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Gabby101's avatar

What can you tell me about Rat Terriers?

Asked by Gabby101 (2559 points ) January 24th, 2013

I’ve been looking to get a dog, but every time I find one, I read the profile and there always seems to be something unappealing – drooling, gas, shedding, digging, can’t be left alone, etc! Those profiles make every dog seem like a disaster waiting to happen, yet, I had a dog growing up (a mutt) that was very well behaved without obedience training or any of the fancy advice out there today.
I’m thinking of getting a rat terrier, but I don’t want a house full of dog hair. I don’t mind brushing everyday if that will help combat the issue. I also need a dog that won’t destroy the backyard or my house. I’m willing to go to obedience classes and crate train, if that will help. What do you guys think? Can a rat terrier work?

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11 Answers

KNOWITALL's avatar

My little terrier Mona does shed, but if you brush her every night, it’s not bad.

She is extremely high energy, but after puppy stage will settle down and play with toys, but they are still a little more energetic than other dogs. They need a way to burn energy off every single day, via walks or courses.

They also have bad teeth often, Mona’s breath is terrible. She eats whole wild rabbits and moles, and birds, everything she can catch in the back yard. They are also slinky, so make sure your fenced area is completely sealed.

Other than that, she is a perfect sleeper and a fun pet, probably loves to play more than any dog I’ve ever had, which is a considerable amount.

Coloma's avatar

Any and all breeds of dogs have their traits and challenges. They all bark, most shed, many drool and all will be horrible pets without proper and consistent training.
I think finding a breed that fits your lifestyle and being committed to proper training, classes, etc. is the most important. If you lead an active life get an active dog, if you are not so active don’t pick a breed that needs lots of exercise and stimulation.
Of course ALL breeds will be very active for the most part during the first few years of their lives. Young everything have lots of energy but wisely choosing a breed that fits your lifestyle is a good place to start.

KNOWITALL's avatar

She is a barker, too, we’ve really had to work with her on that quite a bit.

YARNLADY's avatar

Be less concerned with getting a breed, and more concerned with a good fit. There are lots of mutts at the humane society that need homes. Visit several times and interact with the dog you choose.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@YARNLADY Just be careful with that because some dogs act very very different in that loud environment. We almost didn’t get Mona because she was spastic in the rescue, but once she was home for a week, she settled right down into a normal dog. And no matter what they say, don’t try to introduce doggie brothers and sisters at a rescue.

rooeytoo's avatar

I don’t believe there is a specific breed “rat terrier.” I think that is a generic name given to smallish, short haired, usually white and black/brown spotted little dogs. I’m not even sure if they are terrier type although they Usually have the yappy attitude of a terrier. Anyhow if you don’t want to go through the problems you have noted, you are better off adopting an adult dog because most of the problems you describe are part of puppyhood. I know everyone says adopt a mutt, but seriously if you are so specific about the type of dog you want then you are better off going to a dog show. Look at the dogs, pick out the breeds you like the look of. Go and talk to the breeders (after they are finished showing) and ask them about their breeds. Often show people will have an adult at home that is a great dog but didn’t quite make it in the ring and they want to place it in the right home. They have no financial incentive, they are looking for a forever home for a dog they love but can’t devote sufficient attention to. They will not misrepresent their dog because they want it to have a happy life and don’t want it to come back.

Pure bred dogs often get a bad rap in here and it is often unfounded. A reputable breeder will guarantee health and temperment. It is a win win situation, a dog gets a good home and you get a dog that fits your parameters!

If I told you all of this before I apologize.

YARNLADY's avatar

@KNOWITALL That’s so true. I even took my toddler son with me once, and the dog seemed to like him, and was very well behaved. Then at home it growled at him, and even lunged at him when he was in his playpen. I took the dog back with in a week.

anartist's avatar

A wire haired terrier and maybe an airdale are variants of a rat terrier. We had wire-haireds when I was growing up. Their weakness—they can be nervous dogs. Their strengths—they are brave and loyal protectors. One night my brother went sleepwalking down the street when he was just a toddler. Our dog followed him and stayed with him and would not even let a man who wanted to help take him back home. The man had to knock at the nearest neighbor’s house and call the police.

If you need it, they are also excellent ratters.

KNOWITALL's avatar

How do you upload a pic into your answer?

rojo's avatar

Rat Terriers are one of those high maintenance dogs. If you do not have, or desire, a four legged child, you would be better off looking into a different breed.

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