The Toy Rat Doxie is the result of a cross between the Dachshund and the American Rat Terrier. Both parent breeds were originally for ratting and hunting, and it is inevitable that the resulting offspring is a hardworking dog with a high prey drive.
The American Rat Terrier has been a long-time favorite of rural households across the US, since the Dust Bowl era. Kept for maintaining households, barns and farms vermin-free, the Rat Terrier is somewhat associated with feists, a small type of lively, mixed-breed native dogs, but its ancestry is most probably rooted in Beagle, Greyhound, Miniature Pinscher, and some English terriers.
The Dachshund, literally "badger dog," is a German breed known the world over for its distinctive appearance. It is a low, long dog, well-muscled and well-equipped to hunt prey both above and below ground. There is some debate as to whether it is part of the hound or the terrier group, as it exhibits characteristics of both. It is one of the most popular and recognizable dog breeds today.
The Toy Rat Doxie's coat can come in varied colors and color patterns. The Rat Terrier parent alone may contribute calico, piebald and brindle patterns, or the classic tricolor, black with tan points. Other colors for this breed may also include lemon, fawn, red, blue, tan and apricot. The Dachshund, on the other hand, can be dappled, piebald, sable or brindled, with common colors of red, tan, and black. Solid colors are rare and undesirable in both breeds.
The Toy Rat Doxie may possess an undercoat, courtesy of the Dachshund. Where it is present, usually on the body, it will be fine and soft in texture. The rat Terrier will contribute only a short, single coat, while the Dachshund have may any of the three show: smooth, wire-haired, and long-haired. The smooth and wire-haired variety look alike from a distance, the difference being only the texture. The long-haired variety has a glossy, wavy coat flat over the back, with hairs under the neck and ears, and behind the legs, longer than the rest.
The Toy Rat Doxie is an animated, comic, sometimes single-minded, dog that may not be for just any dog owner. Its prey drive and hunting instincts lend it an independent spirit, which could be hard to work with especially during training. It is a very loyal hunting companion and pet, and is wary of strangers in its territory. It can make a good watch dog, in that it can be trained to raise an alarm at the approach of strangers. It will play happily enough with children, but should be supervised, as it can take surprises or teasing the wrong way. It can attach itself to one owner, which does not make it an ideal dog for a household of more than one, and makes it vulnerable to separation anxiety. However, it is loving and affectionate towards it owner, and will often commiserate with its owner's moods. It is not an active indoor dog, and will like lounging and lazing about as much as taking a romp outdoors.
Care for the Toy Rat Doxie is not too demanding. A weekly brushing will maintain the coat and help with the shedding, which becomes heavy once or twice a year. Special attention should be given to flap ears; these should be maintained clean, dry and parasite-free. The elongated body must never be lifted off the ground without support for the back; the exaggerated length of the spine renders it vulnerable to injury.
The Toy Rat Doxie needs to be socialized at a young age, to be more tolerant of other animals or dogs, especially in the same household. Obedience training is a must, as a high-spirited and assertive dog such as the Toy Rat Doxie will be harder to handle if untrained once it is older.
Outdoor activity is best for the Toy Rat Doxie, but a leash or harness is recommended in open spaces. The dog's curiosity and fearlessness will have it chasing after small animals, and even going up to other dogs, so control will be needed at all times. It also loves to dig, so a secured yard should have a spot or sandbox for digging. Strenuous exercise is not recommended or needed for the Toy Rat Doxie; its own antics will be enough to work it out daily, with the addition of a half hour walk or session of play.