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Do Yorkies Kill Rabbits, Birds, Mice, or Rats? (FAQs)

You might be wondering whether your innocent little Yorkie could ever hunt or kill critters from the yard. From cute bunny rabbits, birds, or house mice, this article will specify an appropriate answer.

Not all Yorkies will engage in this kind of behavior, but they certainly have it in them. Let’s explain this in more detail below.


Simple answer: Despite the Yorkie’s small size, they do have the ability to hunt and kill rabbits, birds, mice, rats, and other small animals or pets around the home or yard.

Can Yorkies Hunt & Kill Small Animals?

It surprises many, but yes, Yorkies can hunt and kill small animals. Yorkies are excellent hunters and were originally used in mills and mines to hunt and kill disease-ridden rats.

Yorkies were known for their courageous temperament and their small size made them capable of reaching places where unwanted critters would thrive.

Can Yorkies Kill Rabbits?

While you might think rabbits are large enough to deter a Yorkie, you would be wrong. Although more uncommon, a Yorkie still possesses the physical ability to hunt and kill a rabbit.

Shortly after Yorkies became known for their rat-exterminating abilities, hunters and farmers tried their luck with them out in the fields with bigger animals. And yes, they excelled there too! Often being used for rabbit and fox hunting.

Does this mean your Yorkie will try to kill a rabbit? Of course not, and everything needs to be taken into context. Wild rabbits spotted on a walk that quickly runs away from a Yorkie may trigger their instinctual response to hunt. But a pet rabbit raised with a Yorkie is most probably safe…

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Can Yorkies Kill Birds?

Yes, If a Yorkie can manage to catch a bird, then absolutely. Injured birds or baby birds unable to fly properly could definitely trigger a Yorkies prey drive instinct and cause them to attack.

Large birds have more of a fight in them than your average neighborhood sparrow. And depending on which bird it is, a Yorkie may actually come off worse (or significantly worse). Even seagulls have significant fight and defense skills when provoked.

Can Yorkies Kill Mice?

Mice and rats are a Yorkie’s bread and butter. They are known for catching and killing rats and it was their primary working purpose for quite some time.

In reality, you wouldn’t want your Yorkie going anywhere near either mouse or rat, as these critters can carry nasty diseases. If you do have a mice or rat problem, it’s best to call a professional pest control expert to rid them before your Yorkie can.

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Can Yorkies Kill Foxes?

While hunters often tried using Yorkies to hunt foxes, it didn’t always work out successfully. One-on-one a fox would likely win, although a pack of Yorkies against one fox, would typically be triumphant.

Apart from cubs, adult foxes are usually always bigger than Yorkies, and they can put up a significant fight when feeling threatened.

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Do Yorkies Have a High Prey Drive?

This may be obvious by now, but yes, Yorkies do have a high prey drive.

Despite not being used for hunting purposes much anymore, this kind of instinctual behavior remains ingrained into Yorkies and is easily triggered.

Small animals that move quickly will nearly always trigger some kind of instinctual desire to chase, grab and kill. Of course, temperaments and personalities vary drastically, and some Yorkies that are well-socialized may not act on their prey drive like others will.

Could Your Yorkie Kill Another Animal?

It depends. Whether or not your Yorkie would try to kill another animal comes down to a few things. First of all, the kind of animal, secondly the situation, and finally your Yorkie’s temperament.

Mice and rats darting in front of your Yorkie will almost always trigger their prey drive response. These animals are small and are quite simply “prey”, in any Yorkie’s book.

However, for Yorkies that have been extremely well socialized and trained, not only will they be friendlier with other animals, but they will also have better self-control. Again, this depends on their level of socialization and training from a young age.

Let’s not make out Yorkies are something they aren’t though… Yorkies nowadays are friendly lapdogs and 99% of the time, they are not frequently killing other animals.

Preventing a Yorkie From Killing a Household Pet

For the concerned owners here with other household pets, you’ll want to implement various safety precautions and training from the get-go.

Gerbils, hamsters, and guinea pigs should all be kept in their cage safely and never be around your Yorkie unsupervised.

Over time, it’s important to build positive associations with your Yorkie towards these other pets. This means plenty of praise and treats while undergoing a supervised and controlled interaction.

The goal is always to increase positive exposure and interactions with the other pet, until your Yorkie is completely comfortable with them.

This situation can be a little different, and more long-winded when it comes to cats, however. In most cases, cats will quickly assert themselves as the boss over the Yorkie (and that’s the way we want it to be)

In the animal world, hierarchy is everything. And the main to prevent any dog from attacking another pet is to ensure they view them as equal or higher to them in the pack (the family pack).


To the surprise of many, Yorkies can actually hunt and kill many small animals. Granted, just because Yorkies can do this, it doesn’t mean they are savages. Most Yorkies nowadays are cute lapdogs that wouldn’t hurt a fly.

Back to more Yorkie tips & faqs

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Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.