I like many other people have all most always believed that cats were the supreme rulers of catching rodents. My judgement on cats has changed, mainly due to my cat Mystique, who I have always thought would be so willing to chase a mouse, rat, mole, or vole.
But until recently when when I found several mice nests in our wood stack with mice in them. It turns out she’s more interested in the birds that flock around our house in the woods then hunting rodents.
So I did some research on why cats don’t catch rodents all the time and discovered a really interesting fact. If a cat has a full bowl and knows that food will never run out they view catching rodents as a way to pass the time by or as a play toy rather than the job we humans have assigned to them.
Apparently our ancestors already knew that cats were just lazy and who viewed you as a source for food. So they created a dogs that would hunt down rats, and with that one simple breeding booted the cat from its high perch of chief rodent catcher. And so cats were replaced with the ever faithful dog who by the way, view you as god.
How The Rat Terrier Got its Name
Now that I am armed with that information I now believe that dogs and more importantly Rat Terriers are the answer to the pesky rodents. Rat Terriers were born and breed to hunt rodents and other small animals who burrow into the ground.
The Rat Terrier breed has been around since the late 1800’s and is an American breed. They are believed to be breed from the Manchester Terrier, Smooth Fox Terrier, and a couple other which may include the Whippet and Beagle.
The Rat Terrier was coined by Teddy Roosevelt, this breed is a fun-sized, smooth coated, tough, terminator of a dog. There are two sizes for this breed, a miniature Rat Terrier it’s height is between 10-13 inches. Its bigger sibling the standard is 13-18 inches in height, their coat is smooth and varies in pattern.
Despite their size they have a surprising amount of energy that they use to dig up a hole to catch their prey. Now the ratter needs that energy due to the fact that Rodents don’t leave their burrows for to long.
When a Rat Terrier’s prey dives into their burrow the dog/s need a sustained amount of energy to dig through the ground to find their prey. Now in this article we will go through the best rat and small rodent killing Terriers.
Now, I have to say that most dogs are great ratters, my dog Zeus is a fantastic ratter! He caught a rat and killed it in a matter of seconds, so if you already have a dog you may not even need to go out and buy a rat terrier. Dogs have a natural chase instinct, and if they see a rat running most likely they will chase it down and kill it.
Some General Information on Rat Terrier’s Before We Dive Into the Top Terriers
These Rat Terriers need daily exercise, and the exercise is a tall order, Rat Terriers have a very high energy level. So they may need multiple daily walks or better yet, running around to drain out their almost limitless energy.
If you live in a city, you can join a Rat Terrier club that goes out at night to hunt down vermin. If you join this club your are killing two birds with one stone your depleting their high energy level and your putting their very strong prey drive to great use.
The Rat Terrier’s general life span is between 15-18 years, they are a healthy breed over all. Some might have hip dysplasia, heart disease, dental diseases, or heart murmurs. Also small dogs need to have their teeth brushed on a weekly basis. Otherwise their teeth will start to rot and fall out leaving them with no teeth when they become old.
12 of the Best Rat and Small Rodent Killing Terriers
- Jack Russell Terrier
- American Rat Terriers
- Cairn Terrier
- Yorkshire Terrier
- Bull Terrier
- Manchester Terriers
- Mini Schnauzer
- German Pinscher
- West Highland White Terrier
- Norfolk Terrier
I have to say this again, these dog breeds are at the top of the list for ratters. All of these ratters have fantastic kill scores against rats. Each dog breed has been vetted to give you the best ratter dog breed, if you have a ratter dog breed thats not yet made it on this list please email us!
The Jack Russell Terrier
The Jack Russell Terrier is one of the most successful Rat Terriers in existence, they were born for this and have a honed their craft. Jack Russells were developed in England some 200 years ago, and their main purpose was quite different but still in the same genera.
They were breed to hunt foxes, they are lively, independent, extremely clever, and some what of a handful to train. They fit great with active families they also do great with kids as long as there is no abuse.
The American Rat Terrier
As I had said above the Rat Terriers or American Rat Terriers bred has been around since the late 1800’s and is an American breed, they are believed to be breed from the Manchester Terrier, Smooth Fox Terrier, and a couple other which may include the Whippet and Beagle.
American Rat Terriers are an extremely loving dog breed which makes them for good family pets, they are super easy to train, and extremely smart. They need regular exercise and plenty of mental stimulation to keep their brain functioning.
The Cairn Terrier
Cairn Terrier was developed in the Isle of Skye in Scotland around the 1600’s. Cairn Terriers are a small dog with large amounts of: courage, intelligence, and tenacity. The farmers of the Isle of Skye needed a small but ferrous little terrier to exterminate the vermin.
