Why Do Dogs Attack Hedgehogs? [3 Ways to Prevent It]


Have you ever wondered why dogs attack hedgehogs? If so, you’re not alone! Many pet owners, particularly those with dogs and hedgehogs under the same roof, ask this question.

Dogs, by nature, are curious creatures, while hedgehogs, with their peculiar appearance and movements, can pique a dog’s curiosity. This can sometimes lead to unwanted interactions and potential harm.

This article will take you through the reasons behind such behavior, how to prevent it, and methods to help your dog and hedgehog live in harmony.

Quick Answer

So, why do dogs attack hedgehogs? It primarily comes down to a combination of their predatory instincts, attraction to movement, and territorial behavior.

Sometimes, a dog’s playful curiosity can also lead them to attack. The good news is that there are reliable methods you can use to prevent such occurrences and help dogs and hedgehogs get along.

These involve training your dog, supervised introductions, and providing separate spaces for both animals.

The Primal Instincts of Dogs

Despite years of domestication, dogs still retain some of their ancestral instincts, one of which is the predatory instinct. This primitive trait can be triggered by smaller animals such as hedgehogs.

When a dog sees a hedgehog, its instincts may prompt it to chase, catch, and potentially harm the small creature.

This isn’t necessarily because the dog is aggressive, but rather because its genetic coding dictates it to react in certain ways to potential ‘prey’.

Dog owners must understand this aspect of their pet’s behavior, particularly regarding interactions with smaller animals.

The Attraction of Movement

Another factor that can instigate a dog to attack a hedgehog is the attraction of movement. Dogs are naturally stimulated by moving objects. It’s why they love to chase balls, frisbees, and, yes, even small animals.

When a hedgehog is near, the dog can be fascinated by its movements. This curiosity can escalate to a chase and sometimes, unfortunately, to an attack.

This behavior is not limited to hedgehogs but extends to other small animals that move quickly or erratically, capturing a dog’s attention.

Territorial Behavior

One aspect of canine behavior that’s often overlooked is territoriality. Dogs are incredibly territorial animals and can be aggressive when they feel their territory is threatened or invaded.

Introducing a hedgehog into a space your dog considers its own can lead to this kind of reaction. It’s not that your dog dislikes hedgehogs; it’s simply responding to what it perceives as an intrusion.

Managing this territorial behavior effectively can be a key step in preventing confrontations between your dog and a resident or visiting hedgehog.

How to Prevent Dogs From Attacking Hedgehogs?

Here are the three (3) methods you can use;

Method 1: Training Your Dog

The most effective and lasting solution to prevent your dog from attacking hedgehogs is training.

Dogs can be trained to obey commands, understand acceptable behavior, and learn to coexist peacefully with other animals, hedgehogs included.

You can begin by teaching your dog basic commands such as “leave it” or “stay.” These commands are handy when you want your dog to avoid chasing or engaging with a hedgehog.

A professional dog trainer can help with more comprehensive behavior modification if needed.

Method 2: Supervised Introductions

One of the key strategies to promote peaceful cohabitation between dogs and hedgehogs is supervised introductions.

This involves introducing your dog and hedgehog to a controlled, calm, and safe environment. You can start with brief sessions, allowing your dog to observe the hedgehog without making direct contact.

Remember to reward your dog for calm behavior during these sessions, reinforcing positive interaction.

Method 3: Providing Separate Spaces

As mentioned earlier, dogs can be quite territorial. Consider providing separate spaces for your dog and hedgehog to mitigate potential issues.

This doesn’t mean that they have to be completely isolated. It could be as simple as ensuring your hedgehog has a secure habitat that your dog cannot invade.

This method provides your hedgehog with a safe haven and reduces the chances of your dog’s curiosity leading to an unwanted encounter.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1. Are hedgehogs scared of dogs?

Yes, hedgehogs can be scared of dogs. The size and predatory instincts of dogs can intimidate hedgehogs. Therefore, it’s crucial to supervise any interactions between the two.

Q2. What happens if a dog bites a hedgehog?

If a dog bites a hedgehog, the dog could potentially injure the hedgehog. Moreover, the dog might hurt itself on the hedgehog’s spine. If this occurs, it’s recommended to consult with a vet immediately.

Q3. What to do if your dog kills a hedgehog?

It’s heartbreaking when this occurs. Ensure your dog is safe and not hurt by the hedgehog’s spines. Then, try to prevent such incidents in the future through training and maintaining separate spaces.


Understanding why dogs attack hedgehogs can help us prevent such unfortunate incidents. Understanding your dog’s instincts, attraction to movement, and territorial behavior is essential.

Mitigating these issues can be as simple as training your dog, supervising introductions, and providing separate spaces for both pets. By taking these steps, you can create a safer and more harmonious living environment for all your pets.

It’s vital to keep in mind that both dogs and hedgehogs have their own unique behaviors and needs. By understanding and respecting these, we can better cater to our pets and ensure their well-being.

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