Rat Terrier dog breed information, pictures and characteristics

rat terrier

Hatch is the name of the first case of a dog used to hunt rats: its remains were recovered in Henry VIII flagship: the Mary Rose, sunk in 1545 and found in 1982. It’s believed that Hatch was brought on the ship to control the number of rats on board. The name of the dog breed Rat Terrier comes from the task that humans gave to this kind of dog, who arrived in USA with british miners and working class immigrants in the second part of the XIX Century. Probably Rat Terriers are a crossbreed of three dog breeds: Smooth Fox Terrier, Manchester Terrier and English Terrier (that nowadays doesn’t exists anymore). These dogs were used as rat hunters and was common among rat terrier owners to bet on their own dog ability to find and kill a mouse.

Rat Terrier History and Origins

The main skill for a Rat Terrier should be speed: it’s vital to hunt a mouse. This breed comes from other similar dog breeds selected with the same purpose: hunt small preys like rabbits, rats, squirrels… ancient terriers were hybridized with whippets or italian hounds to increase speed and Beagles for hunting skills to get at the end the modern Rat Terrier. Theodore Roosevelt, a famous President of United States of America was a proud Rat Terrier owner and he was used go to hunt with them.

A legend says that John Goff IN 1905 gave to president Roosevelt a black dog called Skip. Skip was a feist that was the progenitor of the modern Rat Terrier dog breed (in U.S. rat terriers are still called “feists”). It was told that Skip successfully hunted rats in the White House in 1906 even if it seems that there were other two dogs and some ferrets that helped to disinfest the House.

rat terrier dog breed

Rat Terrier info and temperament

Rat Terriers colors and size can vary. The classic colorations are: three colors, black, different tones of brown. The size can vary from 7 to 11 kg for males and 4 til 7 for females. Often Rat Terriers are confused with Jack Russel Terriers, the Rat Terrier has a different profile and character, for example their muscles are thinner and their head it’s more tapered.

Rat Terriers dogs are usually less aggressive than Jack Russels even if the personality has still lot of traits of the terrier family. The Rat Terrier it’s an American dog Breed and ti was recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) the 1st of January 1999 and by the American Kennel Club (AkC) the 1st july of 2010, so these dogs could participate and compete in Obedience and Dog Agility competitions.