The Rat Terrier: An Amazing Dog Breed With Rat Name Prefixed To It
The rat terrier may be small, but he is tenacious and eager to please, and his intelligence and high prey drive make him an adaptable companion for the farm or the family home.
The rat terrier is a dog breed for whom there is no room for misunderstanding in its name: this itty-bitty fellow was developed specifically for a job.
Rat terriers are charming tiny pups that are frequently confused for Russell terriers. They have sharp minds and discerning eyes that make them easy to spot.
They are elegant, quick hunters who excel in agility events and are passionate about running. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Rat Terrier became popular in the United States, even though its genealogy dates back at least half a millennium.
These nimble tiny dogs are great at hunting mice and other small animals since they are little, highly swift, and blessed with sharp intelligence and an ambitious temperament.
As the use of poisons and automated traps became more commonplace, the rat terrier’s role on farms began to diminish. At the same time, however, people started to recognize that intelligent and friendly dogs could make ideal home companions.
You can find the rat terrier in several situations today, functioning as both a devoted friend and a relentless working dog, thanks to a rise in their popularity in the 1970s. This is because the rat terrier is a breed that originated in the United Kingdom.
History Of Rat Terrier
Several terrier breeds, including the Fox Terrier, Bull Terrier, Manchester Terrier, and Old English White Terrier, were used in the breeding process to create the Rat Terrier, which originated in the United States.
Breeders of Rat Terriers began incorporating new genetic lines into the breed in the 1910s and 1920s due to the breed’s dual use as a working dog on farms and a hunter of vermin and other small animals.
In the 1930s film “The Little Colonel,” starring Shirley Temple, one of the supporting cast members was a Rat Terrier.
The Rat Terrier was crossed with Whippets and Italian Greyhounds in the Midwest to generate a more adaptable dog with quicker footwork and could aid in managing the jackrabbit population.
The enhanced version of the Rat Terrier successfully kept up with the quick-moving rodent and demonstrated his worth even further.
The Rat Terrier and the Beagle were crossed in certain areas of Southern and Central America to produce a dog that was better suited for living in a pack.
It was through the Whippet that the Rat Terrier got his keen sense of smell; the Rat Terrier got his quickness from the Whippet.
The breeding program for Rat Terriers was expanded in the 1920s to include Toy Fox Terriers that had reached a size where they could no longer be used for their program.
With the introduction of this most recent strain, Rat Terriers started having their miniature pups. Some people believe that former President Theodore Roosevelt came up with the name for the breed, but others disagree.
Rat Terrier was the name he gave to his pet dog, who was credited with eradicating the rat infestation in the White House.
There is some disagreement as to whether or not the Rat Terrier that former President Theodore Roosevelt had in his home was the same breed as those that are common today.
The Teddy Roosevelt Terrier, also known as the short-legged Rat Terrier, derives its name from the fact that Roosevelt owned a dog with short legs, which later became the official breed standard for the Terrier that was later named after him.
Between 1910 and 1940, it was not uncommon to see a Rat Terrier on a farm. However, as farmers began using poison to manage rodent populations, the Rat Terrier’s population began to dwindle.
By the 1950s, the breed had almost entirely disappeared from the wild. Only a small number of breeders kept the breed alive until it saw a resurgence in the late 1970s.
The Decker Rat Terrier is a strain of the breed that is gaining popularity. The breed as a whole is gaining popularity. It all started with a dog named Henry, that belonged to a passionate hunter named Milton Decker.
Decker felt that his dog possessed wonderful attributes that he wanted to maintain in his breeding program, so he named his breeding program after Henry.
He successfully generated a huge Rat Terrier with a fixed ear set; this dog was used for hunting and could even retrieve from water. In addition to their regular employment as Rat Terriers, Deckers were utilized for hunting wild pigs, deer, cougar, and bears.
Although the Decker Rat Terrier has a reputation for being aggressive and difficult, he still possesses all the qualities that make a great friend.
In 1972, the first hairless Rat Terrier puppy was born, and a new breed of Rat Terrier was established from the offspring of that first hairless female Rat Terrier.
