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COMPARISON OF AKC AND UKC RAT TERRIER BREED STANDARDS
BY DARICE RAGAN & KEN JONES
T he Rat Terrier breed was first recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1999. The American Kennel Club recognized the Rat Terrier breed in 2013. Between AKC and UKC, there are a few differences in the written breed standards. Sev- eral AKC judges also judge in UKC. For these reasons, it’s important for all AKC judges to understand why they are seeing differences in Rat Terriers that compete in both AKC and UKC conformation shows. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE AKC (AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB) AND UKC (UNITED KENNEL CLUB) RAT TERRIER BREED STANDARDS? We have compared both Breed Standards to one another and targeted individual parts of each standard; compared them against each other as a learning tool for UKC and AKC judges, breeders, and the general public. The information provided below is only “in part” and neither Breed Standard appears in its entirety. BODY AND GENERAL APPEARANCE UKC: Suggests some body areas of growth should not be “judged” under 12 months of age. For example, dog height and ear set. The 10:9 ratio is to be judged. UKC stresses that the loin should be “moderately short.” AKC: Sets a dog’s final height at six (6) months old. A Disqualification (DQ) relating to height, length of ears, etc., should not be finalized, penalized or judged before twelve (12) months of age. Dogs can change a lot between 6 and 12 months old. AKC states, “The short loin has a slight muscular arch blending into the gently rounded croup.” Comparison: UKC and AKC agree on “A small to medium compact hunting dog.” Both standards state the dog should only be “slightly” longer than tall. HEAD Both the UKC and AKC Standards agree that the head shall be a blunt wedge shape when viewed from the front or from the side. UKC: The head is proportionate to the size of the body. When viewed from the side, the skull and muzzle are of equal length and joined by a moderate stop. Viewed from the front and the side, the Rat Terrier’s head forms a blunt wedge shape. Fault: Abrupt Stop. The skull is broad and slightly domed. It tapers slightly toward the muzzle. The jaws are powerful with well-muscled cheeks. Serious Fault: Apple Head. AKC: The Head resembles a smooth, blunt wedge from a front or profile view. When seen from the front, the head widens gradually towards the base of the ears in an unbroken line and is well-filled-up under the eyes. Comparison: The UKC Standard appears to be more concerned with head shape, noting an apple head as a serious fault and an abrupt stop as a fault. AKC lists the stop as “moderate but distinct.” UKC states that skull and muzzle should be equal in length, while AKC sug- gests that muzzle is to be “just slightly shorter in length than the skull.”
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COMPARISON OF AKC AND UKC RAT TERRIER BREED STANDARDS
BOTH SAY THE HINDQUARTERS SHOULD BE MUSCULAR.
AKC - ‘Oval’ Eye Shape • Eye color must align with coat color; • Eye color can vary with coat color, but eye rims and nose color must match; • ANY blue in eyes is a DQ; • Gray eyes are accepted in diluted dogs only, but are a serious fault in other colorations.
UKC - ‘Round’ Eye Shape • Eye color must align with coat color; • Eye color can vary with coat color, but eye rims and nose color must match; • Both eyes must match; • Wall or China eyes are faults; • Light eyes in dogs with dark-colored coats is a fault; • Bulged eyes are also faulted in UKC.
COLORS Comparison: Both AKC and UKC disqualify, aka DQ, merle, brindle, and absence of white. Both DQ the absence of white but vary in descriptions. AKC states an amount of white must be on the forechest or body and must not be less than one (1) inch at its widest point, adding “a few white hairs does not constitute an acceptable marking.” UKC only says the “absence” of white is a DQ. • UKC: Some accepted colors in UKC are not accepted in AKC. Isabella (aka Pearl) is a good example. UKC does not list Red as a color, but it clearly lists Fawn as a fault. UKC also lists Albinism. • AKC: Lists colors via color codes that are very exact. AKC lists white as the first color in every dog. To some, this could be misleading. For example, a black and white dog, with only the minimum of allowed white, would be listed as white and black. Many dog people have become accustomed to naming colors in order of the prominence of colors on that dog, i.e., white, black, and tan would suggest the dog is mostly white, followed by black, and lastly, tan. Tan being the least prominent color on this dog. The color codes are not mentioned in the AKC written Standard. AKC lists Red and Fawn as acceptable colors. FOREQUARTERS UKC: Shoulders are smoothly muscled. The shoulder blades are well-laid-back, with the upper tips fairly close together at the withers. The upper arm appears to be equal in length to the shoulder blade and joins it at an apparent right angle. The elbows are close to the body. Viewed from any angle, the forelegs are straight, strong, and sturdy in bone. The pasterns are strong, short, and nearly vertical. AKC: The shoulder blades are well-laid-back, with flat muscles providing enough space between the shoulder blades to allow for free movement. The shoulder blades and the upper arms are nearly equal in length and are well-set-back so that the elbows fall directly under the highest point of the shoulder blade. The depth of the body at the elbow is the same distance as from the elbow to the ground. The forelegs stand straight and parallel, with elbows turning neither in nor out. Comparison: Both Standards list shoulders that are well-laid-back. Both say smooth or flat muscled, allowing free and easy movement. Both claim that upper arm and shoulder blade should be nearly (or appear) equal in length. Both state that dogs should have nice straight forelegs, viewed from any angle. UKC says elbows should be close to body, i.e., not out. AKC also says that legs should be parallel, and elbows turn neither in nor out. FEET UKC: The feet are compact and slightly oval in shape. The two middle toes are slightly longer than the other toes. Toes may be well-split-up, but not flat or splayed. Front dewclaws may be removed. Rear dewclaws must be removed. Faults: Flat Feet; Splayed Feet; Rear Dewclaws Present. AKC: The pasterns are slightly sloping when viewed from the side. The feet are oval in shape. The toes turn neither in nor out, are compact, moderately arched, with thick pads and strong nails. The front dewclaws may be removed.
