Teddy Roosevelt Terrier

Canis lupus

Last updated: May 27, 2024
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
Michele M Vogel/Shutterstock.com

The breed was named in President Theodore Roosevelt's honor when it was officially recognized in 1999.


Teddy Roosevelt Terrier Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Teddy Roosevelt Terrier Locations

Teddy Roosevelt Terrier Locations

Teddy Roosevelt Terrier Facts

Fun Fact
The breed was named in President Theodore Roosevelt's honor when it was officially recognized in 1999.
Active, intelligent, and eager to please
Common Name
Teddy Roosevelt Terrier

Teddy Roosevelt Terrier Physical Characteristics

  • Black
  • White
  • Tan
Skin Type
15 years
17.5 lbs

Teddy Roosevelt Terrier as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Warm climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
$500 to $900
Dog group
Male weight
8-17.5 lbs
Female weight
8-17.5 lbs

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Teddy Roosevelt Terriers are often called “Teddies.”

The Teddy Roosevelt Terrier is an American ratting dog that shares its personality traits, coat colors, and breed origin with the rat terrier. The dogs have a low-set, small to mid-sized body and muscular frame with a coat that can be many combinations of colors. However, their colors must include white to qualify for breed standards. They have distinctly shorter legs than their rat terrier cousins.

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An energetic and active breed that has not forgotten its hunting dog origins, these dogs often called “Teddies” are loyal to their family and also make great pets in all kinds of homes from country farms to city apartments. Overall, they have a positive temperament and function well in domestic households for a working dog.

Infographic of Teddy Roosevelt Terrier

3 Pros and Cons of Owning a Teddy Roosevelt Terrier

Compatible with Other Dogs
The Teddy Roosevelt Terrier generally gets along well with other dogs in the field or at home. While they can be very attached or possessive of their owners, they aren’t known for their belligerence towards other canines.
High Activity Levels
While this trait can be as much of a positive as a negative, prospective owners should be prepared for frequent exercise. This breed needs lots of activity throughout its daily life and prefers variable activity that allows them to put their intelligence to work.
Energetic and Friendly
These terriers may be small, but they have plenty of affection to share and energy to spare. This makes them endearing and exciting companions for individuals and families, especially when raised alongside children or other pets.
High Obesity Risk
These dogs have a rather stout, broad and muscular frame proportionally to their size. This means they accumulate weight relatively quickly and can have a hard time shedding excess fat, so owners need to monitor their weight gain carefully.
Easy to Train
As hunting and working dogs, Teddies are also receptive to training and greatly benefit from it. Owners should take the time to instill verbal commands and maintain a basic daily structure at the very least.
Single Owner Oriented
While these dogs have a positive reputation as sociable family dogs, they can become particularly attached to individuals. This isn’t a problem for single owners, but families should take care to encourage the dog to spend time and bond with everyone in the household.

Evolution and Origins

Teddy Roosevelt Terriers have a complex ancestry that includes many terrier breeds originally brought to the Americas by European immigrants. Manchester terriers, bull terriers, Italian greyhounds, and beagles are among the breeds thought to contribute to their genetic makeup.

While President Theodore Roosevelt was not a known owner of the rat terrier or instrumental in the development of Teddy terriers, the breed was named in his honor when it was officially recognized in 1999. The president was a known dog lover who admired several of the canines he kept during his time in the White House. He praised his dog Skip in a letter lauding the animal’s loyalty, friendly demeanor, and ability to control the building’s rodent population.

This breed was named in President Theodore Roosevelt’s honor when it was officially recognized in 1999.

Health and Entertainment for your Teddy Roosevelt Terrier

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Size and Weight

Kennel Club guidelines for these terriers requires a minimum height of 8 inches for a grown adult with a maximum of 14 inches. Appropriate length is usually determined as a ratio to height, with the ideal height to length ratio being 7:10. Some of the biggest Teddies weigh in at 25 pounds, but adults can also be as small as 8 pounds when fully grown.

