Ratshire Terrier

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
fast facts

About Ratshire Terrier

10-12 inches
12-20 lbs
13-18 years
Not applicable
Best Suited For
Active pet owners, families with older children, people who live in an apartment, people who live in a house with a backyard
Energetic, spunky, stubborn, playful, sweet, affectionate, feisty, curious
Comparable Breeds
Yorkshire Terrier, Rat Terrier
Ratshire Terrier Basics

Feisty, spunky, and full of love, the Ratshire Terrier is a charming little pooch. These dogs have a big spirit and an even bigger heart- they are ideal companions for people who love canines with a personality. If you expect your Ratshire Terrier to be a docile, lazy lap dog, you’ll be sorely disappointed. With two terrier breeds in their genes, these dogs will be chirpy, full of energy and, more often than not, stubborn as a mule.

A designer dog breed, the Ratshire Terrier comes from different purebred dogs. To develop this particular hybrid, breeders cross a Yorkshire Terrier with a Rat Terrier– a combination that might seem unusual but produces adorable small dogs. The fact that these are both terrier breeds, though, means double trouble: you’ll often wonder if your Ratshire Terrier is secretly powered by batteries. They just don’t stop!

With proper training and socialization, these goofy little pooches make great family pets. They don’t always get along with young kids or other pets, but sometimes obedience classes and early exposure take care of that. Even though the host of excellent traits and the adorable looks make the Ratshire Terrier appealing to many dog owners, the truth is that these hybrids are not an ideal match for everybody. Read on to find out everything about this designer dog and his requirements- and decide if the Ratshire Terrier and Yorkie mix truly is the right choice for you.

These dogs have a big spirit and an even bigger heart- they are ideal companions for people who love canines with a personality.


The Yorkshire Terrier breed was first developed in northern England, during the 19th century, where the tiny dog worked as a vermin hunter for the working class. It didn’t take long, though, before the toy sized dog with soft silky fur caught the eye of nobles and started his transition to a prized lapdog rather than a rat terminator. The Rat Terrier, as the name suggests, had a similar beginning. In the 1920s and 1930s, these dogs were most commonly seen on farms across the United States, where their speed and hunting instincts help their masters be free of furry pests stealing their provisions. Their petite size and a courageous spirit still remain one of the many qualities that make them good pets, and not just a working breed. But what about the mixed breed offspring of the two? What are the origin and the story of the Ratshire Terrier?

Sadly, not much is known about the Yorkie and Rat Terrier mix. These designer dogs are still fairly rare and have become popular only recently, and there is not a lot to go on from when it comes to their background. No breeders have come out and said that they were the first to purposefully develop this designer dog. To make matters more complicated, there have probably been many accidental mixes of a Yorkie and a Rat Terrier throughout history that weren’t labeled as a hybrid breed but mutts- so there’s no way of saying when the breeding became intentional. Nevertheless, based on what we know about the rest of the designer dogs, it’s highly likely that the Ratshire Terrier shares their story, and that the breed originated in the United States, sometime in the last 15 to 30 years.


The Ratshire Terrier is not a purebred dog. This is a hybrid or designer dog breed that is developed by crossbreeding two purebred dogs. In this case, the parents of the litter are a Yorkshire Terrier and a Rat Terrier. The unusual combination of the tiny but feisty terriers results in dogs that are small in size and inherit temperament and physical traits from both of the parental breeds. The litters that come from this type of crossbreeding are called first generation hybrids, and they can significantly vary in appearance and qualities. Some puppies might take up after the Yorkie more, and have long hair, for instance. Others could favor the Rat Terrier and display the characteristic tri-color coat. Each Ratshire Terrier is unique!

Of course, multigenerational crossings are fairly common, as well. These are Ratshire Terriers with a greater percentage of one breed in their ancestry or those that come from two Ratshire Terriers instead of two purebred dogs. The combinations are many, as breeders are still developing this mix and there are no set standards to adhere to. Needless to say, as a mixed breed dog, the Ratshire is not seen as an actual breed by major canine organizations, such as the American Kennel Club.


It’s important to pay attention to what type of food you’re choosing for your dog. Their diet will play an important role in their overall wellbeing and health. Most pet owners decide on commercial pet food, mainly kibble, as the main source of nutrients for their fur baby. When chosen properly, dry food can be all your pet needs to thrive. First of all, the kibble should be made from high-quality ingredients, with meat being the number one ingredients, followed by fibers and healthy fats. Avoid cheap foods that lack essential nutrients and have unhealthy carb fillers and tons of artificial ingredients and additives.

It’s important to pick out kibble that is suitable for your dog’s unique needs and lifestyle. Your Ratshire Terrier might be energetic and active, but he’s still a small dog- and he will need a diet that’s appropriate both for his size and activity levels. Usually, they do well on small breed formula, just make sure it’s OK for their age group, as well. Puppies will need more caloric food as they are still developing, whereas adult and senior dogs have different dietary needs.

