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11 Dog Breeds With The Highest Prey Drives


Some dogs love to run, others like to retrieve, and some can’t stop themselves from chasing anything that moves! Those pups most likely have a high prey drive.

Dogs with high prey drives have strong instincts to hunt. They tend to go after moving objects, whether they’re birds, critters, or leaves blowing in the wind! These dogs are energetic and intelligent, but they can be a handful if they don’t have a productive way to expel all that energy.

Below are 12 dog breeds with some of the highest prey drives – in no particular order.

1. Rhodesian Ridgeback— Originally bred to hunt lions and big game in Africa, Rhodesian Ridgebacks have an intense desire to hunt and track. Occasionally the scent may lead them to some of the neighborhood cats, so make sure they’re always leashed or in a safe, enclosed area.

Rhodesian Stealth

2. Airedale Terrier— The largest in the terrier group, Airedales were bred to track and trap otters. Today, this majestic looking dog still enjoys digging and flushing out prairie dogs, squirrels and rabbits.

Airedale Outdoors

3. Xoloitzcuintli— Also known as the Mexican Hairless Dog, this breed has been known as the “little doctor” for the heat they emit, comforting those needing warmth. This snuggler is content to cuddle until a small creature, like a squirrel, comes into view… then the Xoloitzcuintli “Show-lo” will abandoned the quiet time to go on the hunt.


4. Greyhound— The Greyhound has a long and lustrous history, spanning back almost a thousand years. With all the jobs they have been given, most of society today equates this breed with the racetrack. Greyhounds are incredibly laid back and prefer to lie in front of a cozy fire rather than do anything else… unless a furry animal scurries across their line of vision, then you’ll see just how fast a Greyhound can run.


5. Saluki— This beautiful and aloof breed has been clocked running up to 40 mph. Those speeds worked well when Salukis were expected to chase down gazelles two hundred years ago. Today, the modern Saluki enjoys a quieter life chasing squirrels and rabbits.


6. Pharaoh Hound— Believed to have originated around 3000 BC, the Pharaoh Hound was used to hunt and chase small game. Today, this hound is laid back and content to hang with their human, but still has a strong instinct to hunt squirrels, rabbits and other critters.


7. Irish Wolfhound—The tallest of all the breeds, the Irish Wolfhound fancies itself a lap dog. This calm breed enjoys the company of their human and is content to amble at a quiet, unobtrusive pace… until they catch a glimpse of a creature scurrying in the opposite direction.


8. Bull Terrier— Allegedly bred for pit fighting in the nineteenth century, the Bull Terrier has mellowed considerably over the past couple of centuries. Today a lovable companion dog to their humans, there still is a streak of fierceness where small animals are concerned.


9. English Springer Spaniel— Some English Springer Spaniel enthusiasts believe this breed to be the original and best dog for hunting. This dog was bred to flush out quarry, and the instinct is still high to rush forward and scare small animals from their hiding places.


10. Siberian Husky—Bred to pull sleds and herd reindeer, Huskies like to chase and capture small animals such as chickens, squirrels and sometimes house cats. While Huskies can live in harmony with other small pets, make sure they meet before putting them under the same roof, just to be safe.


11. Chihuahua — While these pups don’t seem to have been bred for hunting, most people can agree that these little guys are feisty! They tend to be reactive to moving objects, but this may have more to do with their “small but mighty” guard dog skills rather than their need to hunt.

Check out this video, featuring many of the dog breeds listed above:


Do you agree with this list? Would you add any others? Let us know in the comments below! 

Written by Karen Tietjen
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