Are Rat Terriers, or Ratties as they are affectionately known, on the list of dogs that you are thinking of getting? There are many things that you will want to know, including how much you can expect to pay upfront for a puppy. Are small dogs cheaper to buy than larger dogs, or does size matter at all? Of course, this information will help you set your expectations, do the math to find out if you can afford one, and ensure you eventually do get one at a fair price.
So, how much do Rat Terriers cost? Rat Terriers can cost anywhere between $300 and $4000, although the average amount paid for a purebred Rat Terrier puppy is around $425, with papers. It is with show quality Rat Terriers that command the highest of fees and are priced toward the upper end of the scale.
Some of the main factors that contribute to the asking price include the reputation of the breeder, the lineage of the parental dogs used, the local demand and amount of supply of the breed for puppies, and any additional expenses incurred by the breeder for the litter i.e. providing vaccinations.
To get the true cost of a Rat Terrier puppy, you’ll also need to take into consideration some of those other costs you will need to pay for.
The main ones here being: food, house supplies, toys, equipment, and medical bills. Generally, it costs between $1200-$1500 for the first year of a dog’s life.
As you can see, purchasing a Rat Terrier does not come cheap. However, this is true of most pedigree dog breeds.
Of course, you always have the option to adopt from a rescue or a shelter, but there are other considerations to take into account like the dog’s history and age.
At least you will be saving a life with this option.
Just like with any dog breed, it is important you thoroughly research before buying a puppy.
It’s important you know exactly what is involved and required for their care – and what it will mean for you and your family going forward.
You do not want to be the one that has to leave your dog at a shelter.
Nevertheless that needn’t be the case. Rat Terriers make excellent companions.
They are affectionate, loving, lively, and inquisitive; traits that make them rewarding, interesting, and fun.
Let us now take a closer look at the main upfront costs you should expect with getting a Rat Terrier puppy.
We will then be looking at the main factors that contribute to the price, where you can look to buy one and of equal importance, the ongoing costs to consider.
So, read on below to find out everything you need to make an informed decision on purchasing a Rat Terrier!
How Much Does A Purebred Rat Terrier Cost?
There is quite a variation on the cost, but the average amount paid for a purebred Rat Terrier puppy is around $425, with papers.
You could end up paying either a little more or a little less, but budget to spend around $400 for your new puppy.
If you do not care if your dog has papers or not, it is possible to get one that is less expensive. Generally, rat terriers without papers range from $200 to $300.
Sometimes however a puppy without papers can be more expensive than one with them. It depends on where you are located among other factors which we will shortly discuss below.
However, purchasing a dog without papers can often come with its own set of problems and is not recommended.
You lose sight and visibility of the lineage of the dogs used in breeding and the practices involved; both of which can have a big impact on the resulting health and longevity of the dogs in the litter.
If you are looking to get a pup that not only has its papers but is either of show quality or has breeding rights, you should expect to budget anywhere between $900 to more than $4000.
Depending on the superiority of the pedigree, the cost could be even more.
What Factors Influence The Price Of A Rat Terrier?
There are several different factors that influence the final price you are going to pay for your new Rat Terrier puppy.
The biggest factor that influences the cost of your Rat Terrier will be its pedigree and bloodlines. The more stellar a lineage is, the higher the cost of the pup.
For example, a breeding pair who have produced many champions, either in show, agility, or both, will command a much higher price for their litters than a breeding pair who is unproven.
Another factor is breeder location. Breeders who live far from your area will need to get the dog to you somehow and there are costs involved with shipping a puppy if you are unable to go and pick the dog up yourself.
Also, breeders that live in larger cities will often charge more for their puppies than a breeder who is from a rural area.
This is partly due to their own costs of breeding in these areas, along with a potential higher demand as these areas are more populated and people often prefer to seek out local dogs that they can see and obtain easily.
Additionally, the breeder’s reputation will factor into the cost of the pup as well. A respected and proven breeder is able to get more for their pups than a breeder with a lesser reputation would be able to.
Purchasing a dog from a reputable breeder is of course advised; it ensures that thy comply with proper breeding practices, with previous litters having less/no issues.
The size of the litter also makes a difference. The normal litter size for Rat Terriers is between 5 to 7 puppies.
When the size of the litter is smaller, breeders will often charge more per puppy than they would if they had a full litter.
Any beginning training and socialization efforts will also affect the price of your puppy. The more time and effort that is put into a dog, the more a breeder will charge.
Finally, litter color and markings are another contributing factor to price. There are several standard colors and patterns, along with several that are extremely rare.
As you can imagine, the rarer the color, typically the more expensive the price:
Common markings and colors:
- Black Tri-Color – black and white in color with a black nose and copper points
- Bi-Color – either chocolate and white or black and white but does not have copper points
- Red – shade of red varies in intensity down to a tan with a black nose
- Red Sable – red to tan in color with a black nose and black-tipped hair
- Red-Headed Calico – color is either blue, chocolate, or black with a red head
Rare Colors and markings:
- Blue Fawn – light tan in colour with a blue nose and blue-tipped hair
- Chocolate Sable – caramel-orange in color with a chocolate nose and occasionally with chocolate-tipped hair
- Chocolate – liver colored with a chocolate nose
- Blue – steel gray in color with a blue nose
- Pearl – lavender in color with hazel eyes and a lavender nose
- Lemon – color is from apricot to yellow, usually white at birth
- Lilac – rich caramel in color with chocolate or pearl-tipped hair and a lavender or pearl nose
- White – pure white with no other color or markings
- Merle – comes in various colors with the merle pattern showing in splotches throughout the coat
- Piebald – any Rat Terrier color with white spots
- Blanket Back – a blanket of color that covers the entire back of the dog
- Tuxedo – any solid color with white paws and a white chest
- Solid – any solid color with little to no white at all
Where Can I Buy A Rat Terrier?