The name “American Hairless Terrier” has been given to the dog, formerly the hairless Rat Terrier. There are two sizes available for the American Hairless Terrier: the miniature and the standard.
Appearance Of Rat Terrier
Rat terriers and Russell terriers are frequently confused by those unfamiliar with the breed.
According to the Rat Terrier Club of the US, they all are about the same size as a Russell terrier, with standard rat terriers reaching a maximum height of around 18 inches and the tiny version measuring less than 13 inches.
They are very active dogs (RTCA). They have attentive and intelligent faces and a build comparable to that of the Russell.
The coats of the rat terrier are shorter and glossier, consisting of a dense, single coat that may be found in a range of colors, the most frequent of which are black, tan, grey, blue, and apricot.
The coat can be found in a dense, single coat that can be found in several colors. There are also rat terriers available in several bicolor and tricolor varieties, with white serving as the base color in each case.
Their dark eyes are bright and attentive, and the enormous ears pricked forward on their head highlight the breed’s intelligence and curious personality.
Although some rat terrier puppies are born with naturally short tails, the tails of these terriers have been docked by breed convention. Docking, on the other hand, is a contentious practice.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) asserts that it is almost always done for the sole purpose of improving the animal’s appearance; however, the purported health benefits of the procedure, such as reducing the risk of injury while working in the field, have not been demonstrated.
Rat Terrier Temperament
Rat Terriers are known for their huge personalities despite their little bodies.
Because they are both curious and brilliant, these traits work to their advantage when it comes to solving puzzles and playing games that provide an unlimited supply of pleasure.
When they are assigned a task, on the other hand, things take on a more serious tone. They give it their all regardless of whether they are rodent hunting, practicing agility, or participating in a workout session.
Rat Terrier dogs can excel in both the role of a working dog and that of a family pet due to the breed’s history of dual-purpose breeding. These toy-sized canines are typically highly friendly and get along well with children and other canines.
However, it is essential to know that each dog is an individual. Therefore the answer to this question will vary from one Rattie to the next.
As long as your dog is well socialized (that is, introduced to new people and settings from a young age), it will be a wonderful companion for all of your family members, as well as a friend to anybody else they come across.
These canines appear to have a preference for rodents, which is to be expected given their name. If you maintain other animals in the house, such as rats, mice, hamsters, or birds, you should avoid getting a Rat Terrier unless you take extra measures to ensure they are kept apart.
The same is true for cats, but if Rat Terrier puppies are introduced to cats at an early age and with care, the two species can certainly coexist well and even thrive together.
Because Rat Terriers make such effective watchdogs, you shouldn’t be shocked if they give a warning bark whenever someone approaches the front entrance. There are solutions available to help you lessen your dog’s barking if you believe it is excessive.
In general, Rat Terriers are devoted to their families and enjoy being a part of the family’s activities; as a result, you should leave them alone for a short time, or they will start to miss you.
Remember that their instincts still guide them; regardless of how well they have been trained, your Rattie may still make an unexpected dash for a squirrel while you are out on a stroll in the afternoon. They are merely acting out the roles assigned to them from birth!
Rat Terrier Health
The average life expectancy of a Rat Terrier is between 12 and 18 years, which is considered respectable.
They have a reputation for being a very healthy and energetic breed, but like other types of dogs, they are susceptible to several health issues.
It is essential to have a general idea of these potential problems before the event so that you may be on the lookout for any telltale indications.
Hip dysplasia is a disorder that can develop when the hip joints become loose. If it is not treated, it can result in pain, cartilage loss, and scar tissue formation.
Most of the time, it is a result of hereditary factors, which can be determined by testing. The management of obesity, surgical intervention, or physical therapy is potential treatment options.
Patellar luxation is a medical condition in which the kneecap becomes dislocated, leading to pain and reduced function. It is also possible to be genetic, and testing can be done.
Depending on the magnitude of the injury, the kneecap may be able to realign itself on its own most of the time; however, if the problem is more serious, your veterinarian may prescribe that you have surgery.
