AMERICAN HISTORY OF THE RAT TERRIER
The American History and subsequent development of the Rat Terrier (Feist) begins with his arrival, during the 1890's, to the Southern Regions of the United States. In America there were many types of dogs that had arrived before him. There were small Mountain Curs and terriers that inhabited the remote and isolated Southern Mountains of the U.S. They were thought to have been bred by the North American Indians of the late Mississippian era. There were English Foxhounds who had come to the New World as early as 1602.
When the Rat Terrier (Feist) arrived in the Southern regions he was an aggressive small dog. His appearance was that of a small dog. His height was approximately 18" tall and he weighed normally around 30 lbs. His color was like that of the Manchester Terrier, and he had two dots over each eye, resembling eye brows.
AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT TAKES PLACE
The Rat Terrier (Feist) took on tremendous changes after his arrival to the US. His disposition was extremely aggressive and in need of being toned down. In order to eliminate the unwanted aggressiveness and maintain his hunting ability, the Rat Terrier was infused with additional Fox Terrier.
Denis Eiland, leading Rat Terrier historian and author who wrote a monthly hunting article for Full Cry Magazine, has documented the Rat Terrier, (Fiest) was infused with additional Fox Terrier. The percentage breakdown was 80% Fox Terrier and 20% Manchester Terrier. The last 10-20% increase of Fox Terrier infusion was an experimental effort to increase the desired hunting characteristics. The objective was not achieved, but the traits that were present were stabalized. The fanciers of the dogs refused to believe that the traits they were lacking could not be bred in.
The Rat Terrier (Fiest) was gradually infused with both European and Indian Curs that were in the Southern regions. The Curs were developed by the Celts prior to the Christian Era. The Celtics used their dogs for hunting, hurding and guarding. The Indian Curs were bred by various American Indian Tribes. They used their dogs for hunting and companionship. They were quite similar in appearance to the European Curs and the Rat Terrier (Fiest). As a result of their proximity interbreedings took place.
Temperament becomes more utilitarian
Changes began to take place as both the European Curs and Indian Curs were infused within the Rat Terrier (Fiest). He began to bond more with his owner as his aggression was lessoned. He was developing a utilitarian nature.
Physical changes, coloring and tail sets
The Rat Terrier (Fiest) was also changing in his physical appearance. He developed white on his body for the first time. Variations in tail were taking place. Some of the Rat Terrier (Fiests) were being born with bobtails while otghers had natural tails. Certain offspring developed a denser coat that was inherited from the Native American-Spitz-type dogs that had been crossed with the Rat Terrier (Fiest) during the 1890's.