A Rat Terrier's basic conformation stands at 14 to 23 inches at the withers, 12 to 35 pounds and has a short, squat body on rather short, stalk-like legs. Like the rest of its body, a Rat Terrier also has a short coat that lies very close to its body.
Unlike many other types of terriers, a Rat Terrier is single-coated. There are no dense outer coats to shield it from the cold or longer tufts of hair to make it look "fluffier." Some sub-species of the Rat Terrier even have an almost hair-less look, with coats so thin that it's almost transparent or wispy white.
Because of this short coat, a Rat Terrier is quite susceptible to colds. It may look "cute" to some people, but putting a sweater on a Rat Terrier, especially when the weather turns wicked is essential to your pet's survival. This breed of dog does not have enough body fat to sustain it through cold climates. Body fat on a Rat Terrier will not help it move about faster, so obesity should not be an option. Put a sweater on your pet, instead - and both of you will be happier when the warmer climates roll in.
Grooming a Rat Terrier is not very difficult at all. Simply brush its coat with a rubber brush or something that has a firm bristle occasionally. Yes, occasionally. A Rat Terrier is a very low maintenance dog, it doesn't need to be brushed daily or weekly or monthly. With great probability, you will only want to groom it after it takes a bath.
Bath time for the Rat Terrier is far and few in between. Bathing the dog too often may even lead to skin problems like skin redness, hair loss or a skin condition that is termed as Demodex Mange. These skin problems can be cured using a variety of topical salves, dips or drug therapies. If your pet Rat Terrier seem to be suffering from any of these, it is best to immediately seek veterinary help. However, preventive measures are still the best form of cure, so keep bath times at a minimum.
Bathing a Rat Terrier should come as infrequently as once every six months. Unless your pet is particularly dirty (imagine dipped in mud with only his eye balls showing,) baths are not necessary. Bathing your pet too often will only remove the natural oils in its coat, making it more susceptible to skin problems.
Also, to maintain your pet Rat Terrier's glossy coat, you may want to ask first your vet what products may or may not be used. A Rat Terrier is prone to chemical sensitivity and skin allergies like hives and swelling. There are commercial insecticides, flea and tick dips, soaps, shampoos and wormers in the market that may cause your dog itchiness and allergies. Some types of doggy colognes also lead to a Rat Terrier's skin allergies so be aware of sudden irritation or skin eruptions on your pet when you try one or two new products.
A healthy Rat Terrier coat is one that should be firm and bristle-like to the touch - but should look sleek and glossy.