How Smart Are Rat Terriers? Explained With Examples 

How Smart Are Rat Terriers? Intelligence Explained With Examples 

Rat Terrier is a dog breed first made in America. But centuries after working as farming and hunting dogs, now it’s a sought-after breed worldwide. This discussion is to find out how intelligent Rat Terriers are. Let’s dive right in!

Well, how smart are Rat Terriers, though? As per American Kennel Club, Rat Terrier is a rare yet brilliant dog breed. But the fact that she was recognized late in 2013 makes it hard to determine the exact level. But you can check how intelligent your RT is with a few simple steps that we’ll teach you later in the discussion.

Let’s get started!

Are Rat Terriers Intelligent Dogs?

Before buying this breed, one question that pops into mind is, are Rat Terriers smart? This farm dog breed was intelligent enough to become domestic dogs.

The hunting trait in her genes makes her an excellent watchdog that you can trust around small children. A Rat Terrier might be small, but her fearlessness and feisty nature are astounding.

Ranking 3 out of 5, Rat Terriers generally stay above average on the intelligence scale. To tell you what, training this breed is very easy.

With the fame of being the dumbest dog breed, the Afghan Hound needs around a hundred repetitions to grasp a specific command.

But Rat Terriers, a lot smaller than Afghans, will only require you to repeat a command 30-50 times, and she’ll learn the command for life.

Also, beware. This intelligent dog has a reputation for deceiving humans and other dogs to get what she needs. Isn’t that the answer to the question, are Rat Terriers smart?

Why Are Rat Terriers Smart? 

Centuries ago, America gave birth to Rat Terriers to work on farms and to be hunting escorts. After working for such a long time, these cuties mastered the skills to work alone.

Since farming and hunting need special skills to avoid danger, this small dog breed became smart. She can recognize and avoid dangerous situations and knows what to do to stay alive. 

Now Rat Terrier is a rare dog breed that’s very well popular globally. Her watchdog skills, ease to train, intelligence, playfulness, and child-friendly traits have added much value to her.

Also, did you know that Rat Terrier is the first hunting dog breed in the world? Moreover, she’s an adorable puppy.

So, what do you think? Are Rat Terriers smart? 

Rat Terrier Intelligence Ranking 

Even though American people designed Rat Terriers in around 1800 AD, American Kennel Club didn’t recognize the breed until 2013.

Therefore, in-depth information is not available on the intelligence of RTs. So let me give a straight and simple answer to your question, are Rat Terriers smart? Yes, they are smart. They landed 3/5 on the scale of most intelligent dogs. 

As we discussed earlier, AKC mentioned that Rat Terriers are extremely smart. Even if they are not as bright as Border Collies, German Shepherds, and Golden Retrievers, Rat Terriers are intelligent enough to grasp commands quickly and follow orders. 

Examples For How Smart Are Rat Terriers

If you already have a Rat terrier with you, you must have noticed her behavior to understand how intelligent RTs are.

Even if you don’t have one and are debating whether to buy one or not, I’m sure after reading this discussion, you will go and buy one straight away.

So let me give you a few examples to show Rat Terriers’ smartness. 

You and I both have had fun with pet toys. While some dogs try to understand all the puzzle pieces, some figure them out in record time- and so are Rat Terriers. 

Also, their bright minds can smell it if you’re sad, angry, or upset. They understand their human friend’s mood changes. And it’s so cute to watch how hard they try to comfort you.

Your RT will start licking your face, giving you cuddles, and even bringing you her favorite toy to brighten your mood.

You wouldn’t like the next, though. They’re experts at escaping. They’re curious and will develop creative and artistic plans to flee to continue wandering around.

Make sure you have an ID with a tracker in her collar. It’ll make it easier to find where she wandered off to. 

Moreover, Rat terriers’ ability to grasp commands quickly makes it easier for you to train your puppy. Your new Rat terrier puppy will be a fully trained, intelligent dog within a few months.

Every pet parent knows how easy it’s to have a well-trained dog at home. It practically makes lives much more manageable.

When a Rat Terrier needs to grab your attention while you’re busy, you’ll notice how creative they can get.

They sometimes play cute and look at you with adorable puppy dog eyes, while also, at times, they could do naughty things to snatch your attention.

Look out! They are big-time attention seekers.

How To Measure The Rat Terrier’s IQ Level?

Now, if you have a Rat Terrier, you must be craving to know how smart your puppy is. Well, there’s a simple yet straightforward method that allows finding out the pup’s IQ.

Let us walk you through it. You have to set him five tacks below and measure how quickly and smartly he can solve them.

1. Throw a blanket over your dog’s body and see how quickly she will figure it out.

  • 3 points – Figured out within 15 seconds
  • 2 points – Figured out within 30 seconds
  • 1 point – Over 30 seconds

2. Lay 3 cups upside down. Show her a treat and put it under one cup. After distracting the dog for a moment, let her find the treat.

  • 3 points – Found the treat straight away 
  • 2 points – Sniffed one empty cup before landing on the right one
  • 1 point – Sniffed both empty caps before finding the correct one

3. Do it as same as above but let him see you jumbling the cups around and give points as above.

4. Choose an unusual moment to walk your Rat terrier and grab his leash.

  • 3 points – Instantly get thrilled to go on a walk
  • 2 points – You had to walk towards the door
  • 1 point – Your pet doesn’t understand what’s happening

5. Put a treat under low furniture where he could only reach with his paw.

  • 3 points – Reached for the snack with their paw only.
  • 2 points – Tried head before using a paw 
  • 1 point – Completely gives up

If your pup scored above 12 points, it’s time to celebrate; your RT is a genius. If he’s between 10-12 points, your doggo is very intelligent. 8-10 points mean that the Rat Terrier is not that intelligent but can get by without a problem.

So, are Rat Terriers smart enough for you to consider buying one? Did you get the answer to your question, “Are Rat Terriers smart?”. I hope we cleared it out for you with this discussion.

Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner for more interesting posts. See you later!


  • 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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