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Twin sister terriers are not even the same breed

They fool everyone with similar looks and personalities


by: BARBARA SHERMAN - THEY DON'T KNOW THEY'RE DIFFERENT - Summerfield resident Paul Ochs holds Ellie (left), a rat terrier, and Maggie, an American toy fox terrier.Paul Ochs is known by all his Summerfield neighbors because he walks his two dogs daily and stops to chat.

Ellie, 4, is a rat terrier, "but she was the runt of the litter," said Paul, who co-parents with his wife Nancy. "She weighs seven pounds, and her parents were on site at the breeder's and weigh 16 to 17 pounds, and her two siblings were of normal weight.

"We got her at 7 weeks, and I could hold her in one hand. We were afraid she would fall through the drain holes in the street."

Maggie, 3, looks almost exactly like Ellie but she is a totally different breed - she is an American toy fox terrier.

"We had a toy terrier before and wanted a bigger dog, so we got the rat terrier and ended up with a smaller dog," Paul said. "She is a 'blonde.'"

According to Paul, toy terriers are rare in the Pacific Northwest but are very popular in the South.

"We found Ellie in Grants Pass when she had just turned 1 year old, and Maggie was 4 months," Paul said. "There is a saying that terriers are black-and-white rockets that are fueled by adrenaline. They never slow down!

"Rat terriers are very intelligent and used a lot in circuses. The American Kennel Club just started recognizing rat terriers a few years ago. Ellie likes people and dogs of all sizes.

"Rat terriers are bred to hunt rats, but Ellie isn't a hunter. Maggie is the hunter here. We have no snakes or frogs or squirrels in our back yard. They are both very comical little dogs."

Compared to a lot of other dogs who nap away their days, these two sisters usually only nap between 1 and 2 p.m., "And again at 6:30, they hit a lot spot," Paul said. "At 7:30 we play a game of ball, and at 8:45 they hit their kennel. I wish my kids had been that well-trained.”