Comparison: Both Standards suggest nice compact feet, oval in shape. AKC says that toes should not point in or out. Both say front dew- claws can be removed and both state that rear dewclaws must be removed. (AKC mentions rear dewclaws under Hindquarters.) UKC lists flat and or splayed feet as a fault. HINDQUARTERS UKC: The hindquarters are muscular, with the length of the upper and lower thighs being approximately equal. The angulation of the hindquarters is in balance with the angulation of the forequarters. The stifles are well-bent, and the hocks are well-let-down. When the dog is standing, the short, strong rear pasterns are perpendicular to the ground, and viewed from the rear, parallel to one another. AKC: The hindquarters are muscular but smooth and in balance with the forequarters. They should not be bulging or coarse. Stifles are well-bent, with short hocks that are paral- lel and perpendicular to the ground. The hind feet, although slightly smaller, are similar to the front feet. Rear dewclaws are removed. Comparison: UKC Standard says that upper and lower thighs should be approximate- ly equal in length. AKC does not compare. Both say the hindquarters should be muscular. Both suggest well-bent stifles. Both say, when standing, the hock should be perpendicular (right-angled) to the ground. Both state that, from the rear, hocks should be parallel. TAIL UKC: The tail is set-on at the end of the croup. A docked or natural bob tail is pre- ferred, but a natural tail is not a fault. Dock- ing should be between the second and third joint of the tail. The natural tail is thick at the base and tapers toward the tip. When the dog is alert, the tail is carried in an upward curve. When relaxed, the tail may be carried straight out behind the dog. Faults: Bent Tail; Ring Tail.
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COMPARISON OF AKC AND UKC RAT TERRIER BREED STANDARDS
AKC: The tail set is a continuation of the spine. Tails are custom- arily docked between the second and third joint, or can be a natural bobtail or left naturally long and tapering to the hock joint. Length is unimportant. The carriage is variable, depending on attitude, car- ried from slightly below horizontal to almost erect, but not over the back or as a ring tail. Comparison: UKC prefers a docked or natural bob tail, while a natural, full tail is allowed and is no fault. AKC says tail length is unimportant. Otherwise, the tail is pretty much described as the same. COAT UKC: The coat is short, dense, and smooth, with a sheen. Whis- kers are not removed. Disqualifications: Wire or Broken Coat; Long Coat. AKC: A short, close lying, smooth and shiny coat. Texture varies; a very slight ruff or wave along the back is allowed, but is undesir- able. Any suggestion of kink or curl is cause for disqualification. Whiskers must not be removed. Absence of coat (total genetic hair- lessness) is a disqualification. Comparison: Both Standards suggest a nice, tight coat. How- ever, AKC states hairlessness is a DQ, while UKC states that a long coat is a DQ. Both want a short, tight coat. GAIT UKC: The Rat Terrier moves with a jaunty air that suggests agil- ity, speed, and power. Rat Terrier gait is smooth and effortless, with good reach of forequarters without any trace of hackney gait. Rear quarters have strong driving power, with hocks fully extending. Viewed from any position, legs turn neither in nor out, nor do feet cross or interfere with each other. As speed increases, feet tend to converge toward a center line of balance. AKC: A ground-covering, efficient trot with good reach and drive, suggesting agility, speed, and power. The legs are parallel at a trot, but as speed increases, the legs converge toward a center line. There should be no elbowing out, weaving or rolling action while in motion. Comparison: Very similar. UKC does state that there should be no trace of a hackney gait. AKC warns against elbowing out. UKC states a strong driving power from rear legs with fully extending hocks. AKC warns against rolling or weaving action. TEMPERAMENT UKC: The Rat Terrier is an energetic, alert dog whose curios- ity and intelligence make him easy to train. The Rat Terrier has sometimes been described as having a dual personality. He is a fear- less, tenacious hunter with seemingly unlimited energy. When he is not hunting, however, the Rat Terrier is an exceptionally friendly companion, getting along well with children, other dogs, and even cats. Rat Terriers enjoy human companionship immensely and will enthusiastically share any activity with their owners. Rat Terriers should not be sparred during conformation judging. AKC: Keenly observant, devoted, full of energy, yet easily trained and obedient to command. The Rat Terrier is a non-sparring breed and generally friendly with other dogs, but may be reserved with strangers. Submissiveness is not a fault. Overt aggression and exces- sive shyness should be penalized. Comparison: Compares very well. Both Standards describe a dog with a lot of energy; easily trained and ready to please. Both agree that Rat Terriers are not to be sparred in the ring. Both Stan- dards state that extreme aggression or shyness should be penalized.
