A rat terrier dog looking up.

Rodents could already be in your home. They can sometimes be hard to detect if they don’t show their faces. They also build large networks inside your home before you even realize it. Luckily, there’s an adorable, friendly solution to your problem – the rat terrier.

A rat terrier is a specially bred dog that detects and eliminates small animals. They make great pets and have a large range of special characteristics.



The order of Rodentia is large. It includes many wild animals such as the more common rat and hamster to the squirrel and even the beaver. While they eat seeds and nuts found outside, rodents have an affinity for the warmth and shelter of human homes.Inside your house, they tend to leave droppings and decompose where they die. Their combined waste creates a toxic environment and an unpleasant odor in your home.


Rat terriers were bred long ago to hunt and eliminate rodents. They make great pets, love to spend time outside, and can control your rodent population.The rat terrier has a long history of pure and mixed breeding that makes it a standout breed of dog.

Henry VIII’s ship Mary Rose sank in the mid-1500s with a special passenger on board. Hatch, the first recorded rat terrier, had been entrusted to keep the ship rodent-free. Hatch, as well as the other original rat terriers, were bred to move quickly. Their breeders intended for them to hunt small game on their own.

A unique side effect was born of their breeding. Not only were they adept at chasing small game, but they also became skilled at finding and chasing away rodents. While there were hunting breeds available that could control larger animals, rat terriers had the speed necessary to hunt down extra speedy critters.

Rat Terriers found their greatest livelihood on farms from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. At the time, poisons and commercial farming techniques had not been developed yet. Rat terriers were the best form of rodent control for farmers. Even simple homesteads enjoyed the pest control powers of the rat terrier up until the 1940s. Their popularity began to decline when the popularity of pesticides grew. Breeders interested in the rat terrier’s speed continued breeding through their bloodline.

The Modern Terrier

Today’s rat terrier has a similar appearance to its predecessor, but it has gained many helpful characteristics from mixed breeding, including:


Though they may have some bad habits, they can be trained to non-lethally rid your home of rodents. They know when it’s okay to be aggressive and when to be gentle.


The rat terrier’s motivation to hunt keep its senses keen. Its affinity for human and animal interaction keeps it happy. It requires lots of stimulation, but benefits dog and master equally.


They get along well with humans and many different types of dogs. They have a strong instinct to hunt rodents, but play well with other animals. It is critical that rat terriers are exposed at an early age to many different social settings to take advantage of this trait.


It’s clear that rat terriers are rodent hunters. It’s important to understand how and why they hunt before making a decision about bringing one into your home.


Most dog breeds can detect unusual noises or movement, but the rat terrier instinctively looks for signs of critters. They have a subconscious radar that picks up the scent and movement of rodents. Their bark is also unique. It is more high pitched than dog breeds of similar size and easily recognizable even from a distance. If trained, they can detect rodents and alert you immediately when they find one.


Hunting rodents is a habit instilled in rat terriers for hundreds of years. They have a strong bite and are capable of harming small pests. With early training, they can learn to chase rodents away from your home and be on constant guard to make sure the pests don’t come back.


The heightened alertness of rat terriers makes them perfect home guardians. Their superior intelligence allows them to recognize rodent behaviors by smell, sound, and vision. They are eager to hunt and will drive out creatures that try to enter their domain.

Rat terriers provide rodent control that is all-inclusive. Consider a rat terrier if you are ready to add another member to your family and are looking for a friendly, humane way to keep critters out of your home.