AnswErs to QuEstions
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- Thank you for contacting the Rat Terrier Club of America regarding information on Rat Terriers. We are here to help!!
Since there is a lack of information on our breed, we have put together this general letter based on many of those questions that are the most frequently asked. This is a long reply, many pages long, so you may wish to print it out and perhaps keep it for future reference.
We are deeply concerned and feel that buyer commitment along with education on our breed, or any breed is of the utmost importance to assure a lifetime of happiness for both the dog and it's owner.
- For more information and membership applications visit our website at www.ratterrierclub.com
- ABOUT RAT TERRIERS:
Rat Terriers crave human companionship and attention. They are unusually sensitive, intuitive, anxious to please, very determined and thrive on praise. Rat Terriers make good housedogs and can be crate trained, but don't generally do well in kennels. They love people and enjoy companionship too much. Just move and they're there like a shadow! Most dogs' think they are human, Rat Terriers KNOW that they are! Whether you're active, or a "couch potato", most will adapt to about any lifestyle that you may lead.
- Rat Terrier's as puppies are very active and will require a lot more time, attention and effort than an older dog, but RT's are usually very sociable and will remain playful and active throughout their lifetime. If you'd consider being "owned" by a Rat Terrier, then this may be the breed for you!!!
- "RAT TERRIERS ARE NOW AN AKC FSS SELECT BREED! You can now show your FSS or ILP registered Rat Terrier."
We submitted our entire RTCA pedigree database to AKC in September of 2004. AKC then reentered these files into their database, processed them and sent FSS certificates to the owner of record.
When a minimum of 150 Rat Terriers with complete 3 generational pedigrees were FSS registered, the AKC, granted us a "Select Breed Status", meaning that you can now show your FSS registered or ILP registered Rat Terrier in AKC performance events, i.e. Agility, Obedience, Rally, Tracking, Junior Showmanship, and as of 9/1/06, Earthdog trials too. Rat Terriers' are now out there competing and winning against other AKC breeds and earning "real" titles; and you can too.
- "NO AKC CONFORMATION?"
Rat Terrier's are not yet an AKC officially recognized breed, but as an FSS/Foundation Stock Service breed they may only be shown in conformation where "Rare Breeds" are specifically invited. There are no points or titles awarded until the breed officially advances to the "MISCELLANEOUS GROUP".
- "HOW DO I ENROLL WITH FSS?"
If your dog is currently registered with United Kennel Club/UKC you may enroll directly with AKC into their Foundation Stock Service Program, provided both the Dam AND Sire also have their UKC registration numbers*. See www.akc.org downloadable forms. All applications must include copies of both sides of the UKC registration to be considered and color profile photos are required. Applications must be made on proper AKC form, and a fee of $35.00 per dog is required. When completed, it should be sent directly to AKC for processing. (*Again, the AKC Does NOT recognize Universal/UKCI. UKCI is a family run business.)
- "I WANT TO REGISTER MY DOG WITH AKC."
If your Rat Terrier is currently registered with: Continental Kennel Club (Walker, LA), Universal Kennel Club/UKCI (Nanuet, NY), Animal Research Foundation (Quinlan, TX), World Wide Kennel Club, Ltd., Continental Working Terrier Assn. (OK), or the American Canine Assn./ACA etc. OR ANY OTHER DOMESTIC REGISTRY, they will first have to be dual registered with the RTCA before submitting your paperwork to AKC.
- AKC does NOT recognize ANY registries other than United Kennel Club/UKC. We therefore strongly recommend you first complete your paperwork and register your dog, THEN DUAL register it with us if you would possibly like to participate in an AKC event in the future. The fee for RTCA Certification is $10.00 per dog for members only.
- "HOW DO I FIRST REGISTER MY RAT TERRIER WITH THE RTCA?"
