Andalusian Blue Rat

Ellen Grant
• Thursday, 22 October, 2020
• 9 min read

Its name reflects its main occupation: hunting rats and mice hidden between barrels in the wineries of Andalusia in Spain. The Rather Bodyguard Analog is of medium size, measuring between 13.75–16.9 inches (34.9–42.9 cm) at the withers, with an appearance very similar to that of the Jack Russell Terrier, to the extent that it has on occasion been called the Spanish Jack Russell.

hatchery mcmurray andalusian manager curt meet team mcmurrayhatchery
(Source: blog.mcmurrayhatchery.com)


The breed is an agile dog with a lean and athletic build; the head is triangular with a semi-flat skull. The eyes are very dark and the Rather has a long muzzle, and high set ears that bend over at the tip.

The tail is traditionally docked to one quarter of its length, however they may also be born with a natural bobtail. English wine merchants settling in the Sherry making region of Spain, Marco de Jerez, brought with them the ancestors of today's Fox Terrier breeds as long as several hundred years ago, where they were crossed with local dogs and used for vermin control of rats and mice in the wineries.

Rather Bodyguard Analog puppies No diseases specific to this breed, or claims of extraordinary health, have been documented for the Rather Bodyguard Analog, though an descended testicle is not uncommon in male pups. Put it all together and the name quite literally means Wine Cellar Pest Control Dog from Andalusia.

The breed was developed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and most probably descended from Smooth Coated Fox Terriers brought to Spain by British wine merchants. The dogs would come to be crossed with native Spanish terriers commonly called Rater Analog.

Ultimately, the result was a medium-sized high prey drive ratter sometimes referred to as Spanish Jack Russell Terrier, so similar was its appearance to the Art. In the 1980s, someone decided the breed needed a standard if it was to be preserved, but it wasn’t until 1993 that the “Club Nacional del Pedro Analog Rather Bodyguard” was organized by Bartolome Benefit Perez Luna and the first breed standard was written.

(Source: www.backyardchickens.com)

Like the Jack Russell Terrier, the Andalusian Ratter is a confident, athletic hunting dog that is the nightmare of mice and rats. Extremely quick, exuberant, and even comical at home, these dogs are all business when on the job; potential owners should be aware that a strong prey drive means these dogs don’t distinguish between a pest and a pet hamster, rabbit or cat.

This blue feathered chicken comes from the Mediterranean area where it is still found today (although in very small numbers). It is a bird that enjoys its freedom and is very capable of surviving in adverse conditions.

The Andalusian was imported to England in the 1840s by Leonard Barber and was first exhibited at the Baker Street, London show in 1853. Depending on which sources you read, the Andalusian was widely spread through Devon and Cornwall.

Other sources state that Devon and Cornwall had their own version of blue hens. I can find no information about the ‘ blue hens’, but it’s likely that the Andalusian would do well among the rugged areas of those counties.

The body of this bird is not as robust looking as say a Rhode Island Red or Arlington. It was accepted to the American Poultry Association in 1874 where it is classified as Mediterranean breed.

andalusian andalusians mcmurray hatchery rooster chickens murray andalusia breed spain mc mcmurrayhatchery
(Source: www.mcmurrayhatchery.com)

The ABA classifies the Andalusian as single comb, clean leg. The unusual thing about the standard is the fact that the only recognized variety is blue.

The blue would not exist without the black, splash and white members of the breed due to the genetics, which we will discuss a bit later. Andalusian hens have little interest in being a mother and rarely sit on their eggs, so you will have to provide your own incubator if you want chicks.

The chicks do feather out rapidly and are ready to lay earlier than many other breeds. The roosters have large combs so will be prime candidates for frostbite if you live in colder areas.

When you find a good quality specimen of this chicken it really is stunning to behold. Needless to say, getting a bird to this level of perfection takes time and energy, but the results are always worth it.

Otherwise, this is a low maintenance breed that prefers to keep humans at a distance for much of the time. The Andalusian or Blue Andalusian, Spanish: Andalusia Azul, is a breed of domestic chicken indigenous to the autonomous region of Andalusia in south-west Spain which includes the cities of Malaga and Seville.

andalusian chick backyardchickens
(Source: www.backyardchickens.com)

They are magnificent to look at with their graceful, stately carriage and delicately blue -laced plumage; and this marks them as an especially fine breed for exhibition. Primary use: Eggs, dual purpose, exhibition, Conservation status: Watch list, rare.

Temperament: Active and flighty, difficult to contain, likes to free-range. Cold hardy: To some extent, the large comb is susceptible to frostbite.

This breed of chicken was used in the genetic experiments of the famous 19th century monk Gregor Mendel and helped him to understand recessive genetic traits, since two blue birds produce half blue offspring and one quarter each black and white offspring. Andalusian chickens have a single comb, white earlobes and a tall upright stance.

Both the male and female have long deep bodies, clean lead blue shanks and white skin. Andalusian's are closely feathered, active and good layers of large white eggs.

Developed in the Andalusia, Southern Spain, Andalusian's are closely feathered, active and good layers of large white eggs. Lucius Columbia, a Roman agricultural writer, mentioned the Mediterranean fowl breeds in his writings DE Re Rustic.

andalusian chicken cluckin hen breed
(Source: cluckin.net)

Their light body shape and their large pointed combs make them well-suited for warmer climates. Andalusian's are very active foragers, so think twice if you keep your poultry in a coop and run.

