When thinking about pets that chase mice and keep them under control, most people think about cats. Cats can be good for controlling mice, but they’re opportunistic predators that may or may not be mousers. Many cats take up a laissez faire attitude toward the presence of mice, especially as they age.
Dogs, on the other hand, can be just as fierce as cats toward mice. They’re territorial, loyal, and can be trained so that they’re always on patrol. They will work to keep mice under control just as a matter of duty, and they can be on guard 24 hours a day.
And, to top it off, many dogs were bred specifically for pest control. On farms keeping mice and rats under control was a matter of a person’s livelihood, and having a dog take on that duty meant a lot more crops that could be sold. During the years of the bubonic plague, rat control was a matter of life and death, and dogs were found to be great at it. Even after it became less of a necessity, it was a great sport and people put effort into breeding dogs that were great ratters (and mousers).
Terriers are the most famous group of dogs known for their ability as ratters. In fact, they were bred for it, especially in a sporting sense. Rat baiting was a popular sport in England through the early 20th century. It involved placing a dog, usually a terrier, in a pit with numerous rats and taking bets on how many the dog could kill in a short period of time, how long it would take him to clear the pit, or other similar wagers. The dogs still have an instinct to look for rodents, as attested to by many of the owners. In addition to mice, they’ll chase every squirrel out of your yard.
Commonly recommended terriers for mousing include Jack Russell terriers and cairn terriers. These two dogs have very different appearances, so they’re a good contrast, but they share many traits, including their high-energy personalities, tendency to bark, and inability to get along with other pets. Jack Russell terriers were bred as fox hunters, so they’re more of a runner and need more space. Cairn terriers are a little calmer, were specifically bred for rodent hunting, and have a classic terrier look. But I know from personal experience that they can be brats.
Other Dog Breeds
However, terriers are not the only dogs bred for pest control, and for people who don’t want to deal with the energy and mischief that comes with owning terriers, there are some good options.
Dachshunds are commonly recommended as mousers. They were bred to flush out burrowing animals like badgers, and their instinct leads them to pursue small animals like mice. They are much lower-energy dogs than terriers and make good lap dogs, but they do love to dig (part of that chasing burrowing animals thing). Dachshunds might also help you control burrowing pests like gophers and voles, but depending on how you set up your yard and garden, they may do more damage than the animals they chase away!
Papillon are also recommended as mousers. They will harrow mice and drive them from your property. They are pretty and fun dogs, too. They can be high-maintenance, though. They have long coats that need care (also, they shed more than any of the dogs listed here, except maybe a long-haired dachshund). They’re almost as high-energy as terriers, and they can have bad separation anxiety. They can bark a lot and act out if they don’t feel they’re getting enough attention. But for someone who is home a lot and wants a dog they can love and will love them in return as well as keep mice away, a papillon may just be your best choice.
However, if you are looking for mouse control that won’t shed, won’t destroy furniture, and is there when you need it but goes away when you don’t, please contact Animal & Pest Control Specialist. We help people all across the Front Range, from Evergreen to Castle Rock, including the entire Denver metro area.