The ball and socket that make up the hip joint are affected by the condition known as Legg-Calve-Perthes. The ball at the femur bone’s apex begins to deteriorate when a patient has Legg-Calve-Perthes disease.
Because of this, your rat will probably end up with arthritis at some point in its life. The severity of the condition will determine the treatment for this degeneration, but it could involve pain medication or surgery.
When a Rat Terrier is allowed to live into their senior years, the owner runs the risk of their pet developing heart disease.
Your veterinarian will want to keep an eye on their heart in case there are any problems, either with the heart itself or the heart valves responsible for blood circulation, so that any issues may be handled as soon as possible. Medication might be advised, but that depends on the problem’s nature and seriousness.
Eye Disease Rat Terriers are predisposed to developing a condition known as primary lens luxation, which is an eye disease that can cause the eyes to appear hazy, red, or watery.
Dogs run the risk of going blind over time. Your veterinarian may want to perform routine eye checks on your pet, and surgery may be required in certain cases.
Because of their small mouths, small dogs, like Rat Terriers, are more likely to suffer from dental disease than larger dogs. This is because their mouths do not have enough space to accommodate their teeth.
Practicing good oral hygiene consistently at home, taking your dog for a dental examination, and cleaning at least once every year is essential.
Size Of Rat Terrier
The Rat Terrier breed is not recognized by the AKC, although the UKC recognizes it. Breed clubs, however, have established the sizes of the dogs in this breed.
The Rat Terrier is a hardy and compact dog that should reach a height of between 13 and 16 inches at the shoulder. Because each dog has a variable weight for its height, the United Kennel Club does not specify a certain weight for standard Rat Terriers.
The ideal weight range for a Decker Rat Terrier is 22 to 40 pounds, although this breed is slightly larger than the standard Rat Terrier. The ideal height range for a male is 16 to 19 inches, whereas the ideal height range for a girl is 16 to 17 inches.
The small Rat Terrier shouldn’t be any taller than 15 inches or weigh more than 10 to 18 pounds. Their ideal weight ranges from 10 to 18 pounds.
The toy Rat Terrier is an even more little form of the breed than the standard Rat Terrier. He should weigh between 5 and 10 pounds and have a maximum height of 12 inches. His height should be, at most, this limit.
Personality Of Rat Terrier
This breed is a powerhouse due to its intelligence, caution, and tenacity.
Be aware that they tend to be wary of newcomers but that most are friendly toward visitors (although the likelihood of this occurring in your absence is significantly reduced).
If they are not properly socialized, they will get along great with their family, but they could develop hostility against people they do not know and other animals.
They also lack any trace of fear, which is a quality that can be admirable in some people but should be avoided in those who are hostile. The wonderfully observant and intuitively responsive nature of Rat Terriers makes them an excellent choice for family pets.
They have a strong need to be liked, thrive on compliments, and will follow you wherever you go in the house. These animals need a lot of exercise because they were bred to work all day on the farm.
If they don’t get it, their keen little minds can turn devious to entertain themselves. They also need a lot of space to run around in. The idea that an exhausted dog is a good dog is something that their people live by.
Early socialization, which involves exposing a young Rat Terrier to a wide variety of people, sights, noises, and experiences, is essential for developing all dogs, including the Rat Terrier.
Through proper socialization, you can increase the likelihood that your Rat Terrier puppy will mature into a well-rounded dog. A good first step would be to enroll him in a kindergarten class for puppies.
The act of routinely inviting people over, taking him to crowded parks and stores that are dog-friendly, and taking him on strolls to meet neighbors can all assist in developing his social skills.
Grooming Of Rat Terrier
The good news is that the Rat Terrier’s short and dense coat requires only moderate grooming and care. To maintain their coats’ luster and vitality, they must be brushed at most once a week with a curry brush or rubber mitt.
Rats are classified as seasonal shedders, which means that even if they shed their fur at other times of the year, the shedding process is most intense in the spring and the fall.
