-25 pounds (4.5-11.3 Kg)
  • Height: 10-18 inches (25-46 cm) 
  • Coat: short, smooth
  • Color: Black, blue, chocolate, gray Isabella (pearl)
  • Energy: Medium
  • Amount of shedding: Sheds occasionally
  • Grooming: a weekly brushing and a once-monthly bath
  • Lifespan: 12-18 years 
rat terrier breed profile


The Rat Terrier is a breed of the Terrier group that includes two sizes: miniature and standard. Its coat is short, and it comes in a variety of colors. They can be tricolor or bicolor, always with some amount of white present.


Created in the 19th century to kill rats, the Rat Terrier was a popular dog breed on American farms.

Although they are no longer used on farms to hunt mice or rats, Rat terriers still are hunting companions, watchdogs, roost keepers, and playmates.


The friendly and curious Rat Terrier is an easy to train and social dog. The puppy needs socialization during the first three months of life. This breed gets along well with children and pets and is usually loyal to its owners.

Rat Terriers tend to be intelligent and stubborn, knowing how to get what they want when they want it. They are also considered good family pets due to their energy and compatibility with children. They are playful and require a lot of exercise.


  • Consider a healthy weight formula for Rat Terriers who need help with weight gain.
  • Giving too many treats can cause obesity, but a small number of treats can help when you train your dog.
  • Consult your veterinarian if you have questions about your dog’s weight or diet.
  • Clean water must be available at all times.


  • The Rat Terrier sheds according to the season.
  • During the seasonal shedding, brush your Rat terrier with a rubber brush to remove loose hair.
  • His short coat is easy to maintain: a weekly brushing and a bath once a month should be enough to keep the fur in good condition.


  • The Rat Terrier is generally a healthy breed. However, the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) recommends that Rat Terriers need a test for patellar luxation, heart abnormalities, pancreatic problems, and hip dysplasia.
  • The average lifespan of a Rat Terrier is 16 to 19 years.


Like most active and intelligent dog breeds, Rat Terriers are playful and require moderate exercise to burn off excess energy.


The Rat Terrier is a dog of many breeds, including the Smooth Fox Terrier, the now-extinct Old English White Terrier, the Manchester terrier, the Bull Terrier, the Whippet, the Italian Greyhound, and the Beagle.

Image credit: Pixabay. Unsplash Pexels
Source: Purina 

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