UKC PREFERS A DOCKED OR NATURAL BOB TAIL, WHILE A NATURAL, FULL TAIL IS ALLOWED AND IS NO FAULT. AKC SAYS TAIL LENGTH IS UNIMPORTANT. OTHERWISE, THE TAIL IS PRETTY MUCH DESCRIBED AS THE SAME.
DISQUALIFICATIONS UKC • Unilateral or Bilateral Cryptorchid; • Viciousness or Extreme Shyness; • Unilateral or Bilateral Deafness; • Albinism; • A Short-Legged Dog Whose Proportions Vary Significantly from the 10:9 Ratio; • Hanging Ears; • Wire or Broken Coat; • Long Coat; • Brindle; • Merle; • Absence of White; • Bi-Color where Neither Color is White. (A dog with a Disqualifica- tion must not be considered for placement in a conforma- tion event and must be report- ed to UKC.)
AKC • Any Dog Over Six
Months of Age Measur- ing Less Than 10 Inches;
• Any Dog Over Six
Months of Age Measur- ing Over 18 Inches; • Any Blue Color in the Eye(s); • Cropped Ears; • An Absence of Coat (Genetic Hairlessness); • Any Suggestion of Kink or Curl or Coat Type Other Than Described; • Solid Colorations (Other than White); • Bi-Colors without White, or Dogs with a Patch or Strip of White Measuring Less Than One Inch at its Widest Dimension; • Brindle Color Patterns; • Merle Color Patterns.
Comparison: Some things vary here, but both Standards mention varying penalties in other sections of the Standard. For example, extreme shyness is mentioned above in the AKC Stan- dard, but is mentioned in UKC as a DQ. Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid is not mentioned in AKC’s Standard while it is a DQ in UKC.
THE RAT TERRIER BREED AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB
BY DARICE RAGAN, MARY BARRETT, PAM MILLS, AND JO ANN DRAPER PHOTOS FROM MEMBERS OF THE RAT TERRIER CLUB OF AMERICA
RAT TERRIER HISTORY T
he Rat Terrier is an American breed. Early 19th century immigrants originated the breed from a mixture of crosses; Smooth Fox Terriers, Old English White Terriers, Bull Ter- riers, and Manchester Terriers. Later, Chihuahuas, Toy Fox
Terriers, and available Feist breeds were added to the cross.
THE RAT TERRIER BREED
During the 1910s and 1920s, most farmers owned a Rat Ter- rier. Rabbits were plaguing crops in the Midwest, so farmers began breeding Rat Terriers to Whippets and Italian Greyhounds for “speed.” Farmers in the Central and Southern regions bred their Rat Terriers to Beagles to bring out a stronger prey drive, and gave the Rat Terrier breed the “nose” as well as the good disposition they are known for today. Bred primarily for protection against vermin on the farm or ranch, and not as earth dogs, the Rat Terrier will follow most quarry to ground but are more suited to trailing, flushing, treeing game, and hunting rabbits and vermin. One Rat Terrier is reported to have killed over 2,500 rats in the span of only seven hours in a rat-infested barn. The Rat Terrier is a hard-working farmhand, able to rid an infested barn of vermin with no problem. The Rat Terrier is not a sparring breed. The Rat Terrier is a well-muscled dog with a deep chest, strong shoulders, solid neck, and powerful legs. They DO NOT have
a typical Terrier front assembly. Their bodies are compact, but meaty. The ears can be upright, button or tipped. They can be born with short or full length tails, each being left in its natural state or docked at two days of age. The Rat Terrier is easy to groom, with only an occasional combing and brushing needed to remove dead hair. The Rat Terrier is a hardy breed, and long-lived, living an aver- age of 15 to 18 years. The Rat Terrier is an intelligent, alert, well-rounded, loving dog. They are very inquisitive and eager to please. They respond and are easy to train. This affectionate dog makes an excel- lent companion for those who will enjoy an energetic, but not hyperactive, dog. Rat Terriers are good with children, especially if they are raised with them from puppyhood. They are, for the most part, friendly with strangers. Rat Terriers make good watchdogs. These dogs are quick, very playful, and are not yappers. They are also very good swimmers.
