The Rat Terrier, also known as the American Rat Terrier, the Decker Giant, the Squirrel Terrier and the Feist, was developed in England to control vermin. Rat Terriers became so adept at killing rats both above and below ground that breed enthusiasts in England entered them in rat-baiting contests, where bets were wagered on how many rats a particular dog could kill. One Rat Terrier reportedly killed 2,501 rats in a seven-hour period. Today’s Rat Terriers retain their strong hunting instinct and also make terrific family companions.
The Rat Terrier was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1999, and the parent club of the breed has been recognized by the American Kennel Club. The Rat Terrier was accepted into the AKC Foundation Stock Service in 2004 and for competition in performance disciplines in 2006. It will become eligible for competition in the Miscellaneous Class effective July 1, 2010. The UKC and the AKC recognize two varieties of Rat Terriers based on height at the withers: the standard is over 13 up to and including 18 inches in height, and the miniature is to be at least 10 inches but not over 13 inches in height. The miniature typically weighs 8 to 15 pounds and the standard usually is between 15 and 30 pounds.