Miniature and Standard

he Rat Terrier is an American breed developed in the 1800s from the old Fox Terriers, English White Terriers, Bull Terriers, and Manchester Terriers. Later, Smooth Fox Terriers and Toy Fox Terriers were used, and some experts say even Beagles and Whippets were a part of the mix. Primarily farm dogs and bred for working ability rather than looks, the Rat Terrier was—as his name implies—a vermin hunter.

Because of their varied ancestry, Rat Terriers are not cookie-cutter dogs all fitting into the same mold. The Rat Terrier Club of America states that a Miniature is between 10 and 13 inches tall and the Standard is between 13 and 19 inches tall at the shoulder. Both sizes are sturdy, with a wedge-shaped head, rounded dark eyes, and an alert expression. The ears are upright and large but also may be semi-pricked or slightly folded. The tail is docked or is a natural bobtail. The coat is short and smooth and may be a variety of colors but is predominantly hound colors—white with patches of color, from apricot, tan, and blue fawn through black.

Grooming the Rat Terrier is easy. The short coat can be brushed with a soft bristle brush or curry comb twice weekly.

This is an active breed that needs vigorous daily exercise. A brisk walk morning and evening plus a game of catch in the backyard will keep most Rat Terriers happy.

Rat Terriers tend to be wary and cautious of strangers, so early socialization is very important. Early training can teach the Rat Terrier household rules and social manners. Although they are bright and inquisitive, these dogs can also be stubborn and tenacious, so training needs to be firm yet fun, with games and toys included so that the dog's motivation level stays high.

Rat Terriers are loyal and devoted to their owners and can easily become one-person dogs. They can be good with older children but will not tolerate rough handling. Rat Terriers are usually good with other dogs, although play with larger dogs should be supervised so that the smaller dog is not injured. Interactions with other small pets should be closely monitored; remember, these are hunting dogs. Health concerns include knee problems, hip and elbow dysplasia, and allergies.

Breed in Brief

Registries: AKC FSS, UKC, Rat Terrier Club of America, National Rat Terrier Association Occupation: Vermin hunter, companion Size: Mini: 10 to 13 in tall

Standard: 13 to 19 in tall Longevity: 14 to 16 years Exercise: Vigorous daily exercise Training: Challenge Grooming: Easy

hodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback bathing or sleeping. However.

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Breed in Brief

Registries: AKC, UKC, CKC Occupation: Hunter, guardian Size: 24 to 27 in tall; 70 to 85 lbs

Longevity: 10 to 12 years Exercise: Moderate Training: Easy to moderate Grooming: Easy he Rhodesian Ridgeback is descended from native African dogs, notably the Khoi cattle dogs, crossed with European breeds brought in by settlers. Those breeds included English Greyhounds, mastiffs, and pointers, as well as Irish Wolfhounds. African farm dogs were also a part of the breed's development. The big game hunter Cornelius Van Rooyen of Southern Rhodesia is credited with the development of the breed, known today as a fearless, versatile hunter and a protective guardian.

These dogs stand 24 to 27 inches tall and weigh between 70 and 85 pounds. The head is broad and flat, the muzzle is long and powerful, the eyes are round, and the ears are dropped. The body is slightly longer than tall, and the tail is tapered and long. The coat is short and wheaten in color. The ridge on the back is characteristic of the breed, starting behind the shoulders and continuing to the hips. It is created by hairs growing in whorls (curled or spiral shapes) and in opposite directions of the coat.

The coat is easy to care for and needs only a weekly brushing.

enjoys being lazy and is great at finding comfortable spots for sun-this watchful breed can come alert in a second and is never lacking in energy when it's needed. Dogs of this breed enjoy daily walks, a run alongside a bicycle, or a chance to hunt for small critters in the woodpile.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of America says of the breed, "Basic obedience training is a must, or he will not be the pleasurable companion you seek." Training must be fair and consistent, and owners should understand that it takes many big dogs quite a while to mature.

Most breed experts agree this is not the breed for first-time dog owners, primarily because the breed is very intelligent and can be a threatening watchdog. He is great with children and good with other dogs but should be supervised with smaller pets. Health concerns include problems with the dermoid sinus and hip dysplasia.

ottweiler

Rottweiler Roman Army

hen the Romans invaded Europe 2,000 years ago, they moved huge armies in waves across Europe. Feeding an army this large was a massive undertaking, so they drove herds of cattle along with them. The Romans used Rottweilers to move the herds. In their new lands, the dogs continued to ply their trade until the mid-1800s, when the driving of cattle was made illegal.

The Rottweiler stands 22 to 27 inches tall and weighs 85 to 140 pounds. The Rottie is strong, muscular, and powerful. The head is broad, eyes are almond-shaped and dark, and ears are folded and triangular. The body is slightly longer than it is tall at the shoulder. The coat is straight and coarse and is always black with rust-colored markings. The tail is docked.

The breed's temperament is dignified, calm, and confident. They are naturally reserved with strangers but should not be aggressive unless there is danger facing the dog or his people. Katy Silva is the owner of Sasha, her second certified therapy dog Rottweiler. She says, "Sasha will bark and simply place herself between me and the person she senses is a danger."

Grooming a Rottie is not difficult. The medium-length coat can be brushed twice weekly with a pin brush or slicker brush.

The Rottweiler was developed for strength, not speed, so long-distance running is not the breed's favorite exercise. A long walk, a game of fetch, and some carting training will use up that excess energy. Silva says that Rotties are not always as play-oriented as other breeds are: "They are more serious minded."

All Rottie puppies should attend a puppy training class that emphasizes socialization. Because the breed is naturally reserved with strangers, the puppies should meet many different people. Puppies should also meet and play with puppies of other breeds and sizes. Training can begin at an early age, too, to teach obedience commands and household rules.

Rottweilers are devoted and loyal to their families, and friends will be remembered forever and greeted with a wiggling stump of a tail. The breed is not particularly friendly to strange dogs; this is not a dog park breed. Rotties can be good with children as long as the kids treat the dog with respect. They can also be good with other pets. Health concerns include hip and elbow dysplasia, osteosarcoma, bloat, torsion, and allergies.

Breed in Brief

Registries: AKC, UKC, CKC Occupation: Drover, police dog, guardian, companion Size: 22 to 27 in tall; 85 to

140 lbs Longevity: 8 to 10 years Exercise: Moderate Training: Moderate; retains training well Grooming: Easy

Rottweiler 339

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Pit Bulls as Pets

Pit Bulls as Pets

Are You Under The Negative Influence Of Hyped Media Stereotypes When It Comes To Your Knowledge Of Pit Bulls? What is the image that immediately comes into your mind when you think of the words Pit Bull? I can almost guarantee that they would be somewhere close to fierce, ferouscious, vicious, killer, unstoppable, uncontrollable, or locking jawed man-eaters.

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