The Ratese is a small companion dog cross-bred from the Maltese and the American Rat Terrier. While the origins of the American Rat Terrier are pretty clear, the Maltese, despite its being named after the island of Malta, is also argued to be from Sicily or even Asia. There are references to it in the works of ancient Greeks, and it is known to be one of the oldest breeds of dog. A breed singularity is that the Maltese of today is of the same size as the breed of old, despite probable cross-breeding down the line.

The American Rat Terrier was originally bred to help out around farms by keeping them free of rodents and pests. This largely rural dog is quick and agile, a hard worker and loyal family pet as well.

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