We know. All dogs are beautiful and it’s a bit of an odd title. But you clicked on it! And whilst still adorable, smart, cute, and loveable… There's no denying there are some dogs that look like rats. Or at least have something rattish about them.
In fact, there are quite a few. Many, as you might guess, are small pups but there are a couple of medium-sized breeds on the list too. (Let’s all be grateful there are no medium-sized rats out there).
Some of the breeds are happy cuddling up on the couch and others need a bit more time outdoors. So, if you’re looking for a rodent-like pooch, you’re in the right place. Here are 15 of our favorites!
What Makes a Dog Look Like a Rat?
There’s no hard science to it. These are simply pups that we think could (almost) pass as rats. There are a couple of similarities in appearance though, which add to their rattish qualities.
- Coat. Some pups are hairless or have very short, sleek coats. It’s a quality that puts many of them on our list of the weirdest-looking dog breeds, often because it makes them look rodenty.
- Features. When it comes to dogs that look like rats, a British Bulldog obviously isn’t going to make the cut. That’s because its features are all wrong. Rat-like dogs tend to have pointy facial features, larger ears, smaller eyes, and – sometimes – larger teeth.
- Tails. Some pups look very rat-like thanks to their tails. These are often very long, thin, and hairless. A bit like a rat’s really.
- Size. As already mentioned, most of the pooches on this list are smaller breeds. Very small dogs automatically look more like rats thanks to their size, especially when they’re running around the dog park with Labradors or much bigger pups.
15 Dogs That Look Like Rats
Here are 15 breeds that, in our opinion, are the most rat-like ones. It’s worth remembering that even though these dogs might have made it onto this list, they’re still beautiful and deserve a loving and happy home.
Unfairly, ‘stranger-looking’ dogs often end up in shelters or are not as highly desired as the glossy-coated, in-no-way-resembling-a-rat, Golden Retrievers. So if you can, try to adopt one locally.
The smallest dog breed in the world definitely looks a little like a rat. Thanks to those big ears, long snout, and short size it covers quite a few criteria points for a rodent canine. Chihuahuas can either be long-haired or smooth-coated and the shorter, smoother coat definitely makes them look more rat-like.
Although small, Chihuahuas have big personalities. They’re not afraid to bark at other dogs and they’re not known for their social skills. They’re also not the best choice for families with young children.
Having said that, they’re very entertaining pups that are loyal to their owners. They’re also very adaptable, making them a good choice for city dwellers or those in an apartment.
Chinese Crested Dog
These small dogs are arguably the most rat-like breed around. Although we mostly think of them as hairless dogs, they can actually be coated too. They usually have tufts of hair on their head, small, beady eyes, and a long snout. According to the American Kennel Club, there are 11 standard colors for this breed, but their skin is often gray and pink. A bit like a rat’s.
Chinese Crested Dogs are loyal, alert, and affectionate. They make good watchdogs thanks to their alert nature and are happy to bark when they need to. They’re very playful and enjoy both outdoor and indoor games. They don’t need a lot of exercise, but a daily walk around the block or some time chasing a ball will keep them happy.
These dogs aren’t named after their somewhat rat-like appearance. They were originally bred to hunt and kill rats in factories and on farms. They were also sometimes used for rat baiting.
Although excellent at managing rodent infestations, farmers quickly bred these pups to be great all-round working dogs. They can hunt, make good watchdogs, and will even guard small farm animals.
Rat Terriers have a very short and easy-to-manage coat. They shed moderately so a weekly brush should be all that’s needed. They have large ears and a long snout on an otherwise fairly small face, which adds to them looking like a rat. The Rat Terrier is great with children and extremely lovey-dovey towards their family members.
Out of all the dogs on this list, I think the Papillon would like to be here the least. But these elegant little dogs can look quite ratty in the right light. They have a similar face structure to the Chihuahua, with a longer snout and large ears.
What makes them different, however, is the hair on their ears. ‘Papillon’ actually means butterfly in French and comes from their adorable wing-shaped ears. Granted, that makes them quite different from rats.
These beautiful dogs are loyal, loving, and get on really well with children. They’re playful, inquisitive, and enjoy walks outdoors although they don’t need that much exercise. Their wonderful coats can be many different colors. Because it’s fairly long, you can expect your Papillon to shed moderately and more when the seasons change.
Russian Toy Dog
Many people would confuse the Russian Toy Dog with a Chihuahua – and they do have many things in common.
They both have perky ears, a small stature, and a dainty body. Of course, they’re both two dogs that look like rats too.
The Russian Toy Dog, however, tends to be a little less ‘big dog in a small dog’s body’. They get along better with other animals and are better around children too. They’re also a little bigger than Chihuahuas.
Russian Toy Dogs are loyal and like to be around humans. They’re intrigued by the world around them and always want to please their owners. They’re intelligent and relatively easy to train. Their slick coats don’t require much grooming, although you will need to clean their teeth regularly. If you’re looking for a good family pet that’s adaptable too, then a Russian Toy is a good choice.
Just because the name suggests it (and they look a lot like them), Miniature Pinschers aren’t, in fact, Mini Doberman Pinschers.
Experts aren’t 100% sure of the breed’s origin, however, they think they’re a mix of the Italian Greyhound and the Dachshund. Like other pups here, they have small faces with pointy and elongated features and large ears. They’re skinny and have short coats too.
Miniature Pinschers are alert dogs that are always looking for something fun to do. They get along well with other dog breeds but they need to be socialized well from puppyhood. As is the case with any small dog, children should be supervised when playing with them. Rough play can end in injuries for such small pups.
You might have to use your imagination for this one, but trust us, under all that fluffy hair, is a distinctly rat-like pup. We should mention that the American Kennel Club acknowledges the German Spitz as a unique breed, but the FCI views German Spitz to be the same family as Pomeranians and Keeshonds.
