American Rat Terrier

American Rat Terrier Breed description: Character & Co


What is the origin of the American Rat Terrier

The American Rat Terrier developed already in the 19th century from the crossing of different breeds, whereby first Manchester Terrier and smooth-haired Fox Terrier as well as afterwards Beagle and Whippet had influence on the emergence of this breed. The American Rat Terrier was named after Teddy Roosevelt, who himself had a special enthusiasm for dogs. The name itself points to the actual task or the breeding goal of the breed: to free American farms from rats or to keep them free. Accordingly, the breed was popular and widespread in the early 20th century, which unfortunately changed quickly when chemical means for rat control became increasingly popular.

Breed characteristics

The American Rat Terrier has not yet been recognized by the FCI, but is represented by the AKC. He is generally counted among the small dog breeds, and is most notable for his pronounced and happy temperament, as well as his triangular and usually upright ears.

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Alternate Name Rat Terrier
Origin USA
Life expectancy 15 - 18 years
Care requirements low-maintenance
Activity level average
FCI group not recognised
AKC group Terrier Group
KC group Terrier Group

What are the typical characteristics of an American Rat Terrier?

The American Rat Terrier is basically an open-minded and friendly companion and always shows himself to people as a loyal and loving companion. He wants to please and is relatively uncomplicated to train and educate. Mostly he builds up a healthy relationship to other dogs and does not develop any problematic behaviour towards children. In contact with strangers, however, it happens that he keeps a certain distance, reacts rather suspiciously and reserved at first, which again qualifies him as a reliable watchdog. Dogs of his breed are exceedingly spirited and lively, love to play and romp, and are always looking for activity and challenge. Coupled with a solid intelligence, the American Rat Terrier is therefore also wonderfully suited for dog sports or other active pursuits in the fresh air.


What are typical diseases?

So far no typical diseases of the breed are known.

What to consider when breeding Rat Terriers and where to find breeders

For the purchase of an American Rat Terrier puppy it is best to look around for an experienced breeder who can provide appropriate proof. Unfortunately, the breed is not very common in Germany and due to the lack of breed recognition it is more difficult to find, but it is always worthwhile to be careful when choosing a new four-legged family member and, for example, to check the environment from which your new companion comes. It is advisable to check the vaccination status and any examinations that have already been carried out. It is best to get all the available documents so that you can be on the safe side. The price of a puppy is also difficult to estimate due to the rarity of the breed, so it is advisable to ask a breeder.

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The coat of the American Rat Terrier is usually short and smooth. It is characterized by a predominantly white color, which is complemented by various color patterns, usually bi- or tri-color. Most often you will encounter the American Rat with brown and/ or black spots or patches, but there are also conspecifics in other color variations. These are:

  • black
  • blue
  • tan
  • isabella (pearl)
  • lemon

What is the size of the dog?

These terriers basically belong to the small dog breeds (up to medium size) and have a very compact and athletic appearance. The standard height at the shoulder is about 33 to 46 cm. However, there are also smaller breeds, which are more accurately called Toy or Miniature versions.

How much it weighs

As a rule, American Rat Terriers can reach a weight of 5 to about 16 kg, but depending on the breed, the weight can also reach only up to 3 kg. So it always depends on the exact origin or mating of your dog, how exactly he will develop.

How old can an American Rat Terrier become?

Like most dogs of smaller breeds, the American Rats have a fairly high life expectancy of about 15 to 18 years.

Fur length short
Fur flat coated
Ear shape Standing Ears
Tail stubby
Anatomy slim
Size ♀ 33 - 46 cm
Weight ♀ 5 - 16 kg
Size ♂ 33 - 46 cm
Weight ♂ 5 - 16 kg
Suitable For Children


Other medium dogs

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