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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Rat Terrier


Rat Terrier Facts

  • Group
  • Terrier
  • Affiliations
  • UKC
  • Height
  • mini: 10" - 13"
    Standard: 13" - 19"
  • Weight
  • 10-25 lbs for both size variations.
  • Lifespan
  • 14 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • High - This breed requires vigorous daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Difficult to Train
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Easy
  • Colors
    • Various Colors
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Adapted to city living
    • Good with children
    • Hunting heritage
    • Should sleep indoors

True Cost Of Ownership

  • Monthly Food Costs
  • $34.00 | 1 responses - Add yours

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  • Grooming Costs (?)
  • $33.00 | from 1 responses - Add yours

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  • Annual Vet Cost (?)
  • $195.00 | from 1 responses - Add yours

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  • Average Annual Cost
  • $622.25
  • TCO Index (?)
  • 44.45

Alternate Names

None known.


This breed originated in the United States.

Date Of Origin

The rat terrier developed in the 1800's.


The rat terrier was descended from terriers brought over by working class English immigrants, including the smooth fox terrier, Manchester terrier, and now extinct English white terrier. The rat terrier was bred to control rats, as well as to provide entertainment in the blood sport of ratting. It was later crossed with whippets, Italian greyhounds and beagles. The breed was popularized by Teddy Roosevelt, who often hunted with rat terriers.


The rat terrier is a small to medium size, muscular dog that is slightly longer than it is tall. It has a wedge shaped head, and the skull and muzzle are of equal length. The nose is black or self colored and the eyes are prominent. The ears are button, tipped, or erect and V-shaped. The tail may be docked, naturally long and curved upward, or a natural bob. Coat colors range from solid white, to bi-color or tri-color, with white and black, tan, brown, blue, blue fawn, apricot, or yellow.


The rat terrier is an energetic, curious, and intelligent dog. It is game and tenacious when hunting but affable and affectionate at home. It gets along with children, other dogs and cats.


This breed was used as a hunter, a ratter and a companion over the years. Today it is seen mostly as a companion.

Health Concerns

Allergies, bite problems, hip and elbow dysplasia, luxating patella, mange.

Additional Information

This dog can adapt to mist living situations, however it does require daily exercise to keep it healthy and happy.

Show Sources & Contributors +


Nettie Poe

Nettie Poe

Nettie Poe


The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

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