The farmers also needed dogs that are very friendly, sensible, family dogs. The Cairn Terrier instincts even after so many hundreds of years is still deeply ingrained into their psyche.
Yorkshire Terrier’s were believe it or not were breed to work back in the mid 1800’s in England. This is a long-haired breed that is in general in great health condition.
Yorkies make for excellent family dogs because they are small and pretty versatile Yorkies need about 30 minutes of exercise daily. Even today Yorkies still retain their hunting skills, Yorkies were used in mine shafts, houses, and fields to hunt down rats, badgers, and even fox’s.
There are two different strands to this breed. The first is the standard Dachshund from 16-32lbs and the miniature 11lbs and under. They also come with different hair lengths, smooth, wire haired and finally long haired.
Dachshund’s are independent hunters who search out dangerous prey. They need a serious amount of courage, smarts, and finally strength to face a badger in its din and tunnels.
Dachshund’s are not a long distance runner or jogging dog breed. Instead they are built for meandering walks around the park with their nose to the ground. Dachshunds were created about 600 years go in Germany.
They were bred for one purpose, sniffing out a badgers dins. Once they find their prey they would use their shovel like paws to dig their way into the din. Where they would dispatch the badger with help from other Dachshunds and the owner.
The Bull Terrier
Bull Terriers or BT’s were created around 1835, its parental breeds was the bulldog and the Old English Terrier. The Bull Terrier is a robust, always devoted, stubborn, and mischievous dog that loves affection and exercise in body and mind.
This Bull Terrier has had a bloody history, they were specifically breed for bull baiting. But in 1830’s Bull baiting became illegal in England, and so they turned the dogs loose upon each other. It was cheaper and easier to hide the evidence of such a gruesome sport. But before long the law also caught up with the dog fighting as well.
In the late 1800’s the Bull Terrier breed became the dog to own and lots of upper class young men began to redefine the dog’s temperament and body. Making them more sweet, loving, and gentle while redefining their general look. The BT exercise requirements are: Running or jogging for at least an hour preferably more.
The Manchester Terrier was created in the 1900’s and was breed to control vermin most notably rabbits and rats. To pass the time by, people would make two rat pits where they would loose a dog into each pit and bet on which dog would kill all the rats first.
The Manchester Terriers height is only 15-16 inches and their max weight clocks in some where in between 12 – 22 pounds. Manchester Terriers are hard working dog breed that don’t give up until the job is finished.
The 12 Best Rat Terriers
Mini Schnauzers and standard Schnauzers are excellent ratter dogs, they are by far better than their biggest brother the Giant Schnauzer. The Mini Schnauzer originally come from Germany and is the perfect rodent hunting dog. They are a friendly, eager exercise, bright, eager to get going dog that is pretty easy to train.
The Miniature Schnauzer needs a lot of exercise in ways of meandering walks, they are not a long haul runner. But rather they have a short burst of speed to gain ground to catch its prey, before it disappears into its burrow.
West Highland White Terrier
The West Highland White Terrier, also called the Westie, is a spirited and small breed hailing from Scotland. Its distinct white fur, dense and double-layered, acts as a shield against the harsh weather of the Scottish Highlands.
Westies are known for their friendly, loving nature and make excellent family pets. They’re devoted and loyal to their owners, but also have an independent streak and may be stubborn from time to time. Smart and energetic, Westies require regular mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy.
The Norfolk Terrier is a small and feisty breed that originated in England. These dogs were originally bred to hunt small vermin, such as rats and foxes. Norfolk Terriers have a distinctive wiry coat that can be a range of colors, including red, black, and wheaten.
Norfolk Terriers are intelligent and curious, always on the lookout for adventure and new experiences. However, they can also be stubborn at times and require consistent and firm training to keep them in check. These dogs have a lot of energy and require daily exercise to keep them healthy and happy.
In Conclusion of The Best Rat Terriers
This finishes our 12 of the best rat terriers that we could find, now just because these here are the best does not mean that your own dog isn’t perfectly suited for the job as well.
All dogs have a hard wired instinct to chase down something that runs, now what they do to the rat when they catch it is up to them. Zeus caught the rat that had been living in our compost with out trying.
In conclusion if you are in the market for a rat terrier and you are looking for the best rat terrier I would pick the top most three or four rat terriers.
If you have a rat terrier your self and have something to add or say please email us we would love to hear!
Looking For Another Type of Dog Breed but Don’t Know Which One?
If your looking for a awesome dog but didn’t see one on this list don’t worry! We have several other articles that you may be interested in:
- Best Guard Dog Breeds
- Rottweiler American Bulldog Mix
- Boxer Rottweiler Mix
- Labrador Rottweiler Mix
- Doberman Rottweiler Mix
Happy Tails!The LR Team