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Boston Terrier & Rat Terrier Mix: Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Boston Terrier and Rat Terrier

Height: 10–18 inches
Weight: 10–25 pounds
Lifespan: 12–18 years
Colors: Predominantly white with black, tan, brindle, yellow chocolate, seal, blue, fawn, or apricot
Suitable for: Moderately active individuals or families, those looking for a dog that can adapt to city, rural, or suburban life
Temperament: Lively, curious, determined, energetic, kind, alert, gentle, intelligent, affectionate

Are you seeking a dog that is small enough to fit in an apartment, but lively and confident enough to travel the world? Then take a gander at the Boston Terrier Rat Terrier mix, a little dog with loads of charisma. This new crossbreed does not have much history yet, but let’s take a look at the breeding of its two parents to get a better idea of what to expect from a Boston Rat Terrier.

Boston Terriers are a downsized version of the bull and terrier types that were exceedingly popular in early America. There is some conflict as to the history of this breed. Some believe Boston Terriers to be descended from the American Pit Bull Terrier, Boxer, Bull Terrier, French Bulldog, and English Bulldog; but others insist they are a mix of English Bulldog and White English Terrier.

Regardless of their exact heritage, Boston Terriers were one of the first breeds created in America and were developed in the late 1800s. Today they are almost exclusively bred as companion dogs.

Rat Terriers are descended from a mix of terriers brought to America by working-class English immigrants. Included in the mix are the Manchester Terrier, the Smooth Fox Terrier, and the English White Terrier. They were bred to control rat populations and provide entertainment in rat-killing competitions.

Later, the Rat Terrier was crossed with more breeds like the Italian Greyhound, Whippet, and Beagle. They were particularly popular with President Teddy Roosevelt, who enjoyed hunting with these agile little dogs. Though rarely used for hunting now, the Rat Terrier is still a popular companion.

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Boston Terrier & Rat Terrier Mix Puppies


Curious and exuberant, the Boston Rat Terrier is an ideal family dog and spirited adventure buddy. These dogs may be little, but they are no strangers to working hard and making friends. They can live as long as 18 years, though most average at around 14 or 15, and are often active well into their old age. When deciding to get a sweet Boston Rat Terrier puppy, consider whether you are prepared to take care of them for nearly two decades.

Considering buying from a breeder? A healthy curiosity will serve you well when choosing one. Talk to a few different breeders and ask tons of questions—what kind of food do they recommend, how do they socialize the puppies, what health concerns should you be aware of?

A good breeder should be willing to provide all the information you desire and will probably enjoy telling you all about their program. The more you know about your Boston Terrier Rat Terrier mix, the better chance you have of starting your puppy off on the right foot in their new home.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Boston Terrier Rat Terrier Mix

1. Rat Terriers are Legendary Hunters

This breed was literally born to kill rats and other vermin. A particularly famous Rat Terrier, appropriately called “the Rat,” once killed over 2,500 rats in under 7 hours! These dogs are dedicated workers and some of the best vermin hunters in the world.

2. Boston Terriers Make Good Watchdogs

In spite of their diminutive size, the Boston Terrier can make a wonderful watchdog. Though not big enough to do much in the way of guarding, they have a loud bark and are surprisingly protective of their families.

3. The Boston Terrier Rat Terrier Mix Has Another Name

In juxtaposition to their genial and upbeat nature, these dogs also go by another name: Brats. We hardly think it’s a fair moniker, but it sure is less of a mouthful!

Parent Breeds of the Boston Terrier Rat Terrier Mix
Image Credit: Jumpstory

Temperament & Intelligence of the Boston Terrier Rat Terrier Mix 🧠

The Boston Terrier Rat Terrier mix is a lively, curious, and affectionate dog. They love attention and being around people. A genial dog that is eager to please, they get along with most people, children, and other pets with ease.

Though small, they are also confident and sturdy dogs that enjoy a good day’s work. Whether it is alerting you to new visitors, chasing off all the rodents in the neighborhood, or keeping the family entertained, these dogs approach every task with enthusiasm and determination.

That joy for a job well done does not just apply to work either. Give them the opportunity, and these pups can also be devoted little lapdogs.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

The Boston Terrier Rat Terrier mix is a kind and affectionate dog that loves being around people. They are friendly and naturally good with children, making them an excellent family dog.

Some terriers tend to nip and yap, but these behaviors are easy to curb in the Boston Rat Terrier with positive reinforcement training. Teaching your dogs and kids how to interact with one another appropriately, and respectfully will go a long way toward maintaining household harmony.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Boston Rat Terriers are well known for their amiable, and often gentle demeanor with other pets. Socializing puppies with other animals early is always a good idea, but these dogs get along great with dogs and cats alike.

