Majorca Ratter

Pippa Elliott
Dr Pippa Elliott (BVMS MRCVS, University of Glasgow)
Photo of adult Majorca Ratter
Bertet /

The Majorca Ratter has the characteristics and traits of a typical terrier. This small but lively dog is the result of the inbreeding of dogs imported onto the island of Majorca in the 19th century. Originally a working dog, they were bred to hunt vermin and keep the rat population in check.

In more modern times, this engaging breed, with the looks of a Min Pin and the character of a terrier, is rising in popularity as a pet. They are intelligent dogs that respond well to an active lifestyle and will reward their owner with devoted affection.

On the downside, they can be a little on the anxious side, which makes them appear snappy when ill at ease. They also have a strong prey drive, meaning they aren’t the best house mates with cats or small mammals.

About & History

The Majorca Ratter is a breed that came into existence as a working dog, rather than one bred for their looks. Being the result of necessity, rather than design, their exact origins are unclear.

However, it’s widely accepted that the Majorca Ratter is an offshoot of and close relative to a Spanish breed, the Gos Rater Valencià . This dog originates from Valencia on the Spanish coast. It’s thought that in the early 19th century settlers left Valencia for Majorca (given its close geographical proximity) taking their native dog with them.

Once on the island of Majorca, these imported ratters bred together to form a distinct line that became the Majorca Ratter. The isolation of the island was sufficient to allow the breed to develop their own characteristics, despite being closely related to the Gos Ratter.

But, let’s not forget these dogs had a job to do, which was keeping down the rat population. To do this, the Majorca Ratter developed their own hunting style that is rather distinctive. Instead of using raw speed to capture their prey like many hounds, they seem to have learned an almost cat-like technique. This involves creeping slowly towards their quarry and then using the power in their muscular back legs to leap forward and pounce on them.

In modern times, the Majorca Ratter is appreciated for their affectionate nature and energy levels. To preserve the numbers of this breed, in 1990, the Mallorca Ratting Dog Club was set up. Their aim is to preserve the breed’s traits and appearance by raising awareness and selective breeding to keep the bloodlines true. These efforts are successful with the rising popularity of this small breed.


Majorca Ratter Large Photo
Bertet /

A quick glance at a Majorca Ratter and you could be forgiven for mistaking them as a Min Pin. These small dogs with a short smooth coat have prick ears and are most frequently black and tan.

But coat colour does vary and, unlike the Min Pin, white or tan or even tricolour are acceptable. Another feature is that the breed standard describes them as tailless. However, not all pups are born without tails and, sadly, this can mean docking in the first couple of days of life.

Character & Temperament

Originally a hunting dog, the Majorca Ratter has a strong prey drive. This can make him prone to stalking other pets in the house, which could end in tears. Another aspect of their breeding is that they have a loud bark, which makes for them being a great watchdog. Given their small size, their physical presence won’t see off intruders but their bark is one of a much bigger dog.

One of the outstanding features of the Majorca Ratter is that when treated well by their owner, they are loyal and affectionate without fault. It is, however, essential to ensure the pups are well socialised from an early age. This reduces a natural tendency to anxiety, and this defensiveness can manifest itself as snappiness.


Although an independent thinker, the Majorca Ratter will look to their owner for guidance. The trick is to use reward-based training methods, which encourages good behaviour so the dog is eager to repeat them.


There is a paucity of data about health problems associated with this breed. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are the epitome of good health – more that the data hasn’t been recorded. We can, however, make some reasonable assumptions about possible health conditions that may affect the Majorca Ratter, including fractured bones given their small size and build.

Fractured Bones

The small size and the light build of the Majorca Ratter, do place them at increased risk of broken bones. The long bones of the legs are especially vulnerable since they are both slender and long.

Whilst these active fellows certainly don’t need to be kept wrapped in cotton wool, it is a good idea not to take unnecessary risks. For example, jumping from a height should be avoided. This is because the massive concussive force of hitting the ground risks transferring through the bone and fracturing a limb.

Again, because of their slim nature, fixing these broken bones is no simple matter. It requires an internal fixation technique using a plate, pins, or screws; and so the scenario of needing fixation is best avoided in the first place.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Small size is no predictor of how much energy a dog has. Despite being on the diminutive side, the Majorca Ratter is energetic and needs daily exercise off lead. They also thrive when given mental challenges, which makes them great candidates for activities, such as agility or obedience training.


That short coat requires little by way of grooming. A regular slick over with a brush helps to put a gloss on the coat and remove shed hair.

Famous Majorca Ratters

To find out more about this pint-sized canine character check out their breed society. There are also a handful of photographs of the breed on Instagram.


Current breeding efforts are targeted at preserving this unique breed. Thus, deliberate hybrid mating is discouraged.

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