Rat Race Rat Terriers

Rat Race Rat Terriers is a small country ranch in Colorado that is home to six awesome Standard Rat Terriers. The first Rat, EmmaLee, was purchased mainly to help disperse the large population of prairie dogs, as well as to be a bit of a house dog/lap dog. While the prairie dogs have not encountered her much, she has become a bit of a couch potato, content to sleep on the chair or couch. She does enjoy hunting the many mice that are in our fields, and checks the barrels of chicken feed for any errant mice. She’s also prone to chase coyotes, thinking somehow that she’s bigger and badder then they are.

EmmaLee traces her lineage to Fire Mountain and Decker lines on her sire’s side, with Fire Mountain’s Tonka showing up several times, as well as one line to Sycamore Flat’s Tuffy and Sycamore Flat’s Lacey . Her dam is from an Iowa line recently brought into the registry by her breeder Dereth Wylie, of Bear Tuff Rat Terriers. .

In April, 2012, EmmaLee whelped a small litter of Rat Terrier puppies, all males. While two found new homes, one has remained with us. Chance has grown into a very handsome Rat Terrier and has surpassed his mother in size. He is also very fond of tracking down and scaring up coyotes. He has a unique little barky sound when he’s on a hot coyote trail. Chance’s sire is Guero, from Ramirez Ratz.

Rat Race’s Sammie  joined the pack in 2013. Whelped in April,  she was not originally slated to stay here. But with her temperament and personality, there was no way that she was going to leave. She is also from Em and Guero. Although I expect her to remain on the smaller side, what she lacks in size she more than makes up for in intelligence and attitude. Definitely a keeper. She will be my first dog to train for scent work Watch for updates on her personal page.

A surprise litter gave us Rat Race’s Amazing Joy. She is out of Sammie and by Chance. Not a planned litter, but we didn’t realize that Sammie was sneaking out the cat door until too late. Joy was going to go to Prince Edward Island in Canada and be a flyball dog, but when that didn’t quite come together, she told us she was staying here. She’s a bit of a goof, loving to do somersaults on the couch. She and her mom are very close and are frequently found nestled together.

The April 2014 litter with Lil’ Ranchin’ Hercules as the sire gave us two more pups to stay here. Not something we particularly planned on, but the way it happened. If you have Ratties, you will easily understand! Out of 7 puppies, only one, a male, was the hoped for color of apricot, red or chocolate. The rest were black tris or black piebalds. My husband put dibs on the apricot boy, and I fell in love with little Maddie. So here they stay. They are a higher percentage of Decker blood, and have more bone and coat then the other pups have had.

Future plans with the Ratties is to work them in scent work, as well as to develop a line of standard sized, well-built Ratties with a stable temperament, calm in the house, but ready for any adventure that is put before them. I will be focusing mainly on the hunting lines, with plans on breeding back on EmmaLee’s dam’s side to bring that line forward in the Rat Terrier lines sometime in the near future. My goal is to have a nice, medium sized dog, with good bone and substance, preferably around 16″ – 18″, with an excellent mind, very athletic, speed, intelligence, willing to please and bold. My ultimate goal is to have Ratties as a recognized K9 partner in drug detection and other police work along that line. It’s going to be a long, hard, hard road, but that is my goal.

Bear Tuff’s Miss EmmaLee
Rat Race Chance of a Lifetime -  August 2013
Rat Race Chance of a Lifetime – August 2013
Rat Race Sammie I Am
Amazing Joy
Madame Mustache - "Maddie"
Madame Mustache – “Maddie”



34 thoughts on “Rat Race Rat Terriers

  1. I was told my dog is Decker by a Decker owner at our dog beach. I found my pup at a shelter 9 months ago and now I am tracking down his past. By chance did either of your males go to, or near California? He is almost all black and tan. He’s a bit on the bigger side, 36 lbs of pure muscle. This may be insane but regardless, your site is so amazing. I have a lot to learn about my lovely pup!

