My Rat Terrier - The Best Breed in The World!

Cute Rat Terrier
Cute Rat Terrier

My Rat Terrier

Rat Terrier's rule! I have been around dogs all my life, but have never met a dog with a better personality than my Rat Terrier, Lexie. Every day, she does things, which put me and my husband in hysterics. And, she is one of the most loving and affectionate dogs you could spend time with.

When I got Lexie about five years ago I was looking for a small dog that was fun, smart and good with children. Although I don’t have kids myself, I have many nieces and nephews so I wanted to make sure the dog would be a good addition to the extended family. I originally planned to get an Italian Greyhound, but when I went to look at the puppies I was drawn to the Rat Terriers. One, in particular seemed to choose me, and I was hooked.

When I mention to others that I have a Rat Terrier, most people have never heard of them. The research shows that Rat Terriers are an American Breed that were common farm dogs in the early 1900’s and were bred for catching barn rats in haystacks. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt is often credited as the one to give them the name “Rat Terrier” because he owned a small, dark colored dog that became well known for eliminating rats from the White House. Rat Terriers come from a mix of many dogs including Whippets, other Terrier breeds, Miniature Pinschers, and Chihuahuas.

The Name Lexie

Lexie is short for Alexa. When I first got my dog I spent hours on the internet looking at baby naming websites. I could tell that my rattie was special so I wanted a special name. Alexa means “defender of mankind”. So, how funny to name a very small dog such a “big” name. She is definitely a Lexie!

The Lobster Walk

One of the funniest things my Rat Terrier does is what we call the Crab Walk. Our house is a combination of wood floors, carpeting and some area rugs. Lexie does not like walking on the wood floors so she maneuvers through the house running from one carpeted area to another. When she has a need to venture out onto the wood floor, for example to grab one of her throw toys, Lexie will slowly walk to the toy, grab it, then walk backwards like a crab, to the carpeted area. It doesn’t matter how far she walks forward, she returns to the carpet with her back legs first. It’s hilarious.

The Jumping Rat Terrier

The Second Hello

My husband and I often come home at different times during the day and get what we call the first and second hellos from our rat terrier. If you are the first one home, when you arrive my pup is usually sleeping in our bed and when she hears you - will leisurely stand up, yawn, stretch and slowly pitter patter down the hall to greet you. She’s happy to see you, but very mellow.

If you are lucky enough to get the coveted second hello it’s a different story. At this point Lexie’s been up and socializing with whomever’s home. When you arrive, this Rattie goes crazy with excitement. She runs in circles, she barks, she jumps ten feet to kiss you and she wags her tail so hard her entire body moves back and forth. You feel extra special when you get that second hello!

Lexie & Her Sink Bath
Lexie & Her Sink Bath

The Sink Bath

Our Rat Terrier is so small that you can give her a bath in the kitchen sink. We plop her in, start the process and she loves it.. not! As soon as she’s in the sink, she frowns, as only a Rat Terrier can do and waits impatiently until the process is over. She especially dreads her head getting wet and will nod up – down – left – right to get away from that sink hose.

As soon as we’re done and she’s free from our towel papoose we have a tradition- which is to give her one of her favorite treats- a Greenie. As soon as we say “Do you want a Greeeenie” (extra Es put there on purpose) she has forgotten the pain of her bath and is a happy pup all over again. So cute!

Many Animals In One

My rat terrier is many animals in one. She leaps like a cat, walks on the top of the sofa like a goat, runs like a deer, pops her head up and down like a prairie dog, jumps like a rabbit and so much more. I have never seen one animal with the movements of so many. You might think she grew up in the wild observing many other animals, but alas, she has spent most of her life in suburban condos and houses.

The Perfect Size

Lexie has weighed 11 pounds most of her adult life. This is not 11 pounds of fluff and fur, this is 11 pounds of pure muscle. Although she is small, she plays like a big dog. You can rough house with her, like you could with a 60 pound lab. But, she takes up no space, and makes very small poops, unlike a 60 pound lab. When she curls up in a ball, you don’t even know she’s there. She fits perfectly on your lap. Except when she is “long dog” or “wide dog”.

