Rat Terrier

Rat Terrier

Rat Terrier with upright ears.

Rat Terrier At a Glance

Country of Origin:

United States

Breed Group:

AKC (Terrier); UKC (Terrier)


Small to Medium. Weight: Miniature: 10–18 lbs; Standard: 12–35 lbs Height: Miniature: not exceeding 13 inches; Standard: 13-18 inches


Smooth and short.


White, Black, Shades of Tan, Chocolate, Blue, Blue Fawn, Apricot, Lemon; May be Bicolor or Tricolor but always must have some White; May have Mask

Life Span:

12 to 15 years

Breed Profile

Affection Level
Barking Tendencies
Cat Friendly
Cold Weather Tolerance
Exercise Needs
General Health
Grooming Needs
Hot Weather Tolerance
Kid Friendly
Shedding Level
Social Needs
Watchdog Ability

Did You Know?

A Rat Terrier's ears may be upright or dropped.

Rat Terrier Overview

The Rat Terrier is thought to be the product of the combination of the Fox Terrier and Manchester Terrier. While the breed was created in England, it is in the United States where breeding and popularity turned the Rat Terrier into what it is today. The dogs worked hard and helped to control vermin and hunt small game, perfect for the towns of the US.


Rat Terrier Characteristics

This dog breed features a look similar to Jack Russells, with a smooth coat. However, they are usually tricolored and may have both pricked upright or dropped ears. Tails are usually docked, however, Rat Terriers with naturally long tails are becoming more popular as people move away from tail docking.


Rat Terrier Temperament

A true terrier, they are friendly and hard working. They are naturally curious and do well when needed to hunt vermin. They are devoted to their families and loving toward people and children if raised together. While playful and inquisitive, they should be socialized with or kept away from other small pets due to their natural instinct to hunt.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier


Rat Terrier Care

They live on average 12 to 15 years, typical for a small breed dog. Health concerns include hip and elbow dysplasia as well as luxating patellas. The incidence of these diseases can be reduced through careful selection of parents and certification of good hips and joints prior to breeding.


Rat Terrier Coat

Their coat is very easy to care for. It is short and smooth and only requires brushing on occasion or a rub down with a grooming mitt. This will help remove any dead or loose hairs as well as stimulate the skin to keep it healthy. Dogs with dropped ears should also have their ears cleaned regularly to prevent infection.


Rat Terrier Training

They are slightly less stubborn than other terriers when it comes to training, however, early handling and socialization is still key. Short, focused sessions of positive reinforcement will help keep them focused and make training easier.


Rat Terrier Activity

An active breed, they love to exercise. They are happy going on any adventures with their humans but enjoy activities that allow them to naturally hunt or keep them both mentally and physically stimulated most of all.

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