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Rat Terrier

Personality:Friendly, lovable, inquisitive; fearlessly game for just about anything

Coat & Grooming:The short, dense coat requires regular grooming and currying to minimize shedding

Energy Level:Very Active; A busy, active dog of seemingly boundless energy

Originally: United States

Nicknames: RT; Rat

Size: Small

Meet the Rat Terrier

​Balanced, compactly built Rat Terriers are tough but elegant-looking. There are two size divisions: Miniatures stand 10 to 13 inches at the shoulder; standards are over 13 inches and as high as 18 inches. The smooth, shiny coat comes in varieties of pied patterns. (Pied, a word borrowed from the horseman’s lexicon, means “comparatively large patches of one or more colors in combination with white.”) These smoothly muscled exterminators are constructed for the efficient movement required for a long day’s work.

What's Their Story?

​Here’s a breed that says up front what they’re all about: Rat Terriers are terriers bred to kill rats. A good ratter was standard equipment on old-time farms, where a rodent infestation could mean the difference between having enough grain to last the winter and going hungry. But practical-minded farmers expected their dogs to be more than specialists, so RTs also earned their keep as all-purpose hunting partners, watchdogs, henhouse guardians, and sturdy childhood playmates.

What are they Like?

​RTs are happy-go-lucky, playful, long-lived pets. As farm dogs, they generally get on well with other dogs and livestock; but as terriers, small quick-moving animals like squirrels can fire up their engines. Home and family oriented, RTs are vigilant watchdogs. They can be wary of strangers but not adverse to friending their humans’ friends. RTs are among the most trainable of terriers, and sports like agility, flyball, and coursing are excellent ways to socialize them and burn off excess energy.

See more Rat Terrier photos here

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