Height (Male)11.5’ Tall
Height (Female)11.5’ Tall
Weight (male)17.5 lbs, fully grown
Weight (female)17.5 lbs, fully grown

Common Health Issues

These terriers are considered a healthy breed and generally, live to reach their expected lifespan of 15 years or older. Most health issues seen in the breed are similar to those in rat terriers, including skin allergies, bite misalignment, and a rare eye disorder called ectopia lentis. They can also suffer from various joint problems like subluxated patella and dysplasia of the hip or elbow.

  • Allergies
  • Malocclusions
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Subluxating patella.


High intelligence is a defining characteristic of the breed, which makes them interesting companions and ones that require real engagement from owners. Their alert and intuitive nature go along with strong protective instincts. They are generally tolerant of other pets in their own household and rarely engage in direct belligerent activities with other canines. These traits also make them a good fit for families with children, especially if they grow up around kids.

Teddies are very owner-oriented dogs, which is a defining feature of their personality. This temperament drives them to participate in just about any activity that they can when their family is involved. They are very eager to please and are prone to suffering from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods.

Adult Male Teddy Roosevelt Terrier

The Teddy Roosevelt Terrier’s alert and intuitive nature go along with strong protective instincts.

How to Take Care of Teddy Roosevelt Terriers

Owners of Teddy Roosevelt terriers should be prepared to spend a lot of time with them whether they are mature adults or young puppies. Providing attention, exercise opportunities, and diligent weight management are all important for their overall well-being.

The Best Dog Food for Teddy Roosevelt Terriers

High-quality food mixtures are recommended for these terriers to ensure good coat quality and overall health. Home-prepared meal plans should be supervised and affirmed by a veterinarian. These dogs do have a propensity for weight gain, so owners need to carefully manage their pet’s total calorie intake. Small, lean treats are also recommended for training exercises.

Many Teddy Roosevelt Terriers have sensitivities and allergies. Fortunately, owners have plenty of allergy-control dog foods to choose from.

At A-Z Animals, we choose Merrick Lil Plates Small Breed Dry Dog Food with Real Meat as the best dog food for Teddy Roosevelt Terriers.

We match Teddy Roosevelt Terriers with this food, because it leaves out unnecessary ingredients like potatoes, lentils, and peas. Instead, there’s real, wholesome lamb, chicken, and rice, with glucosamine for the joints, fiber for better digestion. This protein-rich kibble’s crunchy texture also improves teeth and gums.

Merrick Lil Plates Small Breed Real Meat dog food is available on Amazon.

Best for Small Breeds
Merrick Lil' Plates Small Breed Dry Dog Food with Real Meat
  • Real lamb and brown rice small dog breed recipe
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy hips and joints
  •  Probiotics and prebiotic fiber supports healthy digestion
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Maintenance and Grooming

These terriers don’t require much in the way of grooming and maintenance, although they do go through periods of seasonal shedding. A soft brush or mitt should be used to groom their coat about once a week. Occasional bathing and nail trimming are also recommended, especially for younger dogs that are active outdoors. Owners should also consider brushing their dog’s teeth and cleaning excess wax from their ears to keep their pet in good health.

A soft brush or mitt should be used to groom your Teddy Roosevelt Terrier about once a week.


Since Teddies are very eager to please their owners and are highly intelligent, training is usually quite easy. They respond well to verbal praise from their owners as well as the occasional treat to reinforce the right behavior. The breed is also known for its steadfastness and determination, which means they are unlikely to give up or become discouraged even if they don’t succeed right away. Balanced training that includes agility exercises, obedience, and other activities is recommended.


Even though these terriers are small dogs with short legs, owners can easily tire themselves out before their pet is ready to give up. Teddies need a lot of physical exercise to get all the excess energy out of their system. Fetch games with balls or discs are a good way to run some of their exuberance out of their system. Hiking and swimming are also acceptable activities, although owners should ensure their dog has a safety harness and secure the leash to prevent accidents. These dogs should get about an hour of activity a day and healthy adults should get 10 to 12 miles of walking each week.

Happy Teddy Roosevelt Terrier playing outside

Teddies need a lot of physical exercise to get all the excess energy out of their system.


