The Prague Ratter

One could be forgiven, we suspect, for mistaking this dog for another breed, in part because the Prague Ratter is so rarely seen outside its country of origin, the Czech Republic, but also because it bears some resemblance to a Chihuahua, Miniature Pinscher, and in the case of the long coated version, the Russian Toy or English Toy Terrier.  Size-wise, mistakes are easy to make since the English Toy is 10 – 12 inches tall, the Russian Toy is 8 – 11 inches tall, and the Prague Ratter is 7.9 – 11 inches, making it arguably the smallest dog in the world. Given that the Czech Republic was behind the Iron Curtain for decades, it’s an easy jump to conclude that the Prague Ratter and Russian Toy may have had “dalliances.”

As for what came before,  we know with certainly only that this is an old breed already established by the time Polish king, Bolesław II the Generous began his rule in 1076, and references to the breed have been found in chronicles dating even before that, all the back to 770-840 AD.  Its easy size, spunky nature, and prowess as a rat killer (which gave it the name “Krysarík” or Ratter) made it popular among royalty and citizenry, alike, but as the Min Pin became more fashionable in the 19th century, the popularity of the Prague Ratter began to decline. An effort to revitalize the breed was started by Theodor Rotter and Otakar Karlik, but despite documents having been gathered and a breeding program established, the program failed because certain dogs fell short of the six generation pedigree required for registration. Injury was added to insult when Adolf Hitler invaded the Czechoslovak Republic and Rotter’s materials were lost.

Happily, the breed started enjoying a renaissance in the 1980s when Czechs and Slovaks “rediscovered” this marvelous dog and started to breed them again. Today, it’s thought that there are about 6,000 Prague Ratters registered, and they are seen at dog shows in the Czech Republic and Slovakia even though they aren’t registered by any major kennel clubs beyond the Czech Cinological Union (CMKU) and the breed is awaiting recognition by the International Cynological Federation (FCI). There is a a Prague Ratter Club of America, and Australia has two breed clubs, the Australian Prague Ratter Club, and the Pure Prague Ratter Club.

You can read more about this breed in an earlier post here.

Image of a Prague Ratter by Carolus, CC BY-SA 3.0,

2 thoughts on “The Prague Ratter”

    • Yoshiko, we don’t have any special insights on to how to obtain a puppy other than to do you homework to make sure the breed and you are right for each other, and then contact the Prague Ratter Club of America (which is where we are) to get a list of breeders. If you are outside the United States, contact them anyway to ask for suggestions on how to find a breeder where you are. That website is:

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