Maintaining a consistent brushing schedule every week will protect your home against the invasion of itty-bitty Rattie hairs. You only need to bathe them once a month, but you may apply a deodorizing spritz to keep them smelling fresh in between washes.
This assumes they haven’t had excessive fun outside (also known as a rat playing in a dirt pile). In addition to getting their teeth brushed regularly, rats need to have their teeth cleaned professionally once per year by a veterinarian.
If providing care daily is overwhelming, try setting a goal of doing so only several times per week instead.
This is significant because, similar to other dogs of the tiny breed; Rat Terriers have a limited amount of space in their mouths to accommodate all of their teeth, making them more susceptible to dental illness than dogs of larger breeds.
Pet parents can learn how to brush their dog’s teeth from their veterinarian, and it is recommended that owners begin the process when their dogs are still puppies.
It is recommended that you clip your Rat Terrier’s nails once every one to two weeks because walking on nails that are too long can harm them.
Check on them every week, and use your best judgment to determine how often they need to be trimmed. When you hear the telltale tapping on the floor, it is most certainly time to get the nail clippers out.
A weekly examination and cleaning of your Rat Terrier’s ears are also recommended since ear infections can be caused by excess wax and debris in the ear canal (look for redness, swelling, or a bad odor).
Training Of Rat Terrier
Because rats are intelligent, self-motivated, and pick up new information quickly, they are very easy to train.
Research the best methods for teaching a puppy, and begin their education at an early age with fundamental cues such as “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” It is important to remember that the training process only finishes once the dog has outgrown the puppy stage.
These dogs have a strong desire to please their owners and require mental stimulation, so do not delay in advancing them to more challenging activities such as nose work or behavior chains, in which they must finish a series of commands before being rewarded with a treat or another form of positive reinforcement.
The Rat Terrier responds best to training based on the accumulation of rewards; therefore, you should be prepared to lavish them with compliments and purchase dog training goodies (within reason, as you do not want your dog to acquire a potbelly).
They are committed and willing to make any effort necessary to get the most gratifying results possible. The Rat Terrier is an excellent watchdog by breed and temperament, which means that they are more likely to make noise to warn you of any potential threats (in their eyes).
Introduce some training to help limit barking at the doorbell, especially if it becomes a bit of a bother or turns off approaching guests, to prevent them from making too much of a racket when the mail arrives. This will help prevent them from producing an excessive amount of disruption.
It is important to socialize your Rat Terrier while still a puppy so that they become accustomed to meeting new people and dogs, and even cats, who they may be trained to live with, although this is only sometimes the case.
Although this breed gets along well with children and other canines, it is still important to socialize with your Rat Terrier.
Diet & Nutrition Of Rat Terrier
Generally, dogs of the Rat Terrier breed fare well when fed high-quality commercial dog food. Be sure to account for their age, and select the formula based on their life phase (puppy, adult, or senior).
Even though there is no universally accepted feeding chart, your dog’s primary care provider can assist you in determining the appropriate amount of food and the frequency with which your puppy should be eating to fulfill the specific dietary requirements of your dog.
Rat Terriers, just like many other breeds of small dogs, are predisposed to obesity and have a high potential for rapid weight gain if they are not adequately exercised or consume excessive calories. And sure, sweets do contribute to your daily calorie total.
It is difficult to say no to that face when they are pleading for more food, and of course, sweets may be a vital part of the exercise routine that your little buddy participates in.
Remember not to go overboard, as being overweight might put you at risk for various health problems, including diabetes and heart disease.
You should also ensure that you are only giving your Rattie things that are appropriate for dogs and that you are aware of any human foods your dog should consume under no circumstances.
If you observe your dog gaining weight faster than it should, you should make an appointment with your doctor.
Exercise Of Rat Terrier
Although Rat Terriers have a lot of energy, they do not require significant exercise daily. If they get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, you should be able to satisfy their need to wiggle.
On the other hand, if you are an active person who is always moving around, they will be more than eager to accompany you.
If the idea of lounging on the couch while watching movies sounds like a good time, you should probably invite someone over to share your popcorn—that is, after you have completed your daily walk.
