On average slightly larger than a typical Rat Terrier, the Decker Hunting Terrier is a still pretty small breed. But as a working hunting dog, they must have very athletic, agile, flexible and well balanced body. The height and weight can vary quite a lot from one Decker to another but it is typically around 18 inches and 25 lbs, which is 45 cm and 12 kg. There are no extreme size differences between males and females.
According to the breed standard, Deckers have a regal appearance and carry themselves with confidence. Deckers have broad and wedge shaped head, strong muzzle, oval shaped eyes in brown or hazel color, fairly large and triangular ears that stand erect and tail is set fairly high, and is carried proudly.
The coat is short and smooth and quite dense, with shiny appearance. These dogs might be solid with or without white markings, bi-color with or without white markings, or tri-color, but the color is not that important, as these dogs are mainly bred for their hunting abilities and not for their appearance.
Speaking of the hunting skills of Decker Hunting Terrier, this is a very skilled hunter with higher prey drive and chasing instinct, determined, fearless and independent personality and great flexibility and endurance, which is all important for a good hunter.
These dogs use all their senses