The Decker Hunting Terrier (Decker Terrier, Decker Rat Terrier, Decker
Giant) is a comparatively young breed. The breed was developed in the United
States in the 1970's, by a breeder named Milton Decker. The Decker hunting
terrier was derived mainly from the Rat Terrier, however, Feist, Basenji
and Fox Terrier were also instrumental in the breed’s development. The
Decker Hunting Terrier was developed as a functional hunting dog, and is
used on a wide variety of game. They are commonly used for flushing game
birds, rabbit, and deer. They have also been used by sportsmen as tree
dogs, primarily for raccoon and squirrel.
The Decker Hunting Terrier is first and foremost a hunting and sporting
dog, and should be in hard muscular condition. They have a regal appearance
and carry themselves with confidence. They are a small to medium hunting
terrier, and are slightly longer (from prosternum to point of buttocks)
than tall (from withers to ground). Individuals should stand true over
the feet, and the length of leg is proportionate to the rest of the body.
The head is broad, wedge-shaped, and proportionate to the size of the body.
The tail is set fairly high, and is carried proudly. Decker Hunting Terriers
may have a full natural tail, a docked tail, or a natural bobtail. The
tail posture while the dog is working will be wayward, and is not important.
The coat is short and smooth. The Decker Hunting Terrier comes in white
with colored patches, or solid colored, with or without white markings.
This breed is a clever, determined, fearless hunter when in the field.
They hunt by sight, use winding ability, and will follow a hot track, but
are not a cold nosed dog. They are virtually silent while tracking, but
may have a “pursuit yip” when on an extremely hot track, or running by
sight. When treed, the voice may range from whining, to a choppy bark,
to a “scream”. When not hunting, the Decker Hunting Terrier is a friendly
companion, and enjoys human companionship immensely; they will enthusiastically
share any activity with their owners. They are energetic and alert, their
intelligence makes them easy to train.
The head is wedge-shaped when viewed from either the front or the side,
with a blunt muzzle. The skull and the muzzle should appear to be equal
in length, joined by a discernible stop. The head is proportionate to the
size of the body.
Faults - A large, coarse head; An abrupt stop; A shallow indiscernible
Skull - The skull is broad, slightly
domed, and tapers toward the muzzle. The jaws are powerful with well muscled
Muzzle - The muzzle is approximately
equal in length to the skull, is well filled out under the eyes, and tapers
down to a blunt end. The jaws are hinged well back, allowing the dog to
open his mouth wide enough to catch and hold game. The underjaw is strong
and moderately full.
Faults - Large, coarse muzzle; Snipey muzzle; Weak underjaw.
Teeth - A full compliment of good-sized,
strong, white teeth. A scissor bite is preferred, but an even bite is also
Faults - Overshot; Undershot.
Nose - Solid, self-colored,deeply
Faults - Dudley nose; Butterfly nose.
Eyes - The eyes are round, obliquely
set, and correspond with the coat color. They are prominent, but not bulgy.
The eyes are clear, with a bright, intelligent expression. Eyelids are
Faults - Loose eyelids; Third eyelid showing; Wall eye or China
Ears - Ears are V-shaped, and set
on the outside edges of the skull. Erect ear carriage is preferred, but
button and tipped ears are acceptable. The ear leather is thick and durable
rather than thin.
Fault - Hanging, hound-like ears.
The neck is clean, strong, slightly arched. It is moderately long,
with a smooth neck to shoulder transition.
Faults - Bull neck; Ewe neck.
The shoulders are well-muscled. The shoulder blades are moderately
sloping, with the upper tips of the shoulder blades being fairly close
together, and are well angulated with the upper arm. The shoulder blade
and upper arm should appear to be approximately equal in length, and appear
to meet at a right angle. The elbows are held close to the body. The straight
forelegs are well-muscled. The bone is strong rather than fine. The pasterns
are strong, short, and nearly vertical. Length of leg is approximately
half of the height at the withers.
Faults - Bowlegged; Fiddle front; East-West front.
A properly proportioned Decker Hunting Terrier is slightly longer (from
prosternum to point of buttocks) than tall (from withers to ground). The
chest is deep, with the brisket extending to or just below the elbow. The
chest between the forelegs is well filled-out and of moderate width. Viewed
from the side, the forechest extends in a shallow oval shape. The ribs
are well sprung and carried well back, forming a broad, strong back. The
line of the back is strong and level, whether standing or in motion. The
loin is well muscled and slightly raised, the croup is slightly sloping,
with a moderate tuck up.
Faults - Barrel chest; Shallow chest; Herring gut; Sway back; Roach
The hindquarters are muscular with strong bone. Upper and lower thighs
are approximately equal in length, the stifles are well bent and the hocks
are well let down. The angulation of the hindquarters is in balance with
the angulation of the forequarters. Viewed from behind, the legs are straight
Faults - Cow-hocked; Barrel-hocked; Post-legged; Slipped hocks.
The feet are compact, and slightly oval in shape, with the two middle
toes being slightly longer than the two outermost toes. Front dewclaws
may be removed, rear dewclaws must be removed.
Faults - Flat feet; Splayed feet.
The tail is set on at the end of the croup. The tail may be a full
natural tail, docked, or a natural bobtail. There should be a tail present,
but otherwise the length of the tail is unimportant. The natural tail is
thick at the base, and tapers toward the tip. The tail is normally carried
proudly, but can be in any posture while the terrier is working.
Fault - No tail.
The coat is short, dense, and smooth.
Faults - Long coat; Wire coat; Thin, sparse coat.
Decker Hunting Terriers may be solid with or without white markings,
bi-color with or without white markings, or tri-color. The preferred coat
colors are black, black and tan, tan with or without sabling, and apricot.
Color is not of great importance, but the traditional undiluted colors
are preferred to chocolate and dilute colors, such as blue and fawn.
Faults - Merle; Albinism.
Height and Weight
The preferred height for the breed is 15- 20 inches at the shoulder,
but slightly smaller and slightly larger dogs are allowed. Weight will
vary depending on the size of the individual dog, however, the preferred
weight range is 20-40 lbs.
Decker Hunting Terriers are fast, agile, and powerful, movement is
efficient and effortless. At a trot, the gait is free and parallel, with
good reach and drive. The legs turn neither in nor out, the feet do not
cross or interfere with each other. As speed increases (at a trot), feet
tend to converge toward a center line of balance.
Other Faults - Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Deafness. Blindness.
Viciousness or extreme shyness. Lack of hunting drive.