Rat Looking Dogs (11 Breeds + PHOTOS!)

Have you ever seen an animal flash by and thought, “hmm, was that a dog or a rat?” Some dogs just remind us of rats. Ironically, most of the dogs that look like rats were originally bred to hunt rats and other vermin. 

While most of the ideal rat dogs are Terriers, many others are efficient ratters and were born and bred to hunt vermin. 

rat looking dogs
Rat Looking Dogs (11 Breeds!)

Here are some of the best rat dogs around, and yes, some of them look like rats! 

1. Rat Terrier

The Rat Terrier is a small, active breed of dog that was originally developed in the United States for vermin control. Originally bred to hunt rats and other small rodents, the Rat Terrier is a tenacious and spunky breed with a wide variety of skills. 

Rat Terrier sitting
A Rat Terrier with spots on the body.

Today, Rat Terriers are popular companion dogs and excel at a variety of activities such as agility, obedience, and tracking. They are also one of the most versatile breeds, being able to adapt to almost any environment or lifestyle.

2. Chihuahua

These pint-sized pups are full of energy and personality, and they bond deeply with their owners. Chihuahuas originate from the state of Chihuahua in Mexico. The actual origins of the breed are unknown, but they are thought to be descended from the Techichi, a small dog used by the Toltec people as a companion and hunting dog

Brown Chihuahua
Brown Chihuahua standing in front of a pink wall.

When the Aztecs conquered the Toltecs in the 13th century, they adopted the Techichi into their culture, and the breed eventually made its way to Europe via Spanish traders. 

Today, Chihuahuas come in a wide range of colors and coat types, but all share the same signature features: large, expressive eyes and erect ears. They are loyal and loving and make excellent companions. However, they can also be fiercely protective of their owners and territorial of their homes.

As a result, it’s important to socialize them from an early age so that they learn to trust other people and animals. Chihuahuas are also known for their stubborn streak, and they can be difficult to train. 

3. Yorkshire Terrier

As one of the most popular breeds of dogs in the world, the Yorkshire Terrier is known for its small size, long silky coat, and outgoing personality. Originally bred in England to catch rats in textile mills, Yorkies quickly became popular pets among the British upper class. 

a Yorkie dog outside
A Yorkie dog standing outside.

In the late 19th century, Yorkshire Terriers were brought to America, where they gained even wider popularity. Today, Yorkies are still prized as companion dogs and are known for their loyalty and affectionate nature. 

Although they are small dogs, they have plenty of energy and personality, making them a popular choice for families looking for fun-loving pets.

4. Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier is a small, tenacious breed of dog that was originally bred for fox hunting. Today, these versatile dogs are popular pets, known for their high energy and playful nature. Jack Russells are intelligent and loyal, making them easy to train. 

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

They are also active and bold, always up for an adventure. But despite their outgoing personality, Jack Russells are also independent thinkers, so they may not always be willing to do what you want them to do. 

That’s just one of the things that make this breed so special. They also have incredibly high energy levels and need loads of exercise. A half-hour leisurely stroll around the block is unlikely to tire a Jack Russell out.

They suit active households and will not suit small spaces or sedentary owners. 

5. Pomeranian

Pomeranians are known for their small size, playful personality, and fluffy coat. Pomeranians come in a wide variety of colors, including black, white, brown, and orange. They are believed to have originated in the Pomerania region of Germany and Poland. 

Today, they are popular pets all over the world. Pomeranians are relatively easy to care for. They don’t require a lot of exercise and can be content with short walks or play sessions. Their small size also means they don’t need a lot of space.

However, they do require regular grooming to keep their coat looking good as they are moderate to heavy shedders

6. Australian Terrier

The Australian Terrier is a small, sturdy dog that was originally bred in Australia to hunt vermin. Today, they make great companion dogs and are known for their loyalty and affection. They are also relatively low-maintenance dogs, requiring only moderate exercise and grooming. 

Australian Terrier looks up
Australian Terrier looks up and stretches.

