Rat terriers or 'Ratters' are known as true terrier dog breeds. These dogs are originally from England, and were bred and developed in the US. The settlers cross-bred the Fox Terriers with European Terriers, Manchester Terriers, and the long extinct White English Terriers. They were also crossbred with the Whippet and Greyhound dogs to build stamina and speed, and with the beagle to improve their hunting skills. In the 1800s, the English miners used Rat Terrier dogs to hunt and kill the rats found in the mine shafts and shacks. They also used them in dog fights as a popular pastime. Rat Terriers became even more popular as Teddy Roosevelt had them as pets. He went hunting with these dogs and thus, they were called Teddy Roosevelt Terriers.
Rat Terriers are basically of two types. The short-legged Rat Terriers and the long-legged Rat Terriers. The short-legged Rat Terriers may have been a cross between Welsh Corgi dogs and Dachshunds. The long-legged are thought to be a cross between the whippet and the greyhounds. This has given long-legged Rat Terriers both the speed and the stamina that are very useful for hunting and sports. Rat Terriers also differ in their average height. The standard height of Rat Terriers is 14 to 23 inches. The medium-sized ones are 8 to 14 inches and the toy variety dogs are about 8 inches in height.
Rat Terriers are one of the best breeds one can get as a family pet. They are well-muscled dogs that have a deep chest, strong shoulders, and a powerful and solid neck. They have a solid yet compact body. They have coat colors that range from chocolate, to red, white, pearl, sable, solid-red, black-and-tan, blue-and-white, and red-brindle.
The life expectancy of Rat Terriers is about 25 years. Their average life span is about 15 to 18 years. With good dog care, you can extend the life span of your Rat Terrier to over 25 years. Many experts say that their life expectancy is just 13 to 16 years. However, it is all about the genetic makeup of the individual dog and the amount of pet care it receives in case of any health problems which makes a huge difference to its average life span.
The personality traits show that these dogs are an active breed. They can be said to have double the energy of Jack Russell Terriers. Their personality is very positive and these good-natured dogs have a real nose for scenting and show grace when speeding or chasing.
They also have an inquisitive and intelligent mind. Rat Terrier puppies that are raised with children can get along with them extremely well. Even adults will prove to be faithful and playful companions for children. These dogs are great watchdogs and are very quick. They do not yap a lot and have a fearless temperament. They love to please people around them and are very fast learners, thus making training a joy and not a difficult routine. Rat Terriers are also very well-mannered dogs and good swimmers. As an owner, you need to show yourself as a confident pack leader who is consistent. This will help in avoiding the small dog syndrome or other territorial issues.
Rat Terriers living in apartments need to be taken outdoors for daily exercise for at least 20 to 30 minutes. They are very active dogs and should have a small or medium-sized yard to release their energy. They love being indoors as well as outdoors. They enjoy challenging games and outdoor pumps. They also do not require much grooming and a weekly combing and brushing will help remove the dead hair.
These energetic dogs are very hardworking canines and will prove to be great mice and rat catchers. They aren't high maintenance, but you need to take good dog care. They are high-spirited dogs, therefore do everything you can to keep their spirits high and not break a good dog into a sad canine. Rat terriers will prove to be faithful, sincere, and dedicated pets and you will enjoy all your years together with delight.