The Teddy Roosevelt Terrier comes from the Rat Terrier and here is some of their History.
The Rat Terrier used to be referred to as an American Fiest or Farm Fiest. They are still in fact a Fiest, but this term includes many breeds, the Treeing Fiest, Mountain Fiest, Squirrel Fiest, American Fiest and the Bench Legged Fiest.
The Rat Terrier was used to kill vermon, mainly rats, around the home and farm. He also became an important part of the family by helping hunt squirrel, putting food on the table. The Rat Terrier is still used today by many hunters to hunt squirrel and other small game.
With so many breeds in their background, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Rat Terrier is a rainbow of colors, blue, blue fawn, black and tan, chocolate, apricot, pearl, the traditional tri and it isn’t at all unusual that a pure white (not albino) to happen along. Proving again that throwbacks can and do occur. This growing occurance of the pure white Rat Terrier, is believed to trace back to the now extinct English White Terrier that play a big part in their background. Many people have negative assumptions when faced with a white Rat Terrier. While it is true that albino’s can present serious problems from blindness to deafness, it must be remembered that a dog can be white and NOT albino. While it is a good thing for people to be aware of health concerns, they must be sure to clearly define the dog they are looking at.
All these colors come in varying shades and might be referenced to as many other names, depending on the breeder and the area. They also have a variety of coat patterns. Some of these are tuxedo, pie bald, bi (only 2 colors) one color must be white, blanket back, saddle back and thanks to the Greyhounds and the Bull Terriers to name a few there was brindle. Although the brindle is (now) considered a fault by the AKC and the UKC Rat Terrier Breed Standards there is a brindle pattern on some of the foundation breeds. Like white, brindle also has some negative publicity. Some feel that it can harm our breed while others feel just as strongly that brindle is trouble free and should be allowed. The feeling amongst serious breeders is, that the jury is still out on brindle issues. Time will tell. Pleae note, brindle has no health issues like the merle coat pattern has.
The Whippets and Greyhounds brought speed and agility to the Rat Terrier but it appears that we also have them to thank for rose ears, also considered a fault in the Rat Terrier Breed Standards. The other types of ears are, button, tipped and erect.
Rat Terriers can have long tail, natural bob tail and docked tail. Docking is a practice that many breeders do. The docked tail history, I believe started out in England where laws stated that dogs that worked for a living were tax exempt and these working dogs were distinguished by the docked tail. The hunter still wants that docked tail for, their reasoning, safety. A Rat Terriers tail can wag non stop and while hunting this could create a issue for accidents. They can become torn and broken from running through trees, shrubs and briars. Running at a high rate of speed and agility. These difficult to treat and very painful injury’s were eliminated by docking the tail. Rat Terries can and will hunt under ground so, the tail is docked at a length that a Rat Terrier can be retrieved from a hole by it’s tail.