Rat Terrier

Energetic / Loving / Smart

Ratties are loving, loyal and extremely energetic. They love to play and romp around with their family. They are also very friendly toward people they know. You and your family are the first priority.

Small breed white and tan spotted rat terrier laying on a couch


Learn More


Learn More

Lifetime Care

Learn More

Breed Profile


Alt text needed
  • 10 - 18 Inches


Alt text needed
  • 10 -25 lbs


Alt text needed
  • 12-18 Years

Amount a Spot accident & illness plan would cover*

*Hypothetical reimbursement examples illustrate reimbursement of an eligible vet bill at the noted reimbursement rate, assuming the annual deductible had already been met.

My dog’s name is*


Potential health problems for rat terriers

Many dogs are genetically predisposed to certain illnesses; rat terriers are no exceptions. There are also illnesses that many dogs can get, like demodectic mange. Below are the three most common issues this working dog may have.


Rx Icon

Demodectic Mange

What is it?

Demodectic mange is a condition where your pup will develop hairless patches on their skin. They also tend to have sores or lesions in those areas. The cause of these patches is an overabundance of the Demodex mite.  

Usually, a pup will have some Demodex mites in their hair follicles, but their immune system prevents them from causing too much trouble. When your dog has more mites than usual, their immune system can’t keep up, which makes younger pups particularly susceptible.  

% Dogs affected:


Clinical signs:

Dry, hairless skin ,lesions, redness, itchy spots, rash skin thickening, scaling, inflamed lymph nodes in extreme cases, bacterial infections, highly inflamed skin


Mild cases resolve themselves, topical medication, miticidal treatment (oral or topical), antibiotics if a secondary infection occurs.

Health risks:

Secondary skin infections

Ivermectin, a miticidal treatment, can negatively affect dogs with the MDR1 mutation.

Average Vet Bill



90% = $91.80

80% = $81.60

70% = $71.40


What is it?
Epilepsy is a condition that can affect dogs and humans. It causes seizures, but the exact reason is unknown. Brain injuries are believed to be one cause of seizures, but epilepsy seems to be a condition that can be inherited genetically.

It causes abnormal brain waves, but the brain itself seems normal. When seizures occur, there is an electrical surge in brain activity.

% Dogs affected:

Clinical signs:
Seizures: stiffening in legs and neck, trembling and shaking, uncontrollable drooling and/or chewing, uncontrolled bladder, vocalizing.

Pre-seizure: anxious, fearful, dazed. Post-seizure: sleepy, confused, dazed, disoriented.


Health risks:

injury during seizures, seizure clusters, which can lead to status epilepticus, a constant seizure state that is life-threatening, severe/grand mal seizures, which are increasingly violent seizures.

Average Vet Bill



90% = $4500

80% = $4000

70% = $3500

Patellar Luxation

What is it?
Patellar Luxation is a condition affecting the knees of your pup. It occurs when a dog's kneecap slips out of its place. The seriousness of the illness and the treatment are based on how many legs are affected by this condition. 


If your dog has only one leg that’s affected, the treatment is much easier. If there are multiple affected kneecaps, your pup may need to undergo surgery to help correct the problem. 

% Dogs affected:

Clinical signs:
clinical signs, skipping or hopping, kicking leg out to pop the kneecap into place, intermittent lameness, lifting affected leg when moving, weight shifting.

in less severe cases, arthritis medication, in more severe cases, surgery.

Health risks:

osteoarthritis, kneecap instability, intermittent lameness

Average Vet Bill



90% = $2682

80% = $2384

70% = $2086


Heart icon


Ratties are loving, loyal, and extremely energetic.


They love to play and romp around with their family. 


These little dogs are tons of fun and need lots of activities and play


Both like to bark, whether at the mailman or a squirrel. This can make them great watchdogs.


Their intelligence and desire to make you happy mean they’re easy to train and learn quickly.

Lifetime Care

Alt text needed


Rat terriers have a short and smooth coat with varied markings.


They are a colorful breed ranging from black and white to red and tan, as well as, tricolor.


No, these dogs are not hypoallergenic.


Weekly or bi-weekly grooming is best for a rat terrier.


Socialization is also a necessary part of training, so your dog knows how to interact with new people and dogs.

Lifetime Care Cost:

$17285 (Reviews from dog breed-specific parents)

My dog’s name is*


Rat Terrier: Dog Breed Information Guide

Famous for their ability to protect homes and farms from rats, the rat terrier is a sweet, small bundle of energy. They’re great hunters and even better companions. These little dogs are tons of fun and need lots of activities and play. If you’re thinking about adopting a rat terrier you’ve come to the right place. 

Most terrier breeds originate from the United Kingdom. The rat terrier is the only terrier breed that is American-born and bred. However, they descend from famous English terriers like the Manchester terrier and smooth fox terrier. Other potential rat terrier ancestors are the beagle, whippet, chihuahua, Italian greyhound and miniature pinscher. 

The rat terrier was first bred in the United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s when immigrants brought other breeds of terriers to America. As time went on, these breeds were mixed with other dogs, and the rat terrier was born.  

According to legend, the rat terrier was named by President Theodore Roosevelt who kept them as companions in the White House. In fact the Teddy Roosevelt terrier is a descendant of the rat terrier breed. 

What are the four types of rat terrier?