Long Dog, Wide Dog

For a dog as small as a Rat Terrier is, she can take up a lot of space when she wants to. We’ve nicknamed her poses as long dog and wide dog. When she’s long dog, she has her front legs above her head and her back legs behind her butt and she triples in length. When she’s wide dog, she lies on her side with her legs straight out in 90 degree angles to her body and she doubles in width. I never knew that an 11 pound dog could take up an entire queen size bed or push a large human out of her way. Yet, she finds a way to do this!

In summary... If you are considering getting a small dog, I highly recommend the Rat Terrier breed. I’ve spent time with dogs of all shapes and sizes, yet never met any dog as fun and loving as my Rat Terrier.

Update from 2015: I now have two Rat Terriers, Lexie and Tate, and my opinion has not changed. Rat Terriers are one of the best dog breeds around!

Rat Terrier Play Group!

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What Are Your Favorite Dog Breeds? 36 comments

Minga 7 years ago

I am a Rat Terrier Grandma.


momslogin 7 years ago

I have two Rat Terriers and I agree, they are awesome dogs. I recommend them above most other breeds- if you want a smaller dog.


Maria 7 years ago

I agree. We've had our Teddy Roosevelt Terrier (Type B Rat Terrier) for 2 years and she is the sunshine in our world. One more thing I would like to add is that they can make so many adorable expressions depending on how they hold their ears. My Brandy has huge beautiful ears. It's usually the first thing people notice.


Betty 7 years ago

How can you not love them? since Lacy came into my life there has not a day gone by without laughter at her antics then her eyes ...manipulated by those brown wonders oh she is so girl .....it is too late to tell me dogs can't communicate or talk , she is almost non stop and I don't mean a yapper... she almost never barks

enough thanks for listening


RattieFan 7 years ago

I have a Rat Terrier Lula... so cute, so small. I agree.. the perfect breed!


Bren 7 years ago

My two favorite breeds are the Rat Terrier and the Collie. They are very similar in temperament, which is gentle and very intelligent. They both know when it's time to play and when it's time to settle down. I know this, because I used to own Collies, and now I own Ratties. If you want a small dog that is just as durable as a large dog, then try a Rat Terrier. You shouldn't be disappointed.


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Reynolds_Writing 7 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thanks for the comment Bren. I agree.. A Rat Terrier is a large dog in a small dog's body!


Bonnie 7 years ago

I would recommend a Rat Terrier for any family. I have a Rat Terrier that will be 5 in November. She is such a joy and can do some funny things to make you laugh. One thing she does is take her dog bone and put it under her blanket. Then she takes her nose and rubs over the blanket like it is dirt and she is covering up the bone...just too cute! I have had several breeds in my lifetime, but have never seen a dog with so much love to give as a Rat Terrier. Their happiest place is in your lap. They are so eager to please and make great watch dogs since they are very protective of their owners. Please if you have never considered a Rat Terrier before, please do so. They are exceptional family pets.


SDC 7 years ago

I love my Rat Terrier - she's so sweet and spirited.


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Reynolds_Writing 7 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

SDC and Bonnie- Thanks for your Rat Terrier comments!


Brenda Lestrange 6 years ago

You are so lucky to have Lexie! I adopted a young female rat terrier named Sassi and we have observed all the traits in her you mentioned. She does "galloping growl" run when she is happy. It is hilarious!She enjoys her human pillows too!


Kendell 6 years ago

We also have a little girl rattie named Sassie. We never knew about rat terriers until we "rescued" her. She is the sweetest little thing we could ever imagine. We love her little moans and groans when she is getting comfortable in bed. She also does the funniest little jump-run like a rabbit in the snow when it gets too high for her to walk in. You have to see it to appreciate it!


