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Rat Terrier: Training & Key Characteristics of Rat Terrier Dog Breed (American Rat Terrier)

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About Rat Terrier

Country of Origin, History of Rat Terriers

In Great Britain, sometime around the early half of 19th century, the Rat Terrier was developed from the Smooth Fox Terrier and the Manchester Terrier. And in the later part of 19th century the breed was brought to the United States of America. Although, before coming to the USA, the Rat Terrier was only available in black and tan coat shades. However, in America, the Rat Terriers were crossed with the Beagle, the Whippet, the Smooth Fox Terriers and the Chihuahua. The dog is expert at killing rats and is used in farms for such purposes. It should be mentioned here that the Rat Terrier found its name from Teddy Roosevelt.

Rat Terrier Tools

Breed Selector Tool - is the Rat Terrier the right breed for you?

Is the Rat Terrier the right breed for you and your family?

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Check Your Rat Terrier's Learning Style

Are you aware dogs also have a learning style that can greatly affect their ability to housetrain as well as be trained correctly. Evaluate your Rat Terrier's learning style and personality using our free Learning Style tool so that you are better able to provide him with the proper Rat Terrier training methods.

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Does your Rat Terrier bark unnecessarily? Does your Rat Terrier come to you when you call? Download a FREE Report on Dog Dominance for you and your Rat Terrier and learn how to control your dog.

Do you make these mistakes with your Rat Terrier?

Are you inadvertently snow-balling bad behavior in your Rat Terrier? Evaluate your Dog Training Style from our Free Tool and learn how best to deal with your dog.

Rat Terrier Calorie Calculator

Do you know how many calories your Rat Terrier needs every day and how many cups of food you should be giving it every day? Click here to use our Rat Terrier Calorie Calculator.

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A General Description of the Dog

The Rat Terrier has a compact, adequately muscled body with its legs and shoulder being sturdy and strong. The dog has pointed ears with a tail that varies in sizes from one dog to the other dog. Apart from the coat color being black and tan, the other colors range from chocolate, red, white, blue-white, sables and lemon with different patterns like spots and freckles. The dog is also seen in tricolors as well.


The average height of each of the three sizes of the Rat Terrier are:

Standard:14 to 23 inches

Medium: 8 to14 inches

Toy: 8 inches


The average weight of each of the three sizes of the Rat Terrier are:

Standard: 12 to 35 pounds

Medium: 6 to 8 pounds

Toy: 4 to 6 pounds

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Rat Terrier Personality Traits

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The Spanish Water Dog is an extremely intelligent, fearless, ever-active, strong, attentive, happy and well balanced versatile working dog with strong herding, hunting and guardian instincts. It is a devoted companion. It is reserved, not shy, with strangers. They can be protective and territorial.

Are they suited to families with kids?

Most of them are good with children and other animals if properly socialized.

Rat Terrier Activity Level

Exercise is a must for the Rat Terrier. Regular long walks for at least 20 minutes or even more and occasional jogging is extremely important for this dog. The Rat Terrier will love to be included in playing fun games that involve lots of jumping.


Grooming the Rat Terrier is extremely easy, minimal and simple. The dog needs brushing and combing done occasionally to dispose of the dead hairs and to keep the skin germ free.

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Free Rat Terrier Training Secrets

Free Course on Rat Terrier Training & Obedience
Stop All Bad Behavior, Excessive Barking and Biting

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Health and Care

While the SWD seems to be a very healthy breed there are some issues that the SWD have, just like all other breeds. There are cases of Hip Dysplasia in the breed, so choose your breeder carefully.

All breeding dogs should have their hips tested, either by OFA or PennHIP. There have been a few cases of PRA reported in Europe so it is advised that all breeders should test their breeding stock for PRA and other such genetic eye diseases with a yearly CERF exam. A responsible breeder will be able to produce the results in writing.

Like other Water Dogs and related breeds, they grow hair in their ear canals and can be prone to ear infections. The ears must be kept dry and clean. . Because these dogs are (as a general rule) so active and energetic as puppies, they may seriously injure themselves from too much running and jumping when their skeletal structure is still developing.

National Breed Clubs

Life Expectancy: The life span of the Rat Terrier is approximately between 15 years and above

Group: Terrier Group.

AKC Popularity Ranking: 86

Also Known As: Ratting Terrier, Feist, American Rat Terrier

Train Your Rat Terrier To Listen To You

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Sign up for our Free Rat Terrier Mini Course to have a housebroken, obedient dog that happily comes to you every time you call.

You'll learn new commands to obedience-train your dog as well as how to housebreak your dog in 6 days or less.

You'll also learn how to eliminate bad habits like barking, nipping or biting, jumping, or pulling on the leash.Here's just s small fraction of what else you'll learn in the course:

  • How to lead and think like a pack dog - the new psychology.

  • 3 dangerous mistakes that most RT owners make when they are trying to potty train their dogs.

  • The 2 main reasons why your dog barks excessively and how to control its excessive barking.

  • How to obedience train your Rat Terrier to permanently end behavioral problems like Jumping, Aggression, Pulling on Leash.

  • A surprisingly easy way to teach your dog cool new tricks.

  • How to improve your dog's lifespan and keep it from getting overly heavy with a healthy and nutritious diet.

  • Getting Pro help fast - how to get access to our expert trainers when you need them most.

  • One hidden psychological trigger that all Rat Terriers have... that practically allows you to "analyze" and "control" your dog's every action.

  • Priority access to the free online seminars conducted by our training experts.

Whereas other dog training related web sites and books offer generic information for dogs in general, ours is the ONLY web site that offers RT information specifically, from a renowned panel of experts - because as you probably know, RTs have their own special training requirements that other dogs don't have.

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Our Dog Experts

The Rat Terrier training information you will read here was developed by a panel of renowned dog training experts whose combined wisdom represents nearly 100 years of specialist experience training dogs.

Here are a few of our experts:

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