Do Rat Terriers Shed?


Do Rat Terriers Shed? – Here’s What You Need To Know.

Last Updated on August 8, 2023 by Denise Leo. Post first published on March 8, 2022.

Do you find rat terriers super adorable due to their small size? Well, this breed is playful & loving too. But do rat terriers shed dog hair lots? Are they hypoallergenic? You’ll get the answers right here.

Small body with big ears – rat terriers are adorable dogs with a shiny, sleek coat of hair in a range of neutral tones. This breed is so competent at hunting that the farmers used to keep them as companions to protect their fields from rodents. Rat terriers are highly energetic and playful dogs with dexterous rat-catching and prey hunting abilities.

They are super active, fun-loving, and more peaceful than other terriers at the same time. This quality makes them great companions for kids. But this also points to the reason why they get easily bored, and you can’t let them be alone.

Your rat terrier may keep barking or start chewing the household out of anxiety if you leave him alone in the house. These little rat-catchers require socialization as they can’t bear the separation. So, if you are about to have a rat terrier, you must consider training him for dog-proof rooms and staying alone in the crate.

Now let’s discuss this shedding thing of this attention-seeking dog breed. Do rat terriers shed? Yes, they do, especially during spring and fall. There are times when you’ll need to brush him more often than usual to control rat terrier shedding. Let’s go deeper into the shedding phenomenon of rat terriers to keep your dog groomed.

Do Rat Terriers Shed?
Do Rat Terriers Shed?

Origin And History Of Rat Terriers

Rat terriers had their origin in America, sharing ancestry with many dogs. Their ancestry includes Fox Terriers, Manchester Terriers, Bull Terriers, and Old English White Terriers. The Rat Terrier is an American dog but was created from a mix of Fox Terrier, Beagle, Manchester Terrier, Old English White Terrier, Toy Fox Terrier, Italian Greyhound, and Whippet.

Their name comes from the rat-baiting history of the British Migrants. From 1910 through to the 1930s, he was among the most popular farm dogs and was used to hunt, catch rats and other creatures, and do other farm work. He can hunt below and above ground equally well and deal with vermin, rodents, and small game.

The breed is recognized as a hunter of the farms. In the 1910s and 1924s, used to keep them for hunting rats, squirrels, and rabbits due to their immense speed. But later, their need became limited in the fields as the owners started controlling rodents through rat poison.

This remained limited, even went rare by the 1950s, but there was a rise in the 1970s. The Decker strain became a famous breed that could hunt deers, wild pigs, and cougars out of rat terriers. By 1972, a hairless rat terrier female started the population of hairless rat terriers that are popular as the American Hairless Terrier.

You’ll find those little hairless rat catchers in standard and miniature sizes. Miniature Rat Terriers come in up to 13 inches and weigh around 10 pounds. At the same time, the standard size is up to 18 inches and weighs up to 13 pounds.

Temperament Of Rat Terriers

Although Rat Terriers love to socialize, they can be aloof to strangers. However, they get mingled in less time with the visitors. Therefore, you need to keep training them to socialize because if you don’t, they might become anxious upon seeing the strangers like other dogs. Being fearless can be a dangerous trait of Rat Terriers in that case.

Rat terriers are great family pets and love to be around their owners. They continuously look for activities to amuse themselves as they are highly energetic.

Do Rat Terriers Shed?
Do Rat Terriers Shed?

Coat & Color Of Rat Terriers

His coat color can be any pied patterns. Pied is when large colored patches are mixed with white. The primary colors are fawn, lemon, tan, blue, apricot, chocolate, black or red, and he may have tan points.

He’s athletic, elegant, playful, and loyal He is happiest when with his family. He’s easy to train and very intelligent. He does well in obedience and agility events and needs plenty of exercise. His coat sheds seasonally and needs to be brushed with a rubber curry mitt or soft brush.

Rat Terriers have a sleek, dense, and shiny coat of dull hues ranging from white and rust to black, brown, and red. There are also lemon, chocolate, and orange as middle tones.

