Rat TerrierThe Rat Terrier is a small companion dog that can hunt rodents, above and below ground. They need to be kept on a leash or a fenced yard when outside as they will chase anything that runs.

They are curious dogs that are smart and very clever at solving problems. If there is a way to get out of a fence, the Rat Terrier will find it or dig a hole to escape if they want to get out.


The Rat Terrier is an American dog breed originating from a mixture of Fox Terriers and other European Terriers such as the Manchester Terrier and the Bull Terrier. Later they were mixed with other dog breeds such as Beagles, Whippets and Italian Greyhounds.

The Rat Terrier was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2013. In July of 2012, the Rat Terrier Club of America officially became the official parent club for the Rat Terrier.


The Rat Terrier is a member of the American Kennel Club’s Terrier group of dogs.


The Rat Terrier is a small dog that is 10 to 13 inches at the shoulder for the miniature and 13 to 18 inches tall for the standard. They weigh 10 to 25 pounds.


The Rat Terrier dog breed can be many colors and have markings. The standard colors are black and white, black tan and white, black white and tan, red white and sable, white, white and apricot, white and black, white and blue, white and blue fawn, white and chocolate, white and fawn, white and lemon, white and red, white and silver, white and tan, white black and tan, and white chocolate and tan.

The standard markings are badger markings, blanket-back, irish marked, piebald, sable white markings, potted or patched, tan points, white markings with tan points, and white mask with white markings.


The Rat Terrier dog breed is friendly, curious, fearless and playful. They like being with their family and they will let you know if they want your attention.

They are good with children and with supervision they can be good with other dogs and pets. Generally they are good with other family pets, but be careful with small animals like hamsters.


The small Rat Terrier is a very active dog with lots of energy. They like to stay busy most of the day. This breed would benefit from a automatic ball thrower to entertain them. Check out this small one and  large one at Amazon.


The life expectancy of a Rat Terrier is 12 to 18 years of age. They are generally healthy dogs but they may suffer from chronic skin allergies, epilepsy and heart disease.


The Rat Terrier will need a weekly brushing to remove loose hair most of the time. They are seasonal shedders and will need brushing several times a week during the Spring and Fall.

Other Grooming

They will need for you to brush their teeth several times each week, along with cleaning their ears once a week and trimming their nails as needed.


Rat Terriers are smart dogs that can learn quickly, but they can be stubborn. Keep training sessions fun and interesting with a variety of activities such as agility, flyball and tracking.

Separation Anxiety

They love to be with their family and are prone to separation anxiety. This is not a dog that you can leave home alone all day.

Rat Terriers can be destructive when they get bored and are alone. If you have to leave your Rat Terrier alone for a few hours, make sure you go for a walk and have playtime before you leave.

Rat TerrierRescue

If you are interested in the Rat Terrier dog breed, please consider adoption. There are many purebred dogs and puppies that are available for adoption.Search for a Rat Terrier rescue group in your area by starting here at PetFinder.

What do you think about the Rat Terrier dog breed? Share a story about your dog or leave a comment below. The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian, dog trainer, or dog behavioral specialist.