  2. We recently lost our best friend, Browning, a Decker Terrier who was a very much loved member of our family for over 17 years. My husband very much needs a new best friend. We live in Northern California and are trying to find a breeder in the area. Browning was around 40lbs and strawberry and white and was an amazing hunter.

    1. Hello Dana. No, I never have bred to anything but Ratties, and honestly don’t see me breeding to anything else in the future. I would honestly prefer to keep them purebred than have a designer dog.

  3. We just adopted a ” chihuahua” mix from the Larimer co Humane via Denver Humane. We recently lost our blond chihuahua mix of 16 years and ,though I was tempted ,I wanted a dog that was not a replica of her …so Sophie’s bark and pleading antics won us over. I knew she was not a chihuahua mix. I thought maybe a basenji mix and finally I realized…rat terrier. Admittedly ,I never longed for a rat terrier but she has proved to be very loving, smart, funny and a stubborn handful. She is not good with other dogs do you have any advise for us in training her. She is said to be 2 yrs old. Is house trained and does not chew or dig. She licks and ” bites” at our face when she gets excited. We need help with this behavior too. It is NOT aggression just loving zeal, but not acceptable.

    1. Hello Jeannine,

      So sorry to hear about your loss. It is so hard to let our loved ones go.

      Congratulations on your new family member!

      I can offer a few suggestions for the two issues that you mentioned. In regards to her not being good with other dogs, it is difficult for me to really answer this question without further information. Does she just not want to interact with strange dogs? Is she aggressive? Fearful? Aloof? Is she better off leash than on leash? Is it certain dogs, maybe different sizes, colors, male, female? Is she food or toy aggressive? How is she “not good with other dogs?”

      I would highly recommend finding a reputable dog training business that offers assistance with this. You would need well-behaved, respectful dogs to introduce her to in a controlled environment. Also, a responsible trainer would be able to watch for things such as stress, aggression or fear. You could find one thru any of the local kennel clubs. (You can do a search online for “kennel club Denver CO.) It looks like there are several, so I would talk to them, local dog supply stores, or your friends/neighbors and veterinarians for recommendations for an excellent dog trainer. Watch how they handle dogs in some of their classes to see if you are comfortable with what they are doing before agreeing to let them handle your girl. Slow and controlled introductions to new dogs is the only way to get her accustomed to having new dogs around. And it would have to be a commitment on your part, as this is something that will take time and dedication. Not knowing her history, we don’t know if she was never socialized as a puppy, or if she’s just not a sociable dog.

      For the issue of her getting too excited and biting at your face, again, I would need a little more information to be able to answer this better. But here are my thoughts. Pay attention to when she reacts that way. Is she getting too wound up and excited, say when you get home from work? Are you getting to close to her face yourself or is she in your lap and jumping on you? Look for ways to tone her down so that she won’t jump on you and bite at your face. Remove the ability for her to do it. When she is getting too wound up, take a break from whatever is causing it. Disengage from her. Even negative attention, you scolding her for example, is a reward for her. Avoid that. Firmly but quietly tell her “no,” firmly but gently move her off of you, then calmly get up and walk away. Chances are good that she will look for some way of pleasing you, such as offering a sit or something. Reward her for being polite by quietly petting her and telling her she’s a good girl. Keep your face away from hers when at all possible and keep it quiet.

      Watch how you react to her. Maybe you are unintentionally getting her too excited? Even a kiss on the top of the head may be too much for her right now. Try having treats in a pouch, ask for a “sit” and when she offers a quiet sit, tell her “yes” and give her one or several small, bite-size treats. Vary the number of treats you give her. One trainer compared it to people at a slot machine. They get hooked because they never know how much they might win, a few quarters or a bucket full! (For a great, cheap and simple treat that most dogs love, cut up beef liver or chicken breast in thin slices and dry them on your food dryer, watching them after a few hours and flipping them once. These are easy to make and cut up in bite-sized pieces and the dogs love them!) Figure out how you can make it difficult for her to bite at your face, but easy for her to remain calm and to be a lady. Maybe teach her to sit up and beg, or go to a certain rug or doggy bed before you reward her or pet her. But keep it low key, keep it mellow. And keep your face unreachable when at all possible.

