The Rat Terrier is an intelligent, alert and loving dog. Very inquisitive and lively. This affectionate dog makes an excellent companion for those who will enjoy an energetic dog.
Both sturdy and elegant, athletic and agile, and often described as having a dual personality, the Rat Terrier is a tenacious hunter in the field, yet a sensible companion at home. He LOVES to play and has a special passion for ball chasing.
The Rat Terrier must always be kept in a fenced yard or on-leash, for he is an impulsive explorer who will take off after anything that runs. He is also curious and clever, so be sure your fences are high and secure!
Rat Terriers crave companionship and are sensitive. They do not do well in a kennel type envirement.
Generally good with other dogs and cats in his own family, the Rat Terrier does have a high prey drive and quick reflexes and will dispatch squeaky creatures with little effort.
Though he has a stubborn streak, this attentive, sensitive, head-cocking breed responds to discipline and to obedience training that utilizes food and praise.
Being respectable terriers, Rat Terriers do love to tunnel and dig.
Rat terriers are normally long-lived dogs, with few Health Problems. I’ve personally had them live to 2 weeks shy of 18.
Rat Terrier may not be right for you if you don't want to deal with...
- The dynamic terrier temperament. Most terrier breeds are remarkably similar. The same words are used over and over -- quick to bark, quick to chase, lively, bossy, feisty, scrappy, clever, independent, stubborn, persistent, impulsive, intense. However, Rat Terriers are very individualistic in that some individuals fit that description to a tee, while other individuals are MUCH more easygoing and calm and make wonderful pets.
- Providing regular exercise and mental stimulation. Rat Terriers must have regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise you will end up with a frustrated, bored Rat Terrier, and that's when you'll see a lot of barking, digging, and destructive chewing.
- Animal aggression. Though Rat Terriers tend to be more sociable with other dogs and cats than many other terriers, some individuals are still quite dominant toward other dogs of the same sex, and some are cat chasers.
- Fence security. Rat Terriers are smart, athletic, and exploratory, which makes them ideal candidates for finding their way over or under your fences in search of adventure. You may need higher fences than you might imagine for their moderate size.
- Barking. Rat Terriers are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them.
- Mind of their own. Though much more amenable to training than other terriers, Rat Terriers must still be taught at an early age that they are not the rulers of the world. The toughness that makes them suited to killing vermin can frustrate you when you try to teach them anything. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
- Possesive. Many terriers are possessive of their food and toys and will defend these from all comers, including children. Rat terriers also can be possessive of their owners. This can be lessoned with proper positive training.
I do NOT recommend Rat Terriers if you have small children. Terriers can be great fun for older kids, but many individuals will not tolerate any nonsense from little life forms whom they consider to be below themselves in importance. Many terriers are quick to react to teasing, and even to the normal clumsiness that comes with small children (accidental squeezing of their ears or pulling of whiskers or stepping on their paw). Many terriers are possessive of their food and toys and will defend these from all comers, including children