Accepted December 1, 1998
     The Rat Terrier not only comes in 3 sizes but also two body types. Rats that have a square, long leg look are shown as Class A.  Rat Terriers that have a shorter leg length  in proportion to body are shown as Class B. The following standards will apply to both classes with the exception of the difference in body to leg length (shown below) also see (Body Standards). These are two separate and unique body styles for the Rat Terrier and to keep them this way, it is recommended that they never be bred together. They have been with the Rat since their American existence, and there are no differences other than body style. Both Class A and B dogs share all of the same wonderful rat terrier traits. To deny either style would be to taint the existence of the breed.





     When you first meet a Rat, his smooth lines and muscles are immediately apparent and his face shows all the familiarity of a dog you've known all your life. Only half the story is told, for under that lies capabilities that are far beyond what they first appear to be. Whether it is a Toy, Mini, or Standard Rat Terrier, from the first look, you know that you are viewing a true athlete. They possess a muscular body with extreme agility, astounding ability and great endurance. Rats are never fragile and should posses great tone. He is balanced, clean, crisp and beautiful. His coat is short, smooth, sleek and shines. From their appearance you would never know that they are serious rat and vermin dogs (100 times better than any cat). Being quick and clean with the kill. They are sturdy, have well balanced movement and are in wonderful proportion.  Their tail is docked and held in an upright position when alert.
     They are an attractive dog with a bouncy yet sophisticated and concerned attitude with sparkling sincere eyes. The Rat Terrier has the expression of being curiously concerned, somewhat worried and seriously inquisitive.

These pictures show the classic Rat Terrier Expression

     He makes an excellent guard, companion, and house dog and is good with children. His ease of training and innate instincts makes the Rats unsurpassed hunters and ratters. They don't really mind getting their feet wet and many enjoy swimming, hiking very content playing with their own toys. He hides nothing being confident around other animals large and small. The Rat is a dog that commands respect but absolutely adores his family. He is eager to please bonding, sociable and sensitive. It is never a yippee type of dog but quick to sound an alarm when he senses something new.
Rat Terriers are enthusiast upon his peoples arrival showering them with kisses, affection, love and loyalty. He is basically pleasant and easy to get along with. At ease at home relaxing with his master doing well with the family, hardy enough to with stand a child's roughest play.
     The Rat Terrier retains his true terrier heritage by being a superb ratter. He is gritty, feisty and tough yet never out of control, quick, alert, agile and fleet. They will make strong eye contact with you, cocking their head trying to understand, willing to do what ever you ask of them. But clowning around, soliciting play and sleeping by their master with one eye open, always ready, is one of their specialties. Although they prefer to not stray far from their master's side, they sometimes enjoy the solitude of their own space. Rats are highly adaptable to a variety of climates and environments, from apartments to farms and from Alaska to Florida. While active outdoors he makes a wonderful house pet, companion and watchdog. Females make excellent mothers, hardy, healthy rugged and clean.


     Medium long, muscular cheeks, wedge shaped and blunted, tapered but not snippy. Distance approximately equal to skull. Moderate stop. Fault: to sharp of a stop like seen in the Chihuahua breed or too short of a muzzle.  

     Medium, tapered, not sharp.

     Slightly rounded with moderate width between the ears. Fault: apple or dome head.

Proper head for a Rat Terrier

     Wedge shaped placed well up on the side of the head. Preferred Erect, Acceptable Semi Erect/Tipped and Button/Folded.  Fault: spaced to far apart, one up one down, round and bat like or hound.

     Nose should be solid in color. Acceptable colors,  Black or slate, brown or red shaded according to coat color. Fault: pink or pink spotted, snow nose.

     Scissors or level. The top teeth should not extend more than 1/16 of an inch beyond the lower teeth. Fault: overshot that extends more than 1/16 of an inch and is to be penalized by the degree of severity. Extreme fault: undershot bite wry mouth, retained baby teeth in adult dogs.
     Should be tight and smooth, predominately black or in accordance with coat color. Fault: lips that overhang hiding the lower jaw or sagging flews.



Moderately long, slightly arched, widening into the shoulder, strong and muscular in appearance giving good support to the head. There should be no hint of throatiness.  Fault: straight or thin lacking muscle.


