Ratting With Dogs

jack russell terrier killing rat

Many people are unaware that dogs are still used for pest control purposes to this day. Here at Vermicure, we use terriers to remove rats from domestic and commercial properties daily – and we’re proud of it.

Otherwise known as “ratting”, controlling rats with dogs is an ancient technique that is still highly effective. It is a process that may look gruesome, but compared to poisons (rodenticides) and traps, it is much more humane. Furthermore, with the sale of low-quality DIY poisons, rats are becoming more resistant to rodenticides, meaning we’re always on the lookout for an alternative humane solution.

Our customers are often surprised to learn that we use highly skilled and trained dogs for rat control. The dogs we use at Vermicure have tons of experience working in commercial environments with strict health and safety procedures and domestic jobs such as rats in gardens.

Is it legal to hunt rats with dogs in the UK?

Hunting rats with dogs is legal under the 2004 Hunting Act.

Rat poison is often the first port of call for people when they are trying to control rats, but there are many direct and indirect consequences of using poison. For example, over the years, rats have developed resistance to rodenticides, making them much less effective at removing an infestation. Furthermore, if the rodenticide is effective, it will take 2-5 days for the rat to die, causing them a significant amount of suffering, compared to a dog which will kill a rat in just a matter of seconds.

Not to mention the impact that rodenticide has on our ecosystem and wildlife. For example, rats are a food source for many birds, owls and foxes. When one of these animals eats a rat that has consumed rodenticide, we poison non-target species.

Why are dogs effective for ratting?

One particular type of breed has been used for hunting rats for many years with great success – the terrier breed. Many of these dogs were bred specifically for hunting purposes and, over the years, have been refined to control rats.

As well as being loyal companions to humans, terriers are incredibly smart and have a high prey drive and energy levels, making them the perfect working dog for rats. In addition, their tenacity is often unmatched by any other dog, which is needed for the demanding work they have to do.

What are the best dogs for catching rats?

At Vermicure, we make use of Lakeland terriers when removing rats. We may be slightly biased that Lakelands are the best at ratting. However, there are many terriers we’ve come across in our time that are effective as working dogs.

  • Patterdale Terrier – the Patterdale is one of the most popular ratting dogs due to its extensive hunting history, which dates back to the early 18th century.
  • Lakeland Terrier – the Lakeland terrier is a “big dog in a small package” initially bred in the Lake District, where it was used to hunt foxes that preyed on sheep.
  • Jack Russell Terrier – the JRT is one of the smallest terriers, but its’ roots stem back hundreds of years to control rats and other vermin.
  • Cairn Terrier – recognised as one of the earliest working terrier breeds, the Cairn terrier will make a fantastic ratter when bred from the right parents.
  • Yorkshire Terrier – although the Yorkshire terrier is rarely used as a working dog these days, they were initially bred to hunt small game.
  • Jagd Terrier – the Jagdterrier, is a working dog through and through and was bred in Germany to control vermin.
  • West Highland Terrier – the Westie is another dog less commonly used for working purposes, but bought from the right parents can make a brilliant ratting dog.
  • Manchester Terrier – first bred in the 19th century to control rats, the Manchester Terrier is smooth-haired.
  • Bedlington Terrier – the Bedlington terrier is often used for dog sports and shows, but don’t forget they were initially used for hunting small vermin.

Although the Lakeland terriers we use at Vermicure are well and truly working dogs, don’t expect us to treat them any differently than a household pet. In other words, our dogs are part of the family.

Choose Vermicure for rat control with dogs

When it comes to ratting with dogs, Vermicure Pest Control is one of the most experienced companies on the market. We operate the Yorkshire Rat Pack and will travel all over the north of England to clear rodent infestations with our pack of Lakeland, Patterdale and Jack Russell terriers. It’s not uncommon for us to carry out our services on farms and waste sites and exterminate hundreds of rats in one sitting alone. Something that would take months to do with poisons and traps.

All our dogs are highly experienced in commercial settings and are well-natured around animals and humans – rats, not so much. Feel free to call Vermicure on 07951 157254 to discuss your rat problem and to see if dogs will be the most effective method.