However, due to their hunting heritage, you should never trust your Boston Rat Terrier with other small pets, or prey animals. They are not mean dogs, but they have been bred to see small animals like rats as more of a job that needs to be taken care of, rather than a potential friend.

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Things to Know When Owning a Boston Terrier & Rat Terrier Mix

Even when the dog in question is quite small, the decision to add a dog to your family is a big one. To give you a better idea of whether this pup is the right fit for you, here is a closer look at the day-to-day care and keeping of a Boston Terrier Rat Terrier mix dog.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Seeking out a high-quality kibble is a smart and convenient way to make sure that your dog has a nutritious, well-balanced diet.

A basic determination of kibble quality is easy. Look at the ingredient list—is it full of whole foods, lean proteins, vegetables, and fruits? Awesome! Or maybe that list is mostly corn, wheat, and byproduct ingredients… not so awesome.

You can even treat your Boston Rat Terrier to the occasional fruit or veggie with a meal. Cooked sweet potato, carrots, blueberries, etc. With a little variation, you can keep your pup excited about their food instead of begging at your dinner plate! Just check in with your vet about foods and portion sizes.

Exercise 🐕

By virtue of their small stature, the Boston Rat Terrier needs less exercise than a large dog of similar energy levels. They love cuddling in your lap and playing outside in equal amounts and are adaptable to a variety of home sizes.

At least one long walk a day is a good baseline for these dogs, as well as a few good toys kept in the house. They enjoy having a job to do and being useful to their family, so giving them plenty of opportunities to exercise will help stave off boredom and anxiety.

They do not need huge amounts of space to roam, and these pups can do well in an apartment with daily outdoor time. Boston Rat Terriers love to explore though, so if you have access to a larger property or a fenced-in yard all the better!

Boston Terrier and Rat Terrier
Image Credit: Alisia Luther, Shutterstock

Training 🦮

Boston Terrier Rat Terrier mix dogs are typically easy to train, due to their eager personalities and zest for pleasing their owners. Some have a bit of a stubborn streak from their Rat Terrier breeding, but with patience, respect, and consistent training they will respond positively to your efforts.

Though they generally need little in the way of serious obedience training, it is always a good thing to have a reliable recall in place with your Boston Rat Terrier. Their small size makes them manageable, but you do not want to have to chase after your dog if they see a squirrel and get their dander up!

Grooming ✂️

The Boston Terrier Rat Terrier mix has a short, shiny coat that requires little in the way of grooming. They are low to moderate shedders at most and an occasional brush and bath will do these little guys just fine!

Depending on your Boston Rat Terrier’s activity levels, you may need to help keep their nails trimmed down. Regularly checking and clipping nails will avoid any painful cracking or accidental scratches.

Speaking of paws and claws, your spunky little friend will deeply appreciate help from your opposable thumbs when it comes to grooming their ears. They need wax and dirt build-up gently swabbed periodically so that neither parasites nor infections have a foothold. And, just like us, dogs also benefit from regular tooth brushing. Not only does it keep their “dog breath” to a minimum, but you will be helping prevent gum disease and infections.

Health and Conditions ❤️

Though it is impossible to totally predict the health of a dog breed, the Boston Terrier Rat Terrier mix is a hardy, strong, little chap.

On the whole, hybrid dogs are healthier than their purebred parents. For example, while the Boston Terrier is well known to have upper respiratory issues, the Boston Rat Terrier is far less likely to develop these conditions due to their other parent having no predisposition for breathing issues.

Here are some of the health concerns to watch out for with a Boston Terrier Rat Terrier mix.

Minor Conditions
  • Luxating patellas
  • Bite problems
  • Allergies
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Mange
  • Cataracts
  • Deafness
Serious Conditions
  • Brachycephalic syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism

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Male vs Female

Individual personality makes the largest distinction for Boston Terrier Rat Terrier mixes, but you can also count on a couple of physical differences between male and female Boston Terrier Rat Terrier mixes. Boston Terrier Rat Terrier mix males are slightly larger and may be more likely to act in sexually aggressive ways—for example, humping and mounting, or marking territory with urine. Females tend to be smaller and calmer.

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Final Thoughts

So, is the Boston Terrier Rat Terrier mix the right breed for you?

Short hair, compact frame, and moderate exercise needs make this breed exceptionally adaptable to any living situation—including apartments and city life. Their gentle, affectionate personalities make Boston Terrier Rat Terrier mixes excellent companions for individuals or families.

If you are looking for a confident, upbeat, little dog that wants to share adventures and movie nights alike, then look no further!

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Carmen Wolflisberg, Shutterstock

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