Do you love small dogs? If so, you will surely fall in love with toy Rat Terriers. Aside from their cutesy appearance, there’s more to these elf-like creatures than their small size.
Before being bred as house pets, toy Rat Terriers served as farm helpers. As you can guess, they weren’t called Rat Terriers for nothing. They hunted all types of vermin that ruined their owner’s crops.
Nowadays, they are considered one of the friendliest and most active dogs anyone can have. But for now, enough with the introductions and let’s get straight to the facts about toy Rat Terriers.
What Is a Toy Rat Terrier?
A toy Rat Terrier is the smallest size variation of the Rat Terrier breed. However, these dogs were bred purely to satisfy the buyers’ demand for tiny canines. They are not an officially recognized size but they bear the same traits and temperament as a normal-sized Rat Terrier.
Those who live in small apartments or houses can surely benefit from having a toy Rat Terrier around.
Regardless of the dwelling place, they can make any space full of joy and energy due to their lively personality. They are truly big characters that come in a small package.
As a fun fact, did you know that the breed name ‘Rat Terrier’ was coined by President Theodore Roosevelt himself? He had a terrier named Skip who accompanied him on hunting trips.
Rat Terriers were then given the nicknames Rat and Rattie later in the 1900s. So it’s safe to call them toy Rats or toy Ratties.
Are Toy Rat Terriers Similar to Toy Fox Terriers?
Toy Rat Terriers are often mistaken as toy Fox Terriers due to their appearance and size. However, they are separate breeds that have quite a handful of similarities and differences.
Aside from both originating in the United States, they are closely related to each other due to their terrier lineage.
Both breeds also have short, dense coats that can easily be groomed. Toy Rat Terriers, however, have a wider variety of coat colors.
Although they generally have black-and-white pied coat colors, they can also have a combination of white with tan, red, lemon, blue, and chocolate.
Here’s what a toy Rat Terrier with black-and-white coat color and light tan markings look like:
On the other hand, toy Fox Terriers have a predominantly white body with a black, tan, or chocolate head. Black-and-tan and chocolate-and-tan are also possible combinations.
Refer to the picture below for the appearance of a toy Fox Terrier:
In terms of temperament, the distinction becomes even more noticeable. Toy Fox Terriers are more territorial and can easily feel threatened by other dogs and strangers.
Oppositely, toy Rat Terriers are less sensitive and hyper. However, they both display the same sense of alertness and intelligence.
Unlike toy Rat Terriers, toy Fox Terriers are not the best choice for families with small children due to their territorial behavior. Nevertheless, you can expect them both to be loyal, loving, and affectionate dogs.
Toy Rat Terrier Appearance: What Does a Toy Rat Terrier Look Like?
To help you understand how a toy Rat Terrier looks, I will describe each of its physical features in detail.
Generally, toy Rat Terriers are sturdy, compact dogs that exhibit both elegance and fitness in their stance.
Despite their size, they show power, vigor, balance, and speed. They have muscular bodies, with their muscles laying flat and not bulky as compared to other canines of the same size.
These dogs are also longer than they are tall. Their neck is proportionate to their head while the chest is moderately wide and well-defined.
When viewed from the front, the toy Rat Terrier’s head is small but gradually widens towards the base of their perky ears.
Their eyes, which are small and set wide apart, show an expression of curiosity and alertness. Depending on their coat color, their eyes can range from dark brown to hazel.
Moving on to the ears, they are set on the top edge of the skull, forming a V-shape. They are moderately pointed at the tip and in proportion to the size of their head.
In terms of coat color, you can expect it to be smooth and shiny. They can have any variation of pied patterns. These include any combination of black, chocolate, red, apricot, blue, fawn, tan, lemon, or white. They can never have solid colors.
With these descriptions, you can better visualize their general appearance. However, it’s still better to see them in person. For now, here is a video of a toy Rat Terrier happily playing with its owner:
Toy Rat Terrier Size and Weight: How Big Do Toy Rat Terriers Get When Fully Grown?
Toy Rat Terriers are the smallest versions of the purebred Rat Terrier. They usually weigh between 5 and 10 pounds and grow no bigger than 8 to 11 inches in height. These dogs typically reach their full size and weight at 12 months old.
The other categories of this breed include the miniature and standard Rat Terriers. For comparison, let’s learn about their sizes according to the American Kennel Club (AKC) standard.
The standard Rat Terriers are considered the default size for this breed. These dogs measure between 13 and 18 inches at the shoulders and weigh 18 to 25 pounds.
Miniature Rat Terriers, on the other hand, are slightly smaller. Their measurements are 10 to 13 inches in height and 10 to 18 pounds in weight.
As you can see, there is quite a variety in terms of size between different Rat Terrier types. With this knowledge, you can assess which Rat Terrier size is most fitting for you.
Moreover, it’s always a good idea to check in with an official breeder to know what size they produce and how large their puppies will become.