The forequarters act as a unit on the dog. When one part is not in unison or proportion with the others it tends to throw off the entire forequarters.

     Sloping and well arched with good layback set at a 45% angle.  The length from the elbow to the top of the shoulder should be approximately the same length as the distance from the elbow to the ground. The scapula is equal in length to the upper arm.

     Fairly deep and well ribbed. When viewed from the front, moderately wide between the shoulders allowing straight placement of the legs. When viewed from the side the chest  lies even or  extends just beyond the shoulders. The brisket descends to or just above the elbow. Fault:  to narrow, excessive barrel chest or one that lacks depth in brisket  giving too leggy of an appearance.

     Straight with ample bone and proportion placed well under the body. Feet pointed forward and at the same distance apart from between the elbows and at the feet. Forearm and upper arm are of approx. equal distance, forearm being slightly longer
Fault: turned in or out, bow legged.

     Free from the body, held close and perpendicular. When viewed from the front, elbows should not be visible.Fault: turning neither in or out, bow legged. 

     Oval, compact, well arched, middle two toes longer than the others. Well up on pastern showing   a very slight angle towards the ground. Front and rear dewclaws are normally removed. This cuts down injuries to the working dogs feet. If front dewclaws are present they are not to be faulted.
Fault: feet turned either in or out, splayed. Down on
pastern or knuckled over. Rear dewclaws.

This dog shows proper leg
proportion. Legs are
straight with equal distance.


The body length of both classes is the same, it is the length of leg that differs.

CLASS A - Height is approximately the same to length, measured from ground to withers and from point of shoulder to rump, length not to exceed 1 1/2" from height. For example if your dog is 12 " long, it should measure no less than 10 1/2" in height.
Fault: excessive barrel chest or round body.
CLASS B - the shorter leg type, body length not to exceed  3 " or less than 1 3/4" from height. For example if your dog measures 12" in length, its height should fall between 9"- 10 1/4". Fault: excessive barrel chest or round body.

BACK: (Topline)
     Level, straight and strong. Tail set high coming right off the back. 
BRISKET: (chest rib cage)
     Set fairly deep giving ample lung space, lying even or just above the elbow. Ribs are well sprung but do not interfere with leg placement. 
Fault: to shallow or too wide causing bowing or turning in or out of legs. 

     The bottom line has moderate tuck up into the loins (waist).  Fault: Extreme tuck up as seen in the Greyhound breed causing the backto roach or lack of tuck up giving a straight underline appearance.


     The hindquarters are moderately angulated, set in alignment with front legs. Strong and muscular in thigh. Slight angulation in hock and well let down. Stifles turned neither in or out. Fault: cow hocked, straight stifles or bowed. 

Upper and lower thighs are approximately equal.

HOCK: (Pastern)
     Turned neither in or out when viewed from the rear and
has a slight inward angulation when viewed from the side.

    Oval and compact, more Hare like than Cat like with the middle two toes being longer. Dewclaws should be removed before the dog is one week of age.

     Set high and carried erect when the dog is alert. Tails should be docked as a puppy before one week of age. Leave approximately 3/4 of an inch on the puppy, which as adults produces a tail of approx. 2-3". Fault:  full tail, or no tail (exception; a dog born with a natural bob is not to be penalized regardless of tail length)


     Smooth flowing legs moving straight, agile with rear legs in unison with front legs. Good conformation and proper structure determine correct movement. If any body part is in misalignment it will affect the soundness of the dogs gait. Faults are given to the part of the body structure that causes incorrect movement.

Short, smooth, thick and dense with lots of luster and shine.


ACCEPTABLE COLORS:  Black, blue, red, apricot, lemon, charcoal, chocolate or liver. Browns:(Sable, fawn, tan) Chocolate and liver must have a chocolate, liver or red nose.

With white, w/ tan, w/ white and tan
Tri, Piebald (spots of color), Bi (no wht), Solid, Ticking


Toys 10lbs. or less (Tots under 5lbs.) Height - not to exceed 12 inches
Mini over 10lbs up to 18lbs. Height - not to exceed 15 inches
Standard over 18lbs up to 28lbs. Height - not to exceed 18 inches
(measured from the withers to the ground)  Click Here For Photos of the Sizes


A dog that cannot be brought under control. Monorchid and Cryptorchid, pure white, brindle or merle color.


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