Rat Terrier good farm dog? opinions please...

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Hobbley_Farm, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. Hobbley_Farm

    Hobbley_Farm Songster

    Sep 9, 2008
    Pilot Mountain, NC
    My husband and I have thought about getting a lap dog for a long time. We are very active outside. We have chickens, turkeys, rabbits, goats, ducks, cats and dogs. I (we) have "sorta" kept our eyes out for a breed that would Fit into our family and lifestyle. There weren't too many small breeds that did that. I don't like shaggy dogs. We have one, and she's always got burrs in her hair and likes to give kisses with her furry spongy wet mouth after drinking water. She's one of the brightest dogs I've had, but I prefer breeds with min. maintenance furwise. (I was raised with labs...hose them off and your done!) These are the breeds that we have considered and then pulled back from...

    1. Chihuahua - adorable...but not rugged enough
    2. 13 inch Beagle - adorable...but yappy and roaming
    3. poodle- awesome but....HAIR!
    4. Norfolk and Norwich...hair
    5. Pekingese - neighbor has one I'm in love with...but dingleberries!!!
    6. Yorkshire terrier - steal my heart but delicate and HAIR

    Now I know that there are other breeds of small sporty lap dogs but they don't appeal to one or both of us for different reasons. Nothing against the dog...just our lifestyle.

    Now I get to the question! (Finally, right?)
    How are rat terriers around poultry and fowl? Do they have more of a tendency to catch and kill? Or are they naturally unconcerned? For example...my mothers LAB (hunting breed) would let the chickens eat dog food out of his bowl WHILE he was eating. My Rottie has caught and killed a few escapees (my fault for fencing issues). My Cur really doesn't bother with escapee s and can be let in around the animals only for him to walk around sniff and PP in places. So where do they (rat terriers) tend to fall in the mix?

    Please no long replies about "training". I understand all of that. Just want to know the inherent nature of the breed from owners and not dog breed websites.

    I understand That most dogs/breeds can be TRAINED but obviously some are more genetically styled to be around certain situations than others. I wouldn't get a Pekingese to guard a mansion and I wouldn't get a Great Dane for a caravan travel dog. Not that there aren't people out there that don't...I'm sure there is a well travelled Dane in a winabago (sp) somewhere. Just obviously some breeds are better suited, naturally, to some situations.
    Sorry to go into such detail, but I know that some people will miss my point if I don't. lol Not necessarily on here, but just because of past experience with forums.
    I met this lady who's parents raised Rat Terriers. She had two out when I was there. I was SOOO Impressed with these little pooches. Obviously since her poultry were free range...these dogs (her dogs) were fine. Either trained or naturally "ok" with the birds. I don't know, I didn't ask.
    Their hair was short and tidy. Their little bodies well muscled. They were light as a feather (comepared to my Rottie pup). Sweet. I didn't wince or grunt when I bent over to pick them up! That's a plus with my back issues! They weren't all squirly when I picked them up (probably due to the owners and children).

    SO what do you think?

  2. turney31

    turney31 Songster

    Sep 14, 2008
    palestine texas
    In my experience, they are Busy and Hardheaded. Idid have one when the kids were small and i was still very active, I loved her dearly. Since you are able to spend time training and are active,you would probably not have a problem with their high energy. Might be a good match! Micah
  3. Hobbley_Farm

    Hobbley_Farm Songster

    Sep 9, 2008
    Pilot Mountain, NC
    Yeah, my "Job" is to raise kids and tend to the animals. The farm animals and garden are my contribution to our grocery bill. With hubby in the service, it's just a real pain to have an outside the home job and then again, all the money I would make would go into childcare! lol!

    I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "busy". Hyper? Nosey? Trash Can Tipper Overs?
  4. Cajunsamoan

    Cajunsamoan Songster

    Mar 2, 2009
    I have to agree with turney31. I have only known my mom's (mine now) rat terrier but she is extremely stubborn. I would not call her a lap dog at all. While she is my constant shadow, I can't really give her much affection as she is wiggling and jumping all around. She had a problem chasing and "bodyslamming" the chickens but never bit. I really have spent more time with her than any other dog I've had. She is very smart, learns quickly, but chooses when she wants to do as she's told. I hope that helps a little.
  5. TubbyChicken

    TubbyChicken Songster

    Jul 30, 2008
    Have you considered a smooth Fox Terrier? http://www.akc.org/breeds/smooth_fox_terrier/index.cfm

    had a few growing up and they were very sweet, cuddly and HIGHLY intelligent...outdoors they were fun and very active but listened and took direction well (ours were all trained and were "show" dogs).