THE RAT TERRIER BREED
THE RAT TERRIER BREED STANDARD (OFFICIAL AKC) GENERAL APPEARANCE The Rat Terrier was originally bred for ratting and farm work. A multipurpose companion dog that is capable of hunting rodents and vermin above and below ground, and to course small game. He is a sturdy, compact, small-to-medium sized parti-colored dog giv- ing the appearance of elegance and fitness, denoting speed, power and balance. Honorable scars or a couple of broken or missing canines or incisors teeth are not to be faulted. The following is a description of the ideal Rat Terrier. Variations are penalized to the extent of the deviation. SIZE Rat Terriers, six months of age or older, should measure between 10 inches and 18 inches at the withers. • Any dog measuring less than 10 inches or any dog over 18 inches are to be Disqualified.
SUBSTANCE Moderate bone in proportion to size. A well-balanced, hard- muscled dog with smooth lines under taut skin. This dog should not be rangy nor fine boned and toyish, and never bulky or coarse. They are shown in good, hard physical working condition.
HEAD The HEAD resembles a smooth, blunt wedge from a front or profile view. When seen from the front, the head widens gradually towards the base of the ears in an unbroken line and is well filled up under the eyes. The EXPRESSION is intelligent, alert and full of interest.
PROPORTION The Rat Terrier is just slightly longer than tall.
The height, measured vertically from the ground to the high- est point of the withers, is slightly less than the length, measured horizontally from the point of the shoulders to the point of the buttocks. Shortness in leg is a serious fault.
The EYES are not large. They are obliquely set wide apart and are oval in shape. Eye color varies with coat color from darkest brown to hazel. Eye rim pigmentation corresponds with nose color and facial markings. Gray eyes are acceptable in blue or blue-fawn dogs only, being a serious fault in other colorations. Any blue in the eye(s) is a disqualification.
THE RAT TERRIER BREED
EARS – Set on the top outer edge of the skull, V-shaped, with the length in proportion to the head moderately pointed at the tip. When viewed from the side, the base of the ear is on line with the outer corner of the eye. Ears should match in shape and carriage when alert, and can be carried erect, semi-erect and tipped, or but- ton without preference. When alert, a rose ear is a fault. Cropped ears are a disqualification.
• The NOSE color corresponds with the body color and is entirely pigmented. • Flesh-colored noses are considered a fault in lemon or light apricot colorations while being a serious fault in other colorations. • Seasonal fading is permitted.
The LIPS are clean and tight, and correspond in color with the nose leather or may be pink; either solid or spotted is acceptable. The lower jaw and teeth are strong and well developed with no sign of being snipey or weak. BITE - A scissor bite is preferred. A level bite is acceptable.
SKULL –When viewed from the front the skull is moderate in width, relatively flat on top, and rounded at crown and the sides as it widens smoothly from the corner of the eyes to the base of the ears. The occiput is not prominent. The cheeks are flat and well- muscled, but never bulging.
NECK, TOPLINE, BODY NECK – Length of neck is in proportion to the head. Strong, arched along the crest and dry, the neck blends smoothly into the flat shoulder blades. TOPLINE – Smooth and blending from the back through the loin and set of the tail.
The STOP is moderate but distinct. The MUZZLE is strong, just slightly shorter in length than the skull and tapers smoothly along the sides to the nose.
THE RAT TERRIER BREED
FOREQUARTERS The shoulder blades are well laid back with flat muscles provid- ing enough space between the shoulder blades to allow for free movement. The shoulder blades and the upper arms are nearly equal in length and well set back so that the elbows fall directly under the highest point of the shoulder blade. The depth of the body at the elbow is the same distance as from the elbow to the ground. The forelegs stand straight and parallel with elbows turning neither in nor out. The pasterns are slightly sloping when viewed from the side. The FEET are oval in shape. The toes turn neither in nor out, are compact, moderately arched, with thick pads and strong nails. The front dewclaws may be removed.
BODY – The body is compact, strong and flexible with well sprung ribs. The brisket extends to the elbow. When viewed from the front, the ribs appear to be oval. The Rat Terrier, while mus- cled and fit, has flat muscles that blend into the body. The chest is moderately wide and well filled with a discernible forechest. The underline ascends gradually with the ribs extending well back to a moderate tuck-up.
BACK The back is level and firm from the withers to the loin. The short loin has a slight muscular arch blending into the gently rounded croup.
TAIL – The tail set is a continuation of the spine. Tails are customarily docked between the second and third joint, or can be a natural bobtail or left naturally long and tapering to the hock joint. Length is unimportant. The carriage is variable depending on attitude, carried from slightly below horizontal to almost erect, but not over the back or a ring tail.
HINDQUARTERS The hindquarters are muscular but smooth and in balance with the forequarters. They should not be bulging or coarse. Stifles are well-bent with short hocks that are parallel and perpendicular to the ground. The hind feet although slightly smaller are similar to the front feet. Rear dewclaws are removed.
