Are Rat Terriers Good Apartment Dogs? FAQs Answered With Tips

Are Rat Terriers Good Apartment Dogs? FAQs Answered With Tips

A hot topic among many dog lovers is, what dog breed is suitable for apartment living. And a frequently suggested name among these breeds is the Rat Terrier. Many apartment owners wonder if this breed is the chosen one! 

So, are Rat Terriers good apartment dogs? Yes! Compared to other breeds, Rat Terriers are very good apartment dogs. This is mainly because of their unique features and characteristics. Some of them are their size, ability to train and control, great temperament, not being too loud, and good health. 

So what makes them good apartment dogs? Are they also good house pets? What are the tips for training him to be a good apartment dog? Stay with me, and let’s find answers to these questions! 

Can Rat Terriers Be Apartment Dogs?

Several things make a good apartment dog. Unlike a dog with a big backyard and the freedom to be loud, some things are limited for an apartment dog. Let’s see what they are. 

  • Size

As we know, an apartment is a smaller space compared to a house. So you have to choose a smaller breed, so you won’t make him feel compacted into a small space. 

In this aspect, Rat Terrier is a perfect dog breed because of its smaller size. The standard height of a Rat Terrier is about 14-23 inches (35.5-58.5 cm), and the standard weight of a Rat Terrier is around 12-35 pounds (5.5-16 kg)

  • Ability to handle

In somewhere with many other neighbors living beside you, an uncontrollable dog would be your worst nightmare!

You have to be able to control and make your dog obedient if you don’t want to get sued for your pet’s jumping and attacking behavior towards other neighbors.  

Rat Terriers can be feisty, but they can become obedient house pets with the right training. 

  • Ability to train

Intelligence is not the only thing that matters for training. It is mainly the dog’s desire to follow instructions that matters. 

When it comes to Rat Terriers, they are energetic, alert dogs who are curious, which makes them easy to train.

  • Temperament

An apartment dog should have a good temperament and characteristics. Rat Terriers are known for their affectionate, alert, lively, and inquisitive temperament. 

  • Health

Not just an apartment dog, but all the dogs should be healthy. However, for apartment dogs, hyperactive does NOT mean healthy.

In this aspect, good health means a lower energy level and a lower chance of genetic diseases. 

However, Rat Terriers are not known to be hypoallergenic. And they shed seasonally, with a heavier shedding in the spring and fall seasons. 

  • Grooming

An apartment dog should have less need to groom. Rat Terriers are perfect in this matter.

They are low maintenance, and grooming is only necessary once in a while. Occasional trimming is needed. A bath from time to time will help to stay clean. 

  • Loudness

You might think barking is good because your cute loved one is being talkative and is guarding you. However, your next-door apartment neighbor might find it really annoying.

So if you don’t want to get sued, you might want to consider adopting a less loud dog. 

Rat Terriers are known to be somewhat vocal, and they do bark occasionally. Bark training can help you in this matter. 

So, according to all the above reasons, Rat Terriers weigh more on the positive side and pass as a good breed for apartment living. 

Do Rat Terriers make good house pets? 

The difference between a house and an apartment is that an apartment is part of a group of homes with other neighbors.

Also, most apartments share common areas like car parking and courtyards. But for a house, these are sepaRate. 

So as Rat Terriers pass the test for being great apartment dogs, they’d totally make good house pets too. Houses might be even better for them as they are more spacious, comfortable, and private. 

Tips for training your Rat Terrier to live in an apartment

As I said before, not only intelligence but also wanting to follow instructions play a part in dog training.

For Rat Terriers, this is easy because they are active, alert, and very curious to learn new stuff. You need to learn some tips before you train your Rat Terrier and let’s see what they are.

And keep in mind, it is best to train while they are still young.

  • Tips for potty training

Potty training is a must for an apartment dog without a proper backyard. You should start potty training a Rat Terrier dog at around 12 to 16 weeks old because they start having bladder and bowel control around this time to learn how to hold it in. Here is what you can do. 

  1. Have a regular feeding schedule that your Rat Terrier can get used to.
  2. Take your pet out as soon as early in the morning and then throughout the day every hour. You need to take him outside when he wakes up, after meals, and before sleeping till he is fully trained.
  3. Take your Rat Terrier to the same exact spot. This way, he starts to identify his own scent.
  4. Treat your loved one when he does a good job. 
  • Tips for controlling barking

As I mentioned, barking can be a big problem if you live in an apartment. But barking certainly can help if you want to keep your apartment intruder-free. The main way to do this is to train your pup to bark only when you tell him to. 

  1. Let your Rat Terrier bark two or three times. At that time, praise your dog for barking by giving some treats.
  2. Then tell him to “stop barking!” And do not give any treats this time. When he becomes quiet, give him the treat. 
  3. Gradually increase the time between the above steps. 
  • Tips for Crate training

You might find the cRate very useful for your pup for the limited space inside an apartment. The Crate should not be too large but large enough for your Rat Terrier to stand up in and turn around. Here are some tips;

  1. Introduction to the cRate should be nice and slow
  2. Feed your Rat Terrier inside the crate
  3. Gradually increase the time he spends in the  crate
  4. Make him used to it by keeping him there when you are at work
  • Tips for exercising

Like any other breed, Rat Terriers also need a good amount of exercise. Apart from a daily long walk or a jog, there are some enjoyable exercises you can train your pup to do! 

  1. Trekking
  2. Swimming: Because they love water, it is good for their stamina and joints. 
  3. Fetch: not only balls but Frisbees and sticks could help you make it more enjoyable. 
  4. Obedience training: practicing retrieving, recalling, and reinforcing is not only an exercise but good for mental stimulation. 

Final thoughts about suitability of Rat Terrier as an apartment dog

So now you know what makes a Rat Terrier a good apartment dog and the downsides. I have also mentioned tips to train your Rat Terrier to be good in your apartment.

As a dog lover myself, I hope this info will help you to make your apartment life with your loved one enjoyable and adventurous!

Thank you for reading this post. Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner for more interesting posts.


  • George Brown

    George B. is the founder of the JRO Organization. He believes in creating a better world for domestic animals. He believes domestic animals are more vulnerable than other animals, especially dogs, since they have been used to depending on their owners for generations. So, he started JRO to share his ideas and insights while helping vulnerable dogs worldwide. George runs multiple projects on street dogs in developing countries, especially Sri Lanka.

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