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The Best Dog Breeds for Killing Rats 

Many people think that cats are the ultimate pets that can help you eliminate your rat problem.

However, this belief may have stemmed from watching too many episodes of Tom and Jerry.

It turns out, the best dog breeds for killing rats are best suited for solving your rodent woes.

However, not all dogs are the same.

Different breeds of dogs boast different talents – some are excellent jumpers, others are brilliant runners, and some excel in hunting and killing rats.

So let’s examine the best dog breeds for killing rats.

Why Are Dogs Better Than Cats at Killing Rats?

Cats are considered predators, which means they enjoy hunting and killing prey such as birds, rats, and rodents.

They kill simply for pleasure, so they do not do it if they do not feel like hunting.

If you have a cat, you may have noticed that they can be stubborn and will not do anything they don’t want to do.

The same is not true for dogs.

Many breeds have been trained for centuries to hunt and kill rats and mice.

You can see that centuries of selective breeding have resulted in some species of dogs being incredible rat hunters.

Many dogs are called “ratters” because their ancestors were bred to hunt and kill rodents.

Many of these dogs were types of terriers.

The word ‘terrier’ even comes from the Latin word “terra” or “for the earth.”

Farmers have used these dogs for centuries to hunt rats, foxes, badgers, and other animals.

Not only are these rat catching dogs energetic, but they are also able to fit in a rat’s burrow.

After all, most of these dogs were bred to keep farms free of rats, weasels, and other animals that could threaten livestock, eggs, and grain.

Best Dog Breeds for Killing Rats

Dogs can be the ideal pets if you want to get rid of your rat problem.

Some dogs are better equipped than others at killing rats.

Cairn Terrier

Cairn Terriers are not only alert, but they are also very adventurous, intelligent, animated, strong, and loyal.

These dogs are the farthest thing from delicate, so there’s no question that they make fantastic rat hunters.

The Cairn Terrier is one of the oldest terrier breeds.

A lot of people believe that they are the ancestors of Scottish terriers.

Perhaps the best thing about Cairn Terriers is they are a fearless vermin hunter.

This quality may be because they love to dig.

Although they are tiny, they are inquisitive, and with enough training, they can catch rats in your area.

However, keep in mind that just like other dogs, they can be difficult to handle without proper leadership.

When not appropriately trained, it would be impossible to control their instincts, especially when it comes to rabbits, cats, and other small animals.

Extensive training is integral for this type of dog, especially if you do not want them to develop small dog syndrome where they think they are the leader of humans.

For dogs with this syndrome, they may have behavior problems such as snapping, stubbornness, and separation anxiety.

Although these dogs are somewhat tiny at only nine or ten inches, they can handle rats and other rodents just fine.

They are also generally very healthy and live between 12 to 17 years.

They also have a weather-resistant outer coat, so they are great for any climate.


With their unmistakable build – long body, small legs, and big personality, Dachshunds are one of the most well-loved dogs today.

But aside from being adorable, this dog breed is also helpful if you want to catch rats and other rodents.

Dachshunds are tireless hounds that can handle almost anything.

They are both vigilant and intelligent, and this makes them exceptional watch dogs.

However, they cannot handle strenuous swimming, long-distance running, and leaping.

The dachshund was initially bred to be an independent hunter of prey so they can be brave and stubborn.

When properly trained, Dachshunds are very endearing and affectionate.

Keep in mind that this breed does better at chasing rats away instead of killing large rodents.

Despite this, they still do a great job of keeping your home or farm away from unwanted rats.

German Pinscher

Known for being agile and muscular, this medium-sized dog is admired for its elegant and powerful appearance.

This breed is known for being effective guard dogs, but they can also be devoted family dogs.

They do best at adapting to various living situations, and their high intelligence and energy level means they can take on chasing rats or rodents for hours.

German Pinschers are one of the oldest dog breeds in Europe.

Because they are guardians by nature, expect this dog to bark every time they see an unfamiliar face or creature.

If you do choose to get this type of dog, remember that they need daily exercise and long walks.

They also need a spacious yard.

Jack Russell Terrier

If you want to adopt a Jack Russell Terrier, you probably heard about stories about them being experts at killing rats and other rodents.

This dog was initially bred to hunt, so it makes sense for them to have a fierce prey drive.

When these dogs spend time outdoors, they are constantly alert, and they are always excited if they see prey or rodents to hunt.

Even if you do not train your Jack Russell Terrier to hunt for rodents, their instincts will still drive them to go hunting even if they are just outside to pee.

It is also very common for these types of dogs to dart at full speed and chase something you can’t even see.

This is because they have an amazing capability to chase, smell, see, and even kill rodents and other vermin.

Jack Russell Terriers have amazing speed, and this could be traced back to their ancestors that used to hunt foxes.

They have intense energy, so they need to be taken on walks every day.

Needless to say, it is not advisable to get this dog if you live a sedentary life or if you have a small space.

Mini Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzers are very loyal dogs.

They are farm companions that stand out because of their guard dog instincts.

Because of their size, Mini Schnauzers are perfect for hunting rats and other vermin since they can fit in small spaces.

So whether you live on a farm or an apartment in the city, your home will always be free of pests, thanks to this dog.

Unlike Giant Schnauzers who were not bred to be hunters, Mini Schnauzers need to be trained and socialized so they won’t be a danger towards other small animals.

Mini Schnauzers are a cross of standard schnauzers and poodles, and they were initially bred to be farm dogs, and their duties include getting rid of pests and herding farm animals like chickens.

Aside from their unique character, they are also known for their beautiful coat, beard, eyebrows, and mustache.

This dog breed is very smart and cheerful and loves to be around children.

When they are indoors, they are always calm, but they also need to be walked and exercised.

Rat Terrier

If you live on a farm and you’re dealing with a pest problem, getting a rat terrier is a smart decision.

It is said that President Theodore Roosevelt gave this dog its breed name after his terrier got rid of the rat infestation in the White House.

This famous vermin killer is also used by exterminators to help get rid of rats in big areas.

Rat Terriers are not only swift, but they are also very active and skillful.

Aside from killing rats, it’s also easy for them to hunt squirrels and rabbits thanks to their speed.

Although they only weigh 20 pounds, they are tough.

Rat Terriers are also amazing family dogs thanks to their loving nature, and they are also great with children, especially if they have been trained to socialize.

Yorkshire Terrier

Because of the way they look, a lot of people falsely believe Yorkshire Terriers need to be spoiled and pampered 24/7.

However, that is not the case.

They are amazing at hunting rats and other small animals because of their size that allows them to fit in tight and enclosed spaces.

They also have high energy levels, so they can keep up with chasing pests.

Because this dog breed can easily get excited, they need proper training if you want them to be a good companion.

If not trained well, their energy level can lead them to have negative behavior since they may try to take over your entire house.

But when you allow time for training, they are the perfect match for children.

Norfolk Terrier

This British Terrier breed is small, so its size can be a big advantage when hunting for rats and other rodents.

They have a straight coat that can either come in tan, black, and red.

If you get this dog, you need to be patient at brushing their coat daily.

Despite their small size, Norfolk Terriers are very brave dogs.

They are also easy to train and are very affectionate when it comes to their owners.

Even if you are not dealing with a rat problem, you can take advantage of this dog’s energy for playtime.

Dog Breeds Can Be Amazing Rat Killers

Rats pose a big problem in many areas since they damage food, clothes, and they can also spread diseases.

Thankfully, you can rely on the best dog breeds for killing rats and other pests in your home or farm.

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National Canine Research Association of America