Erin 6 years ago

I had never heard of a rat terrier before meeting scout. like you i was drawn to him when i first saw him. He is still just a puppy, but so smart and funny! he constantly makes my boyfriend and myself laugh and brings us so much joy! he is one of the best things that has ever happened to us


DOROTHY 6 years ago

I INHERITED MY RAT TERRIER FROM MY DAUGHTER, SHE COULD NOT HAVE A DOG AT HER NEW APT. HE WAS FROM A SHELTER. I WAS UNDERGOING CHEMO AT THE TIME. I TRULY LOVE THIS LITTLE GUY MORE THAN ANYONE COULD EVER IMAGINE. HE IS THE MOST LOVING, LOYAL, DOG.I LOVE HIM MORE THAN ANYONE COULD EVER IMAGIE.


Cheri 6 years ago

I'm currently fostering a rat terrier. He is so cute and gentle. I was expecting him to be a feisty dog but he is quite the opposite. I think he is wonderful!


seg 6 years ago

my rat terrier was roming the streets someone found her and toke her to the pound the adopion center toke her and they just set up and I saw herand adoped her we love each other


Jenny 6 years ago

My rattie Daisy is truly my best friend! Of all the things I have done in my life...getting her is by far the best! I never in a million years thought I could love a dog as much as I love her! I have 2 children...and my rattie is truly my 3rd child and my baby! Great story and sooooo true!


Leanna 6 years ago

Rat Terriers truly are a perfect breed. They make you laugh and are loving and sweet. My Rat Terrier Cheery Bomb sometimes will snore and slightly growl while asleep. I swear that litle dog talks to me. I'll ask her, ''do you need to go outside?'' And she will nod her head! I L-O-V-E love rat terriers.


Kristi 6 years ago

I had never had a dog in my life and was visiting a shelter to look at a chihuahua mix because I needed a small dog for my apt, and Shadow jumped up into my lap and looked at me with those big brown eyes and that was it. I asked him if he wanted to go home with me and he nodded his head and tried crawling into my purse. He has the best personality of any dog I have ever met and he lights up my life!! I love him!! I would recommend a rat terrier to anyone!


Tony  5 years ago

I own a rattie for 7 months after my nephew in the other State got it free from an acquaintance. He was 2+ years then. Gosh, the guy is so sweet, funny and so smart. He is too picky with food and we feed him best meats. I know it is bad for his health (little overweight) but he refuses to eat processed dog food. The only thing I don't like ratties is that they shed a lot of hair even I try to give him bath regularly (well I have to reduce or his hair/skin getting too dry). My wife and I often fight to get him close to when we sleep!


sherry 5 years ago

I am in the process of adopting my female rattie, Sadie, from pets in distress...she was placed in a wonderful foster home..prior to that she was in the streets, abused by some man (according to her fear of men), had a litter of puppies..She was taken in by someone who gave her 7 puppies away and then did not want her,,,,she is a profile in courage!!! She is resilient, in a way that few people are and she is SO loving...full of tricks! Chases squirrels and birds! I am attempting to socilaize her and help her get over her fears..it is worth my effort and time,,,Sadie is a blessing! I will take her to Jacaranda Animal Hospital in Davie, Florida where she will get more love from a caring staff and excellent doctor.


pat 5 years ago

I always said I could never have a terrier because it was above my skill set in dog parenting - boy, was I soooo wrong. My husband found our wonderful Sophie wandering a country road, boney, flee-infested, infected ears, and worst of all gold urine stains on the white fur of both hips. We were told that was from being kept in a dirty cage for lengthy time periods. At first, we were going to try and find her a home since we already have two other rescue dogs and two rescued cats - but - she soon totally stole our hearts. She has brought new life into the house, even getting our 8-year old large couch potato dog to play for the first time in her life and also engages in prolonged really active play sessions for our youngest tiger cat. She is a real cuddler and will nestle in for prolonged periods of complete relaxation. She is so easy to train and actually seems to understand many words - but best of all she seems to really care what we think. Although she is technically a small dog, she feels like a big one - no silliness or fluffiness for her - she's all competence and strength with a spirit you can't beat. Bottom line - we adore her and would recommend this breed to almost anyone.