These puppies can become destructive and resort to chewing shoes or barking when bored if they do not get regular exercise, which consists of a walk or run.
There is still hope, even if it is snowing or raining outside! Their demand for play can be satiated in a fun way by engaging in indoor games such as fetch or hide-and-seek.
If you can provide a significant amount of mental stimulation during your free time, you will earn bonus points. It counts if you let them pull on a rope while you watch television, right?
They will flourish with this high level of activity, and you will find that they are excellent athletes if you involve them in dog sports such as agility. Just make sure that you give them a lot of rest after that so that they can recover.
They also enjoy playing in the water, so if there isn’t a body of water in the vicinity of your home, you might want to take a day trip to the beach or a lake. You may ensure their safety by purchasing a canine life jacket for each of them.
Ratties have a high prey drive, thus it is best to keep them in enclosed areas because they have a tendency to chase tiny animals at speeds of up to three times the speed of sound.
They are also known to enjoy digging holes, which is why you should double-check the stability of the fence before releasing them. Keep your cherished Rat Terrier on a leash at all times, even when they are in an area that is not fenced in, to ensure their safety.
Living Needs Of Rat Terrier
Rat terriers are bred to work on farms, therefore they naturally make excellent working dogs.
They are intelligent enough to instinctively avoid horses and other livestock, and, true to their breeding, they will rid properties of rats and other pests with an unyielding zeal.
They enjoy following people around while they do chores, and they are smart enough to avoid horses and other livestock instinctively. But having a farmstead is not necessary in order to keep your rat terrier in good spirits.
They also do remarkably well in family settings, which is largely due to the fact that they are intelligent and have a deep love of human companionship. Furthermore, they are small enough and easy-going enough to do well in apartment settings.
They are active animals that will be happiest with a backyard to run around in and a place to dig a little, but due to their small size, they can also get their exercise indoors, which makes them an excellent choice for elderly people and urban settings.
They adore children because of their eagerness to play, and rat terriers aren’t so huge that they can’t keep up with the children’s level of energy, nor are they so small that they run the risk of being gravely injured by them.
However, just as with any other dog, it is essential to keep an eye on your puppy while it is playing and to make sure that your children are aware of how to behave around animals.
According to Johnson, “Children can be scary for dogs that are not accustomed to dealing with tiny humans.” “Children should learn how to treat their dogs with respect and how to read the body language and vocal cues of their dogs.
This includes avoiding making intimidating direct eye contact with the puppy and avoiding pulling on the puppy’s tail in any way.”
Rat Terrier With Other Animals And Children
Although Rats who aren’t used to being around children should be supervised at all times, the vast majority are incredibly patient with children, especially youngsters who aren’t related to them in any way.
They have an abundance of love for the children in their household. There might be some difficulty ahead for parents who are opposed to the family dog sharing the bed with the children and sleeping under the covers.
You should always teach little children how to approach and touch dogs and constantly supervise any interactions between dogs and small children to prevent any biting, ear or tail tugging, or other aggressive behavior on the part of either party.
This is true regardless of the breed of dog. Teach your child that they should never approach a dog when he is eating or sleeping and never attempt to take the dog’s food away from the dog.
No child should ever be left unattended with any dog, regardless of how friendly the dog is. The Rat Terrier gets along well with other canines, even though they could have some differences of opinion regarding their meals and where they sleep.
He does not physically conflict with them or display an aggressive demeanor toward them. Many Rats prefer to play with other dogs, which means you must watch out for dog-reactive or dog-aggressive canines.
When a more belligerent dog starts a battle, these terriers will fight back equally. Unfortunately, they are blind to size and do not care if their attacker is far larger than them in terms of weight.
Since rats are compelled to hunt their prey, they will pursue any little animal that moves quickly, including hamsters, mice, chinchillas, and other rats.
Rats will also chase any other animal that fits this description. In most cases, a rat and another animal, such as a cat, bird, chicken, or another type of pet, will get along well as members of the same family if they are nurtured together.
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