Rat Terrier Dog Breed: Info, Pictures, Overview and more

Rat Terrier Dog Breed Information and Pictures

Breed Overview

Known for their high energy and intelligence, this breed was developed in the United States for farm work and hunting. Rat terriers are small to medium-sized dogs, typically weighing between 10-25 pounds. They have a compact and athletic build, with a short coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns. These dogs are highly trainable and excel in a range of activities such as agility, obedience, and even ratting competitions. With their friendly and affectionate nature, rat terriers make excellent family pets and thrive in active households where they can engage both mentally and physically.


Highly spirited and affectionate, these dogs are known for their intelligence and inquisitive nature. They are energetic, playful, and love to be involved in various activities. With proper training and socialization, they can get along well with children and other pets. They are loyal and protective of their families, making them excellent watchdogs. However, they may exhibit a strong prey drive due to their history as hunters, so caution should be taken around small animals. Overall, their delightful personality and devotion make them wonderful companions for active individuals or families.

Size and Appearance

Small to medium-sized dogs, known for their muscular build and agile demeanor. Their sleek, athletic bodies are typically well-proportioned, showcasing a graceful stance. With alert eyes and erect ears, these dogs exude a lively and intelligent expression. The breed's coat can be short, smooth, and glossy, often exhibiting a variety of colors and patterns such as tri-color, black and white, or apricot. Possessing a strong chest and a tail that may be either naturally long or docked, these dogs exemplify both elegance and robustness in their physical appearance.

Health and Lifespan

Health and Lifespan: The breed is generally healthy, with a lifespan of 15-18 years. However, they can be prone to certain health issues such as patellar luxation, hip dysplasia, and allergies. Regular exercise and a balanced diet are key to maintaining their overall health. Providing routine veterinary check-ups, dental care, and vaccinations can help prolong their lifespan. Proper grooming, including nail trims and ear cleanings, is also important for their well-being. Early detection of any health issues and prompt treatment are crucial in ensuring a long and healthy life for this energetic and intelligent breed.

Family Compatibility

Known for their loyalty, energy, and affectionate nature, this breed thrives in a family environment. Rat terriers are highly social dogs that form strong bonds with their human family members, often becoming deeply attached to their owners. They are great with children, often displaying patience and playful behavior. Their protective instincts make them excellent watchdogs, alerting their families to any potential dangers. With proper socialization and training from a young age, rat terriers can coexist peacefully with other pets in the household, making them a wonderful addition to any family dynamic.

Exercise Needs

Rat Terriers are high-energy dogs that require regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. Daily walks, playtime, and interactive games are essential to help them release their energy and prevent boredom. Engaging in activities that challenge them mentally and physically, such as agility training or obedience classes, can be beneficial. Providing a variety of exercise options is key to ensuring they remain well-behaved and content. Neglecting their exercise needs can lead to behavioral issues and weight gain, so incorporating regular physical activity into their routine is crucial for their overall well-being.

Diet and Feeding

Rat Terriers require a balanced diet consisting of high-quality dog food to maintain their overall health and well-being. It is important to feed them a diet rich in protein to support their energetic nature and muscle development. Additionally, incorporating essential fatty acids can help promote a healthy skin and coat. Proper portion control is key to prevent obesity, a common issue in this breed. Providing fresh water at all times is crucial. Consult with a veterinarian to determine the best feeding schedule and dietary requirements for your Rat Terrier to ensure they thrive.
Rat Terrier Dog Breed Information and Pictures

Living Environment

'Living Environment':
Rat terriers thrive in homes with active owners, as they require regular exercise to prevent boredom and behavioral problems. They enjoy playing and exploring both indoors and outdoors, making them suitable for homes with yards. This breed does best in a structured environment with consistent training and socialization. Rat terriers are adaptable and can do well in various living situations as long as their physical and mental needs are met. Apartment living is possible with sufficient exercise, mental stimulation, and attention from their owners. Overall, a rat terrier's living environment should prioritize their need for physical activity and human companionship.


Grooming a terrier is relatively simple, given their short coat that requires minimal maintenance. A weekly brushing using a soft-bristle brush helps remove loose hair and reduce shedding. Bathing is necessary only when the dog gets excessively dirty, using a mild dog shampoo to prevent skin irritation. It is crucial to regularly trim their nails to prevent overgrowth and potential discomfort. Additionally, cleaning their ears weekly with a solution recommended by the veterinarian helps prevent infections. Overall, consistent grooming practices help keep the terrier's coat healthy and maintain their overall well-being.

Training and Intelligence

Training and Intelligence: Known for their high intelligence and eagerness to learn, this breed excels in training sessions. They thrive on mental stimulation and enjoy tasks that challenge their intellect. Consistency and positive reinforcement are key in training these quick-witted dogs. With their natural problem-solving abilities and alert nature, they excel in obedience, agility, and other canine sports. Their keen intelligence can sometimes lead to independent thinking, so early socialization and training are crucial to channel their intelligence effectively. Staying engaged and providing mental challenges will keep these intelligent dogs happy and well-behaved companions.

