Terriers are described by the American Kennel Club as
People familiar with this Group invariably comment on the distinctive terrier personality. These are feisty, energetic dogs whose sizes range from fairly small, as in the Norfolk, Cairn or West Highland White Terrier, to the grand Airedale Terrier. Terriers typically have little tolerance for other animals, including other dogs. Their ancestors were bred to hunt and kill vermin. Many continue to project the attitude that they're always eager for a spirited argument. Most terriers have wiry coats that require special grooming known as stripping in order to maintain a characteristic appearance. In general, they make engaging pets, but require owners with the determination to match their dogs' lively characters.
Specifics about Rat Terriers from the AKC site ...The Rat Terrier is a multipurpose companion dog that is capable of hunting rodents and vermin above and below ground as well as coursing small game. He is a sturdy, compact, small-to-medium sized parti-colored dog giving the appearance of elegance and athleticism. His short, smooth coat may come in any variation of pied patterning. Pied is described as comparatively large patches of one or more colors in combination with white. Acceptable colors, with or without "tan points", include the predominate black, or chocolate, red, apricot, blue, fawn, tan, or lemon.
A Look Back
An American breed, the Rat Terrier was created by immigrants using a mixture of crosses of old time Fox Terriers and other European Terriers common in the 19th century; the Old English White Terrier, Manchester Terrier, Bull Terrier, etc.; and later more Smooth Fox Terrier, Beagle, Toy Fox Terriers, Whippets and Italian Greyhounds. From 1910 through the "dust bowl" era of the 1930s, the Rat Terrier was one of the most common farm dogs, used for ratting, hunting varmints and other work.
Right Breed for You?
This loyal, active and playful breed is at its best as a member of its human family, but may be reserved with strangers. Intelligent and trainable, many Rat Terriers excel in Agility and Obedience, events which also serve as excellent exercise outlets. The breed sheds seasonally and requires brushing with a soft brush or rubber curry mitt.
Bumble is sweet but headstrong, athletic but also at times clumsy (think bull in a china shop), full of attitude, and he will obey me when I reprimand him but not without "talking back". He makes me laugh as he tells me off while following my directions! He's my little rebel punk and I have fallen hopelessly in love with him.
This summer has been one of healing for both of us, and we have been very instrumental in each other's healing. I had a very difficult school year along with losing my Bear, and my spirit was depleted and my heart broken by the time June rolled around. Bumble has clearly been through some very difficult times as he journeyed from Kentucky to New York through the rescue system, and who knows what he went through before that - given some of his behaviors it couldn't have been good. Together we have helped each other get over past heart breaks, and to find peace and joy in the simple pleasures in life.
Rescuing an adult dog was not the easiest thing to do. There were moments really early on when I felt a bit of panic as I had a strange and therefor unpredictable dog living in my house. And Bumble does flash a dark side every once in a while which can be a little intimidating if you aren't ready for it. However, he has grown enormously as he has become more confident. His insecure behaviors have greatly diminished, and his secure behaviors are shining through. The Invisible Fence has been a miracle for him, and I would spend double if had to. It was worth every penny. Bum patrols the yard, keeping us safe from all things foreign, but he happily comes racing into my arms when I call him. If I could read his mind I know what he would be thinking: "I can't believe how freakin lucky I am!!!" and in my mind I am thinking the same thing.