To register with the RTCA we need the following:
1. Photocopies of both sides of your dog's registration certificate.
You must provide the following minimal information:
a. Dog's Registered Name*
b. Registration Number (Must currently be registered-No Applications)
c. Sire's Name*
d. Sire's Registration Number (If not available, RTCA will assign one)
e. Dam's Name*
f. Dam's Registration Number (If not available, RTCA will assign one)
g. Breeder's last name, and first name or initial
h. Dog's whelp date/DOB
i. Dog's color and marking
j. Purchase date, date of registration
k. Owner of Record - Owner AND CO-owner if any-no "OR's-"AND" only
l. Mailing address of owner of record (complete all transfers and registration applications first- must use name/s as stated on original certificate of registration).
- *AKC Requires two words-If common name is used please add breeder/owner's last name as prefix or suffix to avoid duplications, or a Roman numeral may be added.
- 2. Photos (which will be returned to you), showing your dog's acceptable color, markings, and leg length.
3. A $10.00 Fee per dog, made payable to RTCA.
4. Your completed RTCA membership application form, with a signed COE acknowledgment and $20.00 membership fee. (RTCA memberships expire 12/31 of the calendar year in which they are paid.)
5. Please include any additional known pedigree. All Dog's in order to be considered for FSS program must have sire and dam known. Parent's need not have been registered, BUT THEY MUST BE LISTED. Any dog lacking a complete 3 generation pedigree, will be issued an FSS certificate, but all individuals 3 generations will remain in FSS program when breed advances to Miscellaneous.
6. Any dog missing requirements 1-5, may apply for an ILP. With an ILP number, individuals lacking pedigree, or those being purebred without papers or rescues that meet the breed's description, can still participate in AKC performance events and earn titles, PROVIDED they are STERILIZED.
- Send the above to:
47044 5th St. West
Lancaster, CA. 93534-7501
- If your dog is accepted, we will return your photos with two copies of your dog's pedigree. One copy is for your records and the other must accompany your FSS paperwork. All applications must be made on Proper form and submitted with proper fee. Send directly to AKC. Be sure to enter the number of proper marking and color code from the AKC's website under RAT TERRIER acceptable color & marking chart.
- If you have any questions, feel free to contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
- QUESTION: "HOW ARE THEY AROUND CHILDREN?"
Although some dogs that are not raised around children may wish to stay away from them and should be supervised, most are extremely patient and tolerant of children, especially those of their own, and commonly are found playing and sleeping together. (Under the covers!) Well-adjusted Rat Terriers may be reserved and somewhat aloof with strangers, but most will "warm up" socially accepting and enjoying visitors almost as much as their own family as long as you are there.
- QUESTION: "WHAT PROBLEMS DOES THIS BREED HAVE?"
Rat Terrier's are generally a hardy and long-lived breed that often lives to be 12-18 years old. They have few known health problems. Hip & elbow dysplasias and eye problems are rarely seen in this breed, while Allergies (contact, inhalants and foods) are of the highest reported incidents, along with bad or incorrect bites. (RE: Breed Standard; the Scissor bite is preferred and a level bite is acceptable). Some reports, indicate potential problems with: crooked or retained puppy teeth, and varying degrees of bad knees or luxating/patellas. These problems generally occur in small and toy dogs of any breed under 12".
- Other reported problems have been connected with chemical sensitivity/allergies (Hives, swelling etc.) Certain insecticides, wormers, flea & tick dips, soap products, shampoos & colognes and reactions to serums, and some individuals may be sensitive to certain anesthesia's, presumably due to their lack of body fat.
- Another problem that may occur, are those associated with Demodex Mange. Although topical salves, dips and drug therapies can usually resolve the problem, which is generally seen when a dog is under stress during teething etc. This is thought to be an inherited auto-immune T-cell defect which allows this type of mite to proliferate, and depending on the severity, the individual may not be a suitable candidate for breeding. Consult with your veterinarian if your dog has any patches of skin redness or hair loss to check for this condition.
For more information click on the link below:
- QUESTION: "WHAT IS THEIR TEMPERAMENT LIKE?"
Rat Terriers can be very loyal, active and extremely playful. Activity slows down as the dog ages, but dogs generally remain playful throughout their lives. They are highly intelligent and are generally easy to train and housebreak.