The rat terrier comes in four different sizes, although only two of these four are accepted by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The smallest rat terrier is the toy rat terrier. Most toy dogs are the smallest of their breed unless there are teacup variations of the breed.

The next tallest is the miniature rat terrier. They are slightly larger than the toy but smaller than the next type on the list, the standard rat terrier. Standard rat terriers are the rat terriers that were the first to breed true; that is, to have the same characteristics each time.

The largest of the rat terrier variations is the decker rat terrier. Neither decker nor toy rat terrier are official breeds, at least according to the AKC. Other than their sizes, however, the types of rat terriers have the same characteristics.

What is the character of a rat terrier?

Ratties are loving, loyal and extremely energetic. They love to play and romp around with their family. They are also very friendly toward people they know. You and your family are the first priority.

One of their primary goals is to please you. They want you to be happy with them and their accomplishments. However, they can be a bit cocky and stubborn at times.

Are rat terriers intelligent?

These dogs are very smart. They need a lot of mental stimulation so they don’t get bored. Like many dogs, boredom for a rat terrier means you’ll probably find your shoes or furniture have been chewed on a little.

These dogs are also talented escape artists, so make sure you supervise them when they’re outside or playing in the yard.

How are rat terriers around children?

Rat terriers are very good with kids, making them a good family pet. Of course, you should always watch your pup and kids when they’re playing, but it’s a great way for both your children and your dog to relieve their high energy levels.

How well do rat terriers interact with other dogs and pets?

Perhaps you don’t have any human children, but you have some fur babies. Will a rat terrier fit in with your other pups? Or perhaps there’s a dog park close by. Can you take your rat terrier there?

If you’re going to take your rat terrier to the dog park, they need to be separated from the larger dogs. If there isn’t a separate area for small dogs, your rat terrier may have some difficulty due to their cocky disposition.

Rat terriers can be overconfident around other dogs. They also tend to bully smaller animals, mainly because they are supposed to hunt rodents. If you own a pet rat or mouse, their high prey drive means a different breed of dog would make a better furry family member.

Are rat terriers good around strangers? 

They aren’t too bothered by strangers, but they can be slightly reserved initially. They probably won’t greet a stranger with joy the first time they come over, but they can be more friendly as time goes on. 

How to be the best pet parent for a rat terrier?

As a pet parent, whether it’s your first time or a seasoned dog owner, you’ll need to know about the needs and habits of your newest addition before bringing them into your home.

Here at Spot Pet Insurance, we know that your pet deserves the best, so our goal is to help you understand your pet’s needs. As pet parents ourselves, we know how important it is for you and your pup to get along so both of you can be able to have fun together.

Like any pet or any human, rat terriers are complex. Their personalities and physical characteristics affect what kind of care they need and how much time you need to spend in specific areas. For example, rat terriers have greater exercise needs than they do grooming needs.

How much does a dog or puppy cost?

Adoption fee: (puppy) $500-$1,100, (purebred) maximum $2,000, rehoming/adoptive fee $50-500. If you’re considering adopting a rattie from a rat terrier rescue, local shelter, or animal welfare organization, it is always recommended that you contact them directly for accurate costs and fees.

[Expense: First year, Following years]

Food: $75-$130, $70-180

Bowls for water and food: $5-$20, N/A

Treats: $40-$240, $40-240

Collars: $5-$40, $0-$40

Leash: $5-$20, $0-$20

Doggy bed and crate: $35-$145, $0-$145

Toys: $15-50, $15-50

Vaccines and routine care: $385-$1,095, $280-$645

Microchip: $25-$50, N/A

Heartworm and flea prevention: $60-$180

Total: $650-$1,970, $465-$1,500

Basic training and behavior etiquette for your dog 

The rat terrier breed needs lots of training. It keeps their minds active and prevents them from getting bored. Socialization is also a necessary part of training, so your dog knows how to interact with new people and dogs. 

  1. Their intelligence and desire to make you happy mean they’re easy to train and learn quickly. To keep their minds active, you should start teaching them new behavior as soon as they’ve mastered the one you’ve been working on. 
  2. Rat terriers do better with reward-based training.  
  3. If you can make the training into a game, they might respond better. 
  4. When they’re young, you should introduce them slowly to new people, places, and dogs, so they can learn to behave well in public. 
  5. Rat terriers should learn basic commands like sit, stay, heel, come, etc. 
  6. Rat terriers should be encouraged to be kind to dogs smaller than they are. 

What types of foods should a rat terrier never eat? 

Some pet parents enjoy making food for their pets, so they need to be aware of what their pups can eat and what they can’t. We’ve provided a list of some foods you should avoid. 

  • Listed below we have some foods that are toxic for dogs in general: 
  • Chocolate  
  • grapes and raisins, avocados, wild cherries, rhubarb, almonds, yeast dough, alcohol, macadamia nuts 
  • There are many other foods that dogs can and can’t have. We’ve provided some resources about those foods here. 

Exercising tips to keep your dog staying fit and healthy  

Because rat terriers have a lot of energy, they need a lot of exercise. You could take them with you on a walk, or maybe go jogging together. If you prefer shorter walks, you could take them on a short walk and then play fetch or another game with them. 

Rat terrier life stages 


My dog’s name is*

Learn about your data rights. to opt out of certain cookies.