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10 Dog Breeds That Hunt Mice and Rats

Lakeland Terrier in tall grass

Different dog breeds have different talents. Some are better swimmers, some can jump really high, and others are better runners. Here are 10 dog breeds that hunt mice and rats.

Cairn Terrier

2 Cairn Terriers in tall grass surrounded by trees

This breed gets its name from the Scottish-Gaelic word “Cairn” which means a mound of rough stones. These dogs got this name due to their ability to push through stone fences when chasing vermin. Cairn terriers have a weatherproof and hypo-allergenic coat, which needs regular grooming and maintenance. Their most common coat colors are black, red, grey, and cream.

Cairn Terriers are very lovable, loyal, cheerful, and friendly. They also like to be independent, but if you show them who the boss is, you will have no trouble training them, probably.


Dachshund running on trail

These dogs are extremely famous for their short legs and fast speed. Due to the shape of their body, they are often referred to as sausage dogs. They were originally developed in Germany for hunting vermin and rodents. The short legs of Dachshunds allow them to chase their targets in underground tunnels.

These wiener dogs are much more effective in chasing the mice away rather than killing larger rodents. Despite that, it does a really good job of keeping your farms safe from these unwanted visitors. Given their stubborn nature, they can be a little too difficult to train for inexperienced parents.

German Pinscher

German Pinscher in nature

Nowadays, German Pinschers are family companions and can be seen searching and chasing rats in open areas or homes. However, in the 18th century, they were used for guarding coaches and killing mice and other vermin.

German Pinschers are guardians by nature. This is the reason why they often bark to announce the arrival of visitors. Once they are comfortable with someone, they become the sweet, lively, and playful dogs they are despite their large size. These dogs need daily exercise and long walks that make them perfect for active families.

Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier jumping through tall weeds and flowers

Among all the Terriers, the Jack Russell Terriers are the fastest of the bunch. Both tenacious and energetic, Jack Russell Terriers inherited their speed from their fox-hunting ancestors.

Given their unlimited supply of energy, Jack Russell Terriers need to be taken on long daily walks. Needless to say, this dog breed is not for the faint of heart. On the positive side, they have a short and smooth coat that is easy to take care of.

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Lakeland Terrier

Lakeland Terrier jumping through weeds and flowers

Inaccessible places do not deter this natural chaser. Originating from the vast, vermin-populated fields in England’s Lake District, this dog breed proves a great rodent-fighting pet for families.

These dogs have two layers of coats—hard and wiry on top, and a softer fur underneath. Having said that, they don’t need a lot of grooming and can live happily in an apartment. Lakeland Terriers have a natural tendency to chase smaller animals. Therefore, it is important to socialize them with cats and other small pets at an early age.

Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer in tall grass

These loyal farm companions were bred for their guard-dog like instincts. The Mini Schnauzer is the perfect size for rats and mice chasing. Whether you live in an apartment or a rural property, your home will be pest-free if you have this dog.

They are a cross of the poodle and standard schnauzers and were bred as a jack-of-all-trades-type farm dog. They are also known for their beautiful coat that appears as a beard, mustache, and eyebrows.

The Miniature Schnauzer is a very intelligent and cheerful dog that enjoys the company of children. This breed is very calm indoors, given that it gets its daily dose of exercise and walking. Therefore, it is an ideal dog breed for the people who live in an apartment.

Norfolk Terrier

Norfolk Terrier on stump

Perhaps the smallest terriers (not higher than 10 inches at the shoulder), Norfolk Terriers have the determination and courage that surpasses their small stature. Bred to work in packs, Norfolks are more gregarious than a typical terrier. However, they pack the same energy as that of other Terriers.

This breed is famous for hunting rodents, like mice and rats. In fact, they will run after anything that tries to scurry away.

This dog has a straight coat that comes in red, black, or tan colors. These affectionate canines are quite friendly and easy to train. The hunting instincts of Norfolks come in handy when playing, be it a ball, toys, or a stick.

Rat Terrier

Rat Terrier on leaf covered ground

This suitably-named breed is by far one of the most popular vermin-killing dog breeds. Exterminators that are hired to eradicate farms of rats will often make use of Rat Terriers to do the job. Skillful and swift, Rat Terriers are worth their weight in gold when vermin are running around.

In addition to that, these dogs excel at squirrel and rabbit hunting due to their speed. These 20-pound pups are very common on small farms. Rat Terriers do quite well as family dogs because of their loving nature. They are also really good with children, especially if the dog is raised by the family since birth.

White Highland White Terrier

White Highland White Terrier on trail in woods

Cousin to the cairn terriers, “Westies” are Scottish ratters that have been around since the mid-1500s. This dog breed has always been a popular choice on farmsteads to help control the rodent population. The terrier group as a whole is independent, smart, and rugged. Their personalities reflect their hunting heritage.

Westies have a wiry outer coat and a dense, soft coat that helps them remain warm and dry.

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier in leaf covered grass looking up at camera

This long-haired, pampered beauty is also known as Yorkie. This small dog seems unsuited for chasing mice and rats, but it uses its size to its advantage. This allows this energetic dog to chase rats into tight, enclosed spaces.

They need proper training to become an amazing companion because Yorkies can get over-excited. This can lead to negative behavior as try to take over the whole house. Yorkshire Terriers are perfect for a family with grown children. It can be happy both in an apartment and a house with a yard.

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