The Rat Terrier breed has always fascinated Man. It can be described as a potent concoction of brains, brawn and beauty. The Rat Terrier is known for its agility and sweet disposition, its ability to hunt down small game, and its laid back attitude when it comes to staying indoors.
Here is a list of things you may want to learn about that tiny terror called Rat Terrier:
In Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird," (1960) there was a brief paragraph mentioning a Rat Terrier.
Ever wonder why you can't seem to Rat Terrier proof your backyard or your fenced yard? Rat Terriers are avid diggers, and they are small enough to squeeze through loose soil under the fence.
In the 1978 movie "The Great Train Robbery," Hollywood superstar Sean Connery attended a rat baiting match in which the film featured a Rat Terrier. It was a brief side note on how to best accomplish this archaic task of vermin eradication, one rat at a time.
Depending upon conflicting historical accounts, the Rat Terrier breed has been in existence as early as the 1820s or as the late as the 1890s, and yet it was only officially recognized as a separate breed from the other terriers in 1999.
In 2004, a strain of hairless Rat Terrier was finally acknowledged as a separate breed by the United Kennel Club or UKC. It was called the American Hairless Terrier, and the entire breed came from one single Rat Terrier bitch suffering from a form of hairless mutation.
U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt has a Rat Terrier named after him. In 1999, a strain of the Rat Terrier breed, or more specifically the Type-B Rat Terrier was officially listed in the UKC as the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier.
In the 1900s, it was said that the Rat Terrier was the most common type of farm dog. Supposedly, one Rat Terrier was so adept at hunting down vermin that it killed 2,501 rats in a barn in just 7 hours.
A serious depletion in Rat Terrier population happened from the 1950s and after with the widespread use of chemical pesticides in farm areas. Some chemicals were detrimental to the health of the dogs. Other farmers on the other hand decided that chemical pesticides were more convenient than raising Rat Terriers.
Although affectionately treasured by farm owners, the earliest strain of Rat Terriers performed the very nasty job of hunting down vermin or large rats that ate the grains in the farm. A few of them were trained to hunt small game - not as a sport, but to help sustain the protein needs of the family the dog serves.
There are actually three sub-species of Rat Terriers that is measured according to height and weight: the Standard (h. 14-24 inches / w. 12 -35 lbs.); Mid-sized (h. 8-14 inches / w. 6-8 lbs.); and toy (h. 8 inches / w. 4-6 lbs.)