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The Teddy Roosevelt Terrier

Teddy Roosevelt Terrier

The Teddy Roosevelt Terrier

Approved by the American Teddy Roosevelt Terrier Club Board of Directors

The main purpose of a Breed Standard is to define the characteristics that make a particular group of dogs carrying similar genetics a particular breed. However, that is not the only purpose. Breeds have been developed over the years to perform certain tasks or functions. Breeders have fine-tuned breed characteristics to meet these functions. The Teddy Roosevelt Terrier is a small-sized hunting terrier. Structurally, they are “low riders,” short-legged, well-muscled, and having substantial bone density. They are heavy-duty working farm dogs in a small package and are vermin hunters, both above and below ground, as well as excellent treeing dogs. Teddies have a lively, intelligent, and well-balanced temperament which serves them well in their search and extinguishing of vermin.

What does it take in terms of form and structure to be a strong hunting terrier that works above and below ground and trees game as well? It requires a breed to have agility, speed, and strength. The Teddy Roosevelt Terrier has all these elements.

The Teddy Roosevelt Terrier is a rectangular-shaped small terrier. They are to be balanced overall from front to rear. This body shape and its resultant overall balance makes the Teddy well suited to hunting for rats, mice, moles, and voles, and allows them to tree game with ease. Their powerful hindquarters provide the forward momentum and drive needed for speed. Their low-set shape provides a strong lower center of gravity. This lower center of gravity allows the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier to have better balance on uneven surfaces which are found while hunting in the field or forest.

The skull is broad, slightly domed, and tapers slightly toward the muzzle. This head structure provides for strong, powerful jaws, well capable of grasping and maintaining a hold on vermin. Dentition is of utmost importance to this breed to ensure their ability to dispatch prey. Lips are clean, dry, and tight, without flews. This prevents potential injury to the dog’s lips when capturing prey.

The loin is short, slightly arched, and muscular. This helps to maintain a healthy back and provides great strength and power to the rear legs, providing speed, agility, and drive while hunting and treeing. The chest between the forelegs is well filled in on either side of a prominent sternum, and the ribs extend well back and are well sprung, forming a broad, strong back, then curving down and inward to form a deep body. This provides for full lung capacity during the chase and for power and strength in forward motion.

The forechest is well developed, shoulders are strong and muscular but without heaviness that would impede the hunt. The feet are compact, with thick pads and strong nails. Their compactness reduces friction while running; the thick pads protect the feet from forest debris and stones and roots when digging; the strong nails are essential both above and below ground and in facilitating forward motion when running.

The coat is short and dense, thus providing no grip holds for vermin. Its short length prevents tangling up in the undergrowth of forest and field.

In terms of gait, Teddies have a lively, effortless, ground-covering trot that displays an air of agility and power. Forelegs reach well and extend forward without too much lift, which conserves energy during the hunt. They are in unison with the strong driving power of the rear quarters, a perfect balance for a hunting terrier.

Form and structure notwithstanding, a breed also needs to have the appropriate temperament and personality to perform the functions for which it was bred. Teddies are intelligent, lively, alert, emotionally stable, and affectionate with well-developed pack instincts. They thrive on human companionship, which allows them to take direction well. These are the personalities required to be a good hunting dog and working farm dog as well as a good family dog. Our preservation breeders have bred these dogs not only with hunting ability but also with heart.

In addition to their work as farm and hunting dogs, their form, structure, and personalities have led to our Teddies earning titles across the AKC Companion Dog and Performance Dog spectrum. Our Teddies have achieved the highest levels in Obedience, Rally, and Agility. They are competing at the national level in Trick Dog and Fast CAT. The breed is also participating in Barn Hunt trials and Dock Diving competitions. They have earned Farm Dog Certifications, Scent Work titles, and CABT titles. In addition, Teddy Roosevelt Terriers have also shown their companionable personalities, earning Canine Good Citizen, Temperament Test, and Virtual Home Manners titles.

These lovable and hardworking little dogs can do it all!