Intermittent spots, white marks, and dark patches are also found in the fur of rat terriers. However, no matter which color a rat terrier has, it does have a typical white mark on the fur.

However, their dense fur is quite manageable due to the short size of rat terriers and the presence of a single coat. The fur is easily shredded on the floor, and you’ll find bunches of hair if you do not frequently brush your terrier’s hair. Brushing makes it easier for you to collect your dog’s fur for once rather than roaming around the house with a broom or cleaner.

In the following sections, you’ll explore how much rat terriers shed along with their shedding phenomenon.

Shedding Phenomenon in Rat Terriers

You must be wondering whether rat terriers shed a lot. The answer is No! We can say that they shed moderately throughout the year. Let’s discover how:

Seasonal Rat Terrier Shedding

The light fur that your terrier developed in the summer is shed faster than usual during spring and fall. The reason is that the skin of rat terriers is replaced with thick and more dense hair during this season to keep them insulated in the winter season.

On the contrary, the opposite happens when winter says goodbye. Again, the rat terriers are ready for seasonal shedding of loose hair, but this time for a less dense and lighter coat.

Frequent Shedding

Female rat terriers shed regardless of the season. That is when their heat cycles are over.

The shedding phenomenon occurs in three stages:

Anagen: Growth of newly appeared hair.

Catagen: When hair growth ends. This takes a period of 10 to 20 days.

Telogen: When the fur starts shedding and becomes ready to replace a new coat.

This phenomenon takes place in all terriers. However, shedding frequency is more minor in miniature rat terriers as they are smaller in size.

How To Control Shedding In Rat Terriers?

Shedding dog hair in rat terriers is a normal process for which you don’t need to worry. You only have to put some extra effort into grooming your dog. You can achieve less shedding by brushing your dog weekly, giving him a proper bath, and taking care of the diet.

However, you’ll need to be a little more conscious of your dog’s fur during the spring season, as this is the peak time when your terrier will shed a little extra hair.

Also, taking care of a rat terrier during the peak shedding seasons tells the quality of new hair. Following are the ways with which you can control shedding and make sure that the next coat comes healthier:

Brushing Them Weekly

Brushing your rat terrier frequently will reduce unwanted shedding in the home and make your dog less irritable. You should choose a brush that goes suitable for your terrier.

A natural bristle brush or a slicker brush both are good to comb a shedding rat terrier. However, a slicker brush is a better choice. It can be used along with grooming gloves if you are a new dog owner. Slicker brushes are easy to use and remove dead hair quickly and trouble-free.

Taking Care Of Cleanliness

Bathing is preferred less often in rat terriers. You are bathing them once in 4 weeks comes under best practices. However, it is not a hard and fast rule. If your dog rolls in the mud and messes up himself, then you must keep cleanliness on top.

Bathing your rat terrier frequently favors dryness and removes the layer of natural oils from the coat. This leads to damage of hair follicles, dry skin, and even abnormal shedding. Using a suitable dog shampoo and conditioner and avoiding the chemical containing human shampoos comes under the best hair care practices for your rat terrier.

Make sure that your dog goes outdoors after getting thoroughly dried. Otherwise, he may develop stressful skin.

Maintaining A Healthy Rat Terrier Diet

Feeding your rat terrier with protein and omega 3 containing fatty food ensures the development of healthy skin and a healthy coat. Cheap dog food should be avoided to prevent allergies and poor hygiene. Keep the diet natural to achieve good results.

Do Rat Terriers Shed?
Do Rat Terriers Shed?

How To Groom Your Rat Terrier?

Grooming a rat terrier is not a big struggle as you don’t have to bathe them more often. They only need weekly brushing with a little more dedication in the spring and fall. However, grooming a rat terrier doesn’t stop only on bathing brushing.

Maintenance Of Rat Terrier Oral Hygiene

It would help if you also kept cleaning your teeth at least thrice a week to maintain oral hygiene. This prevents the chances of developing gum diseases.