The adorable pups have large, pointed ears and long noses. They started off as peasant dogs that were used as watchdogs and family pets, but they soon became beloved dogs for European royalty.
They’re not hugely affectionate but are loyal to those they love and know. They’re active and can get along well with dogs they get used to.
Pomeranians are one of the most popular toy breeds in Europe and America. These cute little balls of fluff are funny, active, and great companions. They’re a brilliant choice for those living in cities as they don’t need much exercise.
Although active, they’re happy chasing a ball around your lounge too. It’s still important, however, to take them out to stimulate their brains.
These fluffy dogs can have more than 20 different coat colors, but red or orange are the most common. They have a double coat (which you can tell) so a good brush every couple of days is required. Just like other dog breeds on this list, the Pomeranian has a pointy face and relatively large ears (although you may have to find them under all that fur).
Whippets are amazing family dogs. These sweet-natured canines love to spend time with their humans and are always up for family excursions. Whippets are one of the fastest dog breeds in the world (just like their, very similar, slightly larger cousins the Greyhound). Whippets can have many different coat colors but gray, in particular, makes them look rattier.
These thin dogs have very pointed faces, short coats, and large ears. They don’t need much grooming but their lack of a warm coat does mean they need extra protection in colder weather.
It’s also really important to socialize your Whippet so that they don’t become overly nervous. They can be timid, so positive reinforcement is the best way to train them (and other breeds).
As their name would suggest, the Pharaoh Hound is an ancient breed. In fact, dogs that look a lot like Pharaoh Hounds have been found on the pyramids in Egypt. These egyptian dogs were first bred to hunt in difficult terrain, so they’re a hardy breed. They’re fast, friendly, and like socializing with other dogs.
These pooches have beautiful, golden coats. Whilst that’s not the color we associate with rats, they do have pointy features and large ears.
Something that really makes these beautiful dogs stand out is their amber-colored eyes, eye rims, and noses. Because they’re a hunting breed they need regular exercise. It’s best if they have a fenced-in yard to play in too, to use up some extra energy.
The Silky Terrier is a great combination of both looks and personality. They have an incredible, silky coat that’s often in a beautiful blue and tan shade.
Whilst not many of us think of rats as having long, silky coats (it’s actually not that nice to even think about), these dogs do have similar characteristics to other breeds here. They have pointy features, are a toy breed, and have large, alert ears.
Like other Terriers, the Silky Terrier is a confident dog. They may still have a prey drive, so you should take care around small animals and other vermin. They’re slightly bigger than their Yorkshire Terrier cousins and they originated in Sydney rather than the North of England. But they are quite similar!
Greyhounds are wonderfully fast dogs that are significantly bigger than Whippets and Italian Greyhounds. They’re the most famous racing dogs in the world. Although fast (they can reach speeds of up to nearly 70 km per hour) they don’t need that much exercise. They’ll be happy going for a good sprint and then relaxing at home with you.
This is one of the biggest dogs that look like rats and it’s mainly down to their head shape, long snout, and beady eyes. Greyhounds have a really strong prey drive, so it’s essential they’re always on a leash or in a fenced-in area. They’re incredible sighthounds which means they’ll see prey far away long before you do. They can be sensitive, so lots of early socialization is needed.
Ibizan Hounds are similar in stature to Pharaoh Hounds. In fact, they’re the same color too which means they’re easily mixed up. Ibizan Hounds are also an ancient breed from Spain, but it’s thought they too, could be descendants of Egyptian dogs. The amazing Ibizan Hound is an incredible sprinter and leaper.
These pooches are affectionate, versatile, and trainable, which makes them great family pets. They’re intelligent and eager to please and do best in a loving and positive environment. Their relatively short coat doesn’t require much grooming, but you should clean their ears and brush their teeth.
Your Ibizan Hound won’t have a small body, but it is slender which does make them look quite rat-like.
Dachshunds are iconic and recognizable by all. They have elongated bodies, floppy ears, short little legs, and long tails. Whilst their body shape may not seem very ‘dog-like’, it’s perfect for what they were made to do. These pups were first bred to hunt badgers. Their long bodies let them go down the burrows easily.
Dachshunds can have both long or short coats. It’s fair to say that the shorter-coated variety looks a lot more like a rat than the one with gloriously flowing locks. Still, both have a distinctive rat-shaped nose and beady eyes (they can have beautiful blue eyes too). Dachshunds are very affectionate with humans they know, in fact, they can be a little over-excitable. They’re cute and a popular family dog for a reason.
How adorable are Yorkshire Terriers? As far as dog breeds go, they’re one of the most popular. These wonderful dogs can have long hair (which often means they have a very cute ponytail on their heads) or they can be groomed to have a shorter coat.
Yorkies tend to have long noses which can be turned up, giving them a distinctive ratty look.
They’re a fun-loving dog breed and enjoy nothing more than playing in the yard with their humans. They get on really well with children and will be their best friend if they let them. They’re not overly yappy but they don’t mind using their voice when they need to. They make great guard dogs because of this. As one of the more versatile Terrier breeds, they’re incredibly popular for those living in apartments and in the city.
Whilst we’re not saying that any of these beautiful pooches are like vermin, there is definitely a ‘rat’ look that some pups have. Whether it’s their lack of hair, coat color, pointy ears, size, or features, there are definitely quite a few dogs that look like rats.
Can you think of any others that you’d add to the list? We’d love to know!
I’m Charlotte, a content and copywriter from the North of England and currently living in Berlin. Animals have always been a huge part of my life, so writing about dogs is a total pleasure! I love all kinds of dogs and their cheeky personalities, but I’d have to say Weimaraners are my favourite!