Rat Terrier

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Welcome to the world of the Rat Terrier! This small and spirited breed combines intelligence and agility, making it a fantastic choice for those seeking an active and loyal canine companion. Originating in the United States, Rat Terriers have become a beloved breed known for their boundless energy and friendly nature.


Intelligent, Energetic, Affectionate


10 - 18 inches


10 - 25 pounds

Life Expectancy

15 - 20 years

Rat Terrier Breed Traits and Characteristics

Understanding the traits and characteristics of Rat Terriers is essential when considering them as potential companions. Here’s a breakdown of crucial attributes that make these dogs unique:


  • Intelligent: Rat Terriers are highly intelligent and thrive on mental stimulation and problem-solving.
  • Energetic: They are known for their high energy levels and love for physical activity and play.
  • Affectionate: They form strong bonds with their owners, offering loyalty and warmth.

Social Behavior:

  • Good with People: These dogs are typically friendly and enjoy the company of people, forming solid attachments.
  • Compatibility with Other Pets: They can coexist well with other dogs and pets when properly introduced and socialized.
  • Playful Demeanor: Their playful nature makes them suitable for households with children and other animals.

Family Compatibility:

  • Excellent with Families: Rat Terriers adapt well to family life and enjoy being part of daily activities.
  • Apartment-Friendly: Due to their smaller size, they are well-suited for apartment living and are easy to transport.

Coat Variations:

Rat Terriers have short, smooth coats in various colors and patterns, including tricolor, black and tan, and more.

male and female rat terrier dogs breed

Males vs. Females: What to Consider

When contemplating the adoption of a Rat Terrier, a lively and intelligent breed, as your next canine companion, it’s essential to understand the differences between males and females within this breed. Rat Terriers are known for their agility and affectionate nature. Here’s what to consider:


  • Size: Male Rat Terriers are typically slightly more extensive, with an average height ranging from 13 to 18 inches at the shoulder and a weight of about 12 to 35 pounds.
  • Personality: These males are often characterized by their confidence, playfulness, and strong hunting instincts. They tend to be outgoing and active and may exhibit more assertive behaviors.
  • Energy Level: Male Rat Terriers generally have a high energy level, requiring regular exercise and mental stimulation. They excel in activities like agility and obedience training.


  • Size: Female Rat Terriers are usually slightly smaller, with an average height ranging from 13 to 17 inches and a weight of about 10 to 25 pounds.
  • Personality: Unlike their male counterparts, female Rat Terriers may exhibit a more balanced and affectionate temperament. They are loyal, playful, and may be more adaptable to family life.
  • Energy Level: Generally, female Rat Terriers have a high energy level. They enjoy playtime and interaction while also appreciating quieter moments.

It’s important to note that individual personalities can vary significantly within each gender of the Rat Terrier, influenced by factors like upbringing, socialization, and unique experiences. Rat Terriers are known for their compact size, short coat, and reputation as excellent farm dogs and companions.

Whether you choose a male or female Rat Terrier, you’ll bring home a lively and intelligent companion that fits your family’s dynamics, whether that means a confident and agile playmate or a more adaptable and affectionate family pet. 

rat terrier dog breed picture

Care and Interaction for Your Rat Terrier

  • Grooming: Maintaining Your Rat Terrier’s Sleek Coat:

Regular brushing and occasional baths are necessary to keep their coat healthy and clean.

  • Exercise: Energizing Your Rat Terrier’s Playfulness:

Daily exercise and playtime are crucial to keep your Rat Terrier happy and healthy. They thrive on active games and outdoor adventures.

  • Health: Safeguarding Your Rat Terrier’s Well-Being:

Regular veterinary check-ups and dental care are essential for their health and longevity.

By following these guidelines, you’ll create an environment where your Rat Terrier can thrive, showcasing their intelligence and playful nature while maintaining their physical and emotional well-being.

Historical Background of the Rat Terrier

The Rat Terrier’s history can be traced back to the United States, where they were developed as farm dogs and hunting companions. Their name reflects their skill in hunting rats and other tiny pests.

These dogs were highly valued for their versatility, serving as loyal companions and effective pest controllers on farms. They played a significant role in keeping farms and households free from rodents.

Today, the Rat Terrier remains a symbol of energy and loyalty, carrying the legacy of its roots as a working farm dog. As a breed with a deep connection to its American heritage and a longstanding partnership with humans, the Rat Terrier serves as a reminder of the enduring bond between dogs and people across generations.


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