THE RAT TERRIER BREED
COAT • Short, close lying, smooth and shiny coat. • Texture varies; a very slight ruff or wave along the back is allowed, but undesirable. • Any suggestion of kink or curl is cause for disqualification. • Whiskers must not be removed. • Absence of coat (total genetic hairlessness) is a disqualification.
• “Tan Points” are common and vary in shades of cream to rust. • Badger markings are acceptable. • Speckling, ticking and mottling is common, but heavy ticking is undesirable.
COLOR • Any variation of Pied patterning is acceptable. • Pied is described as comparatively large patches of one or more colors in combination with white. • Except for the “solid white” extreme piebald dog with only mottled/spotted skin; Rat Terriers are never a solid ground color without white markings, or bi-colored without one color being white.
• Sabling is permitted in the coat or as shading on the head or penciling on the toes. • A “black mask/black muzzle” on a dog not having black as coloration is to be seriously faulted. • A few white hairs do not constitute an acceptable marking. A minimum white marking consists of a patch or strip of white with underlying white/pink skin on the forechest or body that exceeds one inch. Less than one inch of white at its widest dimension is a disqualification. • Brindle or Merle color patterns are disqualifications.
GAIT • A ground-covering efficient trot with good reach and drive suggesting agility, speed and power. The legs are parallel at a trot, but as speed increases, the legs converge toward a center line. There should be no elbowing out, weaving or rolling action while in motion.
• Acceptable colors with or without “tan points” include the predominate Black: or Chocolate, Red, Apricot, Blue, Fawn, Tan, Lemon, or White. • Intense, dark shades of color with clearly defined and delin- eated coloration is preferred. • White on the body is preferred to be between 10% and 90%, but all Patterns; spotted, patched or splashed with white in conjunction with (or without) any combination of white on the face, head or ears are equally acceptable without prejudice.
TEMPERAMENT • Keenly observant, devoted, full of energy, yet easily trained and obedient to command. • The Rat Terrier is a non-sparring breed and generally friendly with other dogs, but may be reserved with strangers. • Submissiveness is not a fault. • Overt aggression and excessive shyness should be penalized.
THE RAT TERRIER BREED
AKC COLOR GUIDE The color with the most amount on the dog is listed first.
DISQUALIFICATIONS • Any dog over six months of age measuring less than 10 inches, or over 18 inches. • Any blue color in the eye. • Cropped ears. • An absence of coat (genetic hairlessness). • Any suggestion of kink or curl, or coat type other than described is a disqualification. • Solid colorations (other than white). • Bi colors without white, or dogs with a patch or strip of white measuring less than one inch at its widest dimension. • Brindle or Merle color patterns. Ratified and adopted May 22, 2009 Approved November 11, 2009 Effective July 1, 2010 LIVING CONDITIONS Rat Terriers do okay in an apartment, but need at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. They are fairly active and should have at least a small-to-medium-sized yard. They love to be inside the house and outside to play. Rat Terriers love to dig, and they can get out of a fenced yard relatively easily. As long as they have proper protection, they are able to spend a good amount of time outdoors. The breed enjoys challenging games and outdoor romps.
019 Black & White
202 White & Black
219 White, Black & Tan
030 Black, Tan & White
034 Black, White & Tan
158 Red, White & Sable
214 White & Red
288 White & Blue
260 Blue, White & Tan
THE RAT TERRIER BREED
MARKINGS / PATTERNS
216 White & Silver
334 White, & Blue Fawn
001 Badger Markings - (Calico or Redhead); tan face generally with darker top skull and broad creeping tan markings, with or without darker back.)
207 White & Fawn
287 White & Chocolate
084 Blanket-Back - Large saddle-shaped piebald marking extending over back, ribs, and loin, with white extending over shoulders and or hips/loin; chest, brisket, and down legs. Irish Pied.
397 White, Chocolate & Tan 200 White & Apricot
217 White & Tan
115 Irish Marked - (Tuxedo); predominately solid with (or without) white on feet, chest, brisket, and often with white collar marking, full or partial.
211 White & Lemon
THE RAT TERRIER BREED
025 Piebald - Two colors; with one being white. Any shape or color, but usually 40-60%.
106 Spotted or Patched - 60-95% in any combination, shape or color. Usually with anterior and posterior color: i.e. piebald mask [complete or partial] and ovate/round and/or jagged patches along spine, ribs, and buttock.
067 Sable, White Markings - White markings [any shape] in combination with single darker (agouti) tipped hairs of base color.
104 White Mask, White markings - (Few Spot Piebald) Near solid white piebald with small patch/es, ticking or speckling of color, usually on face as eye patch or partially colored ear.
110 Solid - Self-colored with minimal 1-10% white marking, OR any excessive WHITE piebald.
030 White Markings, Tan Points - White markings with any visible tan [trim] in conjunction with any color combination not listed in COLOR.
