Rat Terrier

"Teddy's Terrier"

Photo of Rat Terrier


The Rat Terrier is an American breed created from Fox Terriers and other European Terriers (e.g. Old English White Terriers, Manchester Terriers, Bull Terriers), Beagles, Whippets, Italian Greyhounds and others. President Theodore Roosevelt had Ratties as pets because of their intelligence and good disposition.


Observant, devoted, and lively, Ratties make great companions and family dogs. They love to play, but they want to be with you, so they suit families who want a friend and playmate. They want lots of exercise, but after a long walk and some running around the yard, they are happy to cuddle on the couch or in your lap. Like other intelligent breeds, they need mental stimulation as well as exercise.


They come in two sizes – miniature and standard. They are sturdy, compact and muscular, with ears that are either upright or bent at the tip, and may be born with a short or longer tail. Their short, shiny coat can be many different colors, including white, sable, chocolate, red (solid, brindle, or with white), tri-colored, red, black and tan, and blue and white.


Ratties are feisty and fearless, but well-mannered and eager to please, so they are easy to train. Use positive reinforcement and be consistent with the rules, and they will master many tasks in no time. They excel at obedience and agility if you are looking for a dog to do these activities with.

Grooming & Care

The soft, single coat is easy care – brush weekly with a soft brush or curry mitt and bathe only as needed. They shed more heavily in the spring and fall, when you may wish to brush them more often.

Health Concerns

Though they are a generally healthy breed, the most common health problems that they can be prone to are patella luxation (dislocated kneecap), allergies and skin problems.

Famous Rat Terrier

Shirley MacLaine talked about her Rattie, Terry, in her 2003 book "Out on a Leash."

Ideal Owner
Activity Level 4
Schedule 6
Home 45
Children 49
Experience 11
Quick Facts
Grooming 13
Exercise 60
Challenges While generally not yappy, they can bark a lot if bored. Be sure to tire them out and provide entertaining toys.
Height 10 to 18 inches
Weight 6 to 35 pounds
Life 18 to 20+ years
Home Alone 84
With Kids 86
With Strangers 91
Availability 23

This client information sheet is based on material written by: LifeLearn

© Copyright 2014 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.