Yorkshire Terriers can and will catch mice and eat them if they are allowed to do so, though not every Yorkie will have the instinct. While most Yorkies will enjoy hunting for small rodents, it can be a risky pastime for your pet so keep an eye on what your dog is eating, and when, to make sure they are safe.
If you are looking for a pet that will hunt down and scare away mice, Yorkshire Terriers are among the best that you can get, though they are perhaps less consistent with their rodent-scaring than cats are. If trained to do so, Yorkies are efficient hunters, but most now prefer to live the life of the lap dog.
This article will go into detail about the hunting reputation and habits of Yorkshire Terriers, particularly when it comes to mice and rats, and some of the risks that are associated with the behaviour.
Table of Contents
- Are Yorkies Known for Killing Rats?
- Do Yorkies Still Kill Mice?
- Can Dogs Be Used to Scare Away Rodents?
- Do Yorkies Keep Mice Away?
- Are Yorkies Smart Enough to Find Mice?
- Are Yorkies Good Hunters?
- Can Yorkies Smell Mice in the Walls?
- What Other Kinds of Dogs Eat Mice?
- What Happens if a Dog Eats a Mouse?
- Do Yorkies Catch Toxoplasmosis from Ingesting Rodents?
- Are Yorkies at Risk of Getting Worms From Eating Mice and Rats?
- Should I Deworm My Dog?
- How High is the Risk of Secondary Poisoning from Eating Rodents?
- Should I Encourage my Yorkie to Hunt Rodents?
Are Yorkies Known for Killing Rats?
Yorkshire Terriers were first bred to be ratting dogs, hunting down small rodents in the mines and mills of Yorkshire during the Industrial Revolution. Because of their small size and their bravery, they were effective rat-killers and could even be carried around in the pockets of hunters to assist on larger hunting missions for foxes or badgers.
Do Yorkies Still Kill Mice?
Yorkshire Terriers also developed a reputation as royal lapdogs during the Victorian era, and have slowly become companion pets over the years, rather than working dogs. Despite their position as cute household friends, Yorkies still have the instinct to hunt in their DNA, and many will still choose to chase and kill rodents.
Can Dogs Be Used to Scare Away Rodents?
Dogs can be used as a deterrent for rodents because mice and rats will be afraid of them, though if your dog is not an active rodent hunter they will quickly return. Some breeds will catch mice and rats and keep their populations down out of instinct, but not every dog is a guarantee that you will be rodent-free.
Do Yorkies Keep Mice Away?
Terriers were almost exclusively bred for the purpose of hunting and killing rats, so Yorkshire Terriers are born rodent hunters. While not every Yorkie will be a keen mouse killer, they are likely to chase and catch those that they see, and consistently scare away any that might be creeping around.
Are Yorkies Smart Enough to Find Mice?
Yorkshire Terriers are considered above average intelligence for dogs and are in fact ranked as the 34th smartest breed in the world. This means that not only are they instinctually efficient rodent hunters, able to track and cut off the paths of rats, but they are also capable of receiving effective and intuitive training to manage their hunting behaviour.
Are Yorkies Good Hunters?
Having hunting in their blood means that Yorkshire Terriers are very effective when it comes to chasing down all sorts of animals, particularly rodents like mice and rats. They are known to be fearless and agile, particularly good at predicting an animal’s movement, navigating small spaces like burrows or tunnels, and chasing down small prey.
Can Yorkies Smell Mice in the Walls?
Not all dogs pay close attention to rodents, but Yorkshire Terriers will listen out for the distinctive sounds that they make and sniff out their scents through walls and floorboards. Their sense of smell is much keener than a human’s and they will notice the presence of mice, and hopefully scare them off, before you know they’re there.
What Other Kinds of Dogs Eat Mice?
Terriers are the most famous rat and mouse hunters, with the Jack Russell and Cairn Terriers being commonly recommended for the job, but they are not the only breeds that will kill a mouse. Dachshunds are known mousing dogs that like to flush animals out of their nests and burrows and Papillon will drive rodents away as well.
What Happens if a Dog Eats a Mouse?
While dogs are less likely to hunt animals in order to eat them than cats are, ingesting rodents is still common for ratting dogs like Terriers. It is a natural activity, but it does present with certain dangers like infection, intestinal worms, toxoplasmosis, or secondary poisoning from rat or mouse traps.
Do Yorkies Catch Toxoplasmosis from Ingesting Rodents?
Toxoplasma is a protozoan organism that can infect an animal that has eaten rodents or rabbits that have developed Toxoplasmosis cysts. This can make your pet quite ill, giving them diarrhoea, pneumonia, liver disease or nervous system diseases and you should visit a vet urgently if you are worried that your dog has been exposed.
Are Yorkies at Risk of Getting Worms From Eating Mice and Rats?
Roundworm is also a possible risk that your dog can face if it has eaten mice or rats, as they might be infected with Roundworm larvae. These can grow in your dog’s intestines, feeding on nutrients that your dog is consuming, and may cause your dog to have diarrhoea, vomiting or a swollen stomach.
Should I Deworm My Dog?
When your dog is a puppy, they should be dewormed every few weeks but as they get older intestinal worms become less common. If your dog has eaten small animals like mice and rats, however, you may consider them at a higher risk and ask your vet about deworming them every so often to be safe.
How High is the Risk of Secondary Poisoning from Eating Rodents?
The risk of secondary poisoning is, unfortunately, a possibility, particularly if your dog is hunting multiple rodents in an area where rat poison is used. The toxicity in one rat is usually not enough to cause significant harm, but if you suspect your dog has eaten a poisoned animal, you should contact your vet or pet emergency service immediately.
Should I Encourage my Yorkie to Hunt Rodents?
While hunting rodents is a perfectly natural behaviour for a ratting dog like a Yorkshire Terrier, it does come with risks, like disease, infection, or injury. Keeping mice and rats out of the house is a constant struggle for some homeowners, but make sure that your dog’s happiness and health is your first priority.