- Many love agility and obedience, and excel at it, as they are so eager to please their owners and are very quick. After a puppy is proper inoculated, a puppy obedience course is highly recommended for every (owner and their) dog to help train and be properly socialized. In today's society, ALL dogs should be socialized at an early age. Start early and keep it up.
- Rat Terriers are smart and can get bored. (It is recommended that your puppy "meet" 100 people by the time it is 4-5 months old). An obedience course provides professional help for both the owner and their dog, while aids in bonding and the development of good social skills that will remain a lifetime. (Be careful, as they tend to be easily over-corrected. A sharp verbal admonition/scolding is enough for a young puppy.)
- Rat Terrier's were considered a "strain" of Fox Terrier. Infusions of both sight-hound (Italian Greyhound/Whippet) and scent-hound/Beagle has provided them with an even and outgoing temperament that sets them apart from many of the other traditional terrier breeds. www.ratterrierclub.com/family/
They are perfectly content to be near their owner and make great housedogs. They are not generally yappers or barkers, but they can be very demanding, using their paws and most are somewhat vocal, especially when ignored. They're naturally "real talkers" with plenty of grumbling and mumbling! They possess pack instinct and therefore do better with company (animal or human, or a dog of the opposite sex), and some dogs if left alone for long periods, may suffer from problems with "separation anxiety" or boredom. (Actual "Growling" with aggression should never be allowed! It's a dominance problem that can quickly escalate and requires professional help ASAP).
- QUESTION: "DO THEY GET ALONG WELL WITH OTHER DOGS?"
YES... Although there may be family squabbles over food or sleeping arrangements, the Rat Terrier is not a sparring or dog aggressive breed and a well-adjusted dog may actually find itself in trouble for being "too friendly". Many Rat Terriers' want to play with any dog they see, so the owner should be cautious when approaching strange dogs before allowing contact to avoid a fight from ensuing. After all, they are terriers and once a fight is provoked, they are size-blind and they will "fight" with any instigator.
- Want another Rat? It is strongly recommended that you do not get more than one puppy at a time, as they may tend to bond with each other rather than with you. Get one, and give yourselves some time to get settled in. Concentrate and work on your socialization skills and bonding first, before bringing another dog into your home. This helps to reduce pack order aggression and alleviate alpha dominance between dogs in your home.
- "WE HAVE OTHER PETS. HOW DO THEY GENERALLY GET ALONG WITH OTHER ANIMALS?"
Rat Terrier's are generally happy-go-lucky, but they are good watchdogs and these territorial (pack rats) will defend "their" property and yours. (Most love their toys and chewies, and will hoard them.) They are also intuitive, instinctive hunters with strong pack and prey instincts. (Several have attainted "World Champion Squirrel Dog" titles.) They are not generally known as earth dogs, but being a Terrier, ANY small, quick moving animal; the neighbor's cat, pet hamster or rat, vermin or varmint, is "fair" game and the chase is on. Many are escape artists that can climb and jump too. Five to six foot perimeter fencing is recommended.
- If you raise Rat Terriers with a cat, parrot/avian or other animals in a multiple pet situation, they will likely see them as a part of their family. Rat Terriers generally do get along very well with other animals and dogs, and being bred as a farm dog, most livestock too. They are used to guard chicken houses in the southern and Midwest states, to homes and apartments in the cities. City, country or suburbs, farm or condo, it matters not.
- With their compact size (generally 10-18", 8-25#), willingness to learn, and their utter devotion to "their people", makes them one of the greatest of pets and an ideal and loving companion.
- "HOW MUCH GROOMING IS REQUIRED? DO THEY SHED?"
Being a short-haired breed they DO shed. Living inside the home, (heating and extended periods of light further stimulates them to shed.) They'll require a frequent brushing with a soft brush or a rubber curry mitt to remove dead hair to help alleviate shedding, which is normally heavier in the spring and fall, or after whelping or seasonal heat cycles. If your dog does shed excessively, your vet can do a blood panel. Blood panels are now recommended once a year to help screen for heath problems, both real and potential. An occasional bath with a thorough rinse, along with the cleaning of the anal glands and a nail trim are occasionally necessary as with any other breed. (Bluing/brighteners are OK, and will brighten the white markings, but watch colognes. Hives are reported.)
