The Rat Terrier is considered a small dog and comes in two sized. The standard size is from 13-18 inches at the shoulders, while the Miniature is 10-13 inches. There are no weight requirements documented by the AKC, however, the dog should appear athletic, with smooth lean muscle that lies flat to the body (not bulky).
Playful, happy, friendly and athletic are amongst the traits that make Rat Terriers fine family dogs. It is common for them to be reserved around strangers at first and they consider themselves guardians of the house; they will not hesitate to bark at a strange human or pet that passes too closely. They see dogs, livestock, even cats they grew up with as part of their "pack" and may bond very closely with them. Rats, mice, hamsters, ferrets, rabbits and other rodent like pets are not advised to be housed with this breed due to their hunting instincts.
Overall, this breed can be considered low to average maintenance. They are shedders, but a weekly brushing can help to reduce this and keep all of the hair from ending up on the floor. The typical doggie regimen of weekly teeth brushing and bimonthly nail trimming and ear cleaning should keep them in fine shape; bathe as necessary.
Members of this breed have medium energy requirements and their favorite way to relieve them is to do activities with the owner; whether it be a daily run, walk, hike, yard time, hunting or even training - this dog is down for adventure.
The easiest to train of all Terriers, the Rat Terrier is not only intelligent and eager to please but also intuitive and sensitive to its owner. They thrive off praise and petting, and of course, treats and do not do well with tones and body language that are harsh. Not to mention, agility and obedience training are excellent ways to bond with and exercise your Rat Terrier.