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Rat Terrier

RatTerrier

A Friendly Personality

Energetic, Intelligent, Playful

Rat Terriers are extraordinary pets. While it is interesting to learn about the breeding purpose of Rat Terriers, their genetics actually influence health, outward appearance and behavior. Some behaviors make the Rat Terrier and some can be quite irritating! Understanding her unique needs will help you keep her healthy and will create a stronger bond between the two of you. Explore this page to learn more about where she came, which health conditions are a risk to her and how to keep her feeling her best.

Breed Details

Height:14-23" Weight:12-35 lb Lifespan:15-18 years

Size
1

1=small 5=large

Grooming requirements
1

1 = little grooming - 5 = much grooming

Energy level
3

1 = low energy - 5 = high energy

Ease of training
2

1 = difficult - 5 = easy

Affection toward owners
4

1 = independent - 5 = very affectionate

Friendliness toward strangers
3

1 = shy - 5 = very friendly

Grooming: She has low grooming needs. Brush her coat as needed, at least weekly.

Dental: Rat Terriers often have serious problems with their teeth, so you’ll need to brush them at least three times a week!

Ear Care: Clean her ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!

Routine Care: She is an athletic dog that excels at dog sports like agility and obedience. She is well suited to apartment life as long as she is given daily walks and frequent play sessions.

She is feisty, silly, and inquisitive. She can adapt to most living situations if she is given adequate exercise and has a confident leader.

Positive Traits:

  • Energetic and playful

  • Confident, steady, and fearless

  • Excellent watchdog

  • Affectionate, easygoing, and lovable

  • Lively, with a friendly personality

Negative Traits:

  • Can be strong-willed

  • Likes to dig

  • Needs frequent attention from her family

  • Suspicious of strangers

  • Prone to boredom and separation anxiety when left alone and will find trouble

Whether you are considering adding a new Rat Terrier to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Rat Terrier will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. By exploring the health concerns specific to the Rat Terrier you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. She’s counting on you to be her health expert.

Some health issues a Rat Terrier could encounter:

Knee Problems

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

Hip Necrosis

Allergies

Mange

Hair Loss

The Rat Terrier is an American dog breed that originated in the 1800s. The Rattie became a common all-around farm dog in the 20th century. The sturdy and compact terrier excels at pest control both above and below ground. The Rat Terrier is bred in two sizes: miniature and standard. The Rattie is alert and energetic, but is also more calm and sensitive than most terriers. When raised with children, they are playful and cheerful companions. Ratties tend to do well with most family pets but will chase unfamiliar small animals. She is highly intelligent and eager to please. The Rat Terrier is a generally healthy breed with an average lifespan of 15-18 years.

Consult with a veterinarian if your Rat Terrier shows signs of the following:

  • General reluctance to run or play

  • Increasing hip pain at less than a year old

  • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing

  • Dry, scaly, sometimes itchy hairless patches on face or paws

  • Misplaced or missing teeth, bad breath, hair and food stuck between teeth

  • Puppy teeth alongside adult teeth

  • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

  • Painful eye, excessive tearing, eyes may appear asymmetric or cloudy

  • Dilated pupils in daylight, or increased "eye shine" at night

  • Soft, non-painful bulge near the belly button

  • Easily startled, no reaction to unseen sounds

  • Care

    Grooming: She has low grooming needs. Brush her coat as needed, at least weekly.

    Dental: Rat Terriers often have serious problems with their teeth, so you’ll need to brush them at least three times a week!

    Ear Care: Clean her ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!

    Routine Care: She is an athletic dog that excels at dog sports like agility and obedience. She is well suited to apartment life as long as she is given daily walks and frequent play sessions.

  • Characteristics

    She is feisty, silly, and inquisitive. She can adapt to most living situations if she is given adequate exercise and has a confident leader.

    Positive Traits:

    • Energetic and playful

    • Confident, steady, and fearless

    • Excellent watchdog

    • Affectionate, easygoing, and lovable

    • Lively, with a friendly personality

    Negative Traits:

    • Can be strong-willed

    • Likes to dig

    • Needs frequent attention from her family

    • Suspicious of strangers

    • Prone to boredom and separation anxiety when left alone and will find trouble

  • Health Concerns

    Whether you are considering adding a new Rat Terrier to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Rat Terrier will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. By exploring the health concerns specific to the Rat Terrier you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. She’s counting on you to be her health expert.

    Some health issues a Rat Terrier could encounter:

    Knee Problems

    Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

    Hip Necrosis

    Allergies

    Mange

    Hair Loss

  • History

    The Rat Terrier is an American dog breed that originated in the 1800s. The Rattie became a common all-around farm dog in the 20th century. The sturdy and compact terrier excels at pest control both above and below ground. The Rat Terrier is bred in two sizes: miniature and standard. The Rattie is alert and energetic, but is also more calm and sensitive than most terriers. When raised with children, they are playful and cheerful companions. Ratties tend to do well with most family pets but will chase unfamiliar small animals. She is highly intelligent and eager to please. The Rat Terrier is a generally healthy breed with an average lifespan of 15-18 years.

  • Watch Out For

    Consult with a veterinarian if your Rat Terrier shows signs of the following:

    • General reluctance to run or play

    • Increasing hip pain at less than a year old

    • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing

    • Dry, scaly, sometimes itchy hairless patches on face or paws

    • Misplaced or missing teeth, bad breath, hair and food stuck between teeth

    • Puppy teeth alongside adult teeth

    • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

    • Painful eye, excessive tearing, eyes may appear asymmetric or cloudy

    • Dilated pupils in daylight, or increased "eye shine" at night

    • Soft, non-painful bulge near the belly button

    • Easily startled, no reaction to unseen sounds

Rat Terrier Discussions

Share your thoughts and experiences, ask questions, or just show your love for the Rat Terrier breed here!

Select Another Breed

To view the sources for the information listed on this page, see our Dog Breed Guide Reference page.

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