Tricolor Rat Terrier; note pale black ticking on white
|American Rat Terrier
|Country of origin
|Classification and breed standards
|Not recognized by any major kennel club
|This breed of dog is
The Rat Terrier is an American
one of many
terrier varieties. It is a small, active terrier. Although the breed has
been around in similar form since the early 1900s, it has remained more of a
type than a breed.
The Rat Terrier comes in a variety of
colors and patterns. It is often white with either black and tan, apricot, blue,
or brown spots. The original snazzy most common color is the tricolor: black,
tan, and white. Many have ticking on the white part of the coat; most have
freckles on their bellies. Ear carriage can be upright, tipped, or button, and
the tail is traditionally docked to about 1/3 of its original length.
The Rat Terrier ranges from about 5 to 40 pounds, although the larger sizes
are sometimes called Deckers or Giant Deckers, after a
named Milton Decker who has been
developing a larger version of the Rat Terrier. The Toy size (10 pounds and
under) is becoming increasingly popular as a house pet & companion dog. Despite
their diminutive size, many Toy Rat Terriers display the same prey drive &
hunting instincts as their larger cousins.
Although often mistaken for a
Jack Russell Terrier, the Rat Terrier has a very different temperament. It
is less aggressive and comparatively calm (although still exhibiting terrier
personality). They are normally cheerful dogs, but there are occasional dogs who
are extremely sensitive to changes in their environment or to unexpected noises,
people, or activity.
The Rat Terrier type originated in
all terriers of this type, it most likely developed from crosses among
Smooth Fox Terriers, and
After the 1890s, as the breed type became popular in America, other breeds were
added to the mix.
Italian Greyhounds may have been used.
Rat Terrier organizations rank among those in the dog world among which there
is dispute over the best course of action to be taken for the promotion and
preservation of the dog breed. Points of departure are, as usual, which dog type
best represents the breed, and, as is common among
breeds, whether the dog's working qualities will be sacrificed to show
conformation. Perhaps because the Rat Terrier has existed for decades with
several different evident types being upheld by different clubs, disagreements
can be highly charged.
The Rat Terrier has been recognized by the
United Kennel Club. The Rat Terrier Club of America is actively working
towards recognition by the
AKC and the breed was accepted into the AKC's Foundation Stock Service in
A modern Nipper namesake demonstrating His Master's Voice pose
The RCA trademark
("His Master's Voice") might have been a Rat Terrier.
Theodore Roosevelt enjoyed this breed as
companions. The Rat Terrier was a common farm dog in the early
- Kane, Alice J. (2004). Rat Terrier: a Comprehensive Owner's Guide
(Special Limited Edition).
Kennel Club Books
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