Australian Terriers are intelligent and quick to learn, although they can be stubborn at times. They are generally good with children and other pets, although they may try to chase smaller animals. They may be low maintenance, but their long, silky coats need to be properly cared for to prevent mats and tangles. 

Grooming an Australian Terrier is relatively simple, and only requires a few basic supplies. First, you will need a good-quality brush and comb. The brush should have stiff bristles to remove tangles and mats from the coat. 

The comb will be used to detangle the coat and remove any loose hair. Secondly, you will need a pair of scissors. These can be used to trim the hair around the dog’s face, feet, and rear end.

Finally, you will need a bottle of dog shampoo. Be sure to use a shampoo that is specifically designed for dogs, as human shampoo can be too harsh for their skin. 

7. Miniature Pinscher

The Miniature Pinscher is a small, fearless dog that is known for its high energy level and independent nature. Although they are not the easiest dogs to train, they are very intelligent and can be very resourceful. 

hold Miniature Pinscher
Owner holds Miniature Pinscher.

They are also very loyal and affectionate towards their family. Miniature Pinschers make great watchdogs, as they will bark at anything that seems out of place. However, they are also known to be very friendly with people and other animals once they get to know them. 

8. Japanese Chin

The Japanese Chin is a small, regal dog that has been prized by Japanese nobles for centuries. The breed is known for its long, silky coat, which can come in a variety of colors, including black and white, red and white, or brindle. 

Japanese Chin posing
Japanese Chin posing for a photo shoot!

The Chin is a small but sturdy dog, with a short muzzle and large, round eyes. Although they are often called “lap dogs,” Japanese Chins are actually quite active and athletic, enjoying a good game of fetch or a walk around the block. They are also relatively easy to train, although they can be stubborn at times. 

9. Chinese Crested

The Chinese Crested is a small, hairless dog that was popularized in the United States in the late 1990s. Though they may look fragile, these dogs are actually quite hardy and can make great companion animals. 

Chinese Crested puppy
The Chinese Crested is a beautiful and unique breed – but surprisingly energetic!

Chinese Crested dogs are known for their affectionate nature and their ability to bond closely with their owners. They are also relatively low-maintenance dogs, as they do not require regular bathing or grooming. However, they do need to be protected from the sun and cold weather, as they are susceptible to sunburn and frostbite. 

10. Papillon

The Papillon is a playful and friendly dog breed that is well-suited for life in a family home. Originating in France, the Papillon has been prized by royals and commoners alike for centuries. The breed gained popularity in the courts of Europe during the Renaissance when lap dogs were all the rage. 

Papillon dog
Papillons are tiny and cute pups! But they are ENERGETIC

King Louis XIV was particularly fond of Papillons, and is said to have owned over 50 of them! The breed eventually made its way to America, where it has continued to grow in popularity. Today, the Papillon remains a popular companion dog thanks to its cheerful demeanor and loving nature.

They are small dogs, but don’t let their size fool you – they are full of energy and love to play! They are athletic, active dogs that would love a game of fetch or running an agility course. 

Papillons are also very intelligent, and they excel at obeying commands. They are gentle dogs, and they make great companions for children. 

11. Miniature Schnauzer

The Miniature Schnauzer is a small, active dog breed originally from Germany. Miniature Schnauzers typically weigh between 11 and 20 pounds and stand between 12 and 14 inches tall at the shoulder. They have wiry, salt-and-pepper coats that require regular brushing and grooming to stay healthy and prevent matting. 

Miniature Schnauzer stretches body
Miniature Schnauzer stretches body on the field.

Miniature Schnauzers are intelligent and easily trained, making them excellent family pets. They are also alert and active, making them good watchdogs. Miniature Schnauzers are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they are susceptible to certain health conditions.

These include von Willebrand disease, pancreatitis, urinary stones, and allergies. 

Final Thoughts 

Small, wiry dogs like the Jack Russell can be deceiving. They may look small and fluffy, but they can have extremely high energy levels. After all, they were born and bred to be hunters. 

Most Terriers have deep roots in hunting vermin and continue to have high prey drives to this day. They may chase cats and smaller animals, but it is a good thing that they themselves are small!