“Rat” is a very strange name for a dog, which begs the question, “how did the Rat Terrier get its name?” People have come up with many theories, but the one with the best consensus behind it is that Rat Terriers were breed specifically to be “ratters,” dogs used by their owners to chase down and kill rats.
It all began in the 1820’s in England. Farmers found that they were losing crops and livestock to an influx of rats. Their cats were just not getting the job done so they began to experiment with breeding dogs that were naturally inclined to kill rats. They ended up breeding Black and Tan Manchester Terriers, Smooth Fox Terriers, and White Terriers together and what they got was the Rat, the breed that they had been searching for.
When the farmers immigrated to the United States, they did not come without man’s best friend and rat’s worst enemy. With the help of their terriers, these new Americans were able to protect their food, homes, crops, and health from rats and the diseases they carried.
These days pet Rat Terriers don’t spend all their time killing vermin, but the drive to do so is still there. Make sure your little “Rat” has plenty of opportunities to blow off steam by chasing down and attacking his dog toys instead.
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