Dogs and Snakes


Dog and SnakeI’m terrified of snakes, and I’d like a dog that would kill them. Could you recommend a breed? 

First, I’d like to remind our readers that most snakes found in North America are not poisonous. The few exceptions are rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, copperheads and coral snakes. It’s well worth your time to learn if any of these poisonous snakes live in your area, and if so, how to identify them.

That leaves many non-poisonous snakes that are generally harmless to people. In fact, all snakes have a valuable place in our ecosystem, and many are quite helpful around the homestead because they hunt mice, rats and other small rodents. Also bear in mind that in most states, snakes (and most other wildlife) are protected, and you’re not allowed to kill them unless they are about to cause harm to you or your property, including your livestock and poultry.

That said, some people are simply rattled by snakes. If that’s you, then yes, you can use dogs to get rid of them. Terriers were purposefully bred to hunt and kill small predators and rodents (such as rats and mice), and terrier owners often report that their dogs are aggressive toward snakes. Jack Russell, fox, rat and Australian terriers are probably your best choices.

— Jan Dohner, author of Livestock Guardians: Using Dogs, Donkeys, and Llamas to Protect Your Herd 

Photo by Julie Zickefoose 

4/19/2020 10:35:57 AM

“MISINFORMATION ALERT!” There’s no such thing as a poisonous or non-poisonous snake; all snakes are edible. Snakes are either venomous or non-venomous.

6/29/2013 5:26:49 PM

I live in the Florida Panhandle  (Okaloosa county)  and have had quite a problem here with venomous snakes. My Dachshund has two times been bitten on the nose out in my backyard, and while both bites made him incredibly sick, he is still here to tell the tale.  But my little pup, Kelly  (a small, sweet-natured  mix-breed) was bitten by an Eastern Diamondback, and she died a very painful death.  (In her case, I actually saw and heard the snake.)

 I got all the bitten dogs to the vet, but I could not afford anti-venom for them;  it is incredibly expensive. Anyway, even though my Dachund had been bitten twice, he was still right in the face of the Eastern Diamondback, barking his head off, as was my Labrador Retriever. So I'd say you could add Dachsunds to  the  "dogs motivate to kill snakes" list.

Nora Halsey
3/1/2012 5:25:01 AM

You obviously have never been bittin by a brown recluse or found a copperhead den near the house where your kids play. (Paying for a pro is not a possibility on my budget) My dog would lay her life on the line for my children and I, we would do the same, but circumstances dictate the action . Not everything is black and white. That would be ignorant to think it is. I had to learn the the hard way.

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