You can purchase Rat Terriers from breeders all over the globe. You can also choose to adopt one from a shelter or a Rat Terrier rescue.
With Rat Terriers being considered a rare breed of dog, breeders are a tad more difficult to find than for breeds like German Shepherds or Poodles.
You may have to look far from your location in order to locate the closest breeder to you.
You also have the option of looking for a Rat Terrier at a specialty rescue. All breeds have rescues dedicated to them and the Rat Terrier is no exception.
The good thing about getting a Rat Terrier from a rescue is that you know exactly what you are getting. Any problems or issues should be brought to your attention before the adoption. You are also likely to get a dog that has already spayed or neutered, has had their shots, and has been microchipped.
A shelter is another place for you to buy a Rat Terrier if they have any available. It is not common to have one come into an animal control shelter, but it does happen.
Both shelters and rescues are extremely careful who gets one of their dogs so expect to answer a bunch of questions, as well as having the staff watch you interact with your potential new pet.
As with a rescue, dogs are generally sold already altered, microchipped, and are up to date on their shots.
What Is The Cost Of Owning A Rat Terrier?
Interestingly enough, Rat Terriers are listed as one of the six least costly breeds to own!
However, the still cost an average of $1000 for the first year, not including the price of the dog itself.
When deciding to get a new dog, many potential owners forget to think about the overall cost of owning a dog for the rest of its lifetime.
You also need to factor in the cost of food, toys, vet care, and many other little things.
Since Rat Terriers have a life expectancy of somewhere between 15 and 23 years, the costs will certainly add up. Their lifespan also makes them one of the breeds that live the longest.
They certainly do not eat much but an excellent quality food will cost you around $75, depending on the size of the bag.
Budget for going through one bag of food per month.
You will also need to purchase a wide variety of toys to keep these inquisitive little dogs busy and out of trouble.
They will need interactive toys for brain stimulation, chew toys, fetch toys, etc.
Also, keep in mind that toys which are appropriate at the puppy stage likely will not be as you pup grows so you can expect to replace your toys every once in a while.
You will also need to purchase a leash and collar.
Rat Terriers are not trustworthy off leash unless they are in a securely fenced area. They will take off like a shot at the first thing that runs, whether it is a squirrel, bird, or child playing.
Expect that your first excursion to the pet store will set you back close to $500 once you have purchased food, treats, toys, and every other item you require.
Budgeting for vet care will also need to be done. If you have purchased a puppy, they will need to be spayed or neutered. This should cost around $200.
There will also be shots, deworming, flea and heartworm treatments, and an annual exam.
Expect to pay another $200 for these necessary items. If you budget another $100 for incidental or luxury items, you should be right on track.
Also, if you do not have a fenced yard at home, you may want to consider putting one in. Rat Terriers are accomplished escape artists who will go over or under a barrier to chase prey.
This means that you should have your fence dug underground to avoid digging escape tunnels and that you should make your fence higher than you think you need.
Rat Terriers are extremely agile, and they are great jumpers so adding an extra foot or two of height will help to keep them safe and do much for your piece of mind.
If you have your heart set on getting a Rat Terrier, be sure that you are able to be an active part of their life on a daily basis.
Rat Terriers adore being with the humans they love, and they can become destructive if they are not given enough attention.
Ultimately, the final price you pay for a Rat Terrier will vary depending on multiple factors and as outlined above. It will range, but its important that you do your research, due diligence and you pay for the best of what you can afford.
At the same time, be extremely cautious of ‘cheap’ dogs or deals that seem extraordinary; often these dogs are bred with unethical and inhumane practices, and often encounter many health issues later in life as a result.
These are often not even purebred dogs as other breeds are involved. Puppy mills should be avoided at all costs. We do not want to be supporting these practices.
So, now you have a rough idea in mind about what these dogs will cost, its over to you to begin your search. Owners often fall in love with this particular breed and the fact that they are not commonly found in shelters is a prime example of this.
Do you research, run the math, and enjoy the process of looking for your new dog!
Are Rat Terriers Expensive?
Rat Terriers are not considered to be an expensive breed when compared to other purebred dogs. The average price for a Rat Terrier is around $400, which is on the lower end compared to other breeds. Equally, they do not eat much food so this is one expense that is automatically reduced compared to a larger dog. However, they do live for 15-23 years, so costs will add up over the course of their lifetime and will need to be considered.
Want to learn more about the Rat Terrier breed? Then my following guides may be of interest:
- How Big Do Rat Terriers Get? [Average Height, Weight and Size]
- Do Rat Terriers Shed? [Is This A Hypoallergenic Breed?]
- Do Rat Terriers Bark A Lot? [What Owners Can Expect]
- Are Rat Terriers Aggressive? [Typical Temperament Of This Breed]
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.