History of the American Rat Terrier

The following information came from the Universal Kennel Club International's Rat Terrier booklet.

The Rat Terrier originated in England in the 1820's.  He was a cross between the Smooth Fox Terrier, the Manchester Terrier (looks like a mini Dobie) and originally called this breed a Feist.  The crossing of these two breeds produced a hardy, tenacious, small varmint hunting dog with the consistent coloring of the Manchester Terrier, which was mostly black in color.  Note: The Feist holds the record for killing the most rats at any given time.  This was judged by throwing the Feist into a pit and dump buckets of rats on top of him.  I'd hate to see the losers!

In 1890 the Feist was brought to America and bred again with the Smooth Fox Terrier, leading to the mostly white color.

In 1910, farmers added more breeds to develope a good varmint hunting dog and to control infestations of rats on their farms.  The breeds added to the American Feist are Beagle, Whippet and Italian Greyhound, which developed into the Mini (10-18 lbs), Standard (over 18 lbs) and Decker Giant (up to 50 lbs) Rat Terriers.

Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the U.S. moved into the White House when it was infested with rats (still is!).  He brought in his beloved dogs (developing Rat Terriers) to eliminate the rats.  They did such a great job, he gave them their current name the Rat Terrier.

In 1920, the Runt Fox Terrier, Chihuahua and Toy Manchester Terrier were were added to create a Toy Rat Terrier (under 10 lbs).

In 1938, Universal Kennel Club International is the first & original registry to recognize, register and officially name the Rat Terrier.  Today it is still considered a rare bred and are growing in popularity.

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