Wednesday, February 29, 2012


It's been said, "No good working dog is a bad size or a bad color," and so it is with Rat Terriers. Until about 1900, any small dog that killed vermin for its keep was by default know as a rat terrier. Even today, the breed retains a fair amount of variation.

The loyal little dog, snubbed by Victorian era British dog fanciers as nothing more than "a vermin killer of little consequence," was an American favorite.

Isaacsen's Rat Dogs, about 1920

Ratting dogs worked on farms throughout the U.S. and made loving companions as well. Below, a 19th century farm family poses for a photo, the family dog featured prominently in the front row.

President Teddy Roosevelt had three terriers named Skip, Jack and Pete. Roosevelt's love for the feisty little dog contributed to its popularity and by 1920 the Rat Terrier was one of the most popular breeds in America.

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