- It is recommended that you occasionally take your dog to a groomer to have this done. In the event you have to board your dog, it will be accustomed to being left there, knows the staff, and knows you'll be coming back.
- When you do take your dog to the groomer, tell them to please "leave the whiskers"! They help aid the individual in many ways, just as a cat's whiskers do, and dog's that are "shown" in conformation, are done so "au naturel".
- MALE OR FEMALE???
Both sexes make wonderful and loving pets. Females are generally priced slightly higher due to their preference as a housedog, but males, if neutered at an early age 4-6 months, make excellent companions and housedogs too! If you are buying a Rat Terrier strictly as a pet, with no intention of breeding, spaying or neutering at an early age is strongly recommended. Both MALE and FEMALE Terriers are territorial and are known to "mark", especially if left intact. Sterilization deters this in both sexes and the earlier the better as it prevents sexual habits from becoming habitual ones and helps alleviate or prevent the chance of certain cancers, not to mention accidental staining, fighting, roaming and/or unwanted suitors or puppies, and certain sexual aggressiveness and dominance problems too.
- TIPS ON HOUSEBREAKING?
You don't need to have a breed specific book to train your Rat. Get yourself a book on dog training, or check one out at the library. Click on the link if your interested in the RAT TERRIER BOOK.
- Housetraining doesn't have to be difficult. It does however require consistency, knowledge about dogs and the right tools.
- First you'll need the right stuff. A crate or cage is invaluable necessity that can be purchased at any Wal-Mart or Pet Store. A crate should be big enough for the dog to stand, sit and turn around comfortably. It is not a "jail" for your pet and once trained, many dogs will readily use there crate as "their room" when they need a nap, safe haven or a break.
- The smaller the space a puppy has to wander about, the more likely their natural instincts to keep their sleeping place clean will be. A 100 or 200 crate is generally large enough for most Rat Terriers. (I use the medium size and put one of my old bed pillows in it for a pad. This "smells like you" and encourages your pet to use it and relives anxiety when you’re gone too. Plus it's an excuse to buy new bed pillows :)))
- Keep your puppy/dog confined [to a specific area] whenever you're not playing, holding or watching them explore his/her new surroundings. Watch their body language. If you see your pup begin to eliminate in the wrong place (sniffing the ground, circling, whining), clap your hands to stop them, and quickly take them outside or place them on a piddle pad or newspapers.
- If you live in a condo or apartment, or have a busy schedule, or live where it's cold, use "*piddle pads." These 20" x 22" pads have waterproof liners to protect your floors, a special scent added to show the pup where it's OK to go and have an antibacterial ingredient added to decrease odors. (Can be used with a special pad tray or some have adhesive edges to keep them from slipping.) Move the pads towards the door. When indoor training is completed, place the pads outdoors where you want the dog to eliminate until they are used to going outside. (FYI: there is also a special puppy training spray available that can be sprayed on training pads, newspaper or outdoor area where you want your dog use too.)
- When your puppy/dog first wakes up in the morning, before bedtime or has finished eating, playing or napping, pick him/her up and carry them outside (with hugs and kisses of course). And place them in the area where you want them to potty--the yard or pad.
- If you chose to have your dog "go" outside, do NOT put the dog out by itself. They will only want to come back in with you. So you must stay there with them until they potty. Use single words such as "potty," "hurry" or "duty" as they eliminate and quietly praise him.
- Wait for about 5 minutes. If they do not potty, bring them back in and then try again five to ten minutes later. With consistence, they will soon learn to associate the word with elimination. Reward this good behavior with praise and a treat (a snack or piece of kibble will do) and they’ll quickly respond as dog's wish to please their owners. If you scold the dog, either verbally or by incorrectly "rubbing his nose in it", they'll be likely to avoid you when eliminating and "hide" it from you, making their messes where ever you aren't.