    I would also recommend considering a Miniature Pinscher, a Manchester Terrier and a Toy Fox terrier.

    If you have any experience with terriers you know that they are very intelligent, determined and active dogs so keeping them entertained and mentally and physically stimulated is important, but I assume if you are very active outdoors that most of these breeds would be a good fit for you if properly trained and socialized.

    To avoid some of the less desirable traits of toy breeds I would really urge you to seek a reputable breeder who has a vested interest in bettering the breed rather than turning a profit. (These people will have their dogs in some form of competition to better gauge their worthiness of breeding and contributing to the gene pool and will have all the proper testing and health certificates from a vet...)

  6. jenjscott

    jenjscott Mosquito Beach Poultry

    May 24, 2008
    Southeast Arkansas
    We have had rat terriers for years, before the chickens. They are varmint dogs who think chickens, guinea pigs, or any other pets are varmints ( they learned to make an exception for the cat, none of MY doing) They are diehard fanatics. My chickens aren`t safe unless they are behind closed doors or behind an electric fence. We love em, but don,t trust em.
  7. lockedhearts

    lockedhearts It's All About Chicken Math

    Apr 29, 2007
    Terriers are hunters. I raise Jack Russells, I have some that are a little more Hyper and some that are not. They are awesome Mousers!
    The downside is, they can be hard-headed and have selective deafness. Training is the key (really it is with any dog breed)
    Mine have never tipped over trash cans (althought the cocker spaniel at 12 years old still does)
    They are generally easy to housetrain and crate train. Toys are an absolute essential they love to "kill" toys by shaking them.
    IMO they make great pets if you understand the Terrier mentality, they are chewers as puppies and I have had to replace some thngs because of that, crating when you are gone is the solution.

    They are loveable dogs and make great companions for kids, especially if the kids play fetch with them.

    I never crate trained mine, I am now having to re-train them to not take up 3/4 of my bed at night, but this is my fault not the dogs fault.
    eggbert420 likes this.

  8. GaDawg

    GaDawg Songster

    May 16, 2008
    North GA
    We had a rat terrier that chewed on everything my DH touched, would not let our cat off the back porch until night when it was dark.
    Great mouser and squirrel hunter, VERY energetic. We had to re-home her due to the chewing. Think long and hard on getting a rat terrier...lol
  9. Freebie

    Freebie Songster

    Feb 4, 2007
    Bloomingdale, MI
    The local Amish family has a rat terrier that takes care of their rodent and stray cats. It does not bother their livestock. But I would say this is the exception, not the rule. Terriers are a difficult breed, but can be fun too.

    I have to agree with lockedhearts on this.
  10. JakRat

    JakRat Songster

    Apr 22, 2009
    I have a Jack Russlle and a Rat Terrier. It takes a bit of work to get them ok with the chickens. We have 7 baby chicks right now and this past weekend we let them run around with them. We have to watch that they dont get to rough with them. They mainly just want to play with them so when the chicks move to fast our jack russlle puts his paw right down on them to stop them, but its not in an agressive way. My rat terrier just likes to bark at them, and nip at their tail feathers but only in a playing sort of way. WAIT till the chicks are atleast 2 weeks old. My rat terrier did take a few feathers with her when I first introduced one to her, but I scolded her and she didnt do it again. I do have one injured chick right now and our jack russlle doesnt do to well with him. It is almost like he is worried and not sure about him so he sits at his container and whines at him or when I hold him he whines constantly... not sure why though. They also like to jsut watch and make sure that they are all together... its almost as if they herd them together and what not but my rat terrier is a bit spacy! Other than that when I first brought them home he would just sit at their container and STARE... super cute though and our rat terrier just kinda hangs out. She will be great at keeping the pests away from the coop though since they are hunters. If I can figure out how to post some pics/video to here when I get home today of them I will. If you have any other question just let me know and I will keep you updated on how she is with them! BTW my mom has a jack russlle as well and she herds the chicks too!

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