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Yorkies Catching Rats

Unlike popular belief, rats are not only killed by cats. Rats may also be kept at bay by dogs, who will pursue and kill them. However, not all dogs are capable of doing so.

Do Yorkies catch rats? Yes, Yorkies are capable of catching rodents. They were initially bred in England as ratters. They would take them to the coal mines and train them to catch rats in tunnels.

Here, you will know more about the history of Yorkshire Terriers and things you probably do not know.

Yorkshire Terrier Breed Information

The Yorkshire Terrier (also known as a Yorkie) is a small dog breed that belongs to the toy category. The playful personality and distinctive blue and tan coats of the long-haired terrier are well-known.

Yorkies can be very thin, weighing no more than seven pounds on average. The American Kennel Club does not prescribe a minimum weight or height requirement for dogs. Yorkshire Terriers surpassed the Labrador Retriever as the second most popular dog breed in the United States in 2006.

Yorkshire Terriers were trained to capture rats in Yorkshire mills and mines during the Industrial Revolution because of their small size. During the nineteenth century, migrants from Scotland flocked to Yorkshire.

They intend to search for jobs in the many mills that dot the landscape. They took with them many small terrier breeds as companions.

The breeds that lead the development of Yorkies have no records. However, it is widely assumed that they brought these breeds with them, which are all part of the Yorkshire Terrier’s lineage.

  • Clydesdale
  • Paisley
  • Skye Terriers

Yorkies were excellent ratters in northern England’s mills and mines. Their small size and courage let them hunt a variety of other animals. The dogs were small enough to fit in hunters’ pockets before being released into the dens of wild animals.

Yorkshire Terriers, despite their small size, seemed to enjoy the excitement of the chase. They didn’t back down when faced with prey larger than themselves, demonstrating that they are a brave breed.

Yorkies Introduction To America

In 1861, the Yorkshire Terrier was first seen in England as the Broken Haired Scotch Terrier. However, the Yorkshire Terrier became the official name of the breed in 1874. This dog breed started to make its way into America in 1872. The American Kennel Club (AKC) formally recognized the breed in 1878.


This dog transitioned from a hunting/ratting dog to a companion dog during the Victorian era. Small dogs are precious during this time.

The breed’s peculiar appearance and small structure drew the attention of royalty and upper-class societies in England. As the breed’s popularity grew in England, it spread to the United States.

Famous Yorkshire Terrier

1. Huddersfield Ben

Yorkshire Terrier Huddersfield Ben is a well-known Yorkshire Terrier. He is the Yorkie breed’s base sire. He was given the name Huddersfield after the town where he was born in Yorkshire, England. He had a significant influence on the evolution of the breed ever since.

A man named M.A. was the owner of this dog. Foster became well-known after winning over 70 dog shows and several Ratter competitions.

Huddersfield is a town in Yorkshire, England. Ben was the most coveted stud dog on the market, and he was relatively big at 11 pounds. However, he regularly produced litters of dogs weighing less than 5 pounds (2.26 kg), which conformed to the breed standard at the time. Ben died at the age of six in 1871.

2. Smokey

The Yorkshire Terrier’s popularity started to dwindle in the 1940s. Smoky was a famous World War II dog. As a member of the 5th Air Force in the Pacific, she was regarded as a hero.

Her outstanding service helped to reintroduce this breed into the mainstream. Smoky was discovered in a shell hole near the Japanese lines in New Guinea by American William Wynne.

She was unable to comprehend commands issued in either English or Japanese. She joined the troop and participated in over 150 airstrikes and 12 sea missions. Her bravery was lauded after she survived a treacherous typhoon in Okinawa.

She quickly learned clever tricks while serving with her American troops. These tricks not only amused the troops but also helped her to assist the Signal Corps.

She did so by bringing a telegraph wire through a 70-foot, eight-inch pipe. Smokey also used a custom-made parachute to leap from a 30-foot tower.

Diseases Yorkie Can Catch From Rats

Tularemia Or Rabbit Fever

Francisella tularensis causes tularemia, a bacterial disease. It’s also known as rabbit fever because it affects wild animals, particularly rabbits and rodents.

