Rat Terrier Dachshund Mix: The Tiny Turbulent Troublemaker
Meet the Rat Doxie: The Rat Terrier Dachshund Mix
Life is a rat race, and no one knows it better than a Rat Doxie. Even though the strange name could give you some weird ideas, this is actually a cross between a Dachshund and a Rat Terrier… Not an actual rat.
The two breeds are quite compatible. They are both born hunters, and they’re similar in size. Loyalty and bravery are their common virtues, and barking is the favorite pastime of both.
Where a Doxie is stubborn and unyielding, a Rat Terrier is respectful and eager to please, so their differences balance each other nicely as well.
If you’ve set your sights on a Rat Doxie pup, here’s everything you need to know before you commit. And we need to start an official petition to call this particular mixed breed a Roxie!
History of the Rat Doxie
Cross-breeds are always a little mysterious. Designer dogs are a fairly new invention, and this particular mix has been around for 20-something years. It probably originated in the USA, where the designer dog craze is at its strongest. To understand the Rat Terrier Dachshund mix, we’ll have to take a closer look at the parent breeds.
Dachshunds were bred in Germany to rid the country folk of the constant menace that was the badger. Dachshund literally means “badger dog,” when translated from German.
Their shape was adapted to get the job done. Navigating the narrow tunnels that were homes to badgers was a much more manageable task with short legs and long bodies. Their loud bark helped Doxies communicate with their human hunting partners who stayed above the ground while their dogs did the heavy lifting.
These pups are incredibly brave, which hardly comes as a surprise considering the foe they had to face. They are loyal and have a strong prey drive. Being with their humans makes them happy, but they are quick to distrust everybody else. If you need a watchdog, this is your guy.
Dachshunds have been among the favorite dogs in the USA since World War I, so it’s no wonder they have found their place on our list of the best dog breeds to adopt. Even Picasso was in love with them! If you’d like to know more about these fantastic little fellows, take a look at the 10 facts you should know about Dachshunds with pictures, as well as our list of Dachshund facts.
Rat Terriers are loyal, energetic, and loving—and fearsome killers of all things rodent. According to what is probably an urban legend, one Rat Terrier in the 1900s managed to kill no less than 2,500 rats in seven hours. For anyone who has seen these little killing machines, this is not at all a stretch of the imagination, so it’s safe to say that the little buggers are dedicated to their craft.
As their name suggests, Rat Terriers were bred to hunt rats. A single-purpose dog is not something a practical farmer would approve of, so they were also used as hunting companions, watchdogs, and even henhouse guardians that, on occasion, had to chase away foxes and raccoons who would wander too close in search of eggs and easy prey.
The many expectations and activities connected to Rat Terriers made them into sturdy little creatures with an incredibly high prey drive. They tend to bark a lot but are quite respectful to their human companions otherwise, which makes them easy to train. They were admitted to AKC’s terrier group in 2012, although the organization recognized them as a breed in 2010.
Three Reasons Not to Adopt a Rat Doxie
Even though this cross is a highly impressive one, it’s not for everyone. Here are three reasons not to adopt a Rat Doxie.
- They are blabbermouths.
- They will eat your Scabbers.
- They won’t put up with nonsense.
They Are Blabbermouths
These dogs have a lot to say, and they’re not afraid to say it. They’ll talk about every little thing that’s going on, from the butterfly in the park to the weird way your shoelaces arranged themselves when you took off your shoes. You can train them not to bark. It takes a lot of time and effort, though, and being forced to keep quiet will make your pooch deeply unhappy.
They Will Eat Your Scabbers
These little fellows have an incredible prey drive. They will try to kill (and maybe even eat) every rodent they encounter, and you can’t teach them not to. It’s in their blood. You can teach them—with great difficulty—to tolerate cats, and maybe even birds. Still, if you have a lot of small animals in your home, you might want to choose another dog.
They Won’t Put up with Nonsense
If you have little children, you’ll have to supervise a lot. Children who overstep the dog’s boundaries will likely find themselves at the receiving end of your canine’s canines. While it’s highly unlikely that the dog will seriously hurt your kid, the child can suffer a psychological trauma that you’ll have to deal with later. If you have babies or toddlers, this dog might not be the wisest option.
Three Reasons to Adopt a Rat Doxie
If you don’t keep a bunch of small pets in your home, your kids are already school age, and you don’t mind the incessant yapping, there’s nothing at all to stop you from adopting one of these little buggers. Rat Doxies are awesome, and here are three reasons to give a home to one of them.
- They’ll rid you of any pests that are giving you troubles.
- They are easy to groom.
- They don’t need much room.
They’ll Rid You of Any Pests That Are Giving You Troubles
Both Rat Terriers and Dachshunds were bred to kill pests, and that’s what they like to do the most. They’re at their happiest when there is a rat to chase, and in the absence of rats, they’ll go after anything—squirrels, pigeons, even cockroaches. If you have any pests that you want gone, look no further—this is the dog for the job.
