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     When you first meet a Rat, his smooth lines and muscles are immediately apparent and his face shows all the familiarity of a dog you've known all your life. Only half the story is told, for under that lies capabilities that are far beyond what they first appear to be. From the first look, you know that you are viewing a true athlete. They possess a muscular body with extreme agility, astounding ability and great endurance and a very regal and elegant look regardless of their size. The Decker Rat Terrier has a somewhat broader type of skull that tends to wedge into the muzzle and square off, and are commonly seen with some face wrinkle. He is balanced, clean, crisp and beautiful. His coat is short, smooth, sleek and shines. From their appearance you would never know that they are serious rat and vermin dogs (100 times better than any cat). Being quick and clean with the kill. They are sturdy, have well balanced movement and are in wonderful proportion.  Their tail is docked and held in an upright position when alert.
     They are an attractive dog with a bouncy yet sophisticated and concerned attitude with sparkling sincere eyes. They have an expression of being curiously concerned, somewhat worried and seriously inquisitive.

     He makes an excellent guard, companion, and house dog and is good with children. His ease of training and innate instincts makes the Rats unsurpassed hunters and ratters. They don't really mind getting their feet wet and many enjoy swimming, hiking very content playing with their own toys. He hides nothing being confident around other animals large and small. The Rat is a dog that commands respect but absolutely adores his family. He is eager to please bonding, sociable and sensitive. It is never a yippee type of dog but quick to sound an alarm when he senses something new. They are enthusiast upon his peoples arrival showering them with kisses, affection, love and loyalty. He is basically pleasant and easy to get along with. At ease at home relaxing with his master doing well with the family, hardy enough to with stand a child's roughest play. Though their tendencies are not to bark, when alerted or treeing they voice with a coarse bark. Their average lifespan is 15 to 16 years. The most solid attribute  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.
     The Decker Rat Terrier retains his true terrier heritage by being a superb ratter and hunter. He is gritty, feisty and tough yet never out of control, quick, alert, agile and fleet. They will make strong eye contact with you, cocking their head trying to understand, willing to do what ever you ask of them. But clowning around, soliciting play and sleeping by their master with one eye open, always ready, is one of their specialties. Although they prefer to not stray far from their master's side, they sometimes enjoy the solitude of their own space. Rats are highly adaptable to a variety of climates and environments, from apartments to farms and from Alaska to Florida. While active outdoors he makes a wonderful house pet, companion and watchdog. Females make excellent mothers, hardy, healthy rugged and clean.

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.
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.


The "Look" That distinguishes the Decker  must be present in all dogs

SKULL: Slightly rounded and broad on top between the ears. Most often seen with light wrinkling on the forehead.

MUZZLE: wedge shaped and squaring at the nose.  Fault: Excessive cheekiness Extreme Fault: snippy muzzle.

EARS: erect and usually standing on a puppy by 10 weeks of age. Fault: tipped, rose or button.

STOP: Medium, tapered, not sharp.

     Nose should be solid in color. Acceptable colors,  Black or slate, brown or red shaded according to coat color. Fault: pink or pink spotted, snow nose.

     Scissors or level. The top teeth should not extend more than 1/16 of an inch beyond the lower teeth. Fault: overshot that extends more than 1/16 of an inch and is to be penalized by the degree of severity. Extreme fault: undershot bite wry mouth, retained baby teeth in adult dogs.
     Should be tight and smooth, predominately black or in accordance with coat color. Fault: lips that overhang hiding the lower jaw or sagging flews.


Moderately long, slightly arched, widening into the shoulder, strong and muscular in appearance giving good support to the head. There should be no hint of throatiness. Fault: straight or thin lacking muscle.


The forequarters act as a unit on the dog. When one part is not in unison or proportion with the others it tends to throw off the entire forequarters.

     Sloping and well arched with good layback set at a 45% angle. The length from the elbow to the top of the shoulder should be approximately the same length as the distance from the elbow to the ground. The scapula is equal in length to the upper arm.

     Fairly deep and well ribbed. When viewed from the front, moderately wide between the shoulders allowing straight placement of the legs. When viewed from the side the chest  lies even or  extends just beyond the shoulders. The brisket descends to or just above the elbow. Fault:  to narrow, excessive barrel chest or one that lacks depth in brisket  givingtoo leggy of an appearance.


     The hindquarters are moderately angulated, set in alignment with front legs. Strong and muscular in thigh. Slight angulation in hock and well let down. Stifles turned neither in or out. Fault: cow hocked, straight stifles or bowed.

Upper and lower thighs are approximately equal.

HOCK: (Pastern)
     Turned neither in or out when viewed from the rear and
has a slight inward angulation when viewed from the side.

    Oval and compact, more Hare like than Cat like with the middle two toes being longer. Dewclaws should be removed before the dog is one week of age.

     Set high and carried erect when the dog is alert. Tails should be docked as a puppy before one week of age. Leave approximately 3/4 of an inch on the puppy, which as adults produces a tail of approx. 2-3". Fault:  full tail, no tail or Natural Bob Tail.


     Smooth flowing legs moving straight, agile with rear legs in unison with front legs. Good conformation and proper structure determine correct movement. If any body part is in misalignment it will affect the soundness of the dogs gait. Faults are given to the part of the body structure that causes incorrect movement.

Short, smooth, thick and dense with lots of luster and shine.


 Black/White/Tan, Black and White, Tan and White, Sable and White, Black and Tan. Fault: All other colors


The Decker Strain can range in weigh from 22-40 pounds and their proportion is of a 10:10:9 Ratio.
Height - Females 16" - 17" inches, Males 16" - 19"  inches. Occasionally larger and smaller dogs are seen.


A dog that cannot be brought under control. Monorchid and Cryptorchid, pure white, brindle or merle color.