      I hope this helps. Good luck with her, and you are more than welcome to let me know how she is doing and if you are successful.



  4. Hello!

    I really appreciate your site! Lots of good information and well laid out.

    We are looking into getting a dog to help with rats and squirrels at our farm. Do you train your dog’s to that end or do they naturally figure it out? Do you know if they have a tendency to go after chickens, or do they pick up quickly that they are off limits?

    Thank you for your time!

    1. Thank you! I do hope that it helps other dog lovers.

      I would highly recommend Rat Terriers. My Ratties take after critters quite naturally. I don’t have to do any training at all on them. It is still bred in them, thank goodness! (My oldest girl has no hesitation in going after coyotes, either.)

      As to the chickens…I have lost a number of birds to my Ratties as pups until they learn that the chickens are off limits. I think they kill them in part because birds are pretty fragile and when they run and squawk and flap their wings, its too hard for the pups to resist the chase. You can teach them and they will learn. I think that if you are only working with one puppy, it would be easier to train. Introduce him/her as a young pup and watch them with the chickens. Always have them under your supervision and control. Teach them to “leave it.” Once mine are older, they also seem to lose interest in them, especially if they are given lots of opportunities to run and hunt elsewhere and are rewarded by being able to locate and kill mice and prairie dogs. We don’t have rats here, and only a few squirrels, but I know that if we did, my Ratties would go after them with gusto.

  5. We lost our little rat terrier a few months back and my family is looking for 2 new puppies. What are the price & would you be willing to sell two?

    1. Hello Lily,

      All of the puppies have been sold except for the little chocolate piebald male. The price is $400. I would not recommend buying two puppies at the same time, as they frequently bond more with each other than with the people unless the people are very dedicated to working with each puppy individually on a daily basis.

  6. All of your dogs and puppies are beautiful! I recently lost my beloved Rat Terrier companion, Jackson, after 12.5 amazing years together. I am interested in owning another one someday. Please keep me posted on any potential new litters in the upcoming future.

    On average, how much do your dogs weigh when full-grown? And what part of Colorado are you located in? We are just outside of Boulder.


    1. Hello Adriane,

      I am so sorry to hear of your recent loss of your Rat Terrier. That is so hard to go through when your companion goes on without you. My sincerest condolences.

      Thank you for your sweet compliments!

      I will keep you posted on future plans for new litters. I have some ideas, and am really hoping for one to come about with my Sammie.

      My dogs vary on size and weight, but on average they are around 14″-16″ and 20-25 lbs. at maturity. Some have matured a bit taller, like Chance, but nothing is smaller than the 14″, so far. So a nice, mid-sized Rattie.

      I am in western Colorado, on the Western Slope. We live in a rural area about an hour and a half south east of Grand Junction.

      Take care,


  7. My wife and I live in Erie CO. We are interested in a Rattie pup please let us know if you have any pups available or near term breeding so. Thanks Tom

    1. Hello Tom,

      I do not currently have any puppies. The soonest that might happen won’t be until next year sometime.

      I do know of a litter that is due soon in Casper, WY, area, as well as a litter due soon in Kiowa, CO.

      Let me know if you would be interested in contacting either of these two ladies.



      1. I am interested in finding a male pup in or near Colorado. Decker line preferred for size. Any thoughts? We have owned Rat terriers for more than 20 years! Love their character!

      2. I would contact Bear Tuff Rat Terriers as she breeds along Decker lines. She is over in the Kiowa area and I believe is planning on a litter or two this year. Here is her web address: http://www.nrta.com/breederswebpages/beartuff/beartuff.shtml. I might have a litter later this summer between Sammie and one of Deri’s dogs. (She is the owner of Bear Tuff.) But as Sammie is only 14″, some of the pups will be her size and some will be larger. I will be posting here on my blog if that litter does come about.

  8. We’re looking for a rat terrier as an addition to our rescues…two labs and cat. We live on 5 acres and have a rodent problem mostly moles, voles, pack rats and mice.