They Are Easy to Groom
If you don’t want to spend hours grooming your pet, a Rat Doxie is the right choice for you. There isn’t a long coat to take care of, and you won’t need any professional help taking care of your mutt.
They Don’t Need Much Room
Even though these little fellows need exercise, they don’t need large living quarters. Provided you take them out to play and walk every day, they can live perfectly happily in a small flat.
Appearance and Personality of the Rat Terrier Dachshund Mix
Opting for a cross-breed pup is always a bit of a gamble because you never know which genes will win the game of thrones.
In terms of appearance, it’s probably safe to say that your dog will inherit the Doxie body shape and their large and usually floppy ears. Their legs might be a bit longer, which is good from the health perspective, but probably not what you were going for. Their coloring varies. They can be uniformly colored or have any color combo present in both parent breeds.
When it comes to personality, this is one of the sweetest dogs to have. The pig-headedness of the Doxie is usually balanced out by the obedience of the Rat Terrier, which means that your pooch is likely to be sweet-tempered and relatively easy to manage.
They retain their tendency to bark, though, and usually don’t get along with smaller animals. Their prey drive is exceptionally strong, and they’ll chase after cats, rodents, birds, even smaller dogs. If you have smaller pets, you might have some issues keeping everybody happy and alive.
|Weight||6 – 35 pounds|
|Height||8 – 18 inches|
|Size||Small to medium|
|Temperament||Willful, smart, energetic, affectionate|
|Life expectancy||12 – 15 years|
|New owner friendly||Yes|
|Breed recognition||Not recognized as a breed by the AKC|
How Active Is a Dachshund Rat Terrier Mix Dog?
You’ll need to get your dog to spend their energy if you want to keep your things unchewed and un-torn apart. They’ll take their enthusiasm out on everything you hold dear if you neglect to exercise them properly.
They are quite cheerful and active anyway, and will probably spend quite a bit of energy on following you around, pushing their snouts into your business, and barking at random things. Still, you’ll need to take about an hour every day to walk and entertain them. Split the time into two walks and one high-energy playing session, and you should be fine (and your shoes safe).
|Activity level||Recommended miles/day||Activity minutes/day|
Health Issues Connected to the Rat Terrier Dachshund Cross
Cross-breed are commonly thought to be healthier than pure breeds. Unfortunately, this is true about as often as it’s not. While the broader gene pool can enable your adorable little mix to escape all the hereditary diseases that can affect their parents, they can also inherit them all. There are no guarantees, so adopting a mutt is in no way less or more risky than choosing a purebred pup, unless you have all the documentation on the parents.
There are some things you should look out for in this particular breed. Here are the most common health issues in Rat Doxies.
- Intervertebral disc disease. This back problem is common in Dachshunds and Dachshund mixes that inherit the elongated body shape. The discs that separate the spinal bones start pressing on the spinal nerve. For your dog, this translates into quite a bit of pain and possible paralysis. It’s highly important to take good care of the pups with the condition and thus lengthen their lifespan. If you notice that your pup shows any signs of discomfort or reluctance to use the hind legs, take them to the vet immediately.
- Patellar Luxation. This is a fancy term for knee dislocation. The kneecap slips from its position at the groove of the thigh bone, and your dog will carry their leg instead of using it normally. This condition is relatively painless, except for the exact moment of dislocation.
- Bloat. If your dog eats too fast or too much, if you feed them low-quality food, and if they have a natural predisposition for it, they may develop the condition known as bloat. In essence, the stomach of your pooch fills with gas, and can even twist on itself and cause further pain. It’s a dangerous condition and needs to be dealt with quickly. If you notice any bloating, take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.
- Hip and elbow dysplasia. This issue happens when the joints don’t develop as they are supposed to. Instead of fitting together nicely and sliding against each other, the ball and the socket of the joint grind and rub, destroying the bone matter and causing discomfort. If you notice that your dog is limping or seems unwilling to go up or down the stairs, see your vet to check the joints. You can try to keep your dog’s joints healthy by tailoring perfect, every-day nutrition.
- Eye-related problems. Because both parent breeds tend to have eye-related problems, your little buddy can develop some of them as well. Make sure you visit your vet for regular checkups to notice early signs and stop them from progressing if possible.
Some other less frequent health issues that usually come from the Doxie side are seizures and skin problems. In case your hairy companion has dry skin, think about adding healthy supplements to their diet. Many issues can be prevented, or their progress hindered if you don’t neglect regular health checkups. Responsible ownership can save you and your pooch a lot of headaches down the road.
|Major concerns||Minor concerns||Occasional tests|
Diet of the Dachshund Rat Terrier Cross
We are what we eat, and the same goes for our dogs. If you want a healthy dog, you’ll need to make sure you offer them some high-quality food. Check out our list of best dry dog food for small dogs to get some ideas.
