7 Best Dog Breeds that Hunt Mice and Pests

Dealing with mice or pests in your home can be a real headache, whether they’re nibbling on your pantry goods, leaving droppings around, or making holes in the walls. While cats are often the go-to pet for mouse problems, dogs can be surprisingly good at catching these unwelcome guests too. With their strong sense of territory, loyalty, and incredible noses, dogs can be just as effective, if not more, in keeping mice at bay.

Hunting Breeds Traits in Pest Contro

Not all dogs are natural-born mousers, but some breeds excel in this area thanks to their specific traits and histories. Originally bred for pest control, these dogs have the ideal combination of short legs and long snouts, making them perfect for hunting down rodents. Today, we still have access to these breeds, which can help manage pest problems effectively.

Let’s explore the top 7 dog breeds that are experts at controlling mice and pests, offering a natural solution to keep your home safe and clean.

Dog Breeds That Hunt Mice and Pests

1. Yorkshire Terrier

good dogs for small houses

The Yorkshire Terrier, or Yorkie for short, may be tiny, but it’s a mighty hunter of mice and pests! Originating from Scotland and brought to England by weavers, these little dogs were bred to sneak into tight spaces in textile mills and mines to catch rodents. Their small size turns out to be their superpower in hunting down vermin.

With a beautiful, silky coat typically in shades of brown and black, the Yorkie requires regular brushing to keep its fur looking its best. Don’t be fooled by its adorable appearance, though; this breed is smart, full of energy, and sometimes a bit too confident, thinking it’s the boss of the household! With the right training, Yorkies make fantastic, spirited companions.

Ideal for families with older children, a Yorkie can adapt to apartment living just as well as to a home with a yard. However, despite their small stature, they still need their daily dose of exercise. So, if you’re looking for a pet that can charm your family and keep your home free of pests, the Yorkshire Terrier might just be the perfect match.

2. Dachshund

small best apartment dogs

If your garden is becoming a playground for mice, it might be time to enlist the help of a Dachshund. Known affectionately as the Wiener or Sausage dog, this breed’s distinctive short legs and elongated body were designed for hunting smaller animals, including rats, rabbits, and even badgers. Their knack for digging is not just for fun; it makes them superb at rooting out burrowing pests like mice.

Beyond their hunting prowess, Dachshunds are known for their gentle nature, making them a popular choice among families. They’re friendly with children, boasting qualities like activeness, intelligence, bravery, and curiosity. While they’re great for families with older kids and are known to be good travel companions, their love for digging and chasing might require some attention, especially around other pets.

With proper training to temper their hunting instincts and regular, long walks to expend their energy, Dachshunds can seamlessly transition from skilled pest controllers to beloved family pets. Offering them the right guidance and leadership allows them to thrive in a home environment, making them an ideal choice for those needing a multifaceted companion.

3. Norwich Terrier

small hunting dogs

If you’re dealing with pesky rodents, the Norwich Terrier could be your tiny but mighty ally. Originating from England, these little warriors were bred for ratting and even joined in on foxhunts. Their compact size makes them especially adept at sneaking up on rats and foxes, making them a valuable addition to any pest control team.

Despite their small stature, Norwich Terriers pack a big punch in personality. They’re known to be spirited, sometimes showing a feisty or bossy side, but always with a charming grin. They typically enjoy the company of other pets and kids, making them fantastic family dogs. Just be cautious around smaller animals, as their hunter’s instinct is strong.

The Norwich Terrier thrives on human interaction, showcasing loyalty and affection to their owners and a friendly curiosity towards newcomers. However, they don’t like being left alone for long periods, preferring the company of their human pack. If you’re often away, this vibrant, loving breed might not be the best fit.

4. Lakeland Terrier

 hunting dog breeds

The Lakeland Terrier is a really old dog breed from Britain, coming from a place called the Lake District. They were originally trained to chase away and catch small animals on farms, like mice, and even bigger ones, like foxes. They’re pretty small, but they’re full of energy, which makes them really good at getting into tight spots to find pests. These dogs have a strong hunting instinct, making them very alert and always watching their environment.

These dogs are super friendly and fun, loving to play, especially with kids. They have a strong instinct to chase smaller animals, so if you’ve got other small pets at home, it’s a good idea to help your Lakeland Terrier get used to them while they’re still young.

Like many terriers, the Lakeland Terrier is quite spirited. They’re independent, have their own ideas, and are full of energy, always looking for something to do. So, it’s important they get plenty of exercise every day to stay happy. Lakeland Terriers are easy to take care of since they don’t need a lot of brushing, and they’re perfectly happy living in smaller spaces like apartments.

