Rat terriers were developed in America and were mainly used to kill rats and other small games in farmlands. By the 20th century, these dogs were seen in multiple crop fields. Its ancestors include terriers like Fox terriers, Beagles, Italian Greyhounds, etc.
Some say that the great Theodore Roosevelt played a crucial role in giving the name to this breed.
They are often mistaken for a Fox terrier or a Jack Russel.
A Rat terrier with blue eyes, walleyes, or China eyes is more prone to getting deafness.
Temperament & Personality
These little digging experts are funny, lively and full of energy. They are attention seeking creatures that try to grab the attention of its owner through clownish acts. It also makes an excellent watchdog and a great farm dog. Digging is an inherited trait of this breed and they spend a majority of time in the yard area digging the ground. These dogs have a chasing compulsion and become restless if kept leashed for a prolonged period.
Rat Terrier puppies needs at least 45 minutes of daily exercise to stay physically fit. If deprived of regular activities, this dog will utilize all its energies in destroying things around. A Rat terrier also needs a considerable amount of mental stimulation and if deprived, it can resort to occasional barking. Food puzzles, a game of hide and seek, or play sessions with other dogs will keep the dog busy.
Allergies are prevalent in all types of terriers, so the owner should avoid shampoos and other dog grooming products which can trigger an allergy attack. Health problems like Canine Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Hypothyroidism, Thrombopathia, Malocclusion, Patellar Luxation, and Demodicosis can affect the breed.
Buying a Rat terrier mix from a reputed breeder is imperative. Getting a health clearance certificate from a putative organization like the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) will make sure that the owner receives an overall healthy breed.
Enrolling the dog in a puppy kindergarten school is an excellent option if the owner is planning to start the socialization training. Positive re-enforcement techniques should always be accompanied by praises and rewards to accelerate the training.
The owner should never forget that the quantity and quality of the food given to the dog should be according to its size, age, health, and activity level.