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Are Rat Terriers Hypoallergenic?

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If you suffer from allergies, but your child keeps asking for a dog, you are probably on the hunt for the perfect dog.

When you have allergies, the dog breeds that you can choose from become significantly more restricted because you have to search for a dog that is hypoallergenic.

Rat terrier puppy 

Thankfully, as designer dog breeds, such as the cockapoo, are becoming popular, there are more breeds to choose from.

However, if you would prefer something a little more traditional, you might be looking for a good old fashioned pedigree. 

In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at rat terriers, and whether, or not, they are hypoallergenic. So, read on to find out more!

What are Rat Terriers?

Rat terriers are adorable little dogs that look like they came straight out of a cartoon. They are also known as the “rat dog” or “possum hound” because of their resemblance to rats and possums.

The name “rat terrier” was coined by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1885.

There are two types of rat terriers: toy and non-toy. Toy rat terriers are generally smaller than non-toy ones. They weigh between 2 and 4 pounds and have short legs and long bodies.

Non-toy rat terriers are larger and heavier, weighing between 6 and 12 pounds. Both types of rat terriers come in several colors, such as black, brown, red, blue, white, and fawn.

There are no studies that prove whether rat terriers are hypoallergenic. However, some experts believe that these dogs are less likely to cause allergic reactions compared to other breeds.

If you want to get a rat terrier puppy, you should consider researching its history before buying it. 

Rat terriers are very active and energetic dogs. They love playing with toys and running around. Their playful nature makes them great for families who need an active pet.

These dogs make excellent guard animals. They are good watchdogs and are usually friendly towards strangers.

Rat Terriers are intelligent, loyal, and affectionate dogs. They are eager to please and enjoy being part of a family. They are highly trainable and can be trained to perform many tasks.

Because of their intelligence, they are often used as therapy dogs.

Rat Terriers are not recommended for people with asthma, allergy problems, or heart disease. People with respiratory issues may find that this breed is too small to fit comfortably in their home.

The History Of Rat Terriers

Rat Terriers were originally bred by English farmers to hunt vermin. In the 1800s, they were called “terriers” because they hunted rats and mice.

In the early 1900s, the AKC began registering these dogs under the name “rat terriers.”

These dogs were originally bred to be companions. They were used as hunting dogs, but when World War II broke out, the government banned the use of all dogs for war purposes.

After the war ended, the AKC recognized the popularity of these dogs. Today, they are one of the most popular breeds of dogs.

Health Issues With Rat Terriers

Brown rat terrier


Because of their size and energy level, rat terriers can be prone to overheating. This issue can lead to heat stroke, which requires immediate medical attention.

It is important to keep your dog cool during hot weather. Make sure he has plenty of fresh water and shade whenever he goes outside.

If your dog suffers from seasonal allergies, he might react badly to pollen. Pollen season occurs in spring and summer months.

During this time, you must avoid exposing your dog to grasses and trees. When your dog sneezes, cover his/her nose and mouth with a tissue so that he doesn’t inhale the pollen.

Also, try to limit his exposure to outdoor areas where grasses and trees grow.

If your dog develops allergies at any point in his life, consult your veterinarian immediately. He/she might require medication or special foods to prevent him from reacting to allergens.

Heart Problems

Rat terriers have been known to develop congenital heart defects. The American Heart Association recommends that owners of these dogs undergo regular checkups and heart tests.


This condition causes low levels of thyroid hormones in the body. Symptoms include excessive shedding, weight gain, lethargy, and depression.

Your vet can test your dog’s blood for hypothyroidism. Treatment includes giving your dog thyroid supplements.

Dental Health

Rat terriers have sharp teeth. Therefore, it is essential that you brush your dog’s teeth regularly. If you notice signs of tooth decay, contact your vet right away.

Problems Caused By Small Breeds

Small breeds like the Rat Terrier tend to get sick more frequently than larger breeds. Their smaller bodies make them prone to certain health conditions.

Are Rat Terriers Hypoallergenic?

Whilst Rat Terriers usually have a short, dense coat of fur, they are sadly not hypoallergenic.

Despite the fact that all dogs produce dander and proteins in their saliva and urine, Rat Terriers are well documented as not being suitable for those of us who suffer from allergies. 

There are ways to reduce the amount of allergens in your home, but these ways may not be enough depending on the severity of your allergies. 

One way to reduce the amount of allergies is by grooming your Rat Terrier regularly. This will ensure that you’ve captured most of the loose hair and dander before it can float through your home atmosphere. 

Grooming can be uncomfortable for some dogs, so it’s vital that you groom your Rat Terrier from an early age in order to make sure it’s comfortable with it. 

Another way to reduce the amount of allergens in your home is to use air purifiers. These devices remove airborne particles such as dust mites and pet dander. They also help to cleanse the air inside your house. 

Air purifiers should only be used if you’re suffering from severe allergies. If you’re unsure whether you need one, ask your doctor or pharmacist. 

Final Thoughts 

The Rat Terrier breed has become popular among many people because of its friendly nature and easy-going personality.

However, there are several health problems associated with this breed. It is important to keep up with your dog’s vaccinations and medical appointments.

In terms of being hypoallergenic, Rat Terriers are generally considered to not be hypoallergenic.

There are ways to reduce the number of allergens in your environment, however, some people still find themselves affected by their dog’s dander.

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About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.