- You should watch them like a hawk, and you'll be surprised how effective this is in preventing accidents. Soon you'll learn to read their signals. But there inevitably will be accidents no matter how hard you try to watch your puppy. Use a damp cloth to soak up urine, then use a solution of white vinegar, Oxy-Clean or commercial Dog-tergent to eliminate staining and help neutralize odor.
- If you are having a problem with submissive urination, incontinence, marking or are traveling, try using a male dog wrap or pet bloomers for the girls. Male wraps are flannel belly bands with Velcro closures on them, that have a vinyl plastic liner to prevent leakage and to which an absorbent sanitary pad is added. Pet Bloomers are used for females that are incontinent or in heat.
- Housebreaking does not take long, so hang in there and be patient and use consistency.
- EARS & TAILS:
"I've seen Rat Terriers with erect ears and some that have buttoned ears like the Jack Russell Terriers do. Both erect and dropped, (or buttoned) ear carriages are "acceptable" in our breed, without preference, and can often be found in individuals of the same litter. Ears should be "equal and uniform", or are to be "faulted" accordingly, but a Rat Terriers ears should never be cropped!
- WHEN DO THE EARS STAND?
It is sometimes hard to determine what type of ear carriage each individual will eventually have. All puppies are born with their ears up and then they begin to drop as their eyes open. It may take several weeks or several months for the ears to stand, (they just pop up one day) or they may stay dropped. In the UKC conformation show ring, ear carriages are not faulted until a dog reaches one year of age.
- "How long should a tail be?" DO THEY HAVE TO HAVE THEIR TAILS DOCKED?
Most Rat Terriers have their dewclaws removed and their tails docked when they are 24-48 hours old. This is done about the width of a fingertip, which will leave the pup's newly docked tail approximately 7/8" to one inch long. This produces a tail 1-3" long, which is shorter than that of a Jack Russell Terrier and more like that of a Schnauzer. If your vet asks where to dock, tell them to do tails like they would a schnauzer; from tail head, feel down tail to point where tail just starts to narrow-then dock. (Docking tip: Look underneath the tail; the hair grows straight from the vent and then will start to wrap around the tail. Dock at this point...many dogs will have tan in this area and it will be visibly marked.)
- A BOB TAIL?
Some dogs are born with a naturally bobbed or shortened tails, which may be surgically docked to an appropriate length, or left "as is". Although (medium) long natural tails are acceptable under the standard set by the United Kennel Club, long tails are not generally preferred nor favored, and are subject to be "penalized" in the AKC show ring if it distracts from the overall outline of the Terrier. Crooked, curled or any tails carried over the back are faulted.
- IMPORTANT NOTE: The gene for bobtails/brachury is a "homozygous lethal", therefore two natural bobtailed individuals should NOT be bred together. (One parent should have been born with a full tail to avoid this T/T genotype.) It is therefore requested that the suffix "NB" be used on the UKC registration papers in conjunction with the listing of the individual's color; or as a suffix at the end of the AKC registered name to denote this presence of this trait.
- "WHAT COLORS AND COATS ARE ACCEPTABLE?"
Rat Terriers are a short-haired breed that predominately displays vivid spotted patterns; generally, "white with Black spotted markings with tan or rust trimming" (that is placed like that of the Manchester Terrier or Doberman). Unlike the TFT, JRT or Fox Terriers, which must be at least 51% white, RT's are "preferred to be 20-90% white", but are not required to have a specified percentage of white, other than "a patch of white" (about the size of a quarter on their body, excluding the feet and head) to be registered. This minimal patch of white helps preserve the homozygous genes that are necessary to recreate these spotted piebald patterns. For forms and information on registering your Rat Terrier with AKC's FSS program, please see: www.akc.org/registration/colormarkings.cfm
- Thus; Solid self-colored individuals, that lack white, Black and Tan's or bi-coloreds without any white markings; or any individual displaying or having a parent or parents that display albino, brindle or merle colorations are disqualified, as are individuals with broken or wire coats, absence of coat hairlessness or long haired coats. (Individuals displaying these RT disqualifications, with the exception of albinism, may qualify for UKC single registration as one of the "FEIST" breeds or an American Hairless Terrier. Short legged/TYPE B and/or benched legged individuals are NOT recognized as Rat Terriers. They are officially considered as a separate breed AND must be registered and bred as "Teddy Roosevelt Terriers").
