“Rats” Like a Cat

In a previous post, we mentioned that there are no fewer than five native rat-hunting breeds originating in Spain, and wrote at length about one of them, the Andalusian Ratter, the “wine specialist.” In this post, we’re going to explore the Majorca Ratter, or  Ca Rater Mallorquí.

The distance between Valencia, Spain, and Majorca, the largest island in the Balearic Islands, is only around 157 nautical miles. Given its close geographical proximity, it was to this island that early 19th century settlers went after leaving Valencia. The little dogs they took with them were Valencia Ratters (Gos Rater Valencià), and once on the island of Majorca, these imported ratters bred amongst themselves, and came to form a distinct line. Given the island’s isolation, resulting dogs started to evolve with their own characteristics, including the distinctive lack of a tail.

They also developed a unique way to hunt vermin. Unlike their ratting cousins who relied on raw speed to catch a rat, Majorican Ratters crept up on a mouse or rat ever so slowly, then sprung on the critter using the power in their muscular back thighs to leap and pounce. In this regard, they were rather cat-like. They used the same technique on hares, creeping into bushes and drawing a hare out.

A breed club was set up in 1990, the Club Espanyol del Ca Rater Mallorquí, and in 2002, a breed standard was published in the Butlletí Oficial de les Illes Balears, the same year that the Majorcan Ministry of Agriculture and Fishing acknowledged the Majorca Ratter. In 2004, the breed received national recognition when the standard was published in the Boletín Oficial del Estado, the official journal of the government of Spain.

Image: Majorican Ratter by Bertet via Wikicommons

 

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