The Average Life Span of Rat Terriers

The Rat Terrier was first bred in England during the early 1800s. Soon this dog became popular in the United States, where it was crossbred with many other types of dogs, resulting in the breed we know today. Named for its ability to kill rats, the Rat Terrier is kept by farmers and pet owners alike. Owning this small dog means well over a decade of companionship, as long as you maintain your pet's health.


Life Span of Rat Terrier

A Rat Terrier that is well cared for will live an average of 15 to 18 years. A dog with an exceptional diet, environment and exercise regime may live up to 20 years or more.

Maximizing Rat Terrier Life Span

Make sure you provide your Rat Terrier with a minimum of a half an hour of exercise each day. This can include a run or a walk, but you must ensure that the exercise is vigorous enough to tone the dog's muscles and keep the heart healthy. As long as your dog gets lots of exercise, it can live a long life even in small spaces such as an apartment. However, having a yard will increase the amount of exercise your dog gets and may lengthen its life.

Rat Terrier Size and Life Span

Large and small dogs experience extreme differences in life span. Due to lower weight, 40 percent of dogs that weigh less than 35 pounds live to be older than 10. Meanwhile only 13 percent of dogs weighing over 35 pounds surpass 10 years. A dog weighing 50 pounds will probably live to be around 12 years old. The larger the breed, the sooner the dog will die, and the smaller the breed, the longer it will live.

Large and Small Dogs and Life Span

A study published in the Journal of Experimental Zoology in 2007 finds that larger dogs live shorter lives because of the excess energy that is required to power a large body. It is the weight of the dog and not the height that determines its longevity. The hearts and other organ systems of large dogs are exerted far beyond those of small dogs. For this reason Rat Terriers, which average 15 to 25 pounds, are among the breeds of dogs that can expect their life spans to reach or exceed 15 years.