5. Cairn Terrier

The Cairn Terrier, a breed with deep roots in Scotland’s history, was originally bred to play a vital role in controlling the rat population for farmers. Their early history is a bit of a mystery, as they were grouped with other terriers and known collectively as “Scotch terriers.” Their prowess in hunting and exterminating mice and rats spans centuries, showcasing their significant role as efficient ratters. These skilled hunters were particularly adept at navigating through piles of stones, known as cairns, to chase out vermin. Their solitary hunting required them to be independent, brave, and resilient.

Cairn Terriers are not just about bravery; they are incredibly endearing, loyal, and cheerful companions. They cherish their independence but respond well to clear guidance, making training a smooth process when handled correctly. Apart from their charming personality, they boast a weatherproof and hypoallergenic coat that, while low-maintenance, does require regular grooming to stay in prime condition.

To keep a Cairn Terrier happy and healthy, engaging play and daily walks are non-negotiable. They thrive on interaction and exercise, so incorporating regular activity into your routine is essential for this spirited little terrier.

6. Bedlington Terrier

best dogs for small apartments

The Bedlington Terrier, hailing from the mining town of Bedlington in North East England, is a small but robust breed. Initially bred to rid mines of vermin, these terriers quickly showed their prowess in hunting a variety of game, including rabbits, foxes, badgers, and otters. True to their roots as ratters, a Bedlington Terrier won’t hesitate to take on and dispatch a rat and other pests.

While Bedlington Terriers have a friendly and gentle disposition, they possess a strong sense of territory and can sometimes show dominance over other dogs. With early socialization and consistent training, they can learn to coexist peacefully with other pets, including dogs and potentially cats, though their high prey drive might kick in with smaller animals.

Bedlington Terriers are not just affectionate companions; they’re also lively and intelligent, requiring plenty of mental and physical stimulation. They thrive on engaging activities and love to chase, thanks to their innate prey drive. Proper training and early exposure to various social scenarios are essential for shaping them into well-mannered and sociable pets.

7. Russell Terrier

best small dogs for apartments

The Jack Russell Terrier, famed for its prowess as a ratter, carries the legacy of its fox-hunting ancestors, making it a natural at chasing down small critters like rats and mice. This hunting instinct is not just a learned behavior; it’s embedded in their DNA, requiring an outlet through proper training given their high energy levels.

Known for their intelligence, cheerfulness, and playful nature, Jack Russells is great with children, thriving in an environment of respect and kindness. With the right training approach, they’re capable of learning impressive tricks and showcasing their smart and agile minds.

However, their boundless energy and innate love for digging can lead to trouble if they’re not given enough physical and mental stimulation. Regular, lengthy walks are essential to keeping a Jack Russell happy and well-behaved. If you’re considering welcoming one into your home, be prepared to match their high energy with plenty of activities and exercise.

Dangerous Diseases Spread by Rats and Rodents

Dangerous Diseases Spread by Rats and Rodents

To understand the risks that rodents can pose in the home, it’s important to know how they are spread:

  1. Coming into contact with rodent waste like feces, urine, saliva, and nesting materials can spread infections.
  2. Getting bitten by an infected rodent or insect can transmit diseases.
  3. Simply touching infected rodents or insects might pass on some viruses, even without a bite or scratch.


Certain dog breeds – like Rat Terrier, Jack Russell Terriers, Miniature Fox Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, and West Highland White Terrier – are renowned for their rodent hunting prowess. These breeds have been specifically bred for catching rats and other vermin and managing pests, making them excellent rat-catching dogs.

Their keen instincts for hunting rats ensure they are not only great companions but also efficient in keeping homes pest-free. Whether it’s through direct catching or deterring pests, these dogs carry a rich heritage of rodent control, showcasing their invaluable skills in pest management.

Mahvash Kazmi
Mahvash Kazmi, with a rich academic background in English Literature and Journalism, is not just a master of words but also a passionate advocate for the voiceless. Her vast experience, from teaching to insightful content creation, is underpinned by a profound love for animals and an unwavering commitment to conservation. An ardent animal lover, she often finds solace in nature's tales and the gentle purrs of her beloved Persian cat, Gracie. Her dedication to the environment and the written word combine to create truly compelling writing. With a heart that beats for the wild and the written word, she crafts compelling stories on animal issues, urging readers to coalesce for a cause.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Your SpotOn GPS Collar with a $50 Discount

Get updates on the latest posts and more from World Animal Foundation straight to your inbox.

No Thanks