- Looking for a feist, AHT/hairless or a Teddy Roosevelt Terrier? Contact: United Kennel Club for these other breeds.
- All colors are preferred to be darkly hued, clean and solid. Black is the "dominant" base or ground coloration and about 85% of our breed display black with their markings. Other "acceptable" colorations (Red, Orange/Apricot, Tan, Chocolate, Lemon, & Blue) are "recessives" and are therefore naturally produced in limited numbers. Double recessives, (very light coat colors) such as pale silver and creams are discouraged since they make it difficult to see the color patterns in the coat and are thus faulted; and a dark eye (black to hazel) is preferred. Nose and eye rims should correspond with the coat color. Amber eyes are acceptable in lighter colored dogs, and a gray eye is preferred in blue dogs. Blue eyes, Wall-eyes or China eyes are a disqualification (DQ) in the AKC standard, due to a high incidence of deafness in combination with the piebald gene. (Check the standard for ideals and faults.) www.ratterrierclub.com/standard/
- "BEWARE OF DESIGNER COLORS AND SIZES AND FADS!!"
Rat Terrier's are a "Rare Breed" and you may find yourself on a breeder's waiting list in order to obtain a quality pup. IF a so-called "Rare" feature is advertised, ask questions. TRUE ethical and reputable Breeders care about the welfare of the breed and take pride in their stock and diligently try to correctly follow the official standard of their breed.
- QUALITY of the individual and not merely being a "rare" color should affect the overall pricing of any individual dog. Please read the breed standard!!!! Not all "Rare" traits are wanted and in some instances, weight or height or a certain coloration may actually be a breed disqualification, forbidding the registration of this individual; and some colorations and/or physical feature/s may adversely affect the individual's overall health.
- (Brindle, merle, albinism and solids or bi-colors or Black and Tans and/or individuals "without a specific and required patch of white" ARE disqualifications.)
- "HOW MUCH DO RAT TERRIERS GENERALLY SELL FOR?"
If you live in a large metropolis, an RT will of course cost more than if you live in a rural area. Breeders with registered Rat Terriers with "good solid, complete three-generation pedigrees" generally guarantee and sell them for amounts that are comparable to most AKC/American Kennel Club or UKC/United Kennel Club breeds that are advertised in your local newspaper. Others, being advertised as being "purebred" or lacking pedigree/papers are generally priced lower, while those offered in retail Pet Stores are usually significantly higher regardless of having papers or not, as there is often a commission to be compensated for, or a middleman involved. Offspring from tested and accomplished parents with proven backgrounds are of course, the most costly.
- TOY, MINIATURE, STANDARD or GIANT?
There are officially no Toy or Giant varieties. The Standard by which our breed is judged by both the AKC and the UKC separates the varieties by height at the shoulder: "Over 13 inches", and "up to and including 13".... BTW: These same measurements are used in the Bull Terrier, Beagle and American Eskimo breeds for the separation of the varieties, and were also found to be the median height for our breed too. (10" to 19" are the acceptable and desired heights for our breed). THERE IS NO TOY VARIETY FOR RAT TERRIERS IN EITHER AKC OR UKC.
- Rat Terriers are considered by weight to be a small to medium breed. Due to the many size variations found in the Rat Terrier, using height allows for the separation of the varieties, but includes most every size of our breed and therefore allows the opportunity for their development within a breeder's strain without individual's being disqualified. (Rat Terriers are officially part of the Terrier group, and not the Toy group. There are toys out there, but if you are looking for one of these smaller 3-7# toys, we suggest you check out the Toy Fox Terrier www.atftc.com. The TFT has been a recognized breed for over 60 years. Buyers Beware - so-called Toy (UKCI registered) RT's are not true purebreds and may have been hybridized by some breeders, having Chihuahua, Toy Fox Terrier and/or Manchester Terrier bloodlines added, of which, we do not condone the use of).
