Site hosted by Build your free website today!

A Tribute to Rat Terriers Everywhere



GENERAL APPEARANCE: The Rat Terrier is a muscular, active, small-to-medium hunting terrier.  The preferred  ratio of length to body (prosternum to point of butocks) to height (withers to ground) is 10:9.  The head is broad, slightly domed, wedged- shaped and proportionate to the size of the body.  Ears are V-shaped, set at the outside edges of the skull, and may be erect or button.  Both varieties may have a natural tail carried in a upward curve.  The Coated variety may have a docked or natural  bobtail.  The Rat Terrier comes in solid white, other solid colors  with markings, and white with a variety of colored patches.  The Rat Terrier should be evaluated as a working  terrier, and exaggerations or faults should be penalized in porportion to  how much they interfere with the dog's ability to work. Honorable scars resulting from field work are not to be penalized.   Disqualification:  A short-legged dog whose proportions vary significantly from the 10:9 ratio lacks breed type and must be disqualified.

The Rat Terrier is an energetic, alert dog whose curiosity and intellegence make him easy to  train.  The  Rat Terrier has sometimes been described as having a dual personality.  He is a fearless, tenacious  hunter with seemingly unlimited energy.  When he is not hunting, however, the Rat Terrier is a exceptionally  friendly companion, getting along well  with children, other dogs and even cats.  Rat Terriers enjoy  human companionship immensely and will enthusiastically share  any activity with their owners.  Rat Terriers should not  be sparred during conformation judging.

HEAD:    The head is porportionate to the size of the body.  When viewed from the side, the skull and muzzle are  of equal length and joined by a moderate stop.  Viewed from the front and the side, the Rat Terrier's head forms  a blunt wedge shape. FAULT: Abrupt stop.

SKULL - The skull is broad and slightly domed.  It tapers slightly towrd the muzzle.  The jaws are powerful with well- muscled cheeks.

SERIOUS FAULT: Apple head 

MUZZLE: The Muzzle is well filled-out under the eyes, well chiseled, and tapers slightly from the stop to the nose.   Jaws are poweful and hinged well back allowing the dog to open his mouth wide enough to catch rats and other  rodents.  Lips are dry and tight with no flews.  Lip pigment matches nose pigment. FAULT: Snipey muzzle.

TEETH: The Rat Terrier has a complete set of good-sized, evenly spaced, white teeth.  A scissors bite is preferred  but a level bite is acceptable.  FAULTS: Missing teeth; overshot or undershot bite. 

NOSE:  The nose is black or self- colored. FAULTS: Dudley or butterfly nose.

EYES:  Eyes are set obliguely and are round, small, and somewhat prominent.  Eye rims match nose pigment.   Coated Variety:  Eye color ranges from dark brown to amber and corresponds with coat color.  Hazel eyes are  acceptable in dogs with lighter coat color.  Blue or amber eyes are permitted in blue-colored dogs only, but a  dark gray eye rim is preferred.  Hairless Variety:  Eyes may be any accpetable color.  FAULTS:  Bulgy eyes;  deep-set eyes; light-colored eyes in a dog with black coat color or black pigment; both eyes not of matching  colors; eye with iris containing more than one color; wall or china eye.

EARS: Ears are V-shaped, set at the outside edges of the skull.  Matching ears are strongly preferred.  Non- matching ear carriage should be penalized to the degree of the variation.  NOTE: Ear carriage may not stabilize  until a dog is mature.  Dogs under one year of age should not be penalized for variations in ear carriage.   COATED VARIETY: Ears are either erect, tipped, or button when the dog is alert.  Hairless Variety:  Erect ears  are preferred but tipped or buton are acceptable.  FAULTS:  Erect ears with sides curved inward forming a  shape like a tulip pedal; rose ears; flying ears; non-matching ear carriages.  Disqualification: Hanging ears.

NECK: The neck is clean, moderately long, muscular, slightly arched, and tapers slightly from the shoulders to  the head.  The neck blends smoothly into well-laid back shoulders. 

FOREQUARTERS: Shoulders are smoothly muscled.  The should blades are well laid back with the upper tips  fairly close together at the withers.  The upper arm appears to be equal in lenght to the shoulder blade and  joins it an apparent right angle.  The elbows are close to the body.  Viewed from any angle, the forelegs are  straight, strong, and sturdy in bone.  The pasterns are strong, short, and nearly vertical. 

