Rat Terrier

He is not recognized by the F.C.I.

Origin
U.S.A.
This breed is also known as
English Rat Terrier
American Rat Terrier

Brief historical summary

The Rat Terrier is an American breed descended from terriers brought over by miners from England and other working-class immigrants. These terriers were probably a cross between the Smooth Fox Terrier, the Manchester Terrier and the now extinct White English Terrier. These dogs were used as ratter dogs, and also as play dogs due to their prowess in killing rats, this being their owner's favorite pastime. Some of these dogs were crossed with Whippets or Italian Greyhounds (for speed) and Beagles (for hunting ability). Eventually, these small terriers evolved into the Rat Terrier of today. The breed was popularized by President Teddy Roosevelt, who frequently hunted with his Rat Terriers. Many are still employed as raters and squirrel hunters, particularly in the South, where they are sometimes known as "Feists".
The Rat Terrier was recognized by the United Kennel Club on January 1, 1999.

General appearance

The Rat Terrier is a muscular, active, small to medium-sized hunting terrier. The preferred ratio of body length to height is 10:9. The head is broad, slightly arched, triangular, and proportional to body size. The ears are V-shaped, set at the outer edges of the skull, and can be straight or folded. The tail is carried in an ascending curve, a hanging tail or a docked tail. Rat Terriers come in pure white, other pure colors with markings, and white with a variety of colored spots. The Rat Terrier should be assessed as a working terrier, and exaggerations or faults should be penalized proportionately insofar as they interfere with the dog's working ability. Honorable" scars resulting from field work should not be penalized.

Behaviour / temperament

Behavior / character The Rat Terrier is an energetic, alert dog whose curiosity and intelligence make it easy to train. The Rat Terrier has sometimes been described as having a dual personality. He is a courageous, tenacious hunter with seemingly boundless energy. However, when not hunting, the Rat Terrier is a particularly friendly companion, getting on very well with children, other dogs and cats. Rat Terriers enjoy human companionship immensely, with whom they enthusiastically share any activity. Rat Terriers must not be aggressive to be judged in conformation.

Head

Cranial region

Head
The head is proportionate to the size of the body. Viewed from the side, the skull and muzzle are of equal length, joined by a moderate stop. Viewed from the front and side, the head is wedge-shaped.
Skull
The skull is broad and slightly arched. It tapers slightly towards the muzzle.

Facial region

Nose
The nose is black and plain.
Muzzle
The muzzle is well filled under the eyes, well chiseled and slightly conical from the stop to the nose.
Lips
Lips are dry and tight, without dewlap. Lip color matches that of the nose.
Jaws and teeth
The jaws are powerful and well articulated, enabling the dog to open its mouth wide to catch rats and other rodents. A full set of good-sized, well-spaced, white teeth. A scissor bite is preferred, but normal teeth are acceptable.
Cheeks
Well muscled.
Eyes
The eyes are set obliquely, round, small and somewhat forward. Eye color ranges from dark brown to amber and matches coat color. Hazel eyes are acceptable in dogs with a lighter coat color. Blue or amber eyes are permitted in blue-colored dogs only, but a dark gray eye with gray lids is preferred. The eye rim has the same pigmentation as the nose.
Ears
The ears are V-shaped, set on the outside of the skull. Ears are erect, tilted, or folded when the dog is alert. Matching ears are strongly preferred. Mismatched ears are penalized according to variation. Note: This ear stabilization cannot be done until the dog is an adult. Dogs under one year of age should not be penalized for this ear problem.

Neck

The neck is clean, moderately long, muscular, slightly arched, and tapering slightly from shoulders to head. The neck blends smoothly toward the shoulders.

Body

Body
A correctly proportioned Rat Terrier is slightly longer than it is tall, and the length of the front leg should be approximately half the dog's height. When standing or moving, the topline is strong and level. The loin is moderately short, slightly arched and muscular, moderately tucked up. The croup slopes slightly. The ribs extend well into the back and protrude well under the spine, forming a broad, strong back, curving downwards and forming a deep body inwards. The chest extends just below the back of the elbow. Viewed from the front, the chest between the forelegs is well filled and of moderate width. Seen from the side, the ribs extend in a shallow oval shape in front of the front legs.

Tail

The tail is set well above the tip of the croup. A docked tail is preferred, but a normal tail is not a fault. The cut should be made between the second and third vertebrae of the tail. A normal tail is thick at the base and pointed towards the tip. When the dog is alert, the tail is carried in an upward curve. When relaxed, the tail can be carried straight back.

Limbs

Forequarters

Generality
The shoulders are smooth. The shoulder blades are tightly joined to the withers. The upper arm should be equal in length to the shoulder blade and join it at an apparent right angle. Elbows close to the body. Viewed from any angle, the forelegs are straight, strong and vigorously boned. The metacarpals are strong, short and almost vertical.

Hindquarters

Generality
The hind legs are muscular, with the upper and lower thighs approximately equal in length. The angular shape of the hind legs is in balance with the angular shape of the front legs. The metatarsals are well bent, and the hocks are well inclined downwards. When the dog is standing still, the metatarsals are perpendicular and, seen from behind, parallel.

Gait and movement

The Rat Terrier moves with a casual air that suggests agility, speed and power. The Rat Terrier's gait is gentle and effortless, with good extension of the front legs and no trace of a heavy gait. The hind legs have power, with hocks extending to the maximum. Seen in any position, the legs neither turn in nor out, nor do the feet cross or interfere with each other. As speed increases, the feet tend to converge towards the center line of balance.

Coat

Characteristics
The coat is short, dense, smooth and glossy. Whiskers are not removed.
Colour
The Rat Terrier can be white, bicolor or tricolor, but must always have white, which can be of any size and placed anywhere on the dog. White can be disparate, as long as white predominates. The remaining permitted colors are : black, bronze (ranging from dark tan to very light tan and from intense dark mahogany red to red with black nose and eye rims), chocolate (ranging from dark liver to light chocolate with plain nose and eye rims), blue and blue fawn (with plain nose and eye rims), apricot (ranging from orange to faded yellow with black nose and eye rims), and lemon (ranging from orange to faded yellow with plain nose and eye rims). The colored parts may have sandy incrustations.

Size and weight

Height at withers
Rat Terriers are divided into two varieties for show and conformation : Miniature and Standard.
Miniature variety : Not to exceed 33 centimeters, measured at the withers.
Standard variety : Over 33 centimeters but not exceeding 46 centimeters, measured at the withers.
Weight
Weight will vary according to the size of the dog. Working Rat Terriers should be firm and muscular.

Faults

• Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Faults listed should be in degree of seriousness.

NB :

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• The above mentioned faults when occurring to a highly marked degree or frequently are disqualifying.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.

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