TAGS: dog breeds | Terrier | working dogs

5 Reasons Why Terriers Make Excellent Hunters

30 Jan, 2023

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Terriers are a group of dogs originating in the United Kingdom. These dogs were initially bred to hunt small prey that lived in underground burrows, such as rodents, foxes, and badgers. Watching a Terrier hunt is incredible. They are so skilled at what they do, and they love to work. While most Terriers today are companions and show dogs, they still maintain their hunting instincts and prey drive. Many Terriers must be very closely monitored when off-leash, as they may see a small animal run by and run off chasing them. Hunting is undoubtedly in a Terrier's DNA; however, what qualities do these dogs have that make them such excellent hunters?

Welsh Terrier


#1 - Instincts


Jack Russell Terrier With Ball in Mouth

Without a second of training, Terriers will naturally chase after small animals and just about anything else that moves. Their strong prey drive resulted from many generations of selective breeding with dogs that were good hunters. Since chasing animals comes so naturally to Terriers, sharpening their skills through various training methods brings their hunting game to a completely different level compared to other dogs.

#2 - Grit

No matter how difficult a hunt may be, a Terrier will only stop once the job is done. These dogs are highly determined when it comes to hunting and get tunnel vision when chasing after an animal - they will not be able to think about anything else. Given that Terriers never give up, their efforts will often wear down the animal that they are chasing and allow the Terrier to make the capture.

#3 - Intelligence


Manchester Terrier Dog

As mentioned earlier, a Terrier's hunting skills can be sharpened through various training methods. Terriers are known to be both intelligent and have excellent intuition. Especially if it is related to hunting, Terriers will be very willing to learn new things and obey commands from their owner, making them extremely capable of adapting to new environments and situations.

#4 - Speed & Agility

Not only are Terriers quick, but they are agile and can squeeze into very tight spots. This capability makes it extra tricky for small animals to hide. On top of this, Terriers are fantastic diggers. Even if an animal tries burrowing underground, a Terrier will happily dig it out. These skills have made Terriers super helpful when it comes to ratting, and there have been cases where Terriers have killed hundreds of rats in a matter of a couple of hours.

#5 - Fearless


Boston terrier Dog Breed

Hunting involves one animal being chased for its life, in which case their instincts kick in. It will attempt anything it can to get rid of the Terrier chasing them. The problem is that Terriers are courageous and will not fear endangering themselves in an attempt to hunt down prey. Their fearless attitude allows them to take down prey that is even larger than them. 

Terriers are not used as hunters as much anymore. However, any Terrier owner knows that the instinct is still very present. Aside from being great hunters, Terriers are usually highly loyal and fun dogs to have at home. If you are interested in learning about a specific Terrier breed, you can read about them in the Dog Breeds section of our website!



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