- WHAT ABOUT the AHT and TYPE B or TEDDY ROOSEVELT TERRIERS?
Sorry, only Rat Terriers that fit the UKC Rat Terrier Breed standard www.ukcdogs.com or the long legged "Type A," may be "single enrolled in FSS" as a Rat Terrier with the AKC. Individuals that display, or are known to have a parent or parents with the following Breed Disqualification's: lack of coat or AHT hairlessness; brindle or merle color patterning or albinism, or those having short or benched legs; are ineligible for FSS enrollment.
If your dog meets the Breed Standard, but doesn't have UKC registered parents, or if your dog and it's parents are currently registered with any other *"domestic registry", you will have to first dual register with the RTCA in order to apply for FSS or AKC will deny your application.
- In any case, when buying a "registered and pedigreed dog", ask to see a copy of the pedigree. "Purebred" only means that both the sire and dam were assumed to be of the same "type"....Ask: ARE both of the parents currently registered? "Has this litter been registered?" Any warrantees or guarantees? BEFORE leaving the premises with the dog, be sure to get something in writing from the seller.
- BUYER BEWARE: THE SELLER/BREEDER SHOULD NEVER tell you that you can buy the dog "without papers" for one price or another with them*, OR tells you, " YOU can get papers or your pedigree", by writing to this or that registry. A reputable seller/breeder should provide you with all of the necessary forms, (an application for registration) and will have their paperwork there for you to see and possibly take with you, or WILL guarantee them in writing. (*True "Pet quality" animals that are out of registered stock that are not thought to be of breeding quality are SOLD on a spay/neuter agreement. When your pet/dog is sterilized, and proof is provided, the papers should be given to the buyer "gratis" by the breeder).
- If "papers" don't really matter to you, and you "BUY" a purebred dog of any breed whose parents ARE NOT REGISTERED, or are in question, don't expect to get papers later! You are buying this individual "AS IS". The purchase of "purebred" puppies purposely bred by backyard breeders contributes greatly to the pet overpopulation problem. If you buy one, you may or may not be getting what you hoped for, and you are encouraging them to BREED again.
- "HOW CAN YOU TELL IF A BREEDER IS ETHICAL AND REPUTABLE?"
Ask, Ask, Ask....then ask more questions and then look! If you don't like what you see and hear, DON'T BUY....Educate yourself first. Be a prudent buyer.
- Breeding is a commitment to the breed and to each and every offspring it's breeder produces for the lifetime of that dog. Breeding should be done for the betterment and for the propagation of a lineage of that breed. Registration papers don't make a dog, but when you purchase a "Registered" dog, this will help to assure that the individual you've chosen will be of a similar type and temperament that you have decided upon.
- A reputable breeder will be there to answer questions and help you over the rough spots of dog ownership. This alone keeps many pets from being relinquished to local shelters because of a simple problem that an owner did not know how to deal with or properly handle. If you experience a problem, minor, as it may seem, please don't hesitate to contact THE breeder for their advice. Don't be embarrassed. If they are ethical and reputable, they'll always be glad to help and happy to hear from you and care about the welfare of the dog.
- ASK THE SELLER...How old are these puppies? When were they born? When were these puppies wormed and with what brand or type of wormer? Find out, when and what brand and types of vaccines the puppy has been given, and when they are due for their next shots. Puppy shots are given in series. Use and follow a veterinarian's recommendations & advice, and make sure that all inoculations are routinely given to provide maximum protection.
- Puppies learn from their dam. Reputable and ethical breeders won't let their puppies go until they are a minimum of 7-8 weeks old and may refuse to let them go until they have had their second shot in their series of puppy shots. After any inoculation, IT IS HIGHLY recommended to wait an additional 7-10 days until the body can re-produce sufficient anti-bodies. A dog without being properly inoculated should "never" be sold nor bought. They are defenseless against disease and are at risk of death not to mention a vet bill and possible permanent disability. Purebred, mixed breed, show quality or pet...parvo can quickly kill, and is very expensive to treat!!! (Distemper virus can survive about one year, but Parvo is a "hard virus" that can live up to 3 years once infecting an environment).
