During the 1910s and 1920s, the Rat Terrier was one of the most common farm dogs. Because Kansas Jack Rabbits were plaguing crops in the Midwest, to increase the speed and versatility of the Rat Terrier, some Farmers began breeding them to Whippets, Italian Greyhounds and other “snap dog” breeds. Around the same time, others in the Central and Southern regions, bred their Rat Terriers to Beagles to bring out a stronger prey and pack drive for hunting purposes. These early crosses eventually gave the breed the speed and “nose,” as well as the good disposition they are known for today.
The Rat Terrier is an American breed that originated from a mixture of crosses by early immigrants of this country using old time Fox Terriers and other European Terriers common in the 19th century; the Old English White Terrier, Manchester Terrier, Bull Terrier, etc., and later crossed with Beagles, more Smooth Fox Terrier, Toy Fox Terriers, Whippets, Italian Greyhounds and other available Feist breeds.