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Decker Terriers


​History -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.


General Appearance -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.


Characteristics -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.


Head -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 stop. Skull - The skull is broad, slightly domed, and tapers toward the muzzle. The jaws are powerful with well muscled cheeks.


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.



Teeth - A full compliment of good-sized, strong, white teeth. A scissor bite is preferred, but an even bite is also acceptable. 


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 close-fitting.


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. 


Neck - The neck is clean, strong, slightly arched. It is moderately long, with a smooth neck to shoulder transition.


Forequarters  -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.


Body- 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. 


Hindquarters- 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 and parallel.


Feet- 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. 


Tail -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.


Coat- The coat is short, dense, and smooth.


Color 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. 


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.


Gait - 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

Decker Hunting Terrier Registry
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