AMERICAN RAT TERRIERS
By Ed Draper
J ust 10 or 15 years ago, had you been out walking your Rat Terrier, chances are you would have heard comments like, “Oh, look, a Jack Russell!” or “Ah, yes... unquestionably a Fox Terrier!” Not so much today. At least in the experience of this writer, people are begin- ning to recognize Rat Terriers. In fact, a just couple of hours before writing this, I was walking my two RTs in a park and asked a passerby to identify the breed. She answered correctly. RTs may look a little like Jack Russells or Fox Terriers from a distance, but there are significant di ff er- ences. To name a few, other similar size breeds, such as Basenji, Fox Terrier, Toy
Fox Terrier and Parson Jack Russell Ter- riers, have straight shoulders; Rat Terriers have laid-back shoulders. Rat Terriers have a reach and drive, their front ends are dif- ferent, their legs fit under legs better and they have more slope on the pastern. Th e Rat Terrier was created in the 19th century as an e ffi cient, intuitive hunter of small vermin on farms and ranches. Immi- grants to America used a mixture of crosses of old time Fox Terriers and several other European Terriers, including Old English White Terrier, Manchester Terrier and Bull Terrier. Later on the breed was crossed with Smooth Fox Terrier, Beagle, Toy Fox Ter- rier, Whippet and Italian Greyhound and other feist breeds. Th e result was a sturdy, compact, small- to medium-sized terrier,
with speed, agility, keen intelligence and an inherent need for human contact. During the 1910s and 1920s, Rat Terri- ers were commonly seen on farms all over the United States and remained popular as pets through the 1940s. But, with the growth of mechanized farming and the use of poison to control small vermin, the breed’s numbers began to dwindle. In the 1950s the breed was maintained only by a handful of breeders. Rat Terriers success- fully re-emerged during the late 70s and 80s. Th e Rat Terrier Club of America, founded in 1995, worked for several years to refine and establish a national breed standard for the Rat Terrier as it is today. Th e breed achieved full AKC recognition in June of 2013. 4 )08 4 *()5 . "(";*/& . ": t
Rat Terriers range from 10-25 lbs., and 13 ½ "-15" in height. Th eir short, smooth coat comes in any variation of pied pat- terning—comparatively large patches of one or more colors in combination with white. Acceptable colors, with or without “tan points,” include the predominant black (or chocolate), red, apricot, blue, fawn, tan or lemon. Th e distinctive color- ing and patterning makes Rat Terriers easy to spot in a field. Beyond being a farm dog, Rat Terri- ers have proven themselves to be a ver- satile, multipurpose breed with a play- ful, happy-go-lucky attitude. They are an all-in-one dog—able to do virtually anything they are trained to do—and they are easily trainable and exception- ally intelligent. They excel in conforma- tion, agility, obedience, rally obedience, weight pull, terrier racing, Earthdog, barn hunt and lure coursing. They are capable of hunting rodents and vermin above and below ground. They make f ine therapy and service dogs. And they are loyal friends and companions— especially for families. Whether you live on a farm or in a condo, Rat Terriers are adaptable to almost any lifestyle—as long as they have human companionship. Th ey are unusually sensitive, intuitive, anxious to please, and thrive on praise. Th ey make excellent house dogs and can be crate trained, but they don’t do well in ken- nels, consistently tied up or as “outside only” dogs where they are isolated from people. Th ey are at their best as mem- bers of a human family. Most are patient and tolerant of children, but may be reserved with strangers. Th e breed sheds seasonally and requires brushing with a soft brush or rubber curry mitt. While they are one of the calmest of the terrier breeds, they are nevertheless high-ener- gy, and require exercise, daily walks and lots of companionship. Rat Terrier owners have also pro- nounced characteristics. One of them is a contagious enthusiasm about their breed. If the present trend continues, we predict that in another 10 or 15 years Rat Terriers will be one of the most recogniz- able breeds in the country.
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AT HOME WITH THE RAT TERRIER
By Stacy McWilliams
hen most people think of Rat Terriers, they see the familiar tableau of the rugged little
farm of rodents, help hunt squirrels and play with the kids. To the turn of the cen- tury farmer, the Rat Terrier was an indis- pensable part of family life. Today, the Rat Terrier remains a favor- ite of rural people everywhere, but it is also an ideal family dog that is just as much at home in the house as on the farm. Th eir size makes them economical to feed and kennel, and their short hair makes them less messy than many shedding breeds. Th ey are among the friendliest of terriers, making them excellent pets for children.