    Any adopted pet would be a member of our family and be kept indoors. All our pets sleep with us!

    Do you have rat terriers for immediate adoption?

    1. Hello!

      Where are you located? Do you have an idea of size or color that you may prefer? Ratties come in 4 sizes, toy to the large Decker lines.

      They would be absolutely perfect for varmint control. Mine are always out hunting when they can and frequently are catching mice, voles, squirrels, prairie dogs and sometimes rabbits.

      I will email you also.


    2. As of two days ago, there is a male Rat Terrier puppy available from our breeder in Alcova, WY, where I got our puppy, Leroy, 7 months ago. I believe he’s ready in May for his forever home. This pup has the same mother and father as Leroy. Please let me know if you’d like her contact info. Leroy is an amazing puppy – I had a Rattie for 13 years that passed in July, and I couldn’t imagine life without another Rattie. I got Leroy at the end of October. He’s the perfect addition to our family.


      1. I don’t mean to take away any business from Tammy! She’s a lovely person and extremely kind, helpful and resourceful. We were planing on getting a pup from her last year, but there weren’t any available when we were looking 🙂


      2. You are fine Adriane! Gee, thank you for the compliments! I do try to help as much as I can. Not sure if Laurie’s dogs are what she is looking for, but you are more than welcome to send her the information if you would like. I think she might have a few more pups available. I don’t know which pups she has sold and which are still available. The dam, Peaches, is the grand dam to my Maddie and Colt, and the great grand dam of the pup that I Have here.

  9. I love rat terriers. This breed is incredible. I have a three year and a half year old male rat terrier named Scout. He is a great dog. He is light tan with a copper colored nose.

    I currently live in aurora but I bought him from Janice at Gem Rats breeders on Long Island.

    My lil boy is a typical new yorker.

    Loud obnoxiously rude but a heart of gold.

    and he doesnt do tricks.

    He will however pee on your shoes.

  10. Hello Rat Race Terriers,

    I am a longtime dog enthusiast and owner of several different mix breed dogs over my lifetime. I currently own a 30 lb female terrier mix. She is only 7 years old so I hope to have many more good years with her, but I’m 100% interested in seeing if a Rat Terrier could be my next dog.

    I’m a native New Mexican but now work and live overseas with my family. We make trips back to the states every 2-3 years and when the time comes I will be looking for a dog that is small enough to travel inside the cabin of the airplane as we travel internationally. Having a dog small enough to travel inside the cabin opens up many more travel options. My current female has traveled successfully as checked cargo twice, but it is stressful (on me) and a lot of work.

    I love and care for my dogs very very well and put a lot of time into training and managing them well. They come with me to as many locations as possible (and I’m always on the lookout for more :). I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, evaluating, and research, and believe the Rat Terrier would be the very best fit for me and my family. I do scent detection, obediance work, and rucking with my current dog, and hope to add some rabbit and squirrel hunting in the near future.

    As a New Mexican I always appreciate a good dog from Colorado 🙂 I would love to diologue with you regarding your dogs and the breed in general and would LOVE to make a visit to your ranch the next time we are State-side (2018) – to see your dogs and interact with the breed.


  11. Good evening. I am looking for a female tri color for our home. We have just had a painful goodbye with our 5 month old Rat Dooney. We have is brother and he is having a difficult time with our loss. Our dogs are our family. We live in Lubbock Tx and have tried to find full blooded Rat Terriers but they are all mix breads. If you don’t have any, can you send us a name of someone that might have some in TX. Thanks.

    1. Oh my gosh Christy! I am so sorry about the loss of your pup and I so apologize for not getting back with you much sooner than this! Several reasons why, but I honestly didn’t see your post until just now.

      Let me know if you ever found a pup. If not, check out Stone Pony. She is in TX and has purebred Ratties. I believe she will have some pups soon or may actually have some available now.

      Again, I am soooo very sorry to hear of your loss and not getting back to you when you really needed me to be there. 😦



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