Rat Hunting Dogs

While many believe that cats are the enemies of rats, dogs actually do a better job at catching the rodents. There are dog breeds with rat hunting skills written in their DNA. Terriers in particular excel at chasing, catching, and killing and making them ideal for households with rodent problems. 

Rat Terriers are famed for their ratting skills that they were named because of it. These energetic and feisty dogs are often used by exterminators to rid farms of rats. Cairn Terrier and Yorkshire Terrier also have exceptional ratting skills as well as other dog breeds in the list below.

12. Rat Terrier

Image from Instagram:@lexi.heart.of.thunder

The name says it all, Rat Terriers are all-American compact, tough, smooth-coated exterminator dogs that were once employed by the White House. The breed name is said to be coined by former President Teddy Roosevelt himself.

They are small but energetic and feisty. Their size helps them dig deep underground to chase after vermin and rats. More than their ratting skills, they are loving and sweet family pets and are good with children.

11. Cairn Terrier

Image from Instagram:@baxter_the_brave

With hundreds of years of experience as a fox hunter, Cairn Terriers have become excellent rat hunters. They even got their name from the ability to push through stone fences when on the hunt for small prey animals.

Although they look cute and cuddly, they are stubborn and aggressive in nature, especially while chasing their prey. But at home, they are care-free and cheerful dogs that make for excellent pets for big families.

10. Miniature Schnauzer

Image from Instagram:@chumpiethedog

The Miniature Schnauzers were bred down from their larger cousins, Standard Schnauzers.  Their small size and double-coat make them look like stuffed animals, but under that fur is an excellent ratter with a robust body.

Created to be all-around farm dogs and ratters, they are tough, muscular, and fearless without being aggressive. Their small size makes them the ideal size to chase rats and mice and are also adored as devoted family pets.

9. Lakeland Terrier

Image from Instagram:@teddy_the_lakeland_terrier

Originally bred in the rodent-infested England’s Lake District, where it got its breed name, the Lakeland Terrier are incredibly great ratters. They are perfect for hunting rats in hard to reach places because of their boundless energy and their small size.

Due to their natural tendency to hunt down and catch small animals, it is recommended that these dogs should be socialized with cats and other small pets starting from an early age.

8. West Highland White Terrier

Image from Instagram:@hamishandjazzwesties

The West Highland White Terriers or also known as Westies are small dogs that are covered in a plush all-white exterior. But do not let their innocent looks fool you, these dogs are known sturdy earthdogs.

They embody a true working terrier that is smart and fearless. These dogs were bred to hunt rats and other underground rodents. And with their bullet-shaped bodies they can do the job without a problem.

7. Jack Russell Terrier

Image from Instagram:@jackrussell_pl

Because Jack Russell Terriers were originally bred and promoted to hunt foxes, catching small animals such as rats and mice is an easy job for them. They are clever dogs that like going after targets hiding in difficult spaces or distant locations.

Terrier enthusiasts even consider them the best for hunting down rodents hiding underground. But aside from their hunting skills, they are cheerful, loving dogs that get along with children easily.

6. Norfolk Terrier

Image from Instagram:@pepper_thenorfolk

The saying “big dog in a small package” seemed like it was made for Norfolk Terriers. These cute little and loyal lap dogs are also feisty, confident, sturdy, and game for adventure.

Just like other small dog breeds,  these dogs make a very good rat hunter because of their size. They are an easy to train dog breed and very playful and energetic that they are ready to hunt animals all the time.

5. Border Terrier

Image from Instagram:@border_terrier_bailey

Known as the terrier with an otter head, Border Terriers are tough, no-frills working terriers. They are diligent, good-tempered, affectionate, and trainable dogs perfect for the outdoors and as family pets.

With a history in fox field hunting, they also perform extraordinarily as rodent catchers. They are bred to help get rid of the pests because of their unique head shape and their comparatively longer legs that are suitable for digging get the job done.

4. Manchester Terrier

Image from Instagram:@kyrojett

Manchester Terriers come in two size varieties, the Standard and Toy but despite the difference in size, both are similar in temperament, body type and athletic ability. These spirited and bright dogs can be easily recognized by a tight coat of rich mahogany tan and jet black.

These dogs are sleek and racy dogs that possess the typical terrier’s ratting instinct and the graceful contours of athletic hounds. They are fearless and confident.

3. Yorkshire Terrier

Image from Instagram:@yorkshireterrierz

Under their doll-like and prim and proper appearance, Yorkshire Terriers are feisty, brave and sometimes even bossy. After all they belong to the terrier group.

But before becoming a beloved lapdog, these dogs used to earn their living as ratters in mines and mills. Its diminutive size is its best advantage when catching rats. Their toy size makes it possible for them to chase the rats and go deep in their burrowing spots.

2. Dachshund

Image from Instagram:@crusoe_dachshund

They may be small and have short legs but that is exactly what makes the Dachshunds great ratter dogs. These famously long and low dogs are not just iconic because of their looks. They are also known for their hunting skills.

In fact, they were once bred to hunt small animals such as rats, rabbits, and prairie dogs. Today these sausage dogs are a favorite household pets because of their friendly and cuddly nature.

1. German Pinscher

Image from Instagram:@pinscherrico

Being one of Germany’s oldest dog breeds, German Pinscher are considered as one of the ancestors of modern Pinscher dog breeds. These dogs are not just great family dogs but are also known to be good at guarding and hunting rodents.

They were first used as a rat catcher but were found to also excel in other types of canine work. These dogs look elegant but they can get the job done when needed.

Related Questions

Does Dog Poop Attract Mice? Yes, dog poop attracts mice and other rodents. Some say that rodents eat dog poop because they are attracted to the food particles and other things in it. Although the dog poop is pretty low on their list of preferred meals, it serves as an alternative food source for them.

Are Rats Scared Of Dogs? Yes, rats are scared of dogs. Although rats have not seen dogs, a compound in the dog’s urine scent is picked up by rats through smell. This is enough to alert them of their predators and deter them away. Dogs are also good and fierce with all types of rodents.

Can A Rat Give A Dog Rabies? No, rats cannot give dog rabies. Whether a dog ate a dead rodent, got into a fight with a rat, or was bitten by a mouse, they cannot get rabies from the rat. Rodents such as mice, rats, moles, chipmunks, prairie dogs, as well as rabbits do not carry rabies.

Avatar photo
Pete Decker