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The Rat Terrier Price & Owners Cost: WHAT TO EXPECT?

Photo of Rat Terrier Resting on Sofa | Affectionate Temperament

Despite its perhaps off-putting name, the Rat Terrier is an adorable little devil.

If he’s captured your heart, then you’re probably curious about the Rat Terrier dog price.

The purebred Rat Terrier price varies anywhere from $900 to $4,000 or more.

If this seems a bit too rich for your blood, then you can go the route of adoption or rescue.

Adoption costs around $150 to cover any shots and/or vet care. Rescue organizations charge around $450 or so for costs associated with fostering.

Before you make up your mind about the Rat Terrier, you should get to know about the breed’s temperament.

The Rat Terrier, Up Close

The Rat Terrier gets his name from working as a rat-catching dog in England back in the 1500s.

British migrants brought Rat Terriers to the U.S. for rat-baiting purposes. However, once here, breeders chose to instead breed them for speed to hunt small game, like vermin, squirrels, and rabbits.

This is important for you to know because, generally speaking, once a hunter, always a hunter.

What this means is that you need to be especially careful if you have smaller animals (“prey”) as pets around a Rat Terrier.

However, you should be able to have a Rat Terrier and a cat together, provided you raise them together.

Rat Terrier Temperament and Personality

Here are some aspects of the Rat Terrier temperament to familiarize yourself with the breed before you decide to bring one home.

He’s Cheerful

The Rat Terrier is a happy-go-lucky breed who positively loves humans.

No matter what you want to do, the Rat Terrier is up for it. Whether it’s cuddling on the couch or hiking in the mountains.

However, because he’s so close to his humans, this is one of those breeds that you can’t leave alone for too long.

Do that and he’ll let you know his displeasure.

That can be by chewing on your furniture or howling to annoy the neighbors. Either way he’ll exhibit his separation anxiety in a variety of unpleasant ways.

Therefore, if you have a schedule that keeps you away from home for long periods, then this breed is not a good match for you.

He Likes to Talk

The Rat Terrier likes to make noise, and not just barking.

They like to grumble at you as a way of talking to you.

They are very good watchdogs because they have no problem barking at a stranger.

Just make sure you train him on when are the proper times and situations to bark so you don’t have a yapper on your hands.

He’s a Great Family Pet

Rat Terriers are extremely intuitive and perceptive to the point where they can sense and respond to your needs.

They, of course, prefer when you’re happy and will do whatever is necessary to get that feeling from you.

Rat Terrier Showing of Its Lively Temperament

And because they’re so companionable, they also make great pets to have around children.

He’s a Digger

Something less exciting about this breed is that they are diggers.

A Rat Terrier can literally spend hours digging up the backyard.

To combat this, you can train him to use one particular spot in your yard where he does all his digging.

This will save your rose garden while helping him get out that excess energy.

Rat Terrier Size

If you’re looking for a “little dog,” you may find the Rat Terrier is not as little as you were hoping.

A full-size Rat Terrier grows to about 10 to 25 lbs., and between 9 and 18 inches tall.

If you get a Rat Terrier who sits on the higher end of that spectrum, then he may appear closer to a midsize dog than a small dog.

If you are looking for, say, a small dog for Grandma, the Rat Terrier size, coupled with his activity level, may not be the best fit.

Rat Terrier Price – How Much Do Rat Terriers Cost?

As mentioned earlier, the Rat Terrier price range runs the gamut from affordable (at around $900) to expensive (at $4,000 or more).

That’s why a lot of people look to adoption or rescue, to save a few dollars off the Rat Terrier average price.

Rat Terrier price

The price of a Rat Terrier also drops significantly if you opt for a mixed breed who isn’t so “purebred.”

As a rule, the purebred Rat Terrier puppy price will always be higher than the price of mixed breed Rat Terrier puppies.


In the early 1900s, the Rat Terrier may have been the most popular dog in the U.S.

However, with the invention of rat poison in the 1950s, the breed suffered a bit, since they didn’t need to hunt for vermin as often.

Today, the Rat Terrier sits in the 86th spot on the AKC’s list of 195 breeds.

This isn’t to say he’s super popular, but at least he’s not so rare either that you can’t find him anywhere.

Rat Terrier Rescue and Adoption

To save money on the purchase price, and to help out a dog in need, you can also rescue or adopt a Rat Terrier.

Adopting a dog from the shelter is always cheaper than rescuing one. This is because shelters essentially house the dogs they find in a kennel until someone can come along and bring them home.

Rescue organizations, on the other hand, rehabilitate their animals and acclimate them to children and other pets. This helps them become more appealing to adopt.

For that reason, shelters usually charge only what is necessary to cover the costs of shots and neutering.

Rescue organizations charge a higher fee (around $450) as a “donation,” which they then put toward helping other dogs of that particular breed.

If you’re interested in rescuing a Rat Terrier, you can contact the Rat Terrier Rescue website for more information.

Checkout our Complete Guide to Breeders:

We wrote the definitive guide on finding, selecting, and dealing with dog breeders. This will give you the smarts and confidence to save you money, time and heartache. Read On…

Rat Terrier Cost of Ownership

The cost of ownership when you own a dog is nothing to sneeze at.

However, you get a bit of a break when you get a small dog like the Rat Terrier, who costs significantly less to take care of.

From the food he eats to his grooming needs, you shouldn’t have too much trouble taking care of a Rat Terrier on your own.

However, there’s always that one dog who eats more than expected, or who gets hurt more often, and that’s what you need to plan for.

Cost of Food

Thankfully, your Rat Terrier food budget shouldn’t break the bank.

If you grab one of those small dog food bags each week, that should be enough to fill him up.

You could also opt for a larger bag, but it might go stale by the time he reaches the bottom.

Check with your vet on the best food options for the Rat Terrier.

Health Care Expenses

Everyone dreads an unexpected medical event, but the fact of the matter is, they happen, and you need to feel prepared when it does.

One of the best ways to prepare yourself is to familiarize yourself with what can happen to a particular breed.

For the Rat Terrier, you need to be able to spot any potential symptoms of the following conditions, which tend to affect these dogs more often:

For the most part, these conditions are manageable. However, any extra vet care or medications that you didn’t plan for can become a financial nightmare.

Plus, there are always things like cancer, or your dog getting into a fight – things you don’t plan for but that need special attention just the same.

Helpful Dog Health Resource:

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Training Programs

While most people have no problem training their dogs themselves, the Rat Terrier may need some outside assistance.

This is because he may have a few different traits that need breaking, such as digging, howling, or learning to accept friends he doesn’t know.

If you’re having a particularly difficult time trying to train your Rat Terrier, do some of your own “digging” and look into some of the possible training programs out there.

Some places offer discounts, depending on what you sign up for.

You can always go for one-on-one lessons or group lessons, depending on what he needs help with.

However, if you’re properly socializing him at the dog park or on walks, then you probably only need to focus on his individual behaviors, like digging or barking.

Helpful Dog Training Resource:

For help with training your dog, you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.

Grooming Costs

Another expense you may need to prepare for in owning a Rat Terrier is professional grooming.

The good news is that a Rat Terrier doesn’t really require much in the way of grooming.

He has a short coat, which you need to brush weekly, and he only really needs a bath when he starts to stink.

Where you may need to focus more is on his nails and teeth.

If he doesn’t let you brush his teeth or clip his nails, then you’ll need to bring him to a groomer to get these things done.

Don’t neglect his basic care just because he’s acting stubborn about it!

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