cairn terrier

The majestic Cairn Terrier

Though cats have long been celebrated as the greatest mousers, many dogs were bred for the exact purpose of killing rodents quickly. From the 19th century factories of England, to the 20th century American farmhouses, many dog breeds have earned their keep by ridding their homes of rats, mice, voiles, moles, groundhogs and the like.

Though many of the larger guard breeds such as German Shepherds and Rottweilers could also instinctively protect their families from vermin, often the smaller dogs are better at hunting and killing the creatures more efficiently. Many kinds of dogs are adept pest exterminators, and breeds like the “Rat Terrier” don’t leave much doubt about the dog’s specific area of expertise. However, not all rodent-hunters look or seem like the type to effectively chase off vermin. Review the list below to find out which dog breeds have proven to be the most successful, tried-and-true champions over rodents.

Rodent-Hunting Dog Breeds

Rat Terrier: This well-named breed is by far one of the most popular rodent-killing dogs. Exterminators hired to rid farms of rats will often employ packs of Rat Terriers to accomplish the task. Skillful and swift, Rat Terriers are worth their weight in gold when the vermin run amuck.

Cairn Terrier:   We recognize these peppy pups as the beloved “Toto” who was by Dorothy’s side in the Wizard of Oz. As one of the oldest terrier breeds, and Cairns are known for being quick-witted action dogs. They are loyal and feisty, ready to show any rat that he’s not in Kansas anymore!

Yorkshire Terrier: Yes, this long-locked beauty is best known for her lively spirit and pampered ways. However, Yorkies were once relied upon as some of the most persistent pest-hunters in centuries past, and they have not lost their killer instincts.

Norfolk Terriers: This British breed is one of the smallest terriers, but they have determination and courage that far surpasses their stature. The friendly Norfolk Terrier will race undaunted towards anything that scurries.

Jack Russell Terrier: Next to the Rat Terrier, the lightning-fast Jack Russell Terrier is one of the most popular ratting breeds. Both tenacious and energetic, Jack Russell Terriers inherited their speedy chase tactics from instincts from their fox hunting ancestors. Owning this kind of dog is not for the faint of heart, however, as they require plenty of regular exercise.

Lakeland Terrier: This breed is a natural chaser, and is undeterred by inaccessible places where mice and rats like to hide. Originating from the vast, vermin- populated fields in England’s Lake District, this terrier breed proves a great rodent-fighting pet for families.

Mini Schnauzer: With guard-dog instincts, Schnauzers were once bred as loyal farm companions in Germany. The Mini Schnauzer is the perfect size for rat and mice chasing, and whether you live in a city apartment or a large rural property, your home will be pest-free.

Dachshund: Though the beloved “wiener dog” is more known for chasing away mice than he is for killing larger rodents like rats, this breed is still considered a good guard against vermin. Their innate burrowing and digging skills help them track down mice and their vocal warnings help scare them away.

German Pinscher: For people who prefer larger dogs, this sleek breed has proven a reliable vermin predator for centuries. Families who want an energetic dog that will protect them from foes large and small, should consider the German Pinscher.