It was back in 1820 in Great Britain that the Rat terrier was first developed by crossing the Manchester terrier and the Smooth fox terrier. It became very popular in the United States when it was taken there in the 1890s. The breeders in America crossed it once more with the Whippet, the Beagle, and the Smooth fox terrier. This is because they wanted to incorporate the bulkiness, hunting instincts, and the red color of the Beagle, plus the brindle and blue colors, and the agility and speed of the Whippet. The smallest variety of the Rat terrier was derived by crossing the Chihuahua with the Smooth fox terrier. Named by President Theodore Roosevelt, this is a hard-working breed used on farms to get rid of pestiferous creatures like rats.
This dog has powerful legs, a solid neck, powerful shoulders, a deep chest, and is well-muscled. Although it is physically compact, it is muscularly substantive. The ears are usually ripped or upright and kept erect when alert. The dog is usually born with either full-length or short tails, which can either be docked when it is two days old or left intact. It comes in a variety of coat colors such as red-brindle, blue-and-white, black-and-tan, solid-red, tri-spotted, red-and-white, chocolate, sable, and pearl. Breeders that breed just working dogs are not particular about the specifications of the looks.
There are three sizes, the standard size which weighs 12 to 35 pounds or 5½ to 16 kg, and is 14 to 23 inches or 35½ to 58½ cm in height; the mid size which weighs 6 to 8 pounds or 3 to 3½ kg, and is 8 to 14 inches or 20 to 35½ cm in height; and the toy which weighs 4 to 6 pounds or 2 to 3 kg, and is 8 inches or 20 cm in height.
This is a great watchdog because it is always alert, lively, energetic, and spunky. It makes a good companion in the right kind of household, although it does require proper training since it has the tendency of snapping if frightened. As long as it is socialized when it is a puppy, it gets along well with other pets in the house. Care must be taken not to leave smaller animals unsupervised around it if it has not been adequately socialized to be with them or has not been raised with them.
This dog can sometimes be willful and stubborn and can also be reserved with strangers, although it does warm up quite quickly. Despite its small size, it is often fearless even when faced with a larger adversary, showing the true characteristics of the terrier breed. It is especially good in a single person home, providing the companionship and affection that are required. Being highly-intelligent, it picks up training faster than other breeds. It is eager to learn and also eager to please its owner.
Care and Grooming
This dog does not need much grooming. An occasional brushing with a rubber brush or a firm bristle is all that is required to get rid of any dead or loose hair. It needs to be bathed just once in six months. If it's bathed too frequently, it will result in removing the natural oils that exist in its coat, which can result in skin problems, which this breed has a tendency for. During the cold weather, it should be protected adequately with sweaters since it gets a chill very quickly because of its short coat.
As far as exercising is concerned, it needs a daily walk or even a jog for about 20-30 minutes. It loves outdoor romps and challenging games.
If you are thinking of owning a dog of this breed, look for puppies from breeders that are reputable, or check out a rescue center and adopt one from there. Before actually purchasing one however, make sure you know every character trait of this breed to see if it suits what you are looking for. It makes a great pet in families that are suited for it.