BODY:   A properly proportioned Rat Terrier is slightly longer ( measured from prosternum to point of buttocks)  than tall ( measured from the withers to the ground) and length of the front leg (measured from point of elbow  to the ground) should approximatley equal one'half of the dog's height.  Whether the dog is standing or moving, the line of the back is strong and level.  The loin is moderatelyshort, slightly arched and muscular with moderate  tuck-up.   The croup is slightly sloping.  The ribs extend well back and are well sprung out from the spine,  forming a broad, strong back, then curving down and inward to form a deep body.  The brisket extends to or just  below the elbow.  Viewed from the front, the chest between the forelegs is well filled and of moderate width.   Viewed from the side, the forechest extends in a shallow oval shape in front of the forelegs.

HINDQUARTERS: The Hindquarters are muscular with the length of the upper and lower thighs being   approximately equal.  The angulation of the hindquarters is in balance with the angulation of the forequarters.  The stifles are well bent and the hocks are well let down.  When the dog is standing, the short, strong rear  pasterns are perpendicular to the ground and viewed from the rear, parallel to one another.

FEET: The feet are Compact and slightly oval is shape.  The two middle toes are slightly longer than the other  toes.  Toes may be well split up but not flat or played.  Front dewclaws must be removed.  FAULTS: Flat feet; splayed feet; rear dewclaws present.

TAIL: The tail is set on at the end of the croup.  The natural tail is thick at the base and tapers toward the tip.    When the dog is alert, the tail is carried in an upward curve.  When relaxed, the tail may be carried straight out  behind the dog. COATED VARIETY:   A docked or natural bobtail is preferred, but a natural tail is not faulted.   Docking should be done bewteen the second and third joint of the tail. HAIRLESS VARIETY: A natural tail  is strongly preferred.  A docked or natural bobtail in this variety is a serious fault.  FAULTS: Bent tail; ring tail.

COAT: Coated Variety:  The coat is short, dense, and smooth with a sheen.  Whiskers are not removed.  Hairless Variety:  Puppies are born with a soft vestigal down that generally covers the body.  This "down" gradually  diminishes until age 6 - 8 weeks, by which time the pup should be completely hairless.  A mature Rat Terrier, hairless variety, is free from hair except for whiskers and guard hairs on the muzzle and eyebrows.  Short, very  fine (vellus) hair may be present on the body of a mature dog.  The skin is smooth and warm to the touch.  The  Hairless variety may sweat when overheated or stressed but this is not to be faulted in the ring.  SERIOUS FAULT: Vellous hair longer than 1mm on a dog over 6 months of age. DISQUALIFICATIONS: Wire, broken or, long coat.

COLOR:    The  following colors, color patterns, or combination of colors are acceptable without preference:  Solid white; tri- colored (white with ptaches of black & tan); or bi-colored (any combination of black, tan, chocolate, red, orange, lemon, or blue with white), with or without tan or rust "Manchester type" markings on the cheeks and over they eyes.  The white on a bi-colored dog may be of any size and located anywhere on the dog.  Any white area may be ticked as long as white predominates.  The head may be solid colored, or marked with any facial marking, including sable coloration. FAULTS:  Fawn, cream, or fallow with black-mask; silver. DISQUALIFICATIONS:  Brindle; merle; bi-color where neither color is white; any solid color other than white.

HEIGHT AND WEIGHT:   The Rat Terrier is divided into 2 varieties for conformation exhibition:  Miniature and Standard.  Miniature variety:  Not exceeding 13" measured at the withers.  Standard Variety:  Over 13' but not exceeding 18" measured at the withers.  Weight will vary depending on the size of the individual dog.  Rat Terriers are working terriers and should be presented in hard muscular condition.  FAULTS:  Height over 19"; obesity

GAIT: The Rat Terrier moves with a jaunty air that suggests agility, speed and power.  The Rat Terrier gait is smooth and effortless with good reach of forequarters without any trace of hackney gait.  Rear quarters have strong driving power, with hocks fully extending. Viewed from any position, legs turn neither in nor out, nor do feet cross or interfere with each other.  As speed increases, feet tend to   converge toward the center of balance.

DISQUALIFICATIONS:  Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid.  Viciousness or extreme shyness.  Unilateral or bilateral deafness.  A short- legged dog whose proportions vary significantly from the 10:9 ratio.  Hanging ears.  Wire or broken coat.  Long Coat.  Albinism.  In the coated variety:  Brindle, Merle, Bi-color where neither color is white.  Any solid color other than white.