The Teddy Roosevelt Terrier was, and is currently, bred to be a working dog. This means his working traits, such as his muscular build and agile gait, are prioritized over his look. This is likely to change as TRTs become mostly companion dogs.
The most common color is white with black patches but TRTs are seen in solids and other color combinations. They are stocky dogs with short legs with a length to height ratio of 10:7 to 10:8. They can be quite small at as little as 10 lbs. or a bit larger at up to 25 lbs. Their weight is proportionate to their height.
The Teddy Roosevelt Terrier is a very versatile, well-adjusted and adaptable dog who can be quite laid-back for a terrier. He is an excellent ratter but settles into family life equally well and some can even be content with a quiet lifestyle. That said, it is healthful and helpful to keep your TRT active, particularly with activities that include both of you. They are very attached to their owner and their family and prefer time spent with their people over time spent with other dogs. They tend to be aloof with strangers.
Teddy Roosevelt Terriers make good watch dogs (perhaps because of their distrust of outsiders) and are game for sports such as agility. Their combination of intelligence and desire to please makes them highly trainable.
There is not a good deal of health data recorded for Teddy Roosevelt Terriers. Their cousin, the Rat Terrier, tends to have skin allergies, Dysplasia and bite problems. A serious congenital defect called Ectopia lentis (the misplacement of the eye’s lens) has been seen in Rat Terriers and may be found in TRTs, though this is not well documented. These terriers often live as long as 15 or 16 years.
Because the TRT has a sturdy body and short legs, he can be prone to obesity. This is especially true if he is not exercised sufficiently. As he prefers praise over a treat, it is not difficult to keep his weight in check.
The Teddy Roosevelt Terrier is descended from the terriers brought to America by British working class immigrants. After years of inter-breeding different types of terriers, two types of the Rat Terrier emerged – the Rat Terrier itself and the “Short-Legged Rat Terrier.” It was thought that this latter terrier was owned and developed by Theodore Roosevelt, but that turned out to just be a rumor. Nevertheless, this short-legged terrier was named after the president.
Teddy Roosevelt Terriers were accepted into the United Kennel Club in 1999 as a separate breed from the Rat Terrier. However, in other places, the TRT is lumped in with the Rat Terrier. The UKC sets the standard for the TRT. In the US, it is considered a rare breed.