Maintenance Of Rat Terrier Ear Hygiene

Grooming your dog also requires the maintenance of ear hygiene. Check its ear once a week for redness and smell. This might indicate infection. Damp a cotton ball gently to clean them and use a ph-balanced ear cleaner superficially to clean the ears of your dog.

Other Rat Terrier Considerations

The short size of a rat terrier is a plus in making their grooming easier, even when the shedding period is there. You only need to focus on brushing weekly with a rubber curry comb (optional) to make the dead hair go away and your dog looks tidy.

Do Rat Terriers Shed?
Do Rat Terriers Shed?

Does Dog Shedding Bring Allergies?

Although none of the dogs are completely hypoallergenic, we definitely do not call rat terriers hypoallergenic. Obviously, they shed, and the fur contains dander that is responsible for allergies. The dander contains minute protein fragments that trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. It can also travel through the furniture, air, and entire house.

But the severity of allergy caused by a dog’s dander varies from person to person. Just because a rat terrier sheds doesn’t mean susceptible people have harm from them. They are prone to get allergic reactions through any pet’s fur and mucus.

There is good news for people concerned about rat terrier dogs being hypoallergenic that there is a dog breed called poodle who shed to a minimal extent. This makes poodles hypoallergenic and favorable for sensitive people.

Also, if you keep a miniature rat terrier, the chances of developing allergies are least because they shed less than other breeds. They weigh 10 pounds and are 13 inches long, which is less surface area for shedding as compared to the standard breed that is up to 18 inches.

Should You Consider Having A Rat Terrier?

The rat terrier dogs were used historically to hunt down rats from the fields. They even do rat-baiting, which is a blood sport. Whether or not you are considering keeping a rat terrier for this specific purpose, I suggest keeping it! Rat terriers are highly energetic dogs who are friendly and love to stay around people.

If you reside in an apartment or a less spacious house, rat terriers will make a great companion for you! However, if you have a mansion, villa, or big house, you may prefer a miniature rat terrier or a standard one. The reason is that they shed less often and suit best to those who are concerned about shedding and dander.

Frequent play sessions, daily walks, and socialization is favorable habitats for a rat terrier to grow healthy. Rat terriers can be friends with any dog, even cats. There is no harm to the cats in raising them along with rat terriers, as once they get familiar with the cats, they do not take them as prey. Bringing a rat terrier to a home full of kids would be a gift to them!

Final Word on Rat Terrier Shedding

The small-sized rat-catchers are expert hunters and cheerful dogs who need your attention by nature. Therefore, spending time with them, not keeping them alone as per their natural trait, and maintaining their hygiene are the practices that a good owner should adopt.

The dense hair of an American terrier keeps shedding throughout the year, but the process speeds up during spring and fall. Shedding also occurs after heat cycles in female rat terriers.

You can groom your rat terrier with less worry by brushing it once weekly using a slicker brush or a shedding tool. In addition, rat tarrier’s small size makes their grooming less worrying and more engaging.

Unless you are not sensitive to allergies, a rat terrier could be your best companion as it is a loving and playful breed that would love hunting for you!

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References and Further Reading:
American Kennel Club Rat Terrier Information


  • Denise Leo

    My name is Denise Leo, and I hail from Australia. My journey with dogs, especially with the delightful Pomeranian breed, has been a lifelong passion extending over 50 years. I have had the honor of breeding and exhibiting close to 100 Pomeranian Champions, dedicating many years to the intricate art of dog training across various disciplines. Beyond the show ring, my experience stretches to the pastoral fields as both a Dairy Farmer and Beef Cattle Breeder, where working with dogs of all breeds has been an integral part of my daily life. This diverse exposure has deepened my understanding and appreciation for these incredible animals. I firmly believe that dogs are the most extraordinary beings in our universe, capable of offering us unconditional love that surpasses even their own self-interest. The countless wonderful dogs that have shared my life over the years have not only brought immense joy and companionship but have also profoundly enriched my existence in ways I could never have imagined. About us page

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