feist going barn to barn with his master, ridding the farm of vermin. A great deal of this vision is true. A hundred years ago, you would be hard pressed to fi nd a farm in America that didn’t have a Rat Terrier. Th ey were the ideal dogs for rural life: a compact, hardy dog that would rid the
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A growing child couldn’t ask for a bet- ter, more loyal friend than a Rat Terrier. And while they may be tenacious while on the trail of a rat, at home they are just as comfortable snuggling next to you on the couch for a long winter nap. Outside the home, we get to see another side of the Rat Terrier. Those unfamiliar with the breed are quick to notice its keen intelligence and eye-popping athleticism. These two traits—along with exceptional brav- ery—are indispensable for a dog that
makes its living dispatching ground quarry. The athleticism and intel- ligence of the Rat Terrier can also be found on display in a simple game of fetch. There are few things more enjoyable than watching a “rattie” race across an open f ield, leap high in the air after a ball, and then return it with a huge grin on its face. Aesthetically, the Rat Terrier is among the most pleasing dogs in the world. Rat Terriers are structurally balanced with a well-de fi ned, expressive face. Th ey are
sturdy, but not bulky or cumbersome. In many ways, the Rat Terrier is a study in artistic balance, a combination of chis- eled musculature and e ff ortless grace. Such traits lend themselves naturally to the show ring where they have been a fi x- ture in the UKC ring for some time and this June will complete the crossover to the AKC. With a storied past and a bright future, the Rat Terrier has solidi- fi ed itself as a quintessential American success story.
“A growing child couldn’t ask for a BETTER, MORE LOYAL FRIEND THAN A RAT TERRIER.”
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RAT TERRIERS: BREED Q&A
1. Describe the breed in three words. DB: Perfect, working farmdog. SG: Smart, elegant and muscular. LLR: Sturdy, compact and physically fit.
I am in Massachusetts now, but am moving to Tennessee. I am a reptile person who breeds high quality Morphs and I am into hunting with my dogs. I have American Hairless Ter- riers and also Xolos, along with the Rat Terriers. I have over 40 years in breeding and showing in all venues with over 80 titles to credit. I also work in protection sports with my GS and Belgian Malinois. I enjoy showing my dogs and will until I can no longer do it. I am approved to judge Bullmastiffs, which is the breed I started with and did for over 35 years while still having my other breeds at the same time. I also judge Rat Terriers, American Hairless Terriers and Boston Ter- riers. The next breed I will take on is the Xolo. SUE GOLDBERG
2. How do you feel the breed is doing after 3 years in the AKC? DB: The breed is still fairly new to AKC still, but I am hoping over time that the Rat Terriers will get more uniformed. There are still a lot of wrong types being shown and put up. I would suggest to judges to ask the Rat Terrier Club of America for a copy of the PDF for a $5 fee for breed information on correct type. SG: The Rat Terrier breeders are to be congratulated for all they’ve achieved in three short years. The breed has much more consistency in type, is far better in quality and much closer to what the standard describes than when they first were recognized. LLR: I would like to see more consistency in breed type, a common issue in most breeds I believe when they come into AKC. The breed is still “all over the place” and I would hope that the breeders will see value in using dogs bred by others if it will afford an opportunity to improve upon their own stock. 3. What do you feel is the best attribute of the Rat Terriers you see in your ring? DB: Rat Terriers need to be able to move; it is not a walking breed. They should also have substance enough to do what they were bred for. We don’t want tall and spindly. SG: Better balance, better toplines and better heads.
We are snowbirds—living in Warren, New Jersey when it’s warm and Marco Island, Florida when it gets cold. In my other life, I am an executive recruiter, filling senior level assignments for most- ly Fortune 500 corporations. I’ve been involved with Soft Coated Wheaten Ter- riers since 1968, before they were recog- nized. We’ve produced 70 Champions,
three of the breeds Top Producers, a Best in Show bitch that was the #2 Wheaten in the country 2013 and 2014; the #1 male in 2013; and multiple Group and Specialty winners. I began judging in 1995 and am now approved for the Terrier, Sporting and Non-Sporting Groups; BIS; Juniors and provi- sionally for Afghans, Dachshunds and Salukis. LINDA L. REECE
Illustrations courtesy of Kimberly Seegmiller; RTCA President
I live in beautiful Hampton Roads, Virginia. I have several interests outside of my dogs including seeing America through camping, attending classic car shows, antiquing and baking all kinds of goodies that I should not eat! I started in dogs through a 4-H dog project in my home state of Pennsylvania. This experi- ence led me on to AKC Junior Showman-
ship, conformation and obedience. I have shown dogs for 50 years with over 40 of those devoted to breeding and exhibit- ing Smooth Fox Terriers. I started judging in 2000.