In 1879 Harrison Weir visited the southern part of Spain, where the district of Andalusia is located, and inquired about the Blue Andalusian chicken. So it is assumed that this breed has no special connection to Andalusia Spain.

Granted it is not uncommon to find blue colored birds in mixed flocks where both black and white birds are found, so it is still not out of the question that the original Andalusian came from Spain. Most likely, the breed was first exported to England via Cadiz, which is in the province of Andalusia.

So the best way to produce all blue birds is to breed a splash and a black chicken. I have found them to be one of the nicest eggs I have eaten as they spend so much time foraging.

The shell is chalk white, smooth and very strong, thus standing shipment and handling exceedingly well. They produce 200 eggs in their first year and remain productive for a long time.

chicken andalusian breed lioden chickens breeds rooster gallo milonga mi rp andulusian taringa topic defined deterred destroyed past
(Source: www.lioden.com)

They are a large bird with an upright stance, a little taller and bigger than leghorns. The male standard size or large fowl is 22 to 26 inches (55 to 66 cm) to tall and weighs 3.2–3.6 kg while the male bantam: 14 to 17 inches (35 to 45 cm) tall and weighs around 680–790 g.

The female of the species is a little smaller, with the large fowl standing at 20 to 25 inches (50 to 60 cm) tall and weighing in at 2.25–2.70 kg and the female bantam standing around 12 to 15 inches (31 to 38 cm) tall and weighing 570–680 g The Andalusian chicken is indigenous to the region Andalusia in south-west Spain, although the distinctive Blue Andalusian was developed in England.

With a white earlobe and brilliant red comb, it has a very striking presence. They are active foragers that like space and really need plenty of land to roam on.

Below: Blue Andalusian's seem to Mount fast and lose a lot of feathers very quickly. I have also found that they Mount quickly and lose a lot of their feathers at a time.

This fast mounting can mean they need some shelter late in the year as they grow new feathers. The hens develop fast and begin to lay early at around 5 or 6 months of age.

Birds raised early in the season will begin to lay at the in the same year. Andalusian's are a long-lived race of persistent producers.

I have two hens that are ten years old, still in good condition, that laid few huge eggs early in spring. They are an independent and occasionally aggressive bird that does not tolerate confinement well and prefer to find their own roosting spots.

In my flock I can count on one hand the number of times I have had a broody hen in the last 5 years. When they do hatch a clutch they are good mothers but prefer small broods of six to eight chicks.

Expect to pay upwards of $30 each for sexed growers, $50 for fully grown point of lay hens and as much as $100 for a show quality pair. You can find them by joining a breed society, looking at the rare breeds' survival trust for registered breeders and looking on Facebook for groups specializing in Mediterranean chickens. SHAPE OF MALE: HEAD: Moderately long and deep ; face, full and smooth, fine in texture.

COMB: Single, medium size, smooth, straight and upright; firm and even on the head, evenly and deeply serrated; having five points, the middle point standing directly over the center, being broader at the base and slightly taller than either of the other four; blade slightly following the curve of the neck. Ear-lobes, almond shaped, of moderate size, smooth and free from wrinkles.

NECK: Rather long, well arched with abundant hackles falling well over the shoulders. BACK: Rather long, broad and high at shoulders, sloping downward to the rear of saddle; then rising with an abrupt sweep to tail; slightly narrowing from front to rear; saddle feathers moderately long and abundant.

TAIL: Medium length, full, fairly well spread; main tail feathers carried at an angle of forty degrees above the horizontal; sickles long and well curved; coverts abundant. BODY AND FLUFF: Body; long, well-rounded, medium depth from front to rear; broad at shoulders and slightly narrowing as it approaches the stern.

LEGS AND TOES: Thighs of moderate size, rather long; hock joints showing well below the body line; shanks long, standing well apart; toes straight. COMB: Single, of medium size, evenly and deeply serrated, having five points, the front portion of the comb and the first point standing erect, and the remainder of the comb drooping gradually to one side; fine in texture and free from folds and wrinkles.

BACK: Rather long, broad, and straight, high at shoulders and sloping downward to rear of cushion, gradually narrowing as it approaches the stern, rising with a short sweep to the tail. TAIL: Long, full, medium spread, carried at an angle of forty degrees above horizontal.

BODY AND FLUFF: Body, long, well-rounded, of medium depth from front to rear, broad at shoulders and slightly narrowing as it approaches the stern. LEGS AND TOES; Thighs of moderate size, rather long, hock joints showing well below the body line.

NECK: Ground color, a clear, even, medium shade of slate blue, each feather having a clear, broad and well-defined lacing of a very dark lustrous blue, the lacing gradually widening as it approaches the tip. WINGS: Bows; ground color, clear, even, medium shade of slate blue, each feather having a broad lacing of a dark lustrous blue.

BACK: Ground color, a clear, even, medium shade of slate blue, each feather having a broad, clear, well-defined lacing of a very dark lustrous blue, the lacing gradually widening as it approaches the tip of the feather. Undercover: In all sections a slate blue, the shade varying with degree of lacing.

BODY AND FLUFF: Body, a clear, even, medium shade of slate blue, each feather having a clear and well-defined lacing of darker blue.

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