Even though dry food is a more practical and often healthier choice, some dogs prefer wet food. That’s fine—there are good options for that type of food as well. Take a look at our picks for the best canned dog food brands. Age of the dog matters too, so if your pup is already time-tested, you might want to check out these best senior dry dog food brands. For those who are at the beginning of their journey, find the best puppy food brands on the market.
Our favorite dry dog food options are the following:
- Wellness Core® Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food. Your pooch is part Doxie, which means that they are prone to bone and joint issues. Calcium and phosphorus in this food can improve joint and bone health, and thus improve the quality of your pup’s life.
- Taste of the Wild Appalachian Valley Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. This food is rich in protein and amino acids. It is made of different kinds of meat, including venison, ocean fish, lamb, and duck. It’s a great option for all small dogs because the kibble is small enough not to cause any problems for their tiny mouths.
- Merrick Grain-Free Puppy Real Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry. If your pup is still just a munchkin, you’ll need the appropriate food. This brand is great for puppies because it offers high-quality ingredients and all the nutrients your little beastie could possibly need.
Whichever food you choose, remember to check the ingredients before you purchase. Avoid these worst dry dog food brands like the plague, and make sure your pup receives all the nutrition they need to be happy and healthy.
Grooming Requirements of a Rat Doxie
Since this cross has a short coat and is not prone to shedding, they don’t require a lot of brushing. Once or two times a week should be enough for your pooch.
Their nails grow fast, so make sure you clip them regularly. Rat Doxies sometimes have dental issues, so pay attention to your pooch’s dental hygiene. Brush their teeth two or three times a week, and find some tasty, high-quality dental chews to keep their gums healthy. Check out our list of top 10 best dog dental chews to get a few ideas.
If you live in an area that gets frosty in the winter, you should find some fancy dog clothing to keep your pup nice and warm. You’ll need to learn how to adapt your dog’s life to cold weather in general if you live in an unusually cold region. Follow our best dog grooming tips to provide your pooch with perfect care.
|Brushing frequency||Brushes for Rat Terrier Dachshund Mix|
Is a Rat Doxie Easy to Train?
Surprisingly, yes. The Rat Terrier’s eagerness to please counters the Doxie’s stubbornness in the mix, which makes this breed highly trainable.
Keep in mind that the Dachshund genes may overpower the Rat Terrier’s, in which case you’ll be stuck with an intelligent but not always cooperative dog. Needles to say, this can make your life much more difficult as Dachshund training is challenging!
In most cases, though, you’ll be just fine with this cross, particularly if you’ve owned a dog before and know what to expect. If you’re a novice, just make sure you offer plenty of positive reinforcement such as treats, gifts, or praise, and keep your patience at all times. It’s no use yelling at the dog or punishing them, and it can even hamper their motivation. Check out these tips for training your puppy and Dachshund potty training, perhaps you will find some useful tips.
Many dogs are food motivated. Because you need to be consistent with rewarding the desired behavior while ignoring the negative, you don’t want to use their regular food as motivation. The goal is not to starve your dog if they learn slowly. You should find some healthy or natural treats to motivate your pup. That way, if they’re good, they get something tasty and good for them. If they’re disobedient, they don’t get a treat, which won’t harm them like the absence of regular food. Make sure you use the highest quality treats and avoid these worst dog treat brands.
Also, make sure to avoid the most common mistakes while training your dog.
Does a Rat Doxie Make a Good Family Pet?
Yes and no. Rat Doxies are affectionate and full of love for their pack, but they don’t naturally get along well with children. All hunting dogs tend to be a bit nippy when challenged, and children tend to overstep the boundaries.
If you leave a toddler alone with a dog, and the kid starts pulling on the dog’s ears, pushing fingers into their mouth or eyes, pinching the skin on their neck, or whatever else can cross the mind of a little kid, whose fault is it when the dog snaps? Never leave any dog, no matter how trustworthy and well-behaved, alone with a child that doesn’t know how to play with a dog.
That said, your Rat Doxie can get along just fine with older children and teenagers. They can be wonderful playmates as long as the kids know how to treat a dog.
Keep in mind that this cross comes from two highly talkative parent breeds. They will bark, often and loudly. If you have a new baby or are planning to have one soon, this cross might not be the best choice.
Check Out These Other Cute Dachshund Mixes
If you are a Rat Terrier fan, check out our list of Rat Terrier mixes, maybe you will fall in love.
While a Rat Doxie is an undoubtedly impressive cross, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. If you’re a Doxie enthusiast and determined to have it in the mix you’ll adopt, here are some other Dachshund mixes that might interest you.
- Sauvé, Christopher P., et al. “Oronasal and Oroantral Fistulas Secondary to Periodontal Disease: A Retrospective Study Comparing the Prevalence Within Dachshunds and a Control Group.” Journal of Veterinary Dentistry, vol. 36, no. 4, 2019, pp. 236–244., doi:10.1177/0898756420909657.
- Antoniak-Mitchell, Dawn. Terrier-Centric Dog Training: from Tenacious to Tremendous. 1st ed., Dogwise Pub., 2013.