Dogs & Rats
"Ratting dogs need to be tough to kill rats in number .... Basic advice to anyone wanting to get a rat-killing dog; forget about fancy breeds, get a terrier."
D. Brian Plummer, "Tales of a Rat Hunting Man"
The battle between rats and dogs probably goes back before the dawn of time. That said, there is a place where we can logically begin -- 1714 when the Norway rat first showed up in the British Isles, the "mother country" of almost every terrier created.
Any dog can be a "rat dog," but the terrier breeds have an especially long-established history as vermin chasers, catchers and killers. Click on any of the names below to go the AKC Club site for that particular breed.
Note that many of today's terrier clubs are almost solely focused on conforming to a "beauty" standard for their breed. The result is that the working abilities of some dogs have been greatly diminished in recent years. The two most common types of terriers consistently displaying strong working abilities are Jack Russell Terriers and Border Terriers.
A dog is said to be a "hard" dog if it is extremely game and eager to attack rodents and other game animals. A hard dog is not necessarily good; too hard a dog, and you have a corpse, especially if it goes to ground against a fox, raccoon or skunk without carefully considering the consequences. As in all things, we should be striving for balance in our dogs as well as in ourselves.
Jack Russell Terriers
American Fox Terriers
Rat Terriers and Fiests http://www.ratterrierclub.com
Norwich and Norfolk Terriers
(Greyhounds, Whippets & their progency)
Other (rarer) terriers
with excellent ratting abilities:
Jagt terriers, Patterdale terriers, Fell terriers
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