Rat Terrier Origin And Breeding History

Rat Terrier Origin And Breeding History

Any dog parent would love to know about the history of their little furry friend. Sometimes they were naturally evolved, while there are others when people interfere in this natural process and create new breeds. So let’s find out the history of the new dog on the block today. 

So, what is the Rat Terrier origin story? Our cute Ratties were created first as a solution to the problem of overpopulated rats. But with time, they got domesticated.

Let’s find out in-detail!

Rat Terrier’s Origin – Breeding History

During the 17th century, obviously, the world wasn’t this developed and modernized; there was a need for a solution to control the rats.

These rodent creatures were increasing in multiple folds and becoming a nuisance, especially for farmers. They couldn’t protect their harvest from these pests. 

This problem arose first in America, but during the same period, there was a new dog breed developed in England.

In 1820, England people crossed the Smooth Fox Terrier and the Manchester Terrier. The offspring was the first specimen of the Rat Terrier breed. 

This new Terrier species was just a new puppy that was a mix of the above two breeds. Indeed, he inherited the beauty and some traits from them, but he wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. Yet, in 1890, the Manchester Fox Terrier was introduced to America. 

Dog breeders in America quickly saw a solution to their rodent problem through him, which was still going up the ladder of the nuisance. So they crossed this new breed again with Beagles and Whippets. 

Voila! The best dog breed ever produced globally, the Rat Terrier was born. It’s the Rat Terrier origin story.

Yet, there are a few blanks to this story that I unfolded. The rat terrier origin story says there are altogether seven dog types that contributed to creating the rat terrier.

Who are they? And why are there seven dog breeds involved? We hope to uncover them through this post. 

What were Rat Terriers bred for? 

Even today, the first advice that anyone – who knows about the Rat Terrier origin – gives you before owning a Rattie would be to keep him away from small animals.

If I define the term “small animals,” it means rats, squirrels, small pet breeds, cats, etc. 

But why? Why would anyone ask you to keep him away from these animals? There’s a reason. 

Even though how much Ratties have evolved until today, they still have the hunting instincts in their gene pools.

So even if he’s domesticated as a pet, nobody knows when his drive to hunt will emerge from the ashes. 

Yes, you could train him to be more calm and patient and be friendly around other animals. You could even teach him to be less aggressive.

Yet, this is a trait that he was bred for. His only job is to hunt and nothing else. 

So even today, however domesticated he was, you can still train him to become a hunter again more quickly than teaching him to become sociable. It is why the Rat Terrier originated initially. 

What Are Rat Terriers Today?

I already mentioned that Ratties are increasingly becoming house pets. Initially, they were used as hunting dogs, and that’s Rat Terrier origin.

Its size and intelligence make him a well sought after doggo breed, especially among apartment owners. 

They are loving, affectionate, loyal, and very easy to train. So who wouldn’t love to have a Rattie? But lately, they are becoming popular in many other fields, such as in hospices as service dogs and police stations as search dogs.

The main reason why Rat Terriers are used in these fields is because of their high intelligence. 

The most significant advantage of using a Rattie as a search doggo is his easy trainability. It only takes a short time, like three weeks, to train him to become an A-grade search police dog. 

And also, they find jobs as service dogs who treat depressed people. His loving nature and affection are the best treatment for depression.

So, today the Rat Terrier’s origin is more altered. Although they are used for hunting rodents, Ratties are more prevalent in the fields mentioned above than in hunting. 

What Breeds Make A Rat Terrier? Characteristics Inherited From Them

At the beginning of this article, I promised you that we would be going through all the dog breeds involved in making the Rat Terrier; and why they were used to create him.

So now it’s time to check out all the dog breeds that have a hand in the Rat Terrier origin. 

We already discussed four dog breeds involved in the invention of the Rattie. They are Fox Terrier, Manchester Terrier, Beagle, and Whippets. 

The Manchester and Fox Terriers gave birth to the original character. But the cross between the Beagles and the Whippets was introduced for additional fine-tuning of the doggo. 

That’s where Greyhounds come into the equation. While Beagles gave them the pack hunting instincts, Greyhounds and Whippets contributed to Rat Terrier’s incredible speed. It’s one major factor that’s essential when hunting. 

But in this process, there are two other dog breeds that nobody talks about. They are the Old English White Terrier – who’s now documented as extinct – and the Bull Terrier.

Even though these two breeds were in the mixture, nobody knows why they were used. So those are the main seven breeds used in the Rat Terrier origin. And this is the story of the world’s best rat hunter.

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.

    [email protected]

Similar Posts