Tularemia is uncommon in dogs, but it can happen if they kill or consume an infected rabbit or rodent. A bite from an infected blood-sucking bug, such as a tick or flea, may also cause infection.

Even pet rodents can carry this disease. According to the CDC, domestic cats and hamsters bought from pet stores have spread the disease.

If your dog encounters a dead animal, particularly a wild rabbit or rodent, be cautious and don’t allow her to eat it. Dogs may also contract the disease if they drink tainted water.

Tularemia signs include a loss of appetite, lethargy, and a moderate fever in your dog. Inflammation of their skin, draining abscesses, and swollen lymph nodes are all possible symptoms.

Rat Bite Fever

Rat-bite fever is another thing you should worry about. It transmits to your dog by contacting dead rodents or ingesting something tainted by the diseased rat’s feces.

It is caused mainly by the bite or scratch of an infected rat. In rats’ mouths and noses, the bacteria that causes rat-bite fever is a natural part of their world. Rat-bite fever can occur in up to 10% of rat bites.

Mice, gerbils, squirrels, cats, and dogs that come into contact with rats may become infected and spread the disease. They can spread it regardless of whether or not they become ill.

Even common pets like hamsters, rats, mice, and rabbits that come into contact with wild animals can carry the bacteria. They can pass it on to humans or other household pets like dogs.

Potentially Fatal Toxoplasmosis

The parasite Toxoplasma gondii causes toxoplasmosis. It’s a parasite that affects humans and warm-blooded animals like rats all over the world.

The parasite’s only host, both wild and domestic cats, is needed to complete its life cycle. Dogs may contract the infection, but you will never notice if the adult dog is otherwise safe.

Puppies are more susceptible to the disease. Symptoms of toxoplasmosis may occur in an animal with a compromised immune system. Here are the symptoms

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Cough
  • Trouble breathing
  • Jaundice
  • Seizures
  • Death if not treated

Consumption of cysts from cat urine, contaminated rodents, or infected meat is easy for dogs to become infected. Rats infected with the toxoplasmosis parasite become less fearful of cats and even like cats’ scents. They can become easy prey for dogs because they lose their natural fear of predators.

Leptospirosis In Dogs

Leptospirosis is a deadly and easily transmissible disease. It is caused by a genus of bacteria called Leptospira that lives in the kidneys of infected animals. When the virus is found in humans, it’s also known as Weil’s disease. Rats and cattle are two of the most popular carriers.

How To Avoid These Things

Sanitation is the best way to keep your dog from getting into contact with an infected rodent. Allowing your dog to interact with wild animals is a close second.

Clean your hands during playing with the cat and interacting with your dog. Do it more often if you have house rats or other rodents as pets. Take your dog to the doctor if you think he has an illness or has had an altercation with a wild animal.

Modern Day Yorkie Requirements

  • Outdoor – If you have a yard for your Yorkie, double-check it for escape routes because they are small and can crawl under fences easily. They like frolicking, but they are not yarded dogs that should be left alone for extended periods.

  • Indoor – Because of their small size and modest activity requirements, they make great apartment dogs and perfect senior pets.

  • Food – Two to three small meals daily are beneficial to Yorkies. Because of their small size and propensity for hypoglycemia, it’s best to consult your veterinarian about feeding them.

  • Alone Time – Yorkies do not like being left alone for long periods and are susceptible to separation anxiety. They would instead accompany you everywhere you go because they are classic purse dogs. Yorkies are known for following their owners around the home.

  • Exercise – Your Yorkie will stay in top shape with several short walks a day and games of toss in the living room.

  • Endurance – Yorkies can keep up with you on medium-length walks and play sessions due to their stamina. When they are tired, they will refuse to go any further. You may put them in your purse and take them the rest of the way.


Despite being bred to capture rodents, they are susceptible to a variety of diseases. Rats spread a variety of diseases to dogs in a variety of ways.

Although not all of these diseases are deadly, they pose significant health hazards to both your dog and yourself. It is best to prevent any touch with rats and dogs, and if it does happen, take extra precautions.