10 Dog Breeds That Chase Away Mice and Other Household Pests
As your protective family companion, these canines, including the Russell Terrier, Dachshund, and Jagdterrier, are equipped with an almost single-minded prey drive.
Having a rodent problem is anything but an enjoyable experience. However, there are known breeds of dogs that will help chase mice, rats, and other vermin away. So, which breeds of dogs can assist? There are several small breeds known to be excellent hunters also known as ratters. "These small dogs have been used for centuries as working dogs, who have the sole purpose of being able to reach small spaces and tight corners known for the nesting of mice and rats," explains Jessica Jane MacMurchy, adoption coordinator at Animal Charity of Ohio.
With that being said, before adopting any dog with a mind for pest control, there are key responsibilities to remember. MacMurchy recommends the dog be up-to-date on yearly vaccinations including for leptospirosis (and a yearly booster). Secondly, keep proper records of your dog's rabies vaccine (every three years). And lastly, flea and tick prevention is required maintenance for dogs who tend to hunt rodents. "Not only can your monthly flea and tick preventative stop the spread of fleas and ticks from rodents to your dog, but they can have deworming properties," explains MacMurchy. "Mice and rats are known to carry tapeworms. They are easily transmitted to dogs."
There are some other potentially harmful consequences that owners should take note of. "Mice and rats can carry blocks of poison into their nests that have been laid in surrounding areas or other properties," says MacMurchy, so it's important to avoid pest-control methods that can affect your household pets.
And in the worst-case scenario? "If your pet digests a mouse or rat," says MacMurchy, "you should consult and visit your veterinarian."
Bred to hunt foxes, voles, and small rodents in England, the Russell Terrier makes for an excellent rodent hunter. They also make for a wonderful family dog—personality-wise, they are playful and charming although they can be headstrong and get into trouble if ignored for too long.
Don't let the Dachshund's hotdog-like physique fool you: They're excellent hunters! Nicknamed as doxies, they hunt (and co-habitat) better in pairs, so adopting more than one of this companion breed for the household is ideal.
Cairn Terriers (yes, The Wizard of Oz Dorothy's Toto was a Carin) have Scottish roots, originating from the British Isle of Skye and the Scottish Highlands. They make great rodent chasers, but they are just as happy snuggling on your lap.
The Yorkshire Terrier (or Yorkies as they're lovingly called by their human caretakers) originated from England. Today, they're considered excellent family pets as they are small, feisty, and fiercely loyal; in centuries past, they where bred to chase rats.
West Highland White Terrier
Fondly referred to as the Westie, the West Highland White Terrier is another ratter breed with Scottish ancestry. While they are apartment-friendly dogs, they also enjoy a leisurely hike. The Westie's distinctive white coat—which is rather rough to the touch—sets them apart from their terrier relatives.
The Lakeland Terrier resembles a big teddy bear with its wiry autumn-rusty brown coat. Known to protect sheep from foxes back in England, this breed has a reputation for fending off other vermin.
What looks like a cross between a Yorkshire Terrier and a Carin Terrier, the Norwich Terrier from the United Kingdom is another ratter breed to consider for adoption. This stout dog is spunky and smart, best suited for experienced owners.
The Bedlington Terrier was originally bred in England for hunting and is one of the larger terriers of the group. Hunting traits aside, this breed is often compared to a lamb for its striking resemblance to one.
Hailing from Manchester, England, the aptly named Manchester Terrier makes an excellent ratter as well as a racing dog. They are spirited, bright, and athletic in personality, and they come in two sizes: Standard (weighing up to 22 pounds) and Toy (weighing up to 12 pounds).
The Jagdterrier, also known as the German Hunt Terrier, is a medium build dog with a short coat. Originally, their purpose was to hunt foxes, raccoons, and even badgers.