People always ask this question.  For those of us who own one, we surely know. For those who don't, you'll find yourself describing this little vivacious dog in great depth and with lots of enthusiasm.


It starts with, well they come in 3 sizes, small, medium and large, or toy, small and bigger, or small, mini, and giant.  Well OK, we know they are of 3 sizes.  What do they look like?  They have short fur, a docked tail and some of the time their ears stand straight up, sometimes they button over, they can just tip and then there's the one up and one down look.  Their faces are very cute and expressive with sparkling eyes.  Some of them have long legs and some don't.  Some are longer and huskier in the body and then there are the square ones. Also known as Class A square and Class B longer bodied.


Now for color, let's see, a lot of them are tri colored or black and white or black and tan.  But they also come in tan and chocolate and blue.  Then there are a few who come in lemon or apricot.  White markings are commonly seen on the Rat Terrier, from patches and spots to just white boots, a blaze and a white chest.  Their heads usually have a lot of color on them but not all the time.  And then there is the rare few who are solid white or any other solid color.


WOW! Where did all those colors come from?  Next the explanation goes toward describing the history of the Rat. Oh boy-----there is some of this and some of that in the breed.  Actually, when they first came over from England they were a cross of Smooth Fox Terrier and Manchester Terrier. Once arriving here the Americans mixed in a number of different breeds hoping to enhance the Rat.  They succeeded.  A little Beagle, Whippet, Toy Fox Terrier, Toy Manchester and Chihuahua, made the breed what it is today and accounts for the 3 sizes.


Do they like cats?  Sure, but the cat may not like them. Being a dog that's up for anything or anyone makes them very adaptable for all situations.  But I also have small kids. That's fine, this little Rat will run your kids ragged then curl up next to them and take a nap.


Are they easy to train?  Let's just say this, they'll have you jumping threw a hoop and if you think strangers are going to bother you, think again. These little guys are very loyal to their people. More than happy to be social to everyone around but always alert to new situations. Hunting is one of their specialties. Give them some squirrels or rodents and they are in their glory. It's amazing to watch them run and leap through the air with such acrobatic ease. Their agility and grace is astounding, although at times they do misjudge a leap or two. Quickly they get up after tumbling a bit hoping that you didn't see the goof.
Rats are happy go lucky animals that want to be loved and encouraged by their owners. The love will be returned 3 fold.  As a good Rat Friend of mine says "Rat Terriers are like potato chips, you can't have just one"

Copyright © 1996-2016 National Rat Terrier Association (NRTA)®