Do Rat Terriers Shed? (Shedding and Grooming Guide)

The Rat Terrier is a rare breed that’s named after its skillful rat-catching abilities. This loyal dog has big ears and a big personality to match.

Do Rat Terriers shed a lot?

Rat Terriers shed moderately, with regular shedding throughout the year and then heavier seasonal shedding ahead of the winter and summer. This breed might shed after estrus cycles as well. Brushing your Rat Terrier is a must to control its loose fur.

In this article, I’ll discuss in much more detail how much the Rat Terrier sheds as well as what grooming this dog is like. I’ll even go over whether Rat Terriers are considered hypoallergenic, so make sure you keep reading! 

Rat Terrier Shedding

Shedding Level

Belying its size, the Rat Terrier sheds quite moderately.

Let’s talk about its seasonal shedding first. As the days get shorter, the nights get long, and autumn wanes, your Rat Terrier will shed its coat. Its lightweight summer fur is replaced by thicker hair that will protect it from the cold of winter.

Then the opposite happens when winter transitions to spring. Your Rat Terrier will once again drop its coat, this time for something lighter and breezier.

Female Rat Terriers might shed not only seasonally, but after being in heat as well. According to the American Kennel Club, females generally go into heat or estrus twice a year.

These aren’t the only periods in which your Rat Terrier will drop its coat. This small dog also releases fur regularly throughout the year.

This is a behavior common to any dog. Canine fur goes through three stages: anagen, catagen, and telogen. The anagen stage is when growth occurs and the telogen stage is when the fur is ready to come out. It’s then replaced by new hair.

Rat Terriers come in two sizes, miniature and standard. Both shed about the same amount, although the miniature Rat Terrier will naturally shed less since it’s smaller.

The Rat Terrier’s fur is dense yet short, so the hair it leaves behind might be less noticeable than a longer-coated breed. This dog is also single-coated, which makes dog hair cleanup a much more manageable job.

Grooming Your Rat Terrier

Grooming Effort

Due to its short single coat, grooming the Rat Terrier is rather easy.

During its regular shedding periods, brush your dog every week. You can use a rubber glove or a slicker brush for this.

Not only does brushing remove dead hair before it falls off your dog, but the Rat Terrier’s coat will be glossy and attractive.  Rubber grooming gloves can also massage your Rat Terrier, which he might enjoy!

For seasonal or estrus-related shedding, you should switch to a shedding tool or a rubber curry comb. These instruments can gently remove the Rat Terrier’s loose fur, controlling shedding for a cleaner house.

There’s no special technique for brushing the Rat Terrier, just ensure you go over the dog’s body with the brush.

You don’t have to bathe this breed too frequently. If your dog is dirty, then plunk ‘em in the bath. Otherwise, don’t worry about it. 

Since its coat is a manageable length, you won’t have to trim your Rat Terrier often either. This breed isn’t like the Brussels Griffon for example, which is a breed that requires very careful cutting around its face to upkeep its breed standard.

Thrice per week, give your Rat Terrier’s teeth a thorough brushing to keep their chompers clean of bacteria and tartar. If your dog will tolerate daily brushing, that’s ideal.    

Don’t forget to add ear checks to the Rat Terrier’s maintenance routine. Since this dog has such large ears, they’re more likely to develop viral and bacterial ear infections. Signs of such might include odor, redness, and discharge.

Are Rat Terriers Hypoallergenic?

You love that the Rat Terrier is so easy to groom, but is it hypoallergenic too?

For clarity’s sake, to be hypoallergenic doesn’t mean a dog triggers no allergy symptoms, just fewer symptoms than usual. If you have pet allergies, you can typically coexist peacefully with a hypoallergenic dog.

The reason you’d still have some symptoms even if a dog is hypoallergenic is due to what causes your allergies in the first place. Pet allergies are attributable to their urine, saliva, and dead skin, which is known as dander.

The most hypoallergenic dogs are small and infrequent shedders. The Rat Terrier meets the description as a small dog, or at least the miniature version does. Mini Rat Terriers weigh around 10 pounds and are 10 to 13 inches.

The standard-sized Rat Terrier is bigger at up to 25 pounds with a height of 13 to 18 inches. There’s more surface area to this dog, which means more skin to shed.

When you couple that with the Rat Terrier’s frequent shedding throughout the year, I’d say this is one of the less hypoallergenic dog breeds that I’ve discussed on the blog recently.

The reason shedding matters in relation to pet dander is that the dander can come off with the fur and then travel. The more fur in your house, especially on surfaces like furniture, bedding, and clothing, the more severe your allergies will usually be.

If you want a more hypoallergenic dog, the Affenpinscher is a stellar pick. Unlike the Rat Terrier, this breed even made the AKC’s list of the most hypoallergenic dogs.

Is a Rat Terrier Right for You?

If you’re looking for more information on the Rat Terrier before you decide if this is the right dog for you, allow me to help make your decision easier.

The Rat Terrier is an American dog that was used in its early days for hunting rats. The breed was even involved in rat-baiting, a form of blood sport.

Beloved for their impressive speed, Rat Terriers had a boon from the 1920s to the 1940s before their popularity hugely decreased for several decades. Today, the Rat Terrier is back in favor, although it’s still considered to be rare by some.

Here is a YouTube video showing off the enviable speed of a Rat Terrier.

According to the AKC, the Rat Terrier is a playful, sweet, friendly dog. This breed is also very loving towards its favorite people. Having a Rat Terrier at home would reliably brighten your day!

Miniature Rat Terriers make an ideal companion for apartment dwellers and homeowners who don’t have a lot of room to spare. If you own a bigger home, then you can choose between the miniature or standard-sized Rat Terrier.

Vigorous play sessions can be enough to tire out the Rat Terrier, but if yours is especially energetic, daily walks are a necessity.

Rat Terriers require socialization from puppyhood. If they’re socialized, then they’ll befriend any dog.

Raising this breed with cats can prevent the Rat Terrier from assuming your feline friends are their prey.

The bright personality of the Rat Terrier makes the breed a trusted playmate and friend of kids, even young ones.

Rat Terriers make a lot of noise, and not exclusively barking either. While socializing your dog as a puppy, train them not to bark as much or you’ll have issues later on.

Bottom Line

The Rat Terrier is a small-to-mid-sized American dog that’s an expert at hunting vermin. Its dense but short coat sheds throughout the year, such as during seasonal shifts and after heat cycles in females.

The good news is that grooming your Rat Terrier to control its loose fur is about as easy as can be. You only need a shedding tool, a rubber glove, or a slicker brush to make this dog’s coat shine.

With its portable size and loving personality, the Rat Terrier could become your new favorite four-legged friend!

Do Rat Terriers Shed? (Shedding and Grooming Guide)

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