9 REAL Dog Breeds That Look Like Rats (Pictures)

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and some dogs can be scarily bigger than the largest of rats! If you’ve spotted a quick flash out of the corner of your eye of a small animal, you might easily mistake a little pooch for a rat

Fret not, don’t call the exterminator just yet. Some of these dogs have unflatteringly been called “rat dogs” because of their diminutive size and quick reflexes.

dog breeds that look like rats
9 REAL Dog Breeds That Look Like Rats

You know what’s the cool thing? Some dogs on this list were originally bred to hunt rats and other vermin. These dogs were called ratters, and terriers have been prized for centuries for their ratting prowess. 

However, the largest, most aggressive rats have been known to turn the tables on dogs and fight back. So the next time you see one little animal chasing another, make sure you know which is which! 

1. Chihuahua

Chihuahuas and rats may share some physical similarities such as their small size, pointed snouts, and large ears. However, Chihuahuas are a distinct breed of dog with unique physical characteristics that have been selectively bred over many years.

Chihuahua on his dog bed
Chihuahua sits on his dog bed and waits for his owner.

The Chihuahua breed was developed in Mexico and is believed to be descended from ancient Techichi dogs that were kept by the Toltec civilization. These dogs were small and often used in religious ceremonies. Over time, the breed was further refined and developed into the modern Chihuahua that we know today.

While Chihuahuas may not be to everyone’s taste, their unique appearance is a result of specific breeding practices rather than any intentional attempt to make them resemble rats. It’s worth noting that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and what one person may see as resembling a rat, another may find adorable and endearing.

In addition, Chihuahuas possess more of these wild characteristics that can seem rat-like in comparison to more domesticated breeds. So while some people might write off all Chihuahuas as strange, rat-like creatures, there’s a solid historical foundation for why they look like they do!

2. Jack Russell Terrier

Ironically, Jack Russell Terriers are one of the best ratting terrier breeds out there. With their primarily white coats, Jack Russell Terriers do not actually look like rats, despite their small size and fuzzy fur. It is simply an unfair coincidence that these loyal and intelligent little dogs bear a very slight resemblance to rodents

Jack Russell Terrier hunts
Jack Russell Terrier is a good hunting dog.

Many experts suggest that the breed originally developed from crossing different foxhounds together, which explains why they have so much power, strength, and determination within such a small frame. The original goal of Jack Russell Terriers was to catch or hunt vermin like mice, rats, and rabbits, which may explain why some people assume they look similar to those creatures. 

Despite this unintentional association, their unique sense of playfulness coupled with loyalty has made them popular family pets. They do not tend to act out aggressively and they can provide years of friendship while ensuring your home stays pest-free.

3. Australian Silky Terrier

Australian Silky Terriers look like rats, but this visual similarity is superficial. Beyond appearances, these two animals have nothing in common! Australian Silkies are courageous and playful, known to be loyal companions who bond closely with their owners and do not hesitate when it comes to defending their family. 

Silky Terrier standing outdoors
The Silky Terrier standing outdoors.

They are easy to train and love to please, making them wonderful dogs for those who appreciate an entertaining and engaging pup. 

4. Miniature Pinscher

Miniature Pinschers, also known as the “King of Toy Dogs”, have a personality much larger than their pint-sized frames. Despite having no known connection to the rat species, many people insist that Miniature Pinschers look almost identical to them

hold Miniature Pinscher
Owner holds Miniature Pinscher.

Miniature Pinschers, also known as Min Pins, have a unique appearance that is the result of their breed’s development over many years. They were originally bred in Germany to be small but fierce watchdogs, and their compact size, agility, and quick reflexes make them well-suited for this role.

It’s worth noting that beauty is subjective, and what one person may see as resembling a rat, another may find charming and adorable. Ultimately, the appearance of Miniature Pinschers is a product of their breed’s unique history and characteristics, and any resemblance to rats is purely coincidental.

The truth is, these intelligent and loyal dog breeds hail from a long line of ancestors that evolved in the countryside of Europe centuries ago. Known for their bold personalities and feisty demeanor, it’s no wonder why farmers rely on Miniature Pinschers to guard their homes even today. 

