Moles can be a scourge, digging up lawns, creating tunnels, and generally making a mess of your yard or garden. Dogs are a great option for keeping moles away and will even dig up and kill them in some cases. But what dog breeds kill moles best, and which have been bred that way?
Don’t fret, all you need to know is detailed below with the short answer first, followed by more detail on the best mole killing breeds of dog.
What dog breeds kill moles? The best dog breeds to kill moles include the terriers such as Yorkshire Terriers, Jack Russel Terriers, Lakeland Terriers, and of course, Rat Terriers. Other breeds such as German Pinschers and Dachshunds are also good at keeping moles away.
The kind of dog breeds that kill moles best
There is no shortage of dog breeds that are adept at digging up and catching moles. In the list below I’ve detailed the different breeds of mole catchers and what the differences are between them – you never know, you might find your mole catching dog on the list!
1. Yorkshire Terrier
Many owners will be surprised to find out that their cute little Yorkies are capable of catching moles. However, they are, in fact, one of the best dog breeds to kill moles suited for this job.
For example, the Yorkshire Terriers’ small size gives it a distinct advantage over larger breeds, allowing it to pursue moles through tight spaces and corners, dig into their tunnels, as well as under low buildings and sheds.
Yorkies are also very clever and energetic dogs and need a lot of exercise to keep them happy and content.
Not only do they make good mole catchers and mousers, but they also make great family members, being especially suited to families with young children.
2. Jack Russel Terrier
The Jack Russel is a fantastic dog breed to kill moles and other rodents. They are happy and energetic dogs who love to work. They are regarded as some of the best rodent catching breeds in the world and are great at keeping their owner’s yards free from rodents.
Interestingly, they originate from a fox-hunting breed in England, and as such are adept at flushing out rodents and moles from hidden areas.
Handy Hint: I’ve previously examined the evidence behind dogs being able to keep foxes away from your yard or garden. Here’s what I discovered.
The Jack Russel breed make great companions for children and are often very cheerful and loving dogs. They are extremely smart and can learn a variety of different tricks, often featuring in movies and tv shows because of these traits.
However, because they are so full of energy, they often need multiple long walks per day.
Originally bred for flushing out burrowing animals such as badgers, voles, and gophers, Dachshunds stand out as one of the best dog breeds for killing moles.
They do not belong to the terrier breed. Additionally, they are renowned for their great sense of smell, which hunters would sometimes use to aid them in hunting larger animals like boars.
Daschunds are very popular amongst families and have been ranked at the top of many popular dog lists since the 1950s. They are known to be full of personality and can at times be very stubborn.
Despite this, with regular exercise and long walks, they can be extremely loyal companions.
4. Lakeland Terrier
Originating from the Lake District, England, Lakeland Terriers make great for a great mole catching dog breed due to their abundant energy and small size. Much like Yorkshire Terriers, they are adept at finding rodents in hard to reach places and will make sure that they keep any moles from entering your home.
This breed is incredibly playful and is also known for their love of children, with whom they form strong bonds.
The only unfortunate trait of this breed is that they love to chase any animals that move, including cats or other small pets. To stop this from happening, it is vital to associate them with these types of pets at a young age, normally when they are a puppy.
5. German Pinscher
Another non-terrier breed that loves to catch moles, the German Pinscher is a medium-sized dog famous for both its ability to kill moles and its prowess as a skilled guard dog. Dating back to the 18th century, this breed was commonly used to guard coaches to prevent robberies and other crimes.
Bred specifically for moleting, German Pinschers possess the ability to smell moles from large distances. In addition, due to their guard dog nature, they are very vocal and will alert you to any visitors that come knocking on your door.
Likewise, German Pinschers often make great companions and are very loyal and protective of their owners.
However, it is worth noting that they are not recommended for families with children under the age of 9, due to their strong and assertive nature.
6. Rat Terrier
Originating from America, Rat Terriers were named by President Theodore Roosevelt and are regarded as one of the best dog breeds for mole-catching and hunting in the world.
They are extremely fond of digging and are farmyard dogs at heart, often helping farmers to get rid of rodents on their properties and farmland.
Despite all these traits, Rat Terriers can be brought up in a house or apartment without any problems.
However, they will need regular walks and exercise to stay happy. Also, it is worth keeping in mind that if you have a yard or garden, they will likely dig holes in it from time to time – unfortunately, this just comes with owning a Rat Terrier.
Despite this, Rat Terriers make great family dogs and are very loving and gentle with children.
Why dogs are best for mole catching and killing (vs cats)
Dogs can be extremely good at mole catching like we already know cays are. But actually, they are often way more effective than their feline counterparts.
For example, the majority of cats will only catch mice or moles when they feel like it – not when they are told too. Whereas dogs can be trained to carry out this task.
You see, unlike cats, certain breeds of dogs have been specifically bred to hunt down rodents. These types of dogs, known as ratters, are small to medium size in stature and are normally short-haired with smooth coats.
Although using dogs specifically for catching moles is sometimes frowned upon nowadays, knowing which breeds are capable of this can be useful for keeping your home or family safe from rodent intruders.
This is especially helpful if you live in the country or on a farm.
The history of dogs bred as ratters
Over the course of many years, ratters were bred for their quick reflexes and tenacity in hunting down moles.
What’s more, this selective breeding installed into them a lack of fear uncommon to their size, as well as a healthy amount of courage and determination – all traits that were needed to successfully catch rodents.
In the mid, to late 1800s ratters were extremely important and were responsible for keeping the local rat and rodent population down in many areas. Without them, diseases such as the plague could have quickly become present in the local populace.
Additionally, they were regularly used by wealthy businessmen to keep merchandise in their factories safe, which were often spoiled by rats or other rodents – causing large losses in their revenue.
Interestingly, rat-catching dogs would also become a lucrative business for those that owned several ratters. The men who did this, somewhat uncreatively named “rat catchers”, would use their dogs to catch live rats, and would then sell them to those that were involved in rat baiting – a bloody and barbaric sport which was extremely popular in the 1800s.
This sport involved releasing a number of rats into a pit and then tasking a dog, often a terrier, with the job of killing the rats in the shortest time frame possible.
Those watching would place bets on how much time it would take the dog to carry out this task, sometimes earning a pretty penny.
Not only was this cruel for the rats, but often the dogs involved would end up injured as well.
Thankfully, in 1912 the sport was banned, and from there it became a distant memory and disappeared into obscurity.
Is it cruel to let your dog catch moles?
There are valid arguments for and against mole hunting when it comes to animal welfare. However, terrier-type dogs and other breeds specifically bred for rodent and mole catching are said to get a sort of instinctual satisfaction from hunting moles.
In a way, this is similar to how German Shepherds are often used as guard-dogs or watch-dogs, or even how spaniels are used as hunting dogs.
Likewise, it is important to note that mole-catching is supported by many large animal welfare organizations, those of which see it as a humane way of keeping rodent populations from getting out of control.
Additionally, allowing a dog to catch rodents can deter people from using cruel and inhumane methods to catch moles, such as glue traps.
We’ve had moles on our property before, and despite out best efforts to humanely get rid of them, it just didn’t work. In the end we called a professional pest control expert as our French Bulldog was pretty useless at getting rid of them.
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Image in header via https://pixabay.com/photos/animal-mole-garden-meadow-molehill-1347755/