teddy roosevelt terrier

Teddy Roosevelt Terrier: A President’s Favorite Dog

The Teddy Roosevelt Terrier is a small-sized hunting and farm dog breed originating in the United States. Its history can be traced back to the early 20th century when it was developed to control vermin populations, particularly on farms and in old granaries.


Around 1900, Theodore Roosevelt, who would later become the 26th President of the United States, played a significant role in shaping the breed. Roosevelt was an avid outdoorsman and recognized the need for a small, tough dog to hunt and eliminate rats, mice, and other pests from his farm and properties.


Vertical shot of a cute teddy roosevelt terrier dog sitting on the grassRoosevelt owned several terriers that were admired for their hunting skills and tenacity. He frequently referred to them as his “Terriers of the First Class,” which ultimately led to the name “Teddy Roosevelt Terrier.” 

The breed’s development was not a systematic breeding program but a selective breeding of various terrier types that excelled in hunting vermin. These terriers included the Fox Terrier, Manchester Terrier, Bull Terrier, Whippet, and Beagle. As a result, the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier inherited traits such as agility, versatility, intelligence, and a strong prey drive.


Over time, the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier became popular for their hunting capabilities and as a loyal and affectionate companion. They were valued for their versatility skills in various activities like hunting, herding, and even as circus performers.


The breed standard for the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier was established in 1999 by the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier Club (TRTC) of the United States, which works to preserve and promote the breed. These dogs are recognized today by organizations like the United Kennel Club (UKC) and the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA).


While still relatively uncommon compared to other terrier breeds, the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier continues to be appreciated for its working ability, intelligence, and loyal nature. It remains a beloved companion and watchdog for many families in the United States and beyond, with breed enthusiasts continuing to promote and preserve the unique history of this versatile breed.

Teddy Roosevelt Terrier Vetsus the Rat Terrier

The Rat Terrier and the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier are two distinct dog breeds, although they share some similarities due to their common ancestry.

  1. Origin: The Rat Terrier is believed to have originated in the United States in the 19th century. On the other hand, the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier was developed from the Rat Terrier lineage and named after President Theodore Roosevelt, known for his love of this type of dog.
  2. Breed Recognition: The Rat Terrier is recognized by major kennel clubs such as the American Kennel Club (AKC), United Kennel Club (UKC), and Canadian Kennel Club (CKC). In contrast, these organizations do not officially recognize the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier as a separate breed. However, some registries, such as the United Teddy Roosevelt Terrier Club (UTRTC), acknowledge it as a distinct breed.
  3. Size and Weight: Rat Terriers are generally larger than Teddy Roosevelt Terriers. Rat Terriers typically weigh 10-25 pounds (4.5-11 kg), while Teddy Roosevelt Terriers are usually smaller, ranging between 8-15 pounds (3.5-7 kg).
  4. Appearance: Both breeds share a similar appearance, with short coats, strong jaws, and alert expressions. However, the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier generally has a more muscular build and stronger bone structure than the Rat Terrier.
  5. Temperament: Both breeds are known for their energetic, intelligent, and loyal nature. They are active dogs that require regular exercise and mental stimulation. However, individual temperaments can vary, so it is essential to evaluate each dog individually.
  6. Popularity: Rat Terriers are relatively well-known and popular, while Teddy Roosevelt Terriers are rarer and less common. Since the Teddy Roosevelt Terriers are not widely recognized by major kennel clubs, their popularity remains limited to enthusiasts of this specific breed.

It is worth noting that while they have some differences, Rat Terriers and Teddy Roosevelt Terriers share similar lineage and characteristics.

Health Concerns

The Teddy Roosevelt Terrier, also known as the Rat Terrier, is generally healthy. However, like all dogs, they are prone to certain health concerns. Here are some of the common health issues observed in Teddy Roosevelt Terriers:

  1. Patellar Luxation: This is a condition where the kneecap dislocates from its normal position, causing discomfort and lameness. It can range from mild to severe and may require surgical intervention.
  2. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA is an inherited degenerative eye disease that leads to vision loss and can eventually cause blindness.
  3. Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: This condition affects the hip joint, where the femoral head degenerates, leading to pain, leg lameness, and difficulty walking. Surgery is often required to alleviate the symptoms.
  4. Deafness: Some Teddy Roosevelt Terriers may be prone to congenital deafness due to genetic factors.
  5. Allergies: Like many other dog breeds, Teddy Roosevelt Terriers can develop environmental and food-related allergies (such as pollen dust mites). Allergies can cause skin itching, hair loss, and ear infections.
  6. Dental Issues: Terriers, in general, can be more susceptible to dental problems such as periodontal disease, tooth decay, and tartar buildup. Regular dental care, including teeth brushing, is essential.

Teddy Roosevelt Terrier owners must maintain regular veterinary check-ups, provide proper nutrition and exercise, and address any health concerns promptly. Additionally, responsible breeding practices and health screenings can help reduce the incidence of genetic health issues in this breed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Teddy Roosevelt Terriers good with children and other pets?

Teddy Roosevelt Terriers can be excellent with children and are often patient and gentle. However, proper socialization and supervision are essential to ensure positive interactions. With early socialization, they can also get along well with other pets, including dogs and cats, though individual temperament may vary.

What is the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier’s temperament like?

The Teddy Roosevelt Terrier is known for being intelligent, courageous, and friendly. They are typically affectionate and loyal to their family members. They may be wary of strangers and can exhibit protective instincts. However, early socialization and training can help them become well-rounded and adaptable companions.

How much exercise does a Teddy Roosevelt Terrier need?

As an energetic breed, Teddy Roosevelt Terriers require regular exercise to fulfill their exercise needs and prevent boredom. They benefit from daily walks, playtime, and mental stimulation. Providing them with interactive toys and training activities can also help fulfill their exercise requirements.

What is the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier’s grooming routine?

The Teddy Roosevelt Terrier has a short, smooth coat that is easy to maintain. Regular brushing with a soft brush or a grooming mitt is usually sufficient. Their coat sheds minimally and only requires occasional bathing, typically when they get dirty. Routine dental care, ear cleaning, and nail trimming should also be a part of their grooming routine.

How trainable is a Teddy Roosevelt Terrier?

Teddy Roosevelt Terriers are intelligent and eager to please, which makes them highly trainable. They can excel in obedience training and various dog sports with positive reinforcement, consistency, and early socialization. They respond well to reward-based training methods, including treats, praise, and play. Early socialization is important to help them develop good manners and interact positively with other animals and people.

What is the lifespan of the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier?

The Teddy Roosevelt Terrier has an average lifespan of approximately 12 to 15 years. However, with proper care, diet, exercise, and regular veterinary check-ups, some Teddy Roosevelt Terriers may live beyond 15 years.


In conclusion, the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier is a small yet mighty breed that has captured the hearts of many dog enthusiasts. With its unique history and combination of traits from various terrier breeds, this energetic and intelligent companion is a versatile and dedicated worker. Whether as a loyal family pet, a tenacious hunting partner, or a therapy dog, the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier proves time and again its adaptability and unwavering loyalty. While still a relatively rare breed, its popularity continues to grow, and it is no wonder why. With its distinct appearance, lively personality, and endless devotion, the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier is a dog breed to be cherished and celebrated.

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