HISTORY/DEVELOPMENT OF THE DECKER STRAIN OF RAT TERRIER
It all began with the love of a dog named Henry. You see, this Rat Terrier, to Milton Decker an avid hunting enthusiast,
possessed qualities that are seen only once in a lifetime. Henry was a 32 pound male with button ears and exhibited tremendous
working and hunting qualities. He was quite intelligent with a wonderful disposition and a superb all round family dog.
Being so taken with this dog, and wanting to preserve what they had found, Milton embarked on a journey about the
year 1970. He traveled from Oregon to as far away as Texas, Kansas and Mississippi; searching for the largest Rat Terriers
he could locate for breeding stock to recreate his ideal of the perfect dog. By breeding the Henry dog to the Rat Terrier
stock that he had obtained the Decker strain was on its way to development.
Because there was a need for larger dogs
Decker's Henry 32lbs
at the time, this made way for breeding and retaining the large size. He succeeded in doing this along with fixing in
an erect ear set. And so the name Decker "Giant" came into existence.
The dogs that he produced from these lines lived up to all his expectations. Here was a utility dog that was an
excellent all round hunter. Vermin, squirrel, bird and upland quail were commonly hunted and they would also retrieve from
the water when necessary. These dogs were capable of baying up wild pig and would tree just about anything. They were also
skilled in hunting big game like deer, cougar and bear. Some were even used on Jaguar in Central America before they hit the
endangered species list. Bow hunters loved them because they were such great scent trailers. The dog would stay within 300
feet of the hunter and have been known to even turn the hunt back.
Natural instinct without any training makes them valuable to the farmer. They will efficiently and quickly rid a
farm of mice with a quick shake, a toss over their shoulder and proceed onward. When presented with many mice to kill at once,
what couldn't be put in his mouth to kill was pinned down with his paws until he could get to them.
The Rat Terrier has proven invaluable in states where new laws have prohibited the use of poison baits or traps.
They help to control pocket gophers and feral pigs on
ranches that are plagued with them.
Their ability is not limited to hunting. His quiet demeanor also makes him an excellent apartment dog. He rates par
excellent being unequaled in the sport of
The average weight for females generally ranges from 22-28 lbs. Males 28-40 lbs. Heights range from 16"-19"
though occasionally larger and smaller dogs are seen.
There are some subtle differences seen within the Decker Lines. They have a somewhat broader type of skull that tends
to wedge into the muzzle and square off, and are commonly seen with some face wrinkle. They possess a very regal and elegant
look regardless of their size. Though their tendencies are not to bark, when alerted or treeing they voice with a coarse bark.
The Decker dog has the same character as the Rat Terrier but tends to be a tad bit more aloof and independent. Their average
lifespan is 15 to 16 years. The most solid attribute that they share exclusively with the Rat Terrier is an undying will to
please their master and a need to be near him. With this strong willingness to please, the teaching of aggressive behavior
should be avoided at all costs.
Their intelligence is far supreme to most breeds, holds extremely keen senses and a loyalty that transcends them as a
family dog. The three qualities that are essential to the Rat Terrier breed are easily seen in the Decker Strain.
Quality 1. A capable utility/hunting dog.
Quality 2. A wonderful family companion.
Quality 3. A watch dog with keen alert senses picking up intruders very quickly.
Although Milton Decker retired from breeding in 1991, This highly prized strain of Rat Terrier can still be found
dispersed throughout the country with breeders located in California, Oregon, Florida, Alabama and Michigan.