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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > Teddy Roosevelt Terrier Dog Breed: Pictures, Guide, Info, Care & More!

Teddy Roosevelt Terrier Dog Breed: Pictures, Guide, Info, Care & More!

Teddy Roosevelt Terrier outside in leaves

The Teddy Roosevelt Terrier is a type of Rat Terrier that was supposedly a favorite dog breed of President Teddy Roosevelt, although, there is no evidence to prove that he owned one of this specific breed! These dogs were first developed in the United States and are a result of breeding small to medium-sized “ratter” dogs that came over with European immigrants.

Breed Overview


8-15 inches


8-25 pounds


14-16 years


Black, blue, chocolate, fawn, red, sable, white

Suitable for:

Farm life, families with small children, families with other dogs


Intelligent, playful, energetic, affectionate

As a breed, Teddy Roosevelt Terriers are highly intelligent dogs that will protect your home from both rats and humans that they perceive as a threat. They make excellent watchdogs who are loyal to their owners and incredibly obedient as well. Their playfulness and high energy levels make them a great companion for active families or those who want a dog that competes in shows.

If you’re interested in owning one of these dogs, you should know that they come in many different combinations of the colors listed above. Although they are small in size, they are very strong dogs who are fearless and highly capable of protecting both you and your family. For everything you need to know about Teddy Roosevelt Terriers, continue reading.

Teddy Roosevelt Terrier Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.


Teddy Roosevelt Terrier Puppies

If you’re considering owning a Teddy Roosevelt Terrier, the first thing you should know is that despite their small size, these are not good apartment dogs. These dogs were bred to hunt mice and other vermin. This, combined with their high energy levels and playfulness, means that these dogs need a home with wide-open spaces where they can run around and fulfill their purpose. A farm, or, at the very least, a home in a rural setting, is best for Teddy Roosevelt Terriers.

Going back to their energy and playfulness, Teddy Roosevelt Terriers require a lot of attention in order to keep them at their happiest. They aren’t hard to care for by any means, but they can be a handful. Don’t get one if you or your family members don’t have time to play with him or her. But if you’re excited by the sound of their personality and can spend time playing with your puppy, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about buying a Teddy Roosevelt Terrier puppy.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier

As we’ve already mentioned, Teddy Roosevelt Terriers can be a handful. But we mean that in the best possible way because these are not “bad” dogs by any means. They just have a very goofy personality and are highly energetic and affectionate toward their humans. They may want constant playtime and attention from their owners, but at the very least, they need a source of stimulation due to their high intelligence.

Speaking of intelligence, Teddy Roosevelt Terriers are easy to train and are very obedient. But they can get bored easily which may lead them to be destructive of things when they have nothing to keep them entertained and their humans are not around. Providing your dog with lots of toys, especially puzzle-type toys, is a great way to keep them entertained. For example, you can try those toys that you can put a treat inside so that he can spend time figuring out how to get the treat out.

Another reason that puzzle toys are good for Teddy Roosevelt Terriers is that they have a focus that is hard to match by any other dog breed. This is what makes them excellent trackers of small vermin, such as mice, chipmunks, and squirrels that can wreak havoc on a garden. Once they pick up the scent of something, it’s hard to get them to give up on it. They will track it until they find it, which is why they are good dogs to have around your farm.

The last thing you need to know about Teddy Roosevelt Terriers is that they make excellent watchdogs. There is very little, if anything, that frightens these pups. Due to being highly affectionate and fiercely loyal to their owners, they will not back down to an intruder or another perceived threat. They are also very vocal, meaning they will alert you if something is wrong.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Teddy Roosevelt Terriers are great family dogs, especially for families with small children. When a Teddy Roosevelt Terrier is raised alongside your child, they will form a very strong bond with each other. Your dog will do whatever it takes to protect your child along with the rest of your family, but they are only aggressive toward things they see as a threat.

You won’t have to worry about your child getting hurt as long as you teach both your child and your dog how to behave around each other. Plus, these dogs are intelligent enough to know that they need to be more careful among small children.

