Boston Terrier Rat Terrier Mixed Breed: Brat Terrier Breed Guide is reader-supported. If you buy a product through a link on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

In the past two decades, there has been a significant rise in the popularity of both Boston Terriers and mixed breed dogs. Therefore, it’s only logical that mixed breeds involving Boston Terriers have also seen an upswing in popularity.

The Brat Terrier is a small dog with a muscular yet lean body, making it a perfect companion for those who prefer a compact and active pet. Brat Terriers posses a unique blend of the Rat Terrier’s high energy and prey drive, and the Boston Terrier’s gentle and affectionate temperament.

Combining the desirable characteristics of both breeds, the Brat Terrier has quickly gained popularity for its adaptability, playful nature, and intelligence.

Black and white Brat Terrier.  The Brat Terrier is a small dog with a muscular yet lean body, making it a perfect companion for those who prefer a compact and active pet. Brat Terrier's posses a unique blend of the Rat Terrier's high energy and prey drive, and the Boston Terrier's gentle and affectionate temperament.
Brat Terrier photo courtesy of @beauxbostons on Instagram
  1. Origin and History
  2. Size and Appearance
  3. Personality and Temperament
  4. Health and Lifespan
  5. Exercise Needs
  6. Grooming Needs
  7. Suitability as Family Pets
  8. Is the Brat Terrier Right for You?

Origin and History

Understanding the origin and history of the Brat Terrier breed requires a dive into the histories of its parent breeds, the Boston Terrier and the Rat Terrier.

Although the exact timeline for the development of the Brat Terrier isn’t definitively known, it likely surfaced during the early 2000s.

This period marked a rising trend in creating hybrid breeds, often combining the distinctive qualities of two different dogs to produce a new mix with a unique blend of traits.

Boston Terrier History

The history of the Boston Terrier traces back to the late 19th century in Boston, Massachusetts. The breed was born from the cross of a small English Bulldog and a white terrier used for pit fighting, which is now extinct.

Along with size, breeders also worked to instill a polite and calm demeanor, complementing the terrier tenacity with the appearance of a Bulldog.

The breed gained significant popularity and was recognized by the American Kennel Club as the first non-sporting breed of America in 1893.

Rat Terrier History

On the other side of the mix is the Rat Terrier, an American breed that originated as a farm dog, primarily tasked with protecting crops from rodents and other vermin. The Rat Terrier’s ancestors included various terrier breeds brought to the United States by European immigrants, mainly from England.

These imported terriers played a crucial role in controlling the rodent populations in early settlements and farms. Once they arrived in America, the terriers were crossbred with local farm dogs to enhance their hunting abilities.

Over time, these dogs were known by various names, including “Ratting Terrier,” and “Farm Terrier,” before the name “Rat Terrier” became consistent in the 20th century. The breed even earned recognition from US President Teddy Roosevelt, who reportedly used them to control rodents in the White House.

Brat Terrier Development

The creation of the Brat Terrier was driven by the desire for a compact companion dog that encompassed qualities from both parent breeds. The blend of the friendly nature of the Boston Terrier and the agility of the Rat Terrier made for an appealing mix.

Furthermore, the phenomenon of hybrid vigor or heterosis – the improvement of certain traits in a crossbred animal – attracted breeders to this hybrid, giving rise to the Brat Terrier breed we know today.

Size and Appearance

Brat Terriers, much like their parent breeds, are small in stature but make a big impression. This breed tends to have a compact, muscular build reminiscent of the Boston Terrier, but with a leaner, more athletic frame akin to that of the Rat Terrier.

An adult Brat Terrier will generally stand between 10 to 18 inches tall, and weigh in the region of 10 to 25 pounds. However, these measurements may vary somewhat from individual to individual, influenced by factors such as genetics and gender.

The facial features of the Boston Terrier Rat Terrier mix showcase a delicate blend of its parent breeds. The head is typically flat and square-shaped like a Boston Terrier, lending a touch of softness to the dog’s overall appearance.

However, the face is slightly more elongated, mirroring the shape characteristic of the Rat Terrier. The muzzle of the Brat Terrier strikes a balance between the two breeds, neither too short like the Boston Terrier’s nor too long like the Rat Terrier’s, but of moderate length.

Brat Terrier puppy. Boston Terrier Rat Terrier mix breed.
Brat Terrier photo courtesy of @animallover1978 on Instagram

Moving on to the body, it retains a compact quality while also bearing an elongated form that speaks to the Rat Terrier heritage. The tail typically tucks up level with the back, presenting a whip-like appearance.

Ears tend to be semi-erect or half-standing, providing an aspect of attentiveness to the breed, along with impressive mobility.

When it comes to coat, the Brat Terrier often exhibits the Boston Terrier’s classic tuxedo pattern, decked out in shades of white and black, or white and sable.

