The Decker is a worthy breed that is significant enough to take a hard look at, as it now exists today. Milton Decker, the founder and developer of this strain of Rat Terrier had accomplished a wondrous feat. He succeeded in creating a dog that had all the qualities most anyone could ask for in a dog.
Here is a utility dog that is 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 are capable of baying up wild pig and would tree just about anything. They are also skilled in hunting big game like deer, cougar and bear. Some are even used on Jaguar in Central America before they hit the endangered species list. Bow hunters love them because they stay within 300 feet of the hunter and have been known to even turn the hunt back. 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 Schutzund. They are great house pets and companions and extremely intelligent. Their upkeep is minimal having a short coat and being of relative small size. They don't eat much and the devotion they have for their owners pays back their keep 4 fold. They are social, alert and great watchdogs to boot. Some nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities are using them as therapy dogs. The continuance of them in the population has many values.
There are some subtle differences seen within the Decker Lines that sets them apart from any other size of Rat Terrier.
1. Their skull is a somewhat broader type that tends to wedge into
the muzzle and square off.
2. Commonly they are seen with some face wrinkle and possess a very regal elegance regardless of their size.
3. And there is what has been fondly dubbed the "look" of the Decker Rat Terrier.
4. The average weight for females generally ranges from 22-28 lbs. Males 28-40 lbs. although most commonly seen up 32 pounds.
5. Heights range from 16"-19" though occasionally larger and smaller dogs are seen.
There are attributes of the Decker and all Rat Terriers alike that must always be kept. 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
Quality 2. A wonderful family companion.
Quality 3. A watch dog with keen alert
Senses picking up intruders very quickly.
The Decker Line is at a point that makes them in grave danger of being lost forever. In order to build back up the hard work that was done by Milton Decker, the strain must carefully be looked at by the most experienced of breeders that have a very broad knowledge of the breed. We have located many Decker breeders throughout the USA that still have 100% decker lines.
No doubt the Standard size Rat Terrier will have to be bred into the Decker lines to increase the population but if selection is confined to one narrowly defined type, the result will almost inevitably be the accidental selection of various undesirable characteristics. Standards for building should include selection in regards to health, hunting ability, behavior, vigor and fertility as well as body form. The Decker has long surpassed being bred for a show dog and that alone. To take the dog on size and look alone would be the destruction of the purpose that Milton Decker had in mind. Of course this thought also reflects on the Rat Terrier in general.
The Decker is not simply a big Rat Terrier. Using the Decker lines and bred to a Standard size Rat without looking at the subtle differences as stated above that every Decker owner is quite aware of would make them a standard/giant size Rat Terrier and that alone. The subtle qualities of the Decker must remain in the strain for it to continue as it is today and what is was originally developed for.
When choosing a Rat Terrier to breed with a Decker line dog the Rat must have a like head structure that is some what broader with erect ears. Decker paid close attention to his ears and had set it in with good stability. There is no body Type B in the strain and should be carefully guarded against. His conformation must be scrutinized and the background carefully checked for continuity in the lines. He must also have pure colors of only the Black Tri, Black and White, Black and Tan or Tan and white. The Rat of choice must have exquisite hunting ability and an unshakable temperament. These are all the traits that Decker had carefully worked on and successfully accomplished. To breed carelessly would be a shame for the breed.
The NRTA will continue to include the Decker as a Rat Terrier and will continue to support the growth of the breed. In order to register a Decker with the NRTR it must show a complete pedigree and verifiable Decker blood coming down in the pedigree and be traceable to the original Decker lines. Any dog that shows outcrossing to any breed other than the Rat Terrier or any pedigree that skips more than one generation from Decker Blood will not be eligible for registration as a Decker. A history and pedigree must be submitted to the Decker Advisory Team for approval.