- WHAT KIND OF GUARANTEE DOES THE BREEDER OFFER?
Regardless of where you obtain a dog, you should take your new family member to a vet within 24-48 hours for a health check. How long has the breeder been involved with the breed and how many litters have they raised? Was this litter planned, or was this breeding to produce puppie$ for the children to experience the miracle of birth? Does the breeder seem to be a knowledgeable dog person; willing and able to be they're for you after you buy your dog from them? Or do they appear to be repeatedly breeding and selling dogs, with many colors and a variety of sizes (perhaps with several other breeds) in which to choose from?
- When purchasing any dog, "Be A Prudent Buyer"....ASK questions (and of course you can't always do this when you buy from a Pet Store, just one good reason WHY it's not recommended), but you should preferably look at the parent/s and their other offspring (or ask for photos) before selecting a puppy. Price and papers are not the real issue....the health and temperament and socialization of the parent/s and their offspring are, along with your personal commitment to the individual. No one wants or needs to "buy" a vet/medical bill. Have the puppies been healthy and how has their parent's health been? How does the dam look? Granted, she may be a little protective and perhaps underweight from nursing, but does she appear to be healthy and in good flesh? Does she have hair missing or bald patches? Is she a good specimen of the breed? Have you seriously looked at any other dogs of this breed? Do you know what the "standard" for the breed is? If you would like to see a copy of the breed standard, please click on the link below.
- BUT I JUST WANT A PET....While breeders price a dog by it's quality and conformation, the closer an individual fits the standard of it's breed, they will be justifiably priced higher. Most dogs make wonderful pets, but true Pet Quality dogs (ones that are not suitable for breeding or have an unwanted trait) are generally sold on a spay/neuter contract and the registration papers may be held until this requirement is fulfilled.
- You might want to consider adopting? There are wonderful dogs that are displaced, in need and awaiting a new home. For an application, availability contact a rescue person below:
Contacts: Bridget Curry-Barnes (No.CA.) (530) 753-4763
Linda Leimbach (OH.) (440) 965-5611
Melinda Sowash (Pahrump, NV.) (775) 727-0367
See our rescue page for additional listings and "lost and founds" too. www.ratterrierclub.com/rescues/
- Most rescue groups charge adopters between $100-250 (which often includes the expenses of a vet check, spay/neutering, worming, inoculations, temperament profiling /evaluation and sometimes transportation).
- BEFORE you have asked these questions, have you asked yourself, "Is this the breed for me? IS THIS THE DOG I REALLY WANT?"
- Due to busy schedules, family and work, do you really have the time it takes to take care of a new puppy, and can afford the added expenses? Getting a dog is not throwing a dog in your backyard and a daily chore of throwing food to it, and making sure it has water! It is a lifetime responsibility and commitment to a member of your family. Accidents and illness occur? Do you have the funds available for routine inoculations, dental cleanings, and wormings? Sterilization and in case of an unforeseen illness or injury? Will you have the2 years of patience to go through the puppy antics and adolescence, and are you willing and able to take the time to regularly go to obedience classes?? Obedience classes provide basic training with a professional in a controlled situation along with early socialization skills that last a lifetime and often make the difference between a scared adult and a happy out going, friendly and predictable dog.
Patience. It doesn't happen over night. All dogs have to be taught what is, and is not, "acceptable" just as a child must. There will be "accidents" potty training and the teething, and ALL dogs' need time, patience AND training if they are to become a family member and socialized.
- Well did you "puppy proof" yet? Is your yard and home ready to bring your new addition into? If you are truly ready to take on this life time commitment now, grab your crate and go for it. The joy and the benefits will far exceed the costs.
- We hope this has helped to answer the majority of your questions and has given you information about our breed to help decide IF this might be the RIGHT breed of dog for you.
- Thank You from,
Rat Terrier Club of America
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