Species group: Terrier Group dogs
Other name(s): American Rat Terrier; Ratting Terrier; Decker Rat Terrier; Decker Giant Rat Terrier
An American farm breed officially recognized by the AKC in 2013, the Rat Terrier is a small, spunky dog that deserves to be better-known among active families with older children seeking an energetic companion. One of the most popular farm dogs in the early 20th century, the Rat Terrier was developed from the Fox Terrier crossed with some hound breeds to develop a capable hunting companion capable of chasing hares, rabbits, and other prey that gave a fast, long, straight run.
The hound DNA in its background was a double-edged sword. On the plus side, the Rat Terrier tends to be more even-tempered and outgoing than many terriers. However, because the dog was regarded as a mixed breed rather than a purebreed, it was ignored by many breeders and became a rarity in the mid 20th century as the family farm complete with loyal "varmint" dog was replaced by modern mechanical farming and poison control practices. This terrier's recent acceptance by the AKC may encourage pet owners looking for a small but lively dog to take a second look.
Appearance / health:
The Rat Terrier is a small-to-medium-sized terrier. The head is fairly long with medium sized muzzle, which is straight, tapered, but never snippy. Wide set eyes are round or slightly almond shaped and carry an alert, lively, but soft gentle expression. Ears are V-shaped, which could be pricked or semi-pricked. Tail is short or full length and is usually docked.
Rat Terriers have a short double coat and shed all round the year. Grooming the coat two or three times with a slicker brush keeps it clean. Occasional cleaning the coat with a rake help clearing matting. Bathing three or four times a year is sufficient as frequent bathing softens the undercoat and lowers its insulative and water resistant qualities. Checking and cleaning the ears, eyes, and teeth regularly go a long way in preventing infection.
They are very energetic and need lots of exercise. Taking them for a brisk walk and play sessions is necessary to keep them physically fit. They could be excellent jogging companions. It is good to involve them in obedience classes, obstacle course or earthdog classes to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.
The Rat Terrier is a hardy breed and faces few health problems.
Behavior / temperament:
Rat Terriers are full of energy and are predominantly an active breed. However they are also willing to relax with their humans and many Ratties even like to cuddle under the covers next to their person.
As puppies RT’s can be busy, and are best trained using only positive methods. Like all puppies, they must be watched so they do not escape fences, but this passes with maturity.
Rat Terriers are inclined to chase other animals and small prey. RT’s love to have a job and are ideal for playing dog-sports with their human such as Frisbee, Tug, Flyball, Agility, running on the beach or hiking (on a leash, until trained to be off-leash).
Rat Terriers are intelligent and are quick to learn commands. Ratties are very sensitive and training should be done by reinforcing the correct behavior, and being very careful to avoid “correcting”.
Rat Terriers have a high-pitched bark and like to bark at every sight of sound they come across. They need to be corrected whenever they bark excessively.
good watch dog, great personalities, excellent family dog, super outgoing, active little extrovert
constant supervision, strong willed breed, high strung, dog dominant, special diets, heavy prey drive
rabbit catcher, Decker Rat Terrier, rat population, low grooming needs
Aggressive, possessive, but lovable
Theo, after having lived in a dog shelter with about 40 other small dogs for many years, is very anxious all the time. We like to say that he has "no chill". When there are new people around, he often won't let them touch him growling at them if they approach him, and snapping at them if they try to touch him. However, he is often just as likely to walk right up to you and climb onto your lap, asking to be pet. But, he will sometimes change his mind in the middle of being pet and decide that he doesn't want to be pet and start growling at you. I said earlier that this is for new people, but really, he does this same thing with his family.
Theo fears men and we believe that he was once abused by a men, so he doesn't really like the men of the family very much. The women however, he sticks to like glue. He picked out the alpha female and he protects her at all costs. He sleeps by her and her husband, but when the husband gets out of bed in the morning to get coffee and bring it back to her, he growls at him. He sits next to her on the couch and if anyone approaches her too quickly, he will snap at them. Being a woman myself, I have fostered a really good relationship with Theo. He's really sweet when he doesn't feel threatened, by he has really bad shelter shock, so he often feels threatened.
He barks at everything. If a leaf falls outside, he knows, and he barks at it. A lot. He barks at everything that happens outside and sometimes at nothing, but, he is a great watch dog. Although, as aggressive as he is, he is not a great guard dog. When a new person comes in he will first jump on them excitedly and ask to be pet, but he might later realize he doesn't know them and bite them. Maybe.
Theo is great on a leash. He likes walks and behaves extremely well on a leash. He just calmly walks next to you.
It's hard to bathe him and trim his nails because he is so aggressive. He will feel threatened when we try to do these things and try to bite us. To avoid this, we drape a towel over his head and he doesn't bite.
He hates being picked up. He loves to jump up on your lap and climb and crawl up on you and be pet, but, if you try to pick him up, he will attack.
All in all, he is a sweet dog who's a bit too high-strung, but I actually kind of relate to him and love him for it. Not safe around children, prefers women, protects well..
From SydneyMarie Sep 2 2015 1:49PM
Hard e-collars are THE best way to prevent your pet from messing up their incision site
Hard e-collars are very effective at keeping dogs' mouths off their incision sites. These are the cheapest and most effective way of reducing incision site complications. I send every surgery patient home with an e-collar. These surgical procedures are often performed on younger patients that are very prone to trying to lick their incision sites..
From Rachel_Muur_DVM 2 days ago
It is very important to socialize puppies by exposing or introducing them to members of the family and friends, other pets, from even other species, different environments, noises, etc., so he will not be fearful of people in general, other dogs, and everyday sounds, objects, and enclosures. Sharing with other pets and people will teach your dog how to behave. Dog parks tend to be safe places to socialize. Just make sure your dog has the vaccination program up-to-date, is periodically dewormed, and checked by the vet at least once a year. .
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