5. Pomeranian

Pomeranians are a breed of dog that has been around since the 18th century. Originating in what is now modern-day Germany, these dogs were bred to be small, playful, and full of spunk. Popularized by Queen Victoria in the late 19th century who owned one named Marco, Poms captured the fascination of many society figures and have become one of the most popular breeds today. 

Pomeranian on the grass
A white Pomeranian smiling on the grass.

From their protruding eyes and pointy snouts to their tiny bodies, it’s no wonder why Pomeranians are often mistaken for rats. This does a great disservice to the intelligence and personalities of these cheerful little dogs. 

For starters, they exhibit incredible amounts of intelligence with an unmatched capacity for loyalty – traits significantly less common in rats. To solidify the difference between rats and pooches, you only need to look at how different they sleep. 

While rats typically curl up into balls while sleeping, Pomeranians love nothing more than sprawling out with all four paws extended beside them. It is this difference that should build our appreciation for their unique qualities and remind us that their cuddly little faces are so much more than just rodent doppelgangers.

6. Yorkshire Terrier

With their silky fur and soulful eyes, Yorkshire Terriers are super cute, and like most terriers, also one of the best ratting breeds. But for some reason, many of us can’t shake the feeling that they look like small rats

Yorkshire Terrier in the forest
Yorkshire Terrier is standing on a wood.

This might be because of the breed’s history. It’s believed that Yorkshire Terriers were developed from a cross between other breeds, including the Manchester Terrier and the now-extinct black-and-tan terrier, both of whom had rat-catching as one of their primary uses. 

Yorkies are purebred dogs that have been selectively bred over many years to have a specific appearance and temperament. They were originally bred in the mid-19th century in Yorkshire, England to hunt rats and other small rodents in textile mills and mines. 

7. Toy Poodle

Poodles have been a source of fascination for centuries, as evidenced by their presence among the ruins of ancient Egypt. This ancient breed of dog was initially recognized as a sporting and water retriever in the 1700s, making them a popular choice amongst German hunters and French aristocracy. 

Toy Poodle puppy on the couch
Toy Poodle puppy sits on the couch.

By the 1800s they had crossed over to England where they quickly gained traction and eventually found their way stateside and into some of America’s most distinguished kennels and households. 

There are three sizes of Poodles recognized by the AKC – Toy, Miniature, and Standard, and the Toy is the smallest of them all. 

Toy Poodles may resemble rats in stature, but they are actually a very popular small-dog breed. One of the main benefits of Toy Poodles is their hypoallergenic coats – meaning that people who are often allergic to the fur of dogs still find that Toy Poodles are okay for them to own. 

Additionally, their size is perfect for those who would like to have companions that don’t take up too much space in their apartment or home. Furthermore, Toy Poodles are known for being trainable as well as loyal and affectionate to their owners. 

8. Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested breed of dog may look like a rat, but this is purely coincidental due to their story. Originally bred as rat catchers and companions in China during the 13th century, these versatile dogs were bred for their small stature. 

Chinese Crested dog in sleepwear
Chinese Crested dog in a fancy sleepwear and collar.

The Chinese were not specifically trying to create a “rat-like” breed that appeared to be more rat than dog, and yet this is how they turned out! It was a mere coincidence that they happened to have smooth fur, long ears tufts, small snouts, and tails—all features of a rat—mixed with the cuteness of a dog! 

9. American Hairless Terrier

The American Hairless Terrier is a small breed of dog that is known for its lack of hair or fur. The breed was originally developed in Louisiana in the 1970s, and it is believed to be descended from the Rat Terrier breed.

American Hairless Terrier looks curious on a photo shoot
An American Hairless Terrier looks curious on a photo shoot!

The American Hairless Terrier is an oddly unique breed of dog that many think looks similar to a rat as the result of remarkable genetic developments over centuries. 

The breed was developed to create a hypoallergenic dog that was suitable for people with allergies to pet dander. This was achieved through the selective breeding of Rat Terriers with a genetic mutation that causes them to be hairless.

Despite its larger size, its hairless exterior leads people to incorrectly assume it resembles a rat. Yet the truth remains this is a loving and loyal companion terrier, not some a pet rodent!