All in all Rats are good little dogs. They are eager to please, like kids, can be energetic and play but still be quiet when they need to be, and are loving and sweet.
All that said, the biggest down side, to me, was the hair. It is short and the individual hairs are stiff, though the dog feels soft, not like a wire-haired breed. But this hair will weave itself into things, like the sofa. So that can be annoying. But then, washing them is very easy, and they do not require brushing or professional trimming.
The coat on the Rat is short, and they can get quite cold on a cold day. Some more than others; the Whippet was used in the development of the breed, and some Rats are more Whippet-like than others, and therefore more cold sensitive. If your dog seems to get cold, it probably needs a jacket. So you may need to, at some times of the year, keep the pet dressed for going outside. Or you might not, as some Rats are very hardy!
They can be a little tender-hearted as well, and get their feelings hurt badly if they do something wrong and you scold them too much. They have a VERY strong desire to please, usually, so a firm, "Nopey!!" is often enough to let the dog know he made a mistake, and praise, praise, praise is just as good as a treat when they do good. This desire to please makes them tremendously trainable! They try very hard to be good.
Rats come in a WIDE variety of sizes. They go from toy to Decker Giants! We had the "miniature" type. I feel the "toy" Rats are just too small, they are delicate, get cold, and overall are too much like a Chihuahua or Min Pin; I don't reccomend them for kids. Our Rat was about 11lbs. I would look for one a smidge bigger, for the next one, and one more sturdily built. Adult weight of 15 lbs to 20 lbs would probably have been a sturdier dog, more cold hardy, and such.
Our Rat was Fantastic!!! with kids, just LOVED them. LOVED to run and play with them, would sit and allow herself to be dressed in clothes and whatever. Great kid dogs- although you do want to assess the personality of the parent dogs, as there are sometimes sharper personalities. Of course, it helps if the dog has been raised with considerate childeren and watchful adults, because if the dog KNOWS that it will likely be hurt by the children, it will decide to defend itself with the only tool the dog has, the teeth. This is true of ANY breed.
I don't currently know much about health concerns that run in the breed. I can research it if you would like. From what I know, they don't have too many major things at this point, like some breeds. In part it is because many people still actively use them to hunt, and dogs with problems are culled. But I am not absolutely sure, like I said, I would have to do some reading.
Anything else you would like to know about them? I will do my best to answer any questions.
Thanks Hopesheltie for all the great information!!!! They sound like great dogs. I understand that they're smart like Jack Russell's but not as hyper!! Which is good because this will be my first dog. My husband grew up with German Shepards but he's letting me get a small dog as long as it still "looks and acts" like a real dog!! LOL I'm looking for a cuddler. Well Hopesheltie, I want to thank you for taking the time to help me. This is great! I've been websurfing for 5 months, getting lots of mixed information. It's interesting to hear from someone who's owned one and isn't just trying to sell one. Thank you again!!! :)
Oh, man, too bad I can't send you a clone of the one we had! She LOVED to cuddle! But she also loved to run run run out in the yard. She would get what we called "The Zoomies" and it was sooo funny to watch. Then she would come over and lay down next to you to be petted. She was a good dog. One downside that I forgot to tell you about too though. She did have a little seperation anxiety. She was ok when we would leave if we put her in her crate though; she would just curl up and get cozy and rest. I do reccomend using a crate - it will save lots of headache, and they actually learn to love their boxes.
Just wondering, after reading LN's thread on shedding, how bad could it be? I have two cats right now and a dust monster living in my furnace. If I own a Rat Terrier, will I have to get rid of all my black clothes?
Haha..sorry I'm laughing, but your question about getting rid of black clothes was funny.
I don't wear black clothes that often because of the hair. When I do wear them (stockings, suits etc..) I dress and and try to keep my Rat Terrier (ChiChi) away from me as much as possible. Car rides are just as bad...and yes the hair does get caught in everything..like splinters.
I would have to agree that the RT is a good dog...mine is a little on the odd side..she is a standar RT and about 25lbs. Hyper most times, but when it's down time (sleep) she knows to settle down. She LOVES to cuddle and hug. And VERY much a lap dog.
Thank you HairgirlDebbie..ChiChi is 4. I consider the hair to be bad, but no worse than what my Lab/Dalmatian sheds. They both contribute evenly I would say. I have a friend that owns 2 JRT's and they are MUCH more hyper than ChiChi....ChiChi is hyper..but she settles down when you tell her...my friends JRT's they don't settle down..even when you crate them. Cheech is a great companion dog...one who will be there for you to snuggle or play. She does well in the car..with the exception of some occasional car sickness..she plays well with my daughter..but she's MY dog..because she is connected to my hip. Hope this helps...but always remember that every dog has their own personality...so you may get something totally different from what I did.
I have owned both a male and a female, both were great dogs. Based on my experience with RT's there was not a whole lot of difference, both I have had where great pets. My male was a more hyper little dude, the female I have now is rather laid back, both were/ are very friendly, good natured dogs so other than some males I have known being more hyper than the girls, I haven't noticed much difference. I suppose it is more just your preference.
I have about 3 lint rollers in my car. I wear black all the time, and dark blue, its about 3/4 of my waredrobe. I'm also not ashamed of dog hair, and when people point it out I ask if they are jealous.
Thanks DoGoneIt. I was just going through that website and I was crying. There are so many dogs there. I wish I could help them all!!! :( Thank you to everyone who has helped me with all my silly questions!!! I'm going to contact the Ratbone rescuers and find out about shipping, and getting aminals across the border, if they will do that. ANd if we can help from Canada!!!!!! Hopefully!