Nimh Kennel
Rat Terriers

Rat Terrier/Kennel Q&A

Here are some of the questions we get asked, of course feel free to ask us again or even ask us to elaborate etc 🙂

Q: What does NIMH stand for?
A: NIMH comes from a book, ‘The Rats of Nimh’ (and the Secret of Nimh movie).  In the book, NIMH refers to the National Institute of Mental Health.  We use NIMH as a sort of play on words, we have the Rat (Terriers) of NIMH.  It was a favorite movie of mine as a child and the name just fit for our Kennel.
Plus we’re pretty sure we’re crazy for our passion, Dogs… lol

Q: Why did you personally get involved in this breed?
A: I got involved with showing & raising Rat Terriers because my first dog was a Rat Terrier we had picked up as a stray.  I had him for my first 16yrs of life and even though I looked at other breeds to show and raise I always found myself coming back to the Rat Terriers.  I have always loved the calm yet energetic nature of this breed.  They aren’t over the top like some terriers but can still keep up with my crazy whims and enjoy doing it.
Ever since I was little I’d stack our family pets in front of the TV while I watched the dog shows like the Eukanuba or Westminster, I’d even gate them out in the front yard to play ‘dog show’.  Showing dogs was what I wanted to do, and breeding kind of came as a second thought.

Q: Can any Rat Terrier be a Performance Dog?
A: We say Yes & No…. We say this because some dogs just don’t like to ‘perform’ or show off.  We’ve seen some dogs that don’t like the show ring and we don’t force it upon them but is more than happy to go out to the local stores and grace the world with their charming presents.  But if you have a puppy and keep it socialized and start training early with positive games etc you should have no problem raising your perfect performance dog.  Now be mindful we cant guarantee you’re raising the next National Winner but you’re more than likely raising something that will be fun to compete with.  I mean really, can you ever say you didn’t have fun if your spending the day with your four legged friend?! i didn’t think so.

Q: What do you feed your dogs and what would you like buyers to feed?
A: Sportmix Wholesome Chicken and Rice; I’d like my puppy buyers to feed a like or better brand.  I enjoy to research dog foods.

Q: What do you consider a successful breeding?
A: A successful breeding, to me, is getting a litter of puppies of which have almost identical characteristics; the consistency is seen as you examine the whole litter.  The characteristics of the litter bring in the good points of both the dog and bitch with minimal faults from both as well.

Q: Have you ever had a real disaster of a litter?
A: Yes, we had a whole litter that was just really lacking in bone with snippy muzzles, which whole litter has been petted out.  None have been used for breeding.  We also petted out the sire of the litter because we had good reason to believe most of the finer characteristics came from him and have since confirmed this thought as well.

Q: What kind of owners tend to do best with your dogs?
A: Most of our dogs do great with first time dog owners and households with respectful children as well as older couples etc.  As long as these dogs are given some sort of play time during the day, whether it’s a game of fetch in the fenced backyard or a brisk walk around the neighborhood these dogs tend to adapt very well to many situations and not offer too many frustrations for any pet parent level.
** A good rule of thumb: A tired dog has a happy owner! **

Q: What’s one thing people often don’t know about this breed that you wish they did?
A: I wish people knew how ‘not Jack Russell’ they are. lol.  These dogs are very versatile but don’t do it at hyper speed.  These are the best couch potato dogs ever, i think, and they don’t take up much room on the sofa if you just have a couple. If you have more then it’s another story. lol

Q: If I buy a puppy from you, do you call me or should I call you?
A: The phone works both ways.  I’m sure I’ll call and check on the puppy and my phone is open for any questions you may have, and brags are accepted too. 🙂

Q: Can two dogs of the same gender live peacefully together?
A: The only time I’ve ever heard of major quarrels was with two females living together (they were even altered).  I find that Males are more docile in comparison to females.  But even with males, a hierarchy is best set and maintained to reduce the chances of confrontations.  Also always a good practice to neuter your males (and females) to reduce some territorial problems, basically takes their minds off ‘other things’.  If you are concerned about scuffles between dogs, it is suggested to get an altered male/altered female pair, as these pairings tend to have less issues that I’ve seen.  We tend to always let our dogs out in male/female or male/male pairs as long as there aren’t females in heat and they do just fine.

