The Rat terrier is a small but well muscled dog that has a deep chest and strong shoulders. The dog has a solid neck and powerful legs as well. The Rat terrier is a utility dog that was bred to hunt small game, and it became quite good at hunting rats within the compound, thus the name it possesses to this day. The Rat terrier has ears that are slightly tipped but which stand erect when the dog is alert. The dog has a wedge shaped skull and a muzzle that tapers forward, ending at a distinct pointed black nose. This dog though small has complete dentition, with the teeth meeting in a scissors bite.
The dewclaws in the dog can be removed when the dog is a few days old. The coat of the dog is smooth and short, with all the hair lying close to the body. Common color coats that this dog comes in include red and white, tan and white, pearl, solid black, blue and white, red and brindle. It is also common to see the dog in a solid tan and a tricolor pattern. The color coat of the dog is not highly regarded by a breeder that looks for a working dog. There is a large variation in size of the rat terrier. The height range starts 8 – 23 inches and the weight may range from 6 – 35 pounds depending on the size of dog.
The intelligence of the Rat terrier is unquestionable. It is a loving dog that adores the owner and the immediate family that they live with. Obedience training takes a very short time to teach as the dog understands fast and is cooperative in training. The rat terrier is an excellent dog that does very well with children. This is especially if the children are in the presence of the dog since it was a puppy.
The rat terriers for most parts are welcome to meet strangers as it is outgoing and social. It is however not recommended to have the rat terrier in the presence of other non canine pets as its hunting instincts may kick in and it may try to hunt down the pets. The rat terrier can also double up as good watch dogs, as training should teach them when to bark and when not to bark.
To ensure the best behavior from the dog, it is important that you meet all the dog’s needs. One of the most important of their needs that is normally avoided is daily pack walks. These help the dog meet its pack needs and migratory instincts in their genes. 30 minutes of exercise a day is recommended.
There are no health problems that have been associated with the Rat terrier.
The Rat terrier has very low mortality rates throughout life and average lifespan stands at 15 – 18 years.
The rat terrier is easy to groom as brushing the hair coat once a week is recommended to remove dead hair.
The Rat terrier came from Great Britain where it was developed as a cross of the Manchester Terrier and the Smooth Fox terrier in 1820.