The Rat Terrier was first brought to the United States in 1890 and the breeders introduced the smooth Fox Terrier to the blood lines once again. Changing the color pattern to what we know today, which is the white with black spots and tan markings.
The name Rat Terrier was given to the breed by President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt. Teddy Roosevelt had them in the White House to rid the premises of rats and other rodents. He was the twenty sixth president and held office from 1901 to 1909. President Roosevelt used them to hunt rabbit and squirrel.
In the earlier days the Rat Terrier was used in the rat pits in rat killing contests. They hold the record for killing 2500 rats in a span of seven hours.
Today the Rat Terrier can be found in three sizes. The standard being 14 inches to 23 inches tall, weighing for 12 lbs.. to 35 lbs.., midsize is 8 inches to 14 inches tall, weighing 6 lbs.. 8 lbs.., the toy is up to 8 inches tall, weighing in at 4 lbs.. to 6 lbs.
The Rat Terrier is a diverse hunting dog for squirrel, rabbit as well as being a jumping deer in thick brush and running them to the hunter. They usually run the deer 200 feet all the while yipping then return to the handler.
The Rat Terrier does very well when used in hunting upland game.
They tend to hunt close and are good for flushing the game, they are very
good at finding dead or crippled game and retrieving it to its handler.
In many locations they are used to help get rid of rats, ground squirrels, rations, opossums, and feral. Some are even used as water dogs for retrieving ducks shot by their handler.
On the farms they make excellent mousers, catching and killing the deer mice that carry the Haunta Virus. Thus keeping the fields and buildings safe for their families to be in.
With the proper training the Rat Terrier can become an excellent snake dog. Protecting it's owners from the harm of poisonous snakes.
The Rat Terriers personality is that of a tenacious terrier. They thrive on TLC and make good lap dogs one minute and the next can be off hunting or just playing. They are a very loyal family pet as well as good for protection but tend to shy away from strangers till they get to know them.
They adapt well to indoors or out, to the city or country. With their quick learning ability they learn commands and tricks easily, and they strive to please their owners and learn quickly what displeases their owners.
Rat Terriers come in many different colors, the most common is the tri or bi-color being white and black and tan markings. Most have the tan or rust trim of the Manchester type. Other colors that may or may not have the trim include such colors as chocolate, red, orange, lemon or blue. The ticking is acceptable as long as the white is predominate. Colors like fallows, silver or a single color except white is considered faults. Any brindled or merlization is a disqualification in the show.
The Rat Terriers gait should be smooth, straight and very lively. Their stride should be such that they can cover ground with the greatest of ease. When running their front legs should have a long reach with the back legs driving the body forward in a jaunty air, that shows it's agility, speed and power.
The Rat Terrier is registered with the Universal Kennel Club International and can also be registered with the National Rat Terrier Association.
Rat Terriers have two types of tails, one is docked and should be 1 to 3 inches long. The other is a natural bob, this means they are born with no tail.
Many people get mixed up and think the Rat Terrier and the Jack Russell's are one in the same. The biggest difference is the temperament. The temperament of the Rat Terrier is wonderful, gentle, and loving, the Jack Russell lacks many of these fine traits.
Rat Terriers tend to be longer legged with
the exception of the toy, which many are trying to make a separate breed
know as the Teddy Rat. The Jack Russell is a breed with mixed leg length,
some short, medium to long. The Jack Russell also has several coat textures,
long, medium and smooth. Where as the Rat Terrier is a smooth coated dog.
Grooming is quite easy: a simple brushing to remove the loose hair and an occasional bath, along with reqular nail trimming.
Rat Terriers that are not regularly brushed will tend to shed quite a little. If one wears dark cloths around them they will pick up a lot of little white hairs on the cloths showing the shedding.
One draw back to a Rat Terrier is they love
to dig. Should they run a predator to ground, they will move heaven and
earth to reach there prey.
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