That doesn’t mean that you should leave a small child alone with your dog. Older children and teenagers are fine, but small children should always be supervised around animals to prevent any kind of accident from happening.

Even though they know to be more careful around children, a Teddy Roosevelt Terrier may still be too much for a small child to handle by themselves due to their high energy levels. Along those same lines, Teddy Roosevelt Terriers may not be a good dog for elderly people either, due to their energy and the amount of playtime that they need.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Teddy Roosevelt Terriers tend to have a pack mentality, which means that they can get along great with other dogs. Unless you have another dog breed that isn’t okay with other pets, you shouldn’t have to worry about your Teddy Roosevelt Terrier. However, it is still important that you socialize your pets properly and don’t try to force a relationship.

The only issue that you might have with a Teddy Roosevelt Terrier regarding other pets is if you have small animals. Because of their history with hunting vermin and rodents, they may not see your pet hamster or guinea pig as a pet and may instead see it as something they need to get rid of. Watch your dog closely around these pets, or keep the door closed to the room that the small pet stays in.


Things to Know When Owning a Teddy Roosevelt Terrier:

Now that you’ve learned everything there is to know about the personality and temperament of a Teddy Roosevelt Terrier, here are some important things to know about keeping them at their happiest and healthiest.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Teddy Roosevelt Terriers, like all dogs, benefit from high-quality dog food. The best dog food will be high in meat-based proteins, which will help to keep your dog’s muscles lean but strong. You want to avoid dog foods that are high in calories, as smaller dogs are more prone to obesity due to not being able to spend the same amount of energy that they consume.

With that being said, you mustn’t overfeed your Teddy Roosevelt Terrier. Adult dogs of this size should only be eating about one to two cups of food per day, divided up between two meals. Puppies should eat even less, usually around ½ cup to one cup of food per day. It is important to feed puppies food that is specifically designed for them, as the smaller kibbles will be easier to eat and digest.

Due to being prone to obesity, you also want to be careful not to give your dog too many treats. You should also avoid feeding too much human food to your dog, as it may not contain the right balance of nutrients that your dog needs to stay healthy.

Finally, you’ll want to make sure that your dog doesn’t eat any of the small animals that he or she might kill. Animals, especially mice, can carry diseases that may affect your dog’s health. You may need to teach him to leave what he kills alone.

Exercise 🐕

Teddy Roosevelt Terriers need a minimum of one hour of exercise per day. It doesn’t have to happen all at once, but they will want to expend some of their energy through a variety of activities. Playing fetch, taking your dog for a long walk, or even chasing each other around the yard are great ways to provide him with the exercise you need. Get your kids involved too, that way they can stay healthy in addition to giving you a break from playtime.

Another great way to give a Teddy Roosevelt Terrier the exercise he needs is to enroll him in agility courses and competitions. Training him in this way can both stimulate him intellectually as well as provide him with daily exercise.

The key to exercising these dogs is that you want to be in control of the amount and type of exercise they get. They are going to use some of their energy whether or not they participate. But if you don’t provide them with an activity, they may resort to their own activities including digging and tearing stuff up. They don’t do it to be destructive, but rather because they are bored. Planning activities and playing with your dog can ensure that he gets the right type of productive exercise.

Training 🎾

Training Teddy Roosevelt Terriers is very easy due to their high intelligence. However, training shouldn’t be optional with these dogs. It is a necessity to help keep some of their energy and personality in check. Otherwise, they can quickly become too much to handle.

With proper training, these dogs are highly obedient due to their loyalty and their desire to make their owners happy. They respond well to training because it gives them something to do and stimulates them mentally, especially once they learn that they can be rewarded with treats and praise. Just remember not to overdo it with treats since they often respond to general praise just as well.

Teaching your dog basic commands such as sit, stay, and roll over are a great way to start. But remember that you’ll also want to teach your dog to leave things alone, especially the small animals that they are likely to kill at some point. A simple phrase such as “drop it” or “leave it alone” should be easy for them to understand.