Q: Can you guarantee a size or ear carriage of a puppy?
A: There is no way to tell for sure what size a puppy will mature or what ear carriage they will have, we can make an educated guess based on pedigree but because genes aren’t an exact science we can’t place a guarantee on our ‘guestimate’.

Q: Do you ship?
A: The only way we will ship is if the Buyer flies in to pick up the puppy.  Due to a new USDA regulation, Animal Welfare Act, and for us to stay within compliance, we can no longer ship our puppies sight-unseen to a Buyer.  However, you may designate an ‘agent’ to view/purchase the dog on your behalf and then have it shipped to you without you ever seeing the puppy.
Buyer will be responsible for any excess fees, including but not limited to: health certificate, flight ticket, crate, gas 1 way for us to get to airport with puppy etc.
We are closest to Roanoke Regional Airport & Tricities Regional Airport, we can also get to Charlotte Douglas International Airport if a flight to either of the other two airports is unavailable.

Q: Do you stud out your males?
A: To this day, we have not, we will consider outside requests but a few things to consider that we will not stud out to: We will not stud out to ‘toys/tots’, we will not stud out to merles, we will not stud out to unregistered or untested females, we will not stud out to your female because you feel she ‘needs to be a mommy’ or your children ‘should witness the miracle of birth’… those are just a few basics.

Q: What vaccinations do you recommend?
A: While the puppies are in our care they will at least get a parvo shot and a distemper shot (as well as de-worming).  We do not give 5ways (or 7way) vaccinations and only vaccinate for parvo and distemper (and rabies by law) in our dogs.  We recommend staying away from Lepto as smaller dogs have a higher probability of reaction.  We also do not recommend combo shots (5/7ways) due to higher probability of reaction as well.  We do not vaccinate for lyme disease due to it only ‘maybe’ vaccinating against 4 strands of MANY out there.  Vaccinations are not a sure bet and we do have mixed feelings about their pros & the cons.  We suggest if you want your dog fully vaccinate give each illness’s vaccination one at a time, not in a combo vaccine to reduce the risk of allergic reaction.

Q: Do you offer guarantees?
A: The only guarantee we offer at Nimh Kennels is a 48hour congenital defect guarantee.  Meaning, by contract, you are to take your puppy to your vet of choice for a physical.  If your vet finds a life threatening birth defect or disease, you may return the puppy within 48hours of purchase with a written statement from the veterinarian.  We require the affliction to have been present at birth for the guarantee to apply.  Buyer may elect to keep puppy and assume costs and responsibility for the puppy.  Under no circumstances is there a refund or monitory settlement presented, if puppy is returned buyer may elect to choose another puppy if one is available or may choose to be put on the list for a puppy from a future litter.

The reason we do it this way is because no matter how much you try, genes will be a roll of the dice.  Genetics, due to their diversity, cannot be guaranteed.  We choose to not instill false security in our buyers but instead choose to greatly reduce the risk of defects by testing to give a much larger chance of a healthy puppy than one that results from unknown linage.  It is a goal that overtime, with a database of results, we can pinpoint more accurately and will be able to confidently guarantee against any defect, illness, etc.  We are getting closer and closer every day!  Example: DNA test for Primary Lens Luxation.

Q:  How are your puppies whelped/raise?
A:  Our pups are whelped in the house, in my office/dog room.  They get the full smells and noises of the house starting from birth.  My son  is a constant help and with me in the puppy pen so they are exposed to children from day 1 as well.  They will get outtings into the yard as they get older and the weather appropriate.

They are litter box trained from 4 weeks of age.  We’ve had wonderful feedback as to this method helping make housebreaking easier.  We are happy to offer soiled litter to put in an area you’d like your puppy to potty outside so they have a familiar smell to associate with their potty area.

Q:  How many litters do you have a year and how often are your girls bred?
A:  We have anywhere from 1-2 litters a year on average.
We tend to allow our girls to produce 3, max 4, litters in their lifetime if they are producing what we like to see and need for the continuation and success of our program.  We only breed a bitch when she is in peek condition and bounced back from raising a litter.
They aren’t bred until 2+years of age and health testing is done to know what we’re working with.