Today’s Decker Hunting Terrier started out as a strain of Rat Terrier through the efforts of Milton Decker and his family beginning in the 1970’s until 1993 when the decision was made to stop breeding and disperse the breeding stock to others who were interested in continuing with the breeding/developing of this line of these dogs. Although there are a few other breeds in this mix such as Fox Terrier and Basenji, their makeup is still mostly Rat Terrier.
The Decker Hunting Terrier, through selective breeding, was specifically
developed to be an all-purpose dog that excels in any type of hunting and
at the same time is also an exceptional companion animal as well. Proper
temperament played a major role when selecting breeding stock, and that
is the subject of this writing.
Since I have only personal experiences to draw upon or those related to me by others, some of this will be my own opinion, and that will of course vary with the next person asked. I’ve personally only had the pleasure of owning half a dozen of these wonderful dogs, but every one of them has shown interest in hunting and also wanted to be my best friend. To put into words any differences in the “regular Rat Terrier” and the “Decker Rat Terrier” is not as easy as one may think, but they are there. The most common observation I get from others when it comes to the persona they put forth is that they appear “regal” both in the way they carry themselves and the way they look. Sometimes the differences are subtle and varying because just like people, dogs have differing and unique personalities.
Terriers as a breed are generally known for their tenacious character,
but also show affection and loyalty with their human families. They characteristically
have a zest for life coupled with a sense of humor and they’re smart enough
to make you question on occasion just what exactly can’t they do if given
half a chance. Their multi-faceted character has allowed breeders to concentrate
on differing areas of interest, and many are now in performance and show
venues as well as companion dogs. Obviously not all dogs are suited
to being hunters, but in today’s society there are many that will end up
in pet homes. Since they want to do whatever you’re doing, they will also
be happy to go for a walk with you, play with your kids, and then settle
in on the sofa with you when it’s time to relax. Another plus is their
willingness to act as a guard dog, and I’ve heard numerous reports of them
being protective when it comes to their families and what they consider
Working ability in Deckers verses Standard or Mini Rat Terriers has
been a point of discussion, and again I’ve heard many differing opinions.
Some say that the Deckers have more prey drive, but I’m personally of the
opinion that it depends on the dog. I have several dogs, Mini & Standard
that are excellent hunters. Pictured below is my 13 pound mini working
right alongside one of my Deckers to rid a rock pile of rats, and the same
Mini gets downright serious when it comes to treeing/vocalizing about squirrels.
Also pictured a Decker female & a Standard Rat Terrier get the rat
about the same time.
When there isn’t anything else going on with the rats or squirrels mine
have resorted to catching grasshoppers or “treeing” a turtle, just an example
of them wanting to hunt anything that moves.
How Your Dog’s Breed Affects Behavior:
Breeder Selection and How it Affects Your Dog’s Behavior:
Temperament Testing Adult Dogs:
Temperament Testing Puppies: