Dogs That Kill Mice And Rats

Rodents like mice and rats are common pests that can cause substantial damage and health risks if left uncontrolled. They invade homes, agricultural operations, food processing facilities, and other buildings looking for food and shelter. Rodents reproduce quickly, with a single pair able to produce over 2,000 offspring per year. They damage property by chewing and gnawing, contaminate food, and can spread dangerous diseases to humans and pets.

According to recent reports from the Selangor Pest Control Authority, the number of rodent-related complaints in Selangor has increased by 15% over the past year. With rodent infestations on the rise, effective rodent control is essential for protecting public health and safety (Pest Control Selangor and Klang Valley). Dogs that are adept mousers and ratters can be useful for controlling rodent populations in homes, on farms, and in commercial establishments.

Terrier Breeds

Rat terriers are one of the most popular terrier breeds for catching mice and rats. They were originally bred in England in the 19th century to hunt vermin and have a strong prey drive. According to, “The Rat Terrier was bred to hunt and kill vermin. If you have ever seen a dog breed so intensely focused on the hunt, then you’ve seen a Rat Terrier in action.”

Rat terriers have athletic builds and quick reflexes ideal for chasing down and capturing rodents. Their small size, usually under 25 pounds, allows them to easily pursue prey into tight spaces. They also have a high energy level and stamina suited for prolonged hunting. According to PMPest, “Jack Russell Terriers are perfect for catching rats and humanely getting rid of them.”

In addition to physical traits, rat terriers possess the ideal instincts and temperament for ratting. They are tenacious, determined hunters who will search tirelessly for prey. However, they are also highly trainable companions when not on the hunt. Their eagerness to please makes training them to only pursue rodents at appropriate times feasible.


The Schnauzer breed includes three sizes – Giant, Standard, and Miniature. Giant Schnauzers were originally bred in the Bavarian Alps to drive cattle to market and guard property. They have a large, powerful build with a wiry double coat that can be solid black, salt and pepper, or black and silver (source 1).

Giant Schnauzers are intelligent, alert, and loyal. They have a lot of energy and need regular exercise and mental stimulation. They are natural watchdogs and can be territorial, so early socialization and training is important (source 1).

While not specifically bred for rodent hunting like Miniature Schnauzers, Giant Schnauzers do have a strong prey drive and will enthusiastically chase small animals. Their size, speed, and tenacity make them well-suited to chasing rats and mice (source 2).

Airedale Terriers

The Airedale Terrier originated in the Aire Valley of Yorkshire, England and was bred to hunt otters and rats 1. They have strong hunting instincts and courage, with a wire coat that provides protection when hunting vermin. Airedales stand about 23 inches at the shoulder and weigh 40-65 pounds. Their coat is wiry and dense, and comes in tan with black markings. Airedales are energetic, intelligent, and loyal companions.

Airedale Terriers are excellent ratters and have historically been used by homeowners and farmers to keep rodent populations under control. Their size gives them an advantage over smaller terrier breeds when hunting rats. According to redditors, Airedales have a strong prey drive and are adept at pursuing rats and other vermin 2. Their wiry coats protect them from bites when confronting rodents. Airedales are fearless hunters and efficient killers of rats and mice.

Fox Terriers

Fox Terriers come in two coat varieties – smooth and wire. The smooth Fox Terrier has a short, dense, flat coat while the wire Fox Terrier sports a dense, wiry, broken coat. Both coats serve the terrier well when hunting underground. In terms of energy, Fox Terriers are energetic dogs that need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. If not sufficiently stimulated, they may become destructive.

Fox Terriers excel at hunting and killing rats, mice, and other vermin. They were originally bred to flush foxes out of their dens during fox hunts. Today, their strong prey drive, courage, agility, and stamina make them exceptional ratters and mousers. Their compact size allows them to pursue rodents into their burrows and tunnels (1).

Manchester Terriers

The Manchester Terrier is a breed that originated in England and was originally bred to hunt and kill rats and other vermin. According to the American Kennel Club, the breed dates back to the 16th century when it was known as the “Rat Terrier” or “Gentleman’s Terrier.”1

Manchester Terriers are extremely fast and agile dogs thanks to their lean and athletic build. They have slender necks and deep chests which allows them to easily pursue rats and other rodents into tight spaces. Their hind legs are longer than their front legs giving them the ability to run at high speeds while changing direction rapidly.

This breed is highly effective at hunting and killing rats due to their quick reflexes, strong prey drive, and tenacious spirit. Manchester Terriers will tirelessly pursue rodents, chasing them out of hiding and swiftly delivering a lethal bite. According to professional rat catcher John Drake, the Manchester is one of the ultimate working terriers for eradicating rats and mice.2 Their small size combined with lightning quick speed makes them ideally suited for entering rat dens and burrows to hunt.

Jack Russell Terriers

The Jack Russell Terrier originated in the south of England in the mid-1800s. The breed was developed by Parson John Russell, a hunting enthusiast, as the ideal small terrier for fox hunting and racing. True to their heritage, Jack Russells have an extremely high prey drive and boundless energy making them highly adept at hunting and killing vermin. Their compact size at around 14 inches tall and 14-18 pounds allows them to pursue prey into burrows and other tight spaces. This combination of traits makes the Jack Russell one of the most efficient breeds for controlling rats and mice.

Jack Russell Terriers exemplify many of the characteristics that enable terriers to be effective rodent hunters. They have seemingly endless energy and will tenaciously pursue prey. According to the American Kennel Club, “This innate hunting drive can sometimes become a problem for the Jack Russell owner, but with a little extra patience, it does make the breed ideal for activities such as hunting and rat catching.” Indeed, Jack Russells frequently assist on family farms or more commercial operations to keep rodent populations in check.

If properly trained and given ample exercise outlets for their energy, Jack Russell Terriers can thrive as loving family companions in addition to being hard-working hunters. Their intelligence and eagerness to please makes training them for rodent control achievable for a dedicated owner. When it comes to dispatching mice and rats, few breeds can match the skill and determination of the Jack Russell Terrier.


Dachshunds were originally bred in Germany hundreds of years ago to hunt badgers and other burrowing animals like rabbits, foxes, and rodents. Their long, low bodies and short legs allowed them to enter underground tunnels and chase prey through tight spaces (

Dachshunds have a keen sense of smell that aids them in tracking small animals. Their loud, deep bark alerts hunters to the location of captured prey underground. They are tenacious hunters with a strong prey drive. Despite their small size, Dachshunds are brave, energetic, and determined when pursuing rodents and other burrowing critters.

Dachshunds use their long snout to sniff out hidden rodents and their sharp teeth to kill mice, rats, voles, and other burrowing rodents. Their short legs allow them to enter burrows and tunnel systems in search of prey. They were bred to hunt prey tenaciously underground and have retained these instincts to ferret out and kill small mammals that live in burrows.

Training Tips

When training a dog to hunt rodents, it’s important to develop their natural instincts in a safe, positive way. Many terrier breeds like Jack Russells and Schnauzers have a strong prey drive toward rodents that can be honed.

Start by getting your dog used to the scent of rats or mice. Let them sniff areas where rodents have been active or use commercially available rat scent training aids ( Reward them with praise and treats for showing interest in the scent.

Once they reliably recognize and follow rodent scents, you can move on to simulated hunts. Drag a tied-off rat or a stuffed toy along the ground in circles or between objects. Encourage your dog verbally as they track and “catch” the quarry at the end. Make it fun and reward your dog for their efforts.

When first exposing your dog to live rats or mice, heavily supervise them. Use a caged rodent or have the rodent in a tunnel system they can enter. This allows the dog to safely practice their stalking skills. Ensure they are obeying commands to leave or recall if needed.

Proper training allows dogs to satisfy their prey drive while minimizing risks. Always reinforce wanted behaviors like targeting and recall. Never punish your dog for catching rodents – this can create conflict and undermine their confidence. With time and positive interactions, you can develop their natural ratting abilities.


In summary, the top rodent hunting dog breeds include terriers like Schnauzers, Airedale Terriers, Fox Terriers, Manchester Terriers, and Jack Russell Terriers, as well as Dachshunds. These breeds have strong prey drives, are highly energetic, and use their sense of smell to effectively locate and kill mice and rats. Using dogs for pest control provides benefits such as being able to detect rodents in hard to reach places like crawlspaces and attics. Their sensitive noses can pinpoint exactly where rodents are active so that treatments can be targeted in the right areas. With proper training, dogs can be quite effective as part of an integrated pest management plan.

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