National Rat Terrier Association

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The National Rat Terrier Association (NRTA) is an American breed-specific registry for Rat Terriers. The association provides full-service photo registries and litter registrations. Extensive breed information is available, as well as comprehensive pedigree services.

The National Rat Terrier Association was formed in 1995 and established its efforts to create a breed standard for the Rat Terrier. It was formed by breeders who wanted to preserve the history and heritage of the lines and how they were evolved. They created a registry known as the National Rat Terrier Registry (NRTR). It is the largest private Rat Terrier organization with thousands of registered dogs and puppies. They track all three sizes of Rat Terrier: the Toy/Tot, Mini, and Standard. They also include the two original body types of the Rat Terrier, Type A and Type B. There is a Decker strain that was created by Milton Decker to be more of a hunting dog. The NRTR is also the only rat terrier registry that has kept records on the Decker strain since it has come into existence. Rat Terriers originated in England just before the 1900s and came to America as a cross between a Fox Terrier and Manchester Terrier. From there other breeds were added depending mostly on geographical location and purpose. That is how all the sizes and types were created. The Rat Terrier could now be seen in almost every known color, with four different ear sets (erect, semi-erect, rose and button over) although erect has become the most desirable and its size ranged from 4 to 35 pounds. The color Merle and the hairless coat is not accepted by the NRTA as this was not a natural occurrence in the creation of the Rat Terrier and drastically changes their heritage and form. Included in the NRTR registry are notes of any health problems with registered dogs or puppies. Any dog with a known genetic defect or illness should not be bred and are not accepted for litter registration. The NRTR, like other registries, require their breeders to follow a strict code of ethics. After the NRTA came into existence, the breeds sizes and types were formed and the Original Breed Standards were written and accepted in 1996 by NRTA. The Universal Kennel Club International (UKCI) was the first to start registering Rat Terriers but without specific types or size requirements. In 1999 United Kennel Club (UKC) started registering the Rat Terrier and then followed American Kennel Club (AKC) after the Rat Terrier was accepted in their Foundation Stock Service program in 2005 (AKC FSS) for several years. They became officially recognized by AKC in June 2012.

Unlike other registries, the NRTA does not have agility contests, show or award programs. Their only focus is to preserve the heritage of the Rat Terrier and lessen genetic defects or illnesses that can be passed down in the genetics. Some NRTA breeders focus on working dogs and others focus on more of a temperament for family or companion dogs.


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