As a small breed dog, the Ratshire Terrier will gain weight easily if you let them overindulge in food. Don’t go overboard with treats or wet food, and don’t let your pet free feed. Serve them only what the manufacturer (or a vet) recommends for their daily intake- it’s usually about a cup of premium kibble per day. Split this into two or more smaller meals for better digestion.

Not unlike all small terriers, these designer dogs can also have a stubborn streak and be difficult to potty train.


The intelligent and eager to please Ratshire Terrier shouldn’t be too much of a challenge if you’ve already had previous experience with training dogs. They are willing and able to learn quickly, and if you find the right approach, you’ll have no issue teaching your puppy manners. On the other hand, if you’re a newbie at dog ownership, it’s likely you’ll need to enroll your puppy in classes with the pros. Not unlike all small terriers, these designer dogs can also have a stubborn streak and be difficult to potty train, so it’s crucial to be patient and persistent in training.

Rely on positive reinforcement methods of training and use praise and treats as motivation. The promise of a yummy biscuit will have your Ratshire Terrier jumping through hoops, let alone learning simple commands! Aversive techniques don’t work and will damage the relationship you have with your pet so make sure to steer clear from harsh training methods.

In addition to basic training, your Ratshire Terrier will need timely socialization, as well. Exposing your pet to various people outside of their family and different social situations will make them adaptable and friendly. Make sure to work with your pet on time if you want them to be OK with kids and strangers.


Both the Yorkie and the Rat Terrier are toy size dogs, and their mix will also be petite. On average, these designer dogs weigh between 12 and 20 pounds and are about 10 to 12 inches high at the withers.


Go big or go home- that seems to be the motto of the, ironically, tiny Ratshire Terrier. These cute dogs have a personality that outgrows their petite stature, and often an attitude that matches it. They are loyal, courageous, and playful- Yorkie and Rat Terrier mixes have a lot of energy. Of course, just because they’re spunky and feisty doesn’t mean that they won’t enjoy curling up in your lap after a day of zooming around, ready for some cuddles and snuggles. Ratshire Terriers are quite affectionate and sweet, especially with their family members. When it comes to strangers, they can be wary or even hostile, barking their heads off when they spot an unknown face – if not socialized on time.

In general, every Ratshire Terrier will be one of a kind, including their behavior and temperament. Not only that these are mixed breed dogs that can inherit traits from either of the parental breeds, but socialization and upbringing also play a crucial role in the forming of their character.

Common Health Problems

Since this is a mixed breed dog, he won’t have any issues that are specific to him alone, but Ratshire Terrier can still be affected by health problems his parents are prone to. Generally, the breeding and the lifestyle do play an important role in your pet’s overall being, but they can be at risk for some problems simply because of their ancestry. These include hip and elbow dysplasia, portacaval or portosystemic shunt, tracheal collapse, patellar luxation, skin and eye issues.

Life Expectancy

The Ratshire Terrier comes from two long-lived breeds. With healthy parents and a healthy lifestyle, these dogs can live anywhere between 13 to 18 years.

Exercise Requirements

The terrier ancestry of this designer dog makes him energetic, curious, and active. They require mental and physical stimulation that would keep them in top shape and out of trouble. Luckily, they are petite so it won’t take hours of hiking before they’re ready to take a nap. Circa 60 minutes of deliberate exercise will be enough to keep a Ratshire Terrier content. Take them to daily walks, visit a dog park for some quality pup time, or play fetch in a secure backyard. Just remember- these dogs have a high prey drive and are known to be escape artists, so make sure not to let them off leash in an area where they could bolt off.

Since these dogs are intelligent and active, you can try and train them for dog sports, as well. Agility, flyball, and other competing activities are often where the Ratshire Terrier truly takes the spotlight- and gets a fun outlet for his energy.

The terrier ancestry of this designer dog makes him energetic, curious, and active.

Recognized Clubs

The American Kennel Club and its international counterparts don’t accept designer dogs or hybrid breeds into their fold. There are, however, many smaller clubs and organizations that do recognize the Ratshire Terrier as an actual breed. These include the American Canine Hybrid Club, Designer Breed Registry, Designer Dogs Kennel Club, Dog Registry of America, and International Designer Canine Registry.


There’s no saying which of the parental breeds will have more influence on the hair type of this hybrid. The Yorkshire Terrier and Rat Terrier are worlds away when it comes to their coats. The Yorkie has long, flowy locks and the Rat Terrier closely cropped short hair. Their puppies might have longer or shorter hair, sport the markings typical for one breed or the color combination characteristic for the other. In most cases, though, puppies are somewhere in the middle. A low-maintenance, medium length coat that sheds moderately is the quality of most Ratshire Terriers.


Cute, rowdy, and insanely charming, Ratshire Terrier puppies might make you forget all about training and discipline. While you might be tempted to spend your dog’s puppyhood in play and cuddling, it’s important not to neglect their upbringing. Timely training and socialization will make sure your Ratshire Terrier doesn’t have any behavior issues when they grow up.

Photo credit: Annette Shaff/Shutterstock

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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