Do Rat Terriers Kill Rats / Mice? Do They Eat Rats?

Do Rat Terriers Kill Rats / Mice? Do They Eat Rats?

If you’ve ever wondered, “Do Rat Terriers kill mice/rats?” or pondered whether they have an appetite for these pesky rodents, you’re in for an enlightening read! In this article, we’ll uncover the natural instincts and hunting abilities that make Rat Terriers exceptional rat hunters. We’ll also explore whether Rat Terriers truly have a taste for rat cuisine.

So, let’s embark on this captivating journey and discover the fascinating relationship between Rat Terriers and their notorious rodent counterparts. Get ready to be amazed by these furry little exterminators!

So, do Rat Terriers kill rats or mice? Yes, Rat Terriers were originally bred for the purpose of hunting and eliminating rats and mice. They possess a strong prey drive and are highly skilled at catching and dispatching rodents. Their keen senses, agility, and determination make them excellent hunters and well-suited for controlling rodent populations.

Rat Terriers use a combination of speed, agility, and their natural instinct to chase and capture small prey. They are known for their exceptional hunting skills. They can effectively eliminate rats and mice from homes, farms, or other environments where these rodents may be present.

However, it’s important to note that not all Rat Terriers are automatically skilled rat or mouse killers. Some Rat Terriers may require training or guidance to fully develop their hunting abilities.

Additionally, not all Rat Terriers will have the opportunity to encounter rats or mice in their daily lives, as many Rat Terriers today are primarily kept as companion animals rather than working dogs.

Back in the days, Rat Terriers were quite a popular dog breed, specifically among farmers, due to their ability to catch rats and other small animals that ruin farms. But nowadays, Rat Terriers are not limited to farms; they are raised in many homes as perfect family dogs. Nonetheless, purebred Rat Terriers inherit genes that make them good hunters.

So it doesn’t matter whether they live on a farm or a house they still can be good rat hunters. Read this article to thoroughly understand the hunting behavior of Rat Terriers.

Do Rat Terriers kill rats or mice?

When you hear the name Rat Terrier, it is not surprising to hear that these dogs kill rats. If we observe the roots of this dog breed, Rat Terriers were first bred around the early 1900s, and they were bred to eliminate farm pests, including rats.

Due to their exceptional ability to hunt rats, they became popular farm dogs pretty fast. Dogs are undoubtedly great human companions, but don’t forget that they also can be good hunters; not all of them but many.

Rat Terriers, as already mentioned, are a breed that associates history of catching rats. It only takes a few seconds for a Rat Terrier to hunt a rat, and within a short amount of time, it can kill a large number of rats.

Do Rat Terriers eat rats or just kill them?

This is the next burning question regarding the rat hunting of these dogs. Now you know that Rat Terriers are excellent hunters, and they do kill rats.

But do they eat rats? You might have heard that rats can be poisonous. So if a Rat Terrier eats a rat, what could be the consequences? So let’s first find out whether Rat Terriers eat rats or just kill them.

Due to the hunting instinct, Rat Terriers tend to kill small animals; as dogs are omnivore eaters, you cannot completely guarantee that they will not ingest rats. Still, you can adequately train a Rat Terrier only to catch the rat and not eat it. This requires constant and proper training.

The good thing is nowadays, Rat Terriers have become family dogs rather than farm dogs; hence they get a lot of space to socialize with people and also with other pets if you have any in your house.

The socialization skills that a Rat Terrier gains from the family help many of them dilute their predator behavior and avoid eating the rats they hunt. 

Why are Rat Terriers chasing rats and mice?

Have you ever heard of the term “ratter dogs?” The dogs that are developed to catch rats and similar small animals are known as ratter dogs. Rat Terriers are iconic dogs that belong to this category. 

Rat Terriers are small in their body size yet strong. Their bodies are perfectly built to run after their prey. Previously, I told you that we could reduce Rat Terriers’ predator behavior that raises in a household.

Still, it is impossible to eliminate it completely. So the urge to chase rats will somehow be seen among Rat Terriers. Not only that, Rat Terriers are curious little dogs, so if they see a catch, they will certainly chase it. 

Are Rat Terriers a good option for catching rats?

Rat Terriers are undoubtedly a good option for catching rats. As comprehensively discussed, this dog breed naturally has the ability to catch rats; furthermore, proper training can enhance their hunting skills.

Below are some of the essential factors that make Rat Terriers extremely good at catching rats.The sneaking and sniffing abilities of Rat Terriers make them ideal rat hunters. The standard breed Rat Terriers are relatively small in body size, but they have a strong posture and legs.

This body structure makes it easy for them to run fast and sneak to catch rats. Rat Terriers are small in their size yet fast, agile, and strong.

Moreover, Rat Terriers have strong senses; they can sniff things pretty well. If you are someone who needs to get rid of rats, these dogs will certainly do the job for you, and if you train them from a young age to catch prey, it will polish their hunting abilities. 

Final thoughts – Do Rat Terriers actually kill mice?

As the name itself implies, Rat Terriers are prominent rats/mice hunters. As a result of their prey instinct, small yet strong bodies, and intense sense of smell, it only takes a split second for a Rat Terrier to hunt a rat.

Most of the Terrier breeds, including Rat Terriers, were primarily bred for hunting purposes. However, in recent days Rat Terriers can be seen in plenty of households as family-friendly dogs rather than hunting dogs.

Growing up in a typical household, Rat Terriers might not get an intense predator behavior; still, it will always be there as they naturally inherit it. So it is not bizarre that your Rat Terrier chases after a rat even if you don’t specifically train them for it.


  • George Brown

    George B. is the founder of the JRO Organization. He believes in creating a better world for domestic animals. He believes domestic animals are more vulnerable than other animals, especially dogs, since they have been used to depending on their owners for generations. So, he started JRO to share his ideas and insights while helping vulnerable dogs worldwide. George runs multiple projects on street dogs in developing countries, especially Sri Lanka.

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