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LLR: I have judged this breed for 17 years and believe the biggest improvement has been in overall soundness, both physically and mentally. There used to be a lot of issues with rear assembly (patellas) and it was not uncommon for a Rat Terrier to have a go at you when attempting to exam them on the table. 4. What should judges understand when judging the Rat Terrier against other Terriers in the group ring? DB: Look for balance and a good, strong topline. Look for the dog that moves effortlessly and seems like it is at ease when moving. Perky and always with attitude. Never tall and spindly; must have some bone to do its proper job. The Rat Terrier that stands out and says, ‘Here I am.’ SG: These are sturdy, powerful ratters; compact, yet off- square; muscular and fit. They must retain elegance in order to conform to the standard. Any size between 10 and 18 inches is within the standard and must be judged equally. LLR: Well, remember that they are not judging them against the other Terriers, they are judging each Terrier in reference to how well they fit the description of their individual breed standards. But to answer your question, they are not a fancy breed, they should be evaluated as a functional working Terrier through and through. 5. Do you feel there is enough breed educational material for reference? DB: No, judges should always go to the parent clubs and see their PDFs on the breed that is the best source and refer- ence. I, myself do that on every breed I judge. It gives
you pictures of the proper structures of the breed with a few pictures of actual dogs they find to be of nice quality. If this was done before judging the breed, we would be able to help the breed and not guess it. LLR: No, there are not enough materials out there for judge’s education. I am constantly asked and happy to help my peers in the judging world for some clarification on the Rat Terriers breed standard and I make myself available for mentoring whenever possible. I do believe that the lack of educational materials offered by any given breed club is due to lack of financial resources, putting together materials for educational purposes is not inexpensive. 6. When judging Rat Terriers what is the most important feature you look for? DB: Balance, outstanding correct movement and type. SG: A dog built to fulfill its function as a ratter and to course small game. Muscular, not Toyish, regardless of size—and never coarse. LLR: Breed type at first glance when they come in to the ring. As well as the need for overall proportion and bal- ance combined with soundness all around. Conditioning is very high up on my priority list when judging the Terriers. Stable temperaments are a must. 7. What do you think new judges misunderstand about the breed? DB: They read the standard, but not seeing examples of correctness hurts the breed. That is why I suggest the PDF from the parent club which is the Rat Terrier Club of America; ordering it is well worth it to do right by the breed. SG: That a well-balanced 10" Rat Terrier is as competitive as an 18" dog. Also, there seems to be a bit of confusion as to the markings and coloration. LLR: Everything! I believe that the Rat Terrier is the most misunderstood breed in the Terrier group. They are not Smooth Fox Terriers, they are not smooth coated Parson Russell Terriers nor are they Manchester Terriers. They have a front that is different than a lot of Terriers and the “BALANCE, OUTSTANDING CORRECT MOVEMENT AND TYPE.”
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“NOW, THERE IS FAR GREATER CONSISTENCY IN TYPE AND ALSO IN QUALITY.”
topline is very different than what most judges are used to seeing on a short haired Terrier. Please remember that the Rat Terrier standard allows for a size range of 10" to 18". You will probably find it difficult to look at a 10" bitch and a 17" dog side by and apply the written standard to what you are looking at, quite honestly you will sometimes find yourself asking if they are the same breed. They can look that different. Please do not be afraid to wicket this breed, there is a DQ for size. There must be mention about temperament as well, this breed may be somewhat reserved when you approach them on the table. This does not mean shy to the point of wilting on the table or showing the whites of their eyes. They are Terriers and, reserved or not, they must not be afraid nor show aggression. 8. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. DB: The breed has been around for 200 or more years, but only as farm dogs catching vermin. So it still maintains a lot of different types within the breed. With all of us on board, we are in hope that the breed will become more uniformed, but that can only happen by what judges are putting up. If judges don’t know the breed, they are hurting, not helping. A good breed fancy will know its dogs and what it likes and stick with it. Many who are not as knowledgeable will breed to whatever wins. That is why it is so important for the judges to really know the breed well and educated themselves. SG: I’d like to share my admiration for the great strides the breed has made in a short time. They were really a ‘mixed bag’ when they first came in to AKC; many were
almost unrecognizable as to what breed they were. Now, there is far greater consistency in type and also in quality. LLR: The Rat Terrier is pretty much a do-anything Terrier breed. They excel at performance sports and are excellent family pets. You need to have a sense of humor to own most Terrier breeds and the Rat Terrier is no exception. Their short, smooth coat makes them a very low maintenance breed. They are very hardy and easy keepers. 9. And, for a bit of humor: what’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? DB: At one of my very first times showing a Bullmastiff, upon going around the ring, the dog decided it wanted its food now and jumped at my bait pouch. All the meat went flying to the floor with all the dogs in the ring jump- ing for the meat. Needless to say, I was pretty red faced at the time, but it was funny. SG: Many years ago, I was showing a very outgoing, exuber- ant seven-month-old puppy in Bred By. A fellow exhibi- tor watched his antics in the ring and after he won the points, laughingly described him as a, “Dope on a rope!” LLR: The story I like to share about a judging experience that really sticks with me happened years ago. I was judging a class of puppies (not Rat Terriers) and as I approached the table to examine the dog he took one look at me coming towards him, leaped up in the air and over my head at which point I reached up, caught him mid-air, set him back on the table, gave him and his owner time to compose themselves and preceded to judge the dog. The owner and I had several laughs about that over the years and the dog did go on to become a Champion.
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