Rat Terrier Dog Breed

Rat Terrier
Miniature – 10 to 13 inches at the withers, Standard – 13 to 18 inches at the withers
Miniature – 4 to 6 pounds, Standard – 12 to 35 pounds
Any variation of pied patterning, including black, chocolate, red, apricot, blue, fawn, tan, or lemon
Conformation, Agility, Obedience, Earthdog, and Lure Coursing

Originally bred to be a multipurpose companion capable of hunting rats on the farm, today’s Rat Terrier is a happy-go-lucky, family-focused housedog.


Friendly, curious and lovable, the Rat Terrier gets along well with children and other pets. A particularly loyal breed, he is active and playful, requiring moderate exercise to burn off excess energy.


The Rat Terrier is a breed in the Terrier group, and includes dogs of two sizes: miniature and standard. A blend of compact, sturdy exterminator and elegant, carry-along companion, these short-haired, alert-eared dogs are an enjoyable addition to any family.


12 to 18 years


The Rat Terrier’s coat can be white, or any one of a multitude of color combinations including white.


The Rat Terrier sheds occasionally on a seasonal basis. During seasonal shedding, a shedding tool or rubber brush will help remove loose hair. Otherwise, his short coat is easy to maintain—a weekly brushing, and a once-monthly bath should keep a Rat Terrier’s coat looking good.


Overall, Rat Terriers are healthy dogs. Responsible breeders screen for hip dysplasia, patellar luxation (loose kneecaps), Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease, and cardiac and eye disorders.

Best Dog Food for Rat Terrier Dogs & Puppies

Rat Terriers may benefit from the specialized nutrition and smaller kibble of a small breed dog food. For Rat Terriers who need help with weight management, consider a healthy weight formula.

Rat Terrier puppies should eat a small-breed puppy food for their first year of life to aid in their growth and development.


As their name states, the Rat Terrier breed was developed by American farmers in the 19th century to do one thing: kill rats. In the 1910s and 1920s, this American original was one of the most popular dog breeds on U.S. farms.

When more farmers switched to poison to kill rodents, the Rat Terrier’s role as the farm’s pest control largely changed. Luckily, these multi-talented dogs are still prized as hunting partners, watchdogs, henhouse guardians and playmates.


*Source for point 2:  https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/6-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-rat-terrier/