Exercise and Activity Requirements

Exercise and Activity Requirements:
Rat Terriers are highly energetic and agile dogs that require plenty of exercise to stay healthy and happy. They thrive in environments where they can run, jump, and play freely. Daily walks, playtime, and interactive toys are essential to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. Engaging in activities like agility training, fetch, and even hiking can help meet their exercise needs. Providing mental stimulation through obedience training or puzzle toys is also important to keep their sharp minds occupied. Overall, regular and varied physical and mental exercise is crucial to ensure a well-balanced and contented companion.


Socialization plays a crucial role in shaping the behavior of this breed. Exposing them to various people, animals, and environments from a young age can help prevent shyness, fearfulness, or aggression. Positive interactions during the socialization period are vital for fostering a well-rounded and confident companion. It's essential to introduce them to different situations gradually to ensure they develop into friendly and adaptable dogs. Regular socialization activities, such as obedience classes, visits to dog parks, and family gatherings, can contribute to their overall social skills and help prevent behavioral issues in adulthood.


Rat terriers generally have a lifespan ranging from 15 to 18 years, making them one of the longer-living dog breeds. This longevity can be attributed to their overall good health and sound genetics. Proper care, regular exercise, a balanced diet, and routine veterinary check-ups are essential in ensuring that rat terriers live a long, healthy life. By providing a loving and stimulating environment for these dogs, owners can help maximize their lifespan and enjoy many years of companionship with their beloved pet.

Common Behavioral Issues

Common Behavioral Issues: One common behavioral issue seen in this breed is excessive barking, as rat terriers are known for being vocal. They may also exhibit digging behavior, stemming from their hunting instincts, making proper exercise essential to curb this tendency. Their high energy levels can lead to destructive behaviors if not given enough mental and physical stimulation. Additionally, rat terriers may display aggression towards other animals, particularly smaller ones, due to their strong prey drive. Proper training, socialization, and consistent guidance from their owners are crucial in addressing and minimizing these behavioral issues.
Rat Terrier Dog Breed Information and Pictures

Special Considerations

Special Considerations:
Rat Terriers are highly energetic and intelligent dogs that require plenty of mental and physical stimulation to prevent boredom and potential behavioral issues. Due to their high prey drive, it is important to leash them in unfenced areas to avoid chasing small animals. They thrive in environments where their natural instincts can be channeled positively through activities like hunting, digging, and exploring. Socialization from an early age is crucial to help them become well-adjusted and friendly companions. Regular exercise is essential to keep them happy and healthy, as they have a tendency to gain weight if not given adequate physical activity.

Guardian Instincts

'Rat Terriers' are known for their strong guardian instincts, making them excellent watchdogs. This breed is alert, vocal, and quick to respond to potential threats, making them natural protectors of their homes and families. Their territorial nature and loyalty ensure they will be vigilant in keeping their surroundings safe. While they may be small in size, 'rat terriers' have a big bark and an inherent sense of protection, ready to defend their loved ones at a moment's notice. With proper training and socialization, these dogs can channel their protective instincts in a positive and controlled manner, making them reliable guardians.

Allergies and Shedding

Due to their short coats, rat terriers are considered low shedders, making them suitable for those with allergies. Their minimal shedding helps reduce the amount of dander present in the home, which is a common allergen for many people. Regular grooming with a soft brush can further help minimize shedding and keep the coat healthy. Additionally, maintaining a clean environment by vacuuming regularly and washing their bedding can also aid in reducing allergens in the home. Overall, rat terriers are a good option for individuals with allergies due to their low-shedding nature and minimal dander production.

Cost of Ownership

The cost of owning a dog of this breed can vary depending on factors such as breeder reputation, bloodline, and location, but on average, expect to pay between $400 to $2,500 for a Rat Terrier puppy. Additional costs to consider include initial supplies like a crate and toys ($200-$400), vaccinations and vet check-ups ($400-$600 annually), high-quality dog food ($300-$500 per year), grooming supplies ($100-$200), training classes ($100-$200), and potential emergency vet care ($500-$2,000+). Over a dog's lifetime, total ownership expenses for a Rat Terrier can range from $10,000 to $20,000 or more.

Availability and Adoption

Availability and Adoption: Rat terriers can be readily found in shelters, rescue organizations, and through breed-specific adoption agencies. They may also be available through reputable breeders who prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs. Potential adopters should consider the dog's exercise needs, temperament, and compatibility with their lifestyle before bringing a rat terrier into their home. It's important to ensure that the dog receives proper training, socialization, and veterinary care to thrive in its new environment. Adopting a rat terrier can bring joy and companionship to a loving family willing to provide a forever home.

Famous Examples

Famous Examples: The popular dog breed known for its intelligence and agility has been featured in various movies and TV shows. One notable rat terrier, named Uggie, stole the hearts of many in the award-winning film "The Artist," showcasing the breed's natural charm and versatility on the big screen. Another famous rat terrier, named Deaf Jeff, gained recognition for his impressive agility skills and obedience in competitive canine sports, highlighting the breed's potential for excelling in various activities and roles beyond just being a beloved family companion.
Subscribe now!
Unlimited pet listings!
Business profile!
Anywhere in the World!
Guaranteed visibility!
Monthly. Cancel anytime!