Ratonero Murciano de Huerta

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

Origin
Spain
Translation
Francis Vandersteen
Murcian Ratter (Ratonero murciano) or Huerta Ratter (Ratonero murciano de huerta) is a Spanish breed of dog native to the Murcia region.

A local ratter has existed in the Murcia region since the 16th or 17th century. At that time, it was known as Canis villaticus ("farm dog") and Perro de Huerta ("Huerta dog"). Huerta refers to the fertile farming area of the region. In the 18th century, the breed was called Perro de acequias ("Irrigation ditch dog"), referring to the fact that it had killed rats found in irrigation canals. It grew in popularity as a rat catcher and children's playmate. Local farmers used him both as a rat catcher and companion, as well as a home protector. It caught rats and mice in stables, cellars and barns, but was also used to hunt rabbits and hares.

The Murcian Ratter's instincts had developed in modern times, both through crossbreeding and inbreeding. As a result, there was a dog with both rat-catching instincts and agility, and the small size of the old dogs imported from afar. One theory is that the breed originated from crosses between imported terriers and local dogs. Another theory is that its ancestors may have been Carthaginian, Roman or Egyptian dogs brought to the region by sailors. It may have been crossed with the Fox Terrier in the 19th and 20th centuries, but is more likely to have been crossed with the English Toy Terrier (Black and Tan) or Manchester Terrier. These types of dogs were also used on ships, and it's likely that English traders had an influence on their arrival in the region.

By the 18th century, the Murcian Ratier had developed into the breed we know today. By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was already very popular in the region. Breeding was very strict, and breeders avoided crossing it with the German Pinscher and Chihuahua, as purity was highly prized. Breeding was centered on certain families dedicated to purity, resulting in remarkable inbreeding. As a result, his characteristics became more homogeneous. He became strong, agile and quick in his work.

In the late 18th and mid-19th centuries, the majority of the population was concentrated in the county of Huerta de Murcia. However, they were also popular in Vega Alta del Segura (Cieza, Abarán), Alto Guadalentín, Bajo Guadalentín (Totana, Lorca, Alhama), Valle de Ricote (Archéna, Villanueva del Rio Segura, Ulea), Río Mula (Campos del Río, Mula, Albudeite), Noroeste (Calasparra, Caravaca de la Cruz, Cehegín), Campo de Cartagena (Cartagena, Fuente Álamo) and Comarca del Mar.

As the region and its economic activities developed, the number of breeds began to decline. By the 20th century, it was already isolated from very small areas of Murcia. Breeding continued in Bajo Guadalentín and Alto Guadalentín, and the largest number of individuals was found in the municipality of Lorca. It was still appreciated in local workshops and factories as an efficient ratter. In other municipalities in the region, it was used as a rabbit protector.

In 1935, Don Pedro Manzanera Cano began rescuing Ratoneros in the Rambilla de San Lazaro area of Lorca. He received his first pair of dogs from the mill of Don Juan de Dios Valdés and later got a male and three more females from the same place. After receiving a male from La Rambla Mill, Manzanera began a breeding program in the San Jose district. His dogs also spread to the neighborhoods of San Juan, Santa María, San Pedro, etc. Manzanera also used his dogs to hunt rabbits. Although the dogs vary in size from 28 to 40 cm, the smaller size is more practical for this task.

Today, the Murcian ratter is more popular as a pet than as a ratter or hunter. However, it is still used today as a hunter and protector in many parts of Murcia.

The Murcian Ratter resembles the Miniature Pinscher and the English Toy Terrier. Males are 35.25 cm high and females 32.79 cm. Males weigh 6.18 kg and females 5.53 kg. The most common colors are tricolor and black and tan. Other colors include black, black with white markings, cinnamon and cinnamon with white markings. Ears are upright and eyes are round or oval. Eye color is black or brown. The tail is naturally stubby or docked.

A typical breed characteristic is longevity. For example, a female named Estrella reached the age of 23. Average life expectancy is usually 14 years or more.

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