Karen 5 years ago

I just adopted a rattie/greyhound mix. She is very cute and eager to please. I think we are going to be great friends.


lothar baier 5 years ago

I always didn't care much about dogs, so when my wife wanted a small inside dog to keep her company during my extended working hours i was not really excited and tried to get the idea out of her head really quick - a dog ? no a dog in the house ? HECK NO !

This until one day when we went back to school shopping , in the mall parking lot there was a lady with a crib full of puppies - of course my son HAD to look and before i even knew it my wife was talking shots, vet stuff and a price for the pup !

my wife was driving so i got the pup dumped in my lap, the little guy didn't lose no time to get all cute , wagging his little nub , crawling up on me licking my cheaks and giving me all kinds of looks , guess he knew who he had to win over :)

Now , almost 6 years later, i cant immagine life without a rat terrier, meanwhile i have adopted a female and thanks to my procrastination , ended up with pups which of course we kept :) so we share the house with 9 ratties each with a personality of her/his own , i cant immagine no better breed in the world , the only thing that would make them perfect is if you could claim them on your tax return as dependends !


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jhosler 4 years ago

I love ur hub.


Kelsey 4 years ago

So much of this reminds me of my pup, Lucy. She's full rat terrier and I've had her for about 3 years now. I love reading how much other people love this breed, and have never heard a bad thing about them. I found her by chance in a newspaper ad when she was just a pup. She was the last of her litter, but I know she was left for me. My family was skeptical, especially my dad, but now he's my dog's favorite person. And your part about the long dog, wide dog totally reminded me of her. When she would sleep with me and my fiancée she had this ability to take up the space right between us and push each of us towards the edges of the bed. I love my rat terrier, this is definitely a breed that people should know more about!


cindy 4 years ago

i have rattie too . her hame is reese . 5 years . she is my 2 rattie . she is part of one of gods heaven wings . and dose thang that will tack your heart to new place in life . this my little girl reese . and she like a pice of candy you just cant have one . you will need the hole bag .


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Rat-Terrier123 4 years ago from Tenneesee US.

i love this hub! i tottaly love ratties, they are the best dog, they deserve to be more well known, every one who has one loves it, and i give my 14 pounder baths in the sink to! i love that :P yours is a cutie how old is she?


Leah 4 years ago

My rat terriers name is pancakes and she is the most adorible dog ever :)

ilove her so much , shes a great dog ,very expressive in how she feels and theres never a dull moment with her :)


luvrt 4 years ago

gotta luv rat terriers.


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angela_michelle 3 years ago from United States

My husband and I also have a rat terrier, and are looking in getting a second this weekend. It is the greatest personality of a dog. Right now he is playing fetch with my husband.

My husband and I call the second hello, which our dog does as well as the fish out of water, because that is what he looks like with his whole body wag. See, yet another animal. We also have noted how our dog walks like a deer.

I too would recommend a rat terrier. :)


crini 3 years ago

Gotta love Ratties. Mine is so smart she knows the names of all her toys and will get the one I ask her for, example: Allie get the ball, or get the mouse, or the duck...

When I began to house train her, I put the newspaper (training paper) outside and she NEVER went in the house again. She was house broken in one day!

She is so loveable and cuddles with me every night! The only bad part about a Rattie is the constant shedding!


Shannon 15 months ago

Sounds like you're talking about OUR rat terrier! Love these little doggies!!


bob 9 months ago

we had our rat terrier for a year now and i'm really disappointed. he has tons of anxiety and is neurotic like a Chihuahua. The shaking is so bad sometimes he falls over. I wanted a terrier cause they are supposed to be "full of fire" well this one is just full of fear.


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Peggy W 5 months ago from Houston, Texas

My brother and sister-in-law used to have a rat terrior and they loved it. You have certainly made a good case for having them as pets. :) Will share and pin this to my dogs board.


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moonlake 5 months ago from America

When our kids were young we had two rat terriers and our neighbor had the brother to ours. We loved them they were great dogs so smart but they had one problem they chased cars. Now I have two Chihuahuas much calmer dogs.

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