If you are inexperienced with training a dog or your techniques don’t seem to be effective, you can always reach out to a professional trainer for help. Once your Teddy Roosevelt Terrier has learned basic commands, you can start training him to respond to more advanced commands and even agility tricks.

Grooming ✂️

Due to their short coat, Teddy Roosevelt Terriers are very low maintenance as far as grooming is concerned. They will spend a lot of time outside, so they will get dirty. They are also medium-shedding dogs. Ultimately, how frequently you bathe them is up to you especially if you allow your dogs to stay inside.  But, bathing them at least once a month can help to keep their coat clean and control shedding.  Brushing them once a week can also help to keep dirt away and remove loose hair.

You’ll also want to keep a regular check on your dog’s teeth and ears. Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly can help prevent any dental issues. Checking their ears for mites, ticks, and wax buildup can also help prevent any hearing problems or ear infections.

Speaking of ticks, you’ll want to do regular inspections of your dog during the warmer months since these dogs tend to spend a lot of time outside. Fleas and ticks can carry diseases, including worms, so you may want to have your veterinarian prescribe flea and tick medicine to help keep them at bay.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Teddy Roosevelt Terriers tend to be relatively healthy dogs. Other than being prone to obesity, which you can easily control by feeding them a proper diet, there are only a few health conditions that you need to look out for.

Serious conditions include elbow and hip dysplasia, which can affect dogs of all breeds. These conditions are less likely to be seen in smaller dog breeds, but they can still happen, so it is important for your vet to screen for them. Have your vet check for Von Willebrand’s Disease and hypothyroidism as well.

Minor conditions that can affect dogs of all breeds, including Teddy Roosevelt Terriers, are eye conditions such as cataracts and lens luxation. Dental problems such as malocclusions can also affect this particular breed. But as long as your Teddy Roosevelt Terrier comes from a healthy bloodline and you take him to the vet for regular checkups, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about when it comes to his health.

Minor Conditions
  • Eye conditions
  • Malocclusion
Serious Conditions
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Von Willebrand’s disease

Male vs Female

Male Teddy Roosevelt Terriers may be slightly bigger in height and weight, but otherwise, it can be hard to tell them apart unless they are standing side-by-side. The biggest difference between the two comes in their personality, as females often mature faster mentally while males mature faster physically.

You may find that females are easier to train while males tend to become stronger much faster. Males are also more of a “tag-along” than females, who tend to stay out of your way when you’re doing something.

If you aren’t planning on breeding, it’s a good idea to have your dog spayed or neutered, especially if you have other dogs. In addition to preventing puppies, spaying and neutering can also prevent any unwanted behaviors.

divider-dog paw3 Little-Known Facts About the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier

1. There Is a Children’s Book Featuring a Teddy Roosevelt Terrier

The book is called Percy the Perfect Puppy by Helen Powell White. The book is a true story based on Teddy Roosevelt Terrier pup and his adventures and life.

2. They Have Been Successful in Locating a Certain Truffle

The black truffle is one of the most expensive foods in the world due to being difficult to grow and to find in the wild. Teddy Roosevelt Terriers are able to locate this fungus in the wild, even though it grows several inches underground.

3. They Are an Approved Breed for Participating in Earthdog Events

Earthdog events are a series of tests that were developed to gauge the ability of Terriers and Dachshunds to find rodents underground. The tests are non-competitive, but approved breeds are judged based on their hunting abilities.



If after reading this, you’ve decided that a Teddy Roosevelt Terrier is right for you, then you’ve made a good choice. Their goofy personality and playfulness are sure to bring a new level of joy to your life. By owning one of these dogs, you can have a loyal companion and protector that can also serve the purpose of keeping your home and yard free from vermin. As long as you have the time and attention to give, your dog is sure to be happy and you can enjoy his company for many years to come.

Featured Image Credit: addictedknitter, Shutterstock

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