How Do Breeders Breed Toy Rat Terriers?
Unlike standard and miniature Rat Terriers, there is no standard way of breeding toy Rat Terriers. However, breeders figured out ways to produce these lovable toy versions. In this section, I’m going to discuss each method in detail.
Introducing the Dwarfism Gene
There’s something specifically charming about toy dogs. However, it may be unknown to most people that some dog breeds are smaller because of a particular gene. The dwarfism gene is responsible for the stunted growth of many dogs, resulting in tiny puppies.
To produce toy Rat Terriers, breeders often mate Rat Terriers that exhibit the dwarfism gene in hopes of having toy-sized offspring. The puppy will grow up with shorter legs due to their underdeveloped bones.
For larger breeds, this method can cause a lot of issues but for small breeds like Rat Terriers, the long-term effects on the joints and overall skeletal structure are minimal.
Breeding Runts Together
Another proven method of producing toy Rat Terriers is by breeding two runts from a litter. Whenever puppies are born, there’s a high probability that a pup will be significantly smaller than the others.
Aside from being the smallest puppy, these runts are more prone to health problems. Their immune system might not be as strong as other puppies, making them more susceptible to diseases, especially genetic ones.
By mixing two runts together, breeders can produce a pup with an even smaller build than miniature Rat Terriers.
However, it can cause a lot of issues in the future when the toy Rat Terrier starts getting all sorts of illnesses. In this case, it’s important to inquire what health issues they may have later on before purchasing.
Are Toy Rat Terriers Recognized by Kennel Clubs?
Toy Rat Terriers aren’t recognized by any kennel club in the United States. This means that they are not allowed to join any dog shows and competitions.
Moreover, as an owner, you won’t be able to obtain a pedigree certification that will show your dog’s family tree.
Both the United Kennel Club (UKC) and American Kennel Club (AKC) only recognize the standard and miniature versions.
As told in the toy Rat Terrier size and weight section, miniatures should not exceed 13 inches at the withers. On the other hand, the standard variety measures over 13 inches but shall not exceed 18 inches.
In terms of weight, both kennels acknowledge that the measurement will vary depending on the size of the individual dog.
However, even without the aforementioned privileges, toy Rat Terriers carry the same traits as their recognized counterparts. Without registration papers, you can just think of them as orphans without a birth certificate.
Toy Rat Terrier Lifespan and Health Issues: Are Toy Rat Terriers Healthy Dogs?
Owners will be happy to know that toy Rat Terriers have a long life ahead of them. Their lifespan is typically 15 to 18 years. However, down-sizing Rat Terriers doesn’t make them any less immune to diseasesassociated with the breed.
Depending on the severity of their health condition, toy Rat Terriers can live for a much lesser time than expected.
To be more aware of these potential health issues, I’ve listed some of the most common illnesses and disorders that they can encounter:
- Hip Dysplasia: Although this is more common in larger breeds, toy Rat Terriers are also prone to suffer from hip dysplasia. This condition, marked by the displacement of the hip joint during puppyhood, can become more severe when your pup becomes overweight.
- Patellar Luxation: Toy breeds often have a predisposition to patellar luxation or dislocation of the knee cap. You may notice that your dog has difficulty walking on four legs or experiences limping. Those with a smaller degree of displacement can tolerate this condition for their entire lives without any form of treatment.
- Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: Another condition that affects the hip socket is called the Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease. This causes the hip to slowly degenerate and gradually develop into arthritis. It often starts as a limp that results in pain and lameness in the affected leg.
- Eye Disorders: Canine eye diseases can be inherited or caused by infections, injuries, and even old age. Generally, these problems impair your dog’s vision and even cause partial or full blindness. Some of the most common eye disorders in dogs include cataracts, glaucoma, and progressive retinal atrophy.
- Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM): The most prevalent heart disease in dogs is called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). This condition causes the heart muscles to disintegrate, resulting in thinner heart muscles. Some signs of DCM include rapid breathing, weakness, restlessness, and sudden weight loss.
To avoid these diseases, you should purchase a toy Rat Terrier from a trustworthy breeder that can provide complete health records and guarantee for diseases.
Toy Rat Terrier Temperament: Do Toy Rat Terriers Make Good Family Pets?
What makes a good family dog? While the answers to this question may vary from one person to the next, the general consensus will reveal that people prefer those that get along with small children and other pets.
If you are looking for the exact same traits, then you will be lucky to have a toy Rat Terrier as a new family member.
If they are integrated into the pack as early as puppyhood, they will become the most loyal dogs, showing affection like no other dog breed.
As much as they are loving dogs, toy Rat Terriers are also very energetic. They are quite playful and always up for a good game of fetch or tug of war.
Due to their terrier roots, you should expect them to be feisty and fearless. Luckily, they are not born to be loud barkers.
Although these fun-sized Rat Terriers don’t bark a lot, they are quite cautious and alert. If trained properly, they can make good watchdogs. They love nothing more than pleasing their owners so it should be fast and easy to train them even at an early age.