Teddy Roosevelt terrier puppies have many of the same special considerations as adults. They have high energy levels and need regular activity starting once they are steady on their feet. They also respond well to training at an early age, so owners should take advantage of this to instill basic obedience and attentiveness to verbal cues in the first few months of their life. Puppies should also be exposed to children, cats, and other dogs in a safe manner to encourage a positive attitude towards them in the future.

Happy Teddy Roosevelt Terrier puppy playing on field of Clover

Teddy Roosevelt Terrier puppies have high energy levels and need regular activity.

Teddy Roosevelt Terriers and Children

These terriers are generally considered a good family dog and safe to have around children. However, they can have a tendency to bond with their primary owners, usually, the parents, who take them for walks, engage in training, and provide food. Parents of children should involve their children in pet care to ensure bonding with all family members.

Dogs Similar to Teddy Roosevelt Terriers

  • Bull Terrier — Bull terriers are short, muscular, and activity-oriented, much like Teddies. However, they are much more independent-minded and can be harder to train.
  • Beagle — Much like Teddy Roosevelt Terriers, beagles are loyal and intelligent companions that are comfortable inside and outside. Both are good family pets with a solid lifespan, but beagles can be more difficult to train.
  • Whippet — While they are different from Teddies in proportions and appearance, they share many personality characteristics. Both breeds have strong pursuit instincts, high energy levels, and are of comparable size.
Why are dogs are better than cats?

Beagles are similar to Teddy Roosevelt Terriers as they are loyal and intelligent companions.

  • Teddy
  • Skip
  • Gigi
  • Taffy
  • Bella
  • Jack
  • Tucker

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What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?
About the Author

Catherine Gin has more than 15 years of experience working as an editor for digital, print and social media. She grew up in Australia with an alphabet of interesting animals, from echidnas and funnel-web spiders to kookaburras and quokkas, as well as beautiful native plants including bottlebrushes and gum trees. Being based in the U.S. for a decade has expanded Catherine's knowledge of flora and fauna, and she and her husband hope to have a hobby farm and vegetable garden in future.

Teddy Roosevelt Terrier FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How much does a Teddy Roosevelt Terrier cost to own?

Purebred puppies for this breed usually cost between $600 and $900 outright. Since they are small and don’t have a special diet or grooming considerations, maintenance costs are typical or below average for dogs of their size.

Is a Teddy Roosevelt Terrier good with kids?

Teddies are generally good family dogs and get along well with kids. The smaller size and high energy levels are a good match for children of all ages.

What is the life expectancy of a Teddy Roosevelt Terrier?

The breed is relatively healthy and suffers from few life-threatening genetic illnesses. This means they often reach their expected lifespan of 15 years or older.

How big does a Teddy Roosevelt Terrier get?

These dogs have quite a bit of variability in mature size. Height at the shoulders ranges from 8 to 15 inches and total weight can be anywhere from 8 to 25 pounds.

Do Teddy Roosevelt Terriers shed?

These terriers have a short coat and minimal grooming requirements but do go through seasonal shedding cycles each year.

What is the different between a Teddy Roosevelt Terrier vs. a rat terrier?

These two breeds are very similar, differing mainly in leg length and body proportions Rat terriers typically have a lighter frame and longer legs than Teddies. Rat terriers are also much less prone to barking.

Are Teddy Roosevelt Terriers good family dogs?

Teddies are considered a good choice for all kinds of families and home environments. They are active, entertaining, and obedient, but do require regular exercise and lots of attention.

Are Teddy Roosevelt Terriers herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

Teddy Roosevelt Terriers are carnivores, meaning they eat other animals.

What Kingdom do Teddy Roosevelt Terriers belong to?

Teddy Roosevelt Terriers belong to the Kingdom Animalia.

What is an interesting fact about Teddy Roosevelt Terriers?

Teddy Roosevelt Terriers are often just called ‘Teddies’ by owners.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.


  1. American Kennel Club / Accessed December 8, 2020
  2. United Teddy Roosevelt Terrier Club of America / Accessed December 8, 2020
  3. United Kennel Club / Accessed December 8, 2020
  4. American Terry Roosevelt Terrier Club / Accessed December 8, 2020
  5. Wikipedia / Accessed December 8, 2020