It’s an all American breed, the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier. It descended from terriers brought over by English miners and other working class immigrants to work as ratters. Years of inter-breeding different types of terriers (most likely crosses between the Smooth Fox Terrier, the Manchester Terrier, the Bull Terrier, the Beagle, the Whippet, the Italian Greyhound, and the now extinct white English Terrier) lead to two distinct types of Rat Terrier distinguished primarily by leg length – the Rat Terrier itself, and the “Short-Legged Rat Terrier,” later renamed the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier. President Roosevelt bred for a dog that was durable, low to the ground, a hunter of Vermin and a great family companion all built into one.”Teddies,” are the lower-set dogs with shorter legs who are more muscular and heavier boned than Rat Terriers.
In 1999, both “Rat Terrier” and “Teddy Roosevelt Terrier” were accepted as a separate breeds by the United Kennel Club.
Photo of “Zorro,” by Lesa Barnett