Owners with an active lifestyle will surely enjoy bringing their toy Rat Terrier on countless outdoor adventures.
Don’t underestimate their size because they are known to be great swimmers. They also make good garden workers due to their digging tendencies.
Toy Rat Terrier Price and Expenses: How Much Does a Toy Rat Terrier Puppy Cost?
A toy Rat Terrier can cost anywhere around $800 to $4,000. Because they are selectively bred for their size, breeders market them at a higher price than standard or miniature sizes.
Some backyard breeders may offer them at lower prices but they can’t guarantee the health of your puppy.
For a low-budget alternative, you can adopt a toy Rat Terrier from a shelter or rescue. By paying around $150 to $300 for the adoption fee, you can have a fully vaccinated and sterilized puppy.
Naturally, you need to prepare for the initial expenses once you take your toy Rat Terrier puppy home. These items will ensure that your pooch can easily transition to a new life with you, so it’s necessary to have them readily available.
To give you an idea of what these initial expenses include, refer to the table below:
|Type of Expense||Average Cost|
|Leash and Collar||$20|
|Food and Water Bowl||$15|
|Dog Bed and Crate||$80|
|Total Initial Cost||$275|
While this cost may seem like a lot, take this estimation as a grain of salt. You can spend a lot less on the same quality of items if you know where to source them. In the end, it’s all about careful budgeting.
Places to Find Toy Rat Terrier Puppies for Sale and Adoption
Toy Rat Terriers may not be so widely produced but you can still find several breeders that offer these fun-sized pets.
So before you start panicking about where to buy them, I’ve put together a list of dog breeders that you can reach out to:
- Isaac Point Kennels – This small breeder offers toy Rat Terriers for families all over the United States. They’ve been producing well-rounded puppies that are free from congenital diseases.
- CaliRats Terriers – If you are from Texas, you can easily purchase a toy Rat Terrier from this breeder. All of their puppies are raised indoors and tested for eye disorders and heart diseases common to the breed.
- Down Home Country Kennels – Located in Missouri, this kennel is focused on producing Rat Terriers along with other breeds such as Dachshunds, Schipperkes, and Shiba Inus. Occasionally, they produce toy Rat Terriers. They provide vet examinations and health certificates, among others.
If you are looking for toy Rat Terrier puppies for sale online and are not sure how to identify a legitimate breeder, read our ultimate puppy buying guide.
It offers useful tips on how to safely transact via the internet and to identify scam red flags.
If you want to save money and rehome a toy Rat Terrier, these rescues can help you get matched with the most suitable dog:
- New Rattitude – Established in 2008, New Rattitude operates as an all-volunteer organization in Georgia that fosters and rehomes Rat Terriers. With the number of dogs they take in each day, it’s impossible not to find a toy Rat Terrier to adopt.
- Ratbone Rescues – This is another rescue organization you can reach out to if you live around South Florida. But for the most part, they also allow cross-state adoption. Just like the first rescue, prices vary depending on the toy Rat Terrier’s age.
- Rat Terrier ResQ – Another long-time operating rescue is Rat Terrier ResQ. They take in Rat Terriers of all ages and sizes. You can find their updated listing on their website or Facebook page.
Always make sure to double-check your transactions and ask the right questions when talking to a breeder or rescue volunteer. Also, remember to be patient and prepare your finances accordingly.
If you want to ace your adoption application, I suggest that you read our ultimate adoption guide which features key tips and techniques starting from choosing the breed to home introduction.
What Are the Other Sizes of Rat Terriers?
Rat Terriers are officially classified as either standard or miniature. Standard Rat Terriers are the default size for this breed while mini Rat Terriers are the smaller versions. Toy Rat Terriers are considered the smallest variety.
Are Toy Rat Terriers Cuddly?
Toy Rat Terriers are natural cuddlers. They enjoy being near their owners, making them the best snuggle buddies. Whether you love lying around or traveling, these dogs can be the greatest company due to their clingy personality.
Do Toy Rat Terriers Bark a Lot?
You won’t have neighbor problems with toy Rat Terriers because they are not yappers. They are quite active dogs but they rarely bark.
However, if they do bark, it might be a cause for concern. They are either hearing something unusual or seeing a stranger on your property.
Final Thoughts: Is the Toy Rat Terrier Right for You?
With many toy breeds saturating the dog market, it can be hard to choose the perfect one. However, I guarantee that you won’t have trouble with owning a toy Rat Terrier. It’s not just their size but their admirable personality that will sweep you away.
If you want an adorable dog full of energy and affection, you should definitely pick a toy Rat Terrier as your next pet.
Their bright disposition will bring you many days of fun adventures. As working dogs, you can expect them to be helpful in your garden work or even hunting activities.
Their small size doesn’t make them any less of a purebred Rat Terrier. They are equally deserving of love and attention as any other size variations.
My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and dogs. I’ve got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.