Do Jack Russell’s Kill Mice and Rats? [Is It True+Tips]


If you are the proud parent of a Jack Russell Terrier or considering adopting soon, you may be curious if the stories are true about a Jack Russell being experts at killing mice and rats.

Well, I have been raising a Jack Russell Terrier for the past 3 years, and here is what I can tell you on this topic.

Do Jack Russell’s Kill Mice and Rats?

Yes, Jack Russell’s will kill mice and rats. Jack Russell’s were initially bred to be hunting dogs and have a strong prey drive. When outdoors, your Jack Russell will be alert and always excited to hunt and kill a rodent if presented with the opportunity.

If this is true, what do you need to do, and what can you expect with your Jack Russell Terrier when it comes to killing mice, rats, and other rodents and varmint in the yard?

That is exactly what the rest of this discussion is dedicated towards answering if you stick around for about 2-3 more minutes.

Here is how I intend to present the information for you today:



Jack Russell Terriers Killing Mice and Rats

For the first few months of owning my female Jack Russell Terrier, I never noticed any mice or rats ending up dead in my yard and honestly did not know if I would.

It had kind of left my mind for the time being.

Then, approaching her 10-month birthday, that entire state of mind changed.

I walked out back and found that she had neatly stacked 2 mice on our back porch that she had been able to capture and, yes, kill.

This sparked my curiosity to watch a little more intently and realized just how much this dog breed is on the clock and trying to hunt.

Even when they are out back just for a few minutes.

Let me explain a little further.


It Is A Natural Behavior For Your Jack Russell To Hunt

My Jack Russell and yellow lab behave completely differently when outside.

Even if I am just letting them outside to use the bathroom.

They are not living on a farm or being instructed to perform any tasks while outside. I certainly have not trained my Jack Russell to kill any mice and rats.

My yellow lab will go outside, do his business, and wants back in the house.

Not my Jack Russell.

She will do her business and then just sit patiently, watching and listening to everything going on.

Whether that is leaves blowing around or a squirrel making noises in a tree, she is ready and waiting.

She also often darts at full speed, chasing something I cannot even see.

I live in a city, so I am assuming it is a rabbit, mouse, or squirrel but her ability to see, smell, chase, and execute the kill is something crazy to watch.

Jack Russell’s natural behavior is to hunt and have this prey drive.

It is better to get used to it than to try and fight it.

Again, I live in the city and still experience the hunting side of my Jack Russell and have personally seen her bring her collection of dead mice and line them up neatly like baseball cards.

While slightly gross, I suppose I am happy they cannot get inside of my house, so a job well done on my Jack Russell’s part.

Now that you are aware that hunting mice and rats is a real thing and true behavior of the Jack Russell Terrier, I want to cover a few things and a few precautions you should keep in mind to ensure the health and safety for your Jack Russell.


What You Should Do For Your Jack Russell If They Kill Mice and Rats

Whether you like the idea of your Jack Russell killing rats and mice or not, it is something that has a strong potential of happening at some point in your journey with your Jack Russell.

Since you likely are not going to avoid it altogether, it is essential to keep your Jack Russell safe and keep a few considerations in mind.

I have compiled a quick list of tips I would recommend implementing and considering for your Jack Russell if they kill a mouse or a rat.


Stay Up To Date With Rabies Shots

In case you were not aware, mice and rats carry rabies, and yes, a rat or a mouse biting your Jack Russell during the killing or hunting phase can cause your Jack Russell to contract rabies as well.

It is also important to note that a bite from a mouse or a rat will not always be noticeable, making this tip even more imperative to keep in mind.

The first thing you need to do conceal the mouse or rat in a safe travel container or bag and bring it to your local vet.

The reason for this is for your vet to have the ability to test the mouse or rat for rabies.

If they do not have rabies, your vet likely will not need to perform any additional treatment for rabies with your Jack Russell.

Keep yourself safe during this process as well by wearing gloves.


Do Not Make Your Jack Russell Kill All The Mice And Rats, Help Them

Another tip I recommend is to help your Jack Russell with the mice and rats if it is a problem on your property.

Yes, I understand that some of Jack Russell’s specifically are used for ratting or mousing, which is the primary job and role they serve for individuals.

Especially individuals who own Jack Russell’s in rural areas or on farms.

I also know that your Jack Russell has some hyper energy to burn off and that the chase and kill are an extreme thrill for your dog.

Talk about any easy form of exercise for your Jack Russell that requires nearly nothing from you.

However, since a few dangers do present with them consistently killing mice and rats, I recommend using practical approaches to contain mice and rat problems, such as traps.

Also, do not leave food or any other attractants in an area where your Jack Russell frequently will be roaming outside.

Do not assume your Jack Russell is your new mouse and rat exterminator and help reduce some risks by helping them out.

Another reason for trying to contain some of the hunting instincts with your Jack Russell Terrier is the tendency a Jack Russell has to dig in the yard following a scent.

Not only that, but Jack Russell’s have a difficult time breaking the train of thought of catching prey once they are fixated on it.

This often leads them to exit or escape from the yard and leads to them running away.

It is one of the reasons I have an entire post dedicated to educating you on the best fences for your Jack Russell Terrier.

Whether it is a mouse, rat, squirrel, or rabbit, your Jack Russell continually being in this zone and hunting mindset can cause you more issues unless you have already provided a great deal of training and discipline for your dog.

Sometimes, it is even recommended to spay your female Jack Russell’s to reduce this drive some.

And of course, for the males, get your Jack Russell’s neutered.

While it will never remove your Jack Russell’s tendencies to hunt and kill mice and rats, it does help with hormonal behaviors such as attempting to escape to find a dog in heat.

Hunting is a strong personality characteristic of the Jack Russell.

Plain and simple.


Do Not Forget About Fleas

Something I bet more people ignore or forget about when it comes to your Jack Russell hunting mice and rats is fleas’ potential.

While it will not always be an issue, mice are capable and known to carry fleas and can pass that flea infestation over to your Jack Russell Terrier.

Additionally, fleas from other animals can be even more troublesome due to the likelihood that they are carrying bacteria and other potential viruses.

Again, I am not saying that if your Jack Russell kills a mouse or a rat that you must freak out about everything we have discussed.

I am simply trying to be transparent that it may not be as entertaining or a perfectly “safe hobby” for your Jack Russell to partake in as you may have thought.


Jack Russell’s Are Natural Born Hunters, They Will Certainly Kill Mice and Rats

Jack Russell Terriers are dogs born to hunt and have one of the most substantial prey drives out of all dog breeds, and killing mice and rats is 100% likely in the future of your Jack Russell ownership

Not only that, but this dog is competent and darn good at it too.

While you may enjoy some of the benefits of having fewer rodents on the property, always be sure to keep the precautions we discussed in mind and always consult a vet if you have any further concerns.

Luna and I wish you the best of luck with your Jack Russell’s and the journey you have ahead of you. Happy mice and rat hunting!


Has Your Jack Russell Ever Killed Any Mice or Rats?

What is your experience with your Jack Russell Terrier killing mice or rats?

What other tips and precautions can you share with the readers?

Be sure to share those thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.

As always, Luna and I appreciate you stopping by and reading today, and we will see you again next time.

Josh Martin- Founder and Creator of Terrier Owner

Josh Martin is the proud owner of a female Jack Russell Terrier Named Luna. Josh founded TerrierOwner.com to share the stories of owning a Terrier and to help all terrier owners with the struggles, excitement and common questions that come with being a new terrier parent.

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