But it’s important to remember that no one parent breed dominates the Brat Terrier’s appearance. This breed truly presents a balanced fusion of its Boston Terrier and Rat Terrier lineage, providing a visual testament to the best of both worlds.

Personality and Temperament

When considering the personality and temperament of a Brat Terrier, one must acknowledge the influence of its parent breeds, the Boston Terrier and the Rat Terrier.

With a cocktail of traits such as friendliness, playfulness, gentle demeanor, agility, high energy, prey drive, and an independent, protective nature, the Brat Terrier forms an interesting mix of characteristics.

Friendly and Affectionate: Brat Terriers typically have a friendly and affectionate nature, enjoying the company of people and forming strong bonds with their owners. They thrive on human companionship, often emerging as loving, devoted family pets.

Intelligent: Drawing from the intelligence of both parent breeds, Brat Terriers are often quick learners, able to pick up commands and tricks with relative ease. Their keen sense of awareness and alertness to their surroundings also makes them good watchdogs.

Good with People and Children: With their sociable nature, Brat Terriers enjoy being around both familiar faces and strangers alike. They often get along well with children, making them a suitable choice for families. To ensure well-roundedness and comfort in various social situations, early socialization is key.

Energetic and Active: As energetic and active dogs, Brat Terriers require regular exercise and mental stimulation. Activities that challenge their minds, such as playtime and walks, help keep them content and prevent behavioral issues.

Prey Drive: Some Brat Terriers may have a strong prey drive and hunting instincts, an inheritance from their Rat Terrier lineage. This can manifest as an interest in chasing small animals, meaning supervision and training may be required for peaceful coexistence with other pets.

Playful and Lively: Brat Terriers are lively and playful, enjoying interactive games, toys, and activities that provide mental stimulation. This spirited nature often makes them entertaining companions, a trait inherited from both parent breeds.

Brat Terrier taking a rest. Boston Terrier x Rat Terrier mixed breed dog.
Brat Terrier photo courtesy of @pack_o_five on Instagram

It’s important to bear in mind that not all Brat Terriers will showcase the same temperament or personality traits. Some might lean more towards one parent breed over the other, while others might display a more balanced mix of traits.

Additionally, environmental factors and early socialization can significantly influence a dog’s personality.

Health and Lifespan

The Brat Terrier typically enjoys an average lifespan of 12 to 18 years. However, factors such as genetics, environment, nutrition, and immunity play a vital role in a Brat Terrier’s health and longevity.

This breed, like its Boston Terrier and Rat Terrier parents, is predisposed to certain health conditions. These include Brachycephalic Syndrome, various eye issues, patellar luxation, and hip dysplasia.

Brachycephalic Syndrome: Brachycephalic Syndrome affects the dog’s breathing pattern due to narrow airway passages such as stenotic nares and nasal cavity. This makes breathing difficult and interferes with a dog’s ability to thermoregulate effectively through panting, especially in warmer conditions.

While Brat Terriers may be susceptible to this condition, variations among individual dogs mean that the muzzle may not be as short as in purebred Boston Terriers, potentially reducing the impact of this syndrome.

Long haired Brat Terrier. Boston Terrier Rat Terrier crossbreed.
Brat Terrier photo courtesy of @heather_jung on Instagram

Eye Issues: Common eye problems that Brat Terriers may inherit from the Boston Terrier parent include Glaucoma, a condition characterized by increased intraocular pressure due to an imbalance in the production and drainage of eye fluid. Other eye-related issues could be cataracts, which damage the cornea, and dry eyes.

Patellar Luxation: Patellar Luxation is a condition in which the patella or kneecap slips out of its normal position due to abnormal positioning of ligaments. This can lead to a luxating limb, limping, and an abnormal gait.

Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia involves the abnormal development of the hip joint, leading to joint deterioration and potential discomfort or mobility issues.

As a responsible Brat Terrier owner, it’s essential to be aware of these potential health issues. Regular health checkups, maintaining a hygienic environment, and providing a balanced diet can go a long way in improving the health and lifestyle of your pet.

Exercise Needs

Given their mixed breed lineage, Brat Terriers typically have moderate to high energy requirements. Simply taking them for a brief walk may not be sufficient to meet their physical needs.

On one hand, Boston Terriers have moderate exercise requirements that can usually be met by regular walks and play sessions. On the other hand, Rat Terriers, bred for their agility and high prey drive, require more rigorous physical activity to maintain their fitness.

As such, Brat Terriers, inheriting a mix of traits from both parent breeds, need more than just moderate exercise. They need regular long walks and jogging sessions lasting from 15 to 20 minutes.

Black Brat Terrier mixed breed dog. Boston Terrier Rat Terrier mix breed.
Brat Terrier photo courtesy of @carolinaparakeet on Instagram

Furthermore, to meet their mental stimulation needs, it’s advisable to engage them in activities that challenge their minds, such as games of fetch.

These activities not only keep them entertained and active but also help channel their natural instincts productively.

Without adequate exercise and mental stimulation, Brat Terriers might start to exhibit undesirable behaviors, such as chasing smaller animals in the vicinity.

Therefore, providing appropriate exercise for your Brat Terrier is essential for their well-being and overall behavior.

Grooming Needs

Given their lineage, Boston Terrier Rat Terrier mixes have relatively easy grooming needs. Both of the parent breeds, the Boston Terrier and the Rat Terrier, usually possess short coats.

The Boston Terrier is known for minimal to no shedding, while the Rat Terrier tends to shed moderately. A Brat Terrier, thus, may exhibit moderate shedding, necessitating occasional brushing.

However, their coats are generally easy to maintain. Brushing their coats once or twice a week is usually sufficient to keep shedding under control and maintain the health of their coat.

You may need to increase the frequency of brushing during the change of seasons when shedding might be more prevalent.

Bathing should be done as required, but it’s important to avoid excessive bathing to preserve the dog’s natural body oils which are crucial for a healthy coat.

Cute Brat Terrier mixed breed dog.
Brat Terrier photo courtesy of @lacey_devin_ on Instagram

Aside from coat care, oral hygiene is an important aspect of a Brat Terrier’s grooming routine. It’s recommended to brush their teeth daily to prevent dental issues. Their ears should also be checked and cleaned on a weekly basis to prevent infections.

Lastly, their nails should be trimmed as and when required. Regular walks on hard terrains can naturally help in filing down their nails, but if their nails start to click on the floor, it’s a sign that a trimming is necessary.

By ensuring a regular grooming routine, you can help keep your Brat Terrier clean, healthy, and comfortable.

Suitability as Family Pets

Brat Terriers inherit a blend of attributes from both parent breeds that often make them an ideal choice as family pets. While Rat Terriers may occasionally display an aggressive nature, the influence of the Boston Terrier’s genetics often imparts Brat Terriers with a gentle and polite demeanor.

Known for their friendly and affectionate nature, these dogs quickly form strong bonds with their families and exhibit a protective instinct towards them.

Interactions with children are typically well-handled by Brat Terriers, given their gentle behavior and love for play. They often display protective behavior around children, making them a suitable pet for families with kids.

Boston Terrier Rat Terrier Mix - Brat Terrier
Brat Terrier photo courtesy of @k.chiapp on Instagram

However, it’s crucial to educate children about the appropriate ways to approach and play with the dog to ensure both the dog’s and child’s safety and comfort.

Brat Terriers are also known for their sociability and often get along well with other household pets, provided they are socialized and trained effectively from a young age.

When it comes to living arrangements, Brat Terriers are quite adaptable. They’re suitable for families living in houses with fenced yards, as they have a tendency to dig and may attempt to escape.

However, they’re also capable of adjusting well to apartment life, provided their exercise needs are met with regular walks and play sessions.

In essence, Brat Terriers make great family dogs, especially when their need for socialization, exercise, and mental stimulation are adequately met.

Their friendly nature, combined with their adaptability to various living situations, make them a wonderful addition to many households.

Is the Brat Terrier Right for You?

Deciding if a Brat Terrier is the right fit for you and your family involves evaluating the characteristics and needs of this breed and matching them with your lifestyle and capacity to meet those needs. Here are a few factors to consider:

  1. Exercise Requirements: Brat Terriers are active dogs with moderate to high energy levels. They require regular exercise to keep them healthy and content. If you enjoy an active lifestyle, have ample time for long walks, jogging sessions, and engaging play, a Brat Terrier could be a great match.
  2. Socialization and Training: Brat Terriers are friendly and generally sociable. They typically get along well with children and other household pets. However, their hunting instincts and high prey drive may require early and consistent socialization and training.
  3. Grooming: Brat Terriers have moderate grooming needs, which makes them suitable for people who do not have a lot of time for grooming activities. Occasional brushing and routine care such as teeth brushing, ear cleaning, and nail trimming should suffice.
  4. Living Conditions: They are adaptable and can comfortably reside in both houses with yards and apartments, as long as their exercise needs are met.
  5. Health: Brat Terriers are generally healthy but can be prone to certain health conditions. Potential owners should be ready for regular vet check-ups and provide preventative health care to ensure a long, healthy life.
  6. Temperament: If you are looking for a friendly, affectionate, intelligent, and playful companion, the Brat Terrier’s temperament is likely to be a great fit.

In conclusion, Boston Terrier Rat Terrier mixed breed dogs are loving, energetic, and adaptable dogs that can make wonderful companions for the right individuals or families.

If you can provide an environment that meets their exercise, social, and healthcare needs, a Brat Terrier could be a delightful addition to your family.

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Dr. Shahzaib Wahid DVM

Dr. Shahzaib Wahid, DVM, currently works an Associate Veterinarian at an animal clinic in Islamabad, Pakistan. As an experienced veterinarian, Dr. Wahid has a passion for providing advice and helping pet owners.

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