Rat Terrier Personality Traits

A rat terrier certainly meets the criteria for a family-friendly dog. Bred specifically for hunting small animals, rat terriers are small, outgoing dogs. Weighing 5 to 35 pounds, these little dogs are feisty, but don't take up a lot of space. They come in three sizes: Toy, Mid and Standard. They're great dogs for a house or apartment and especially love being on a farm or with surrounding land where they can help keep rodents away.

Rat terriers resemble Jack Russell terriers. They tend to be friendlier, especially if they're socialized with other people and animals frequently during their first year.

Personality Traits of a Rat Terrier

Rat terriers are exceptionally sensitive to their human's feelings. They love spending time with their owner and are happiest curled up on their owner's lap or out jogging beside their master.

If you want a dog that adores children, the rat terrier is a perfect choice. They adore being around kids and love to sleep with their children at night. They're even known to curl up under the covers on a cold night.

Because a rat terrier is very active, you should provide plenty of stimulation. The love to dig, so having their own sandbox in the backyard where toys and bones are buried can keep digging to restricted areas.

Rat terriers are extremely smart and train easily. Housebreaking and obedience training are rarely a demanding challenge with this breed.

Caring for Your Rat Terrier

Generally, rat terriers do make excellent family dogs. However, there is a standard of care that many pet owners overlook. These small terriers will shed, so expect to brush them a couple times a week. They're not heavy shedders though, so you won't have to worry about huge clumps of fur.

They need daily exercise including a romp in the yard or a brisk walk or jog. These terriers require a minimum 30 minutes of exercise per day, so a quick walk outside for a bathroom break is not going to be enough to keep your terrier from feeling boredom.

Rat terriers excel at agility training. Set up an obstacle course in your backyard or basement and spend time training the terrier to go through each obstacle. Many towns have agility courses where you can pay a small fee and spend an hour or two a day.

When left alone inside, make sure your terrier has plenty to do. A bored terrier has a tendency to become destructive. Crate training eliminates the risk of damage to your furniture, but make sure there is plenty for the dog to do within the crate or he'll try to escape. As a general rule, most rats do not enjoy being kenneled. They do love to ride in the car. If you can bring him with you, why not let him join you during your daily routine?

Never leave your dog outside unsupervised. They're exceptional escape artists and have no issue digging under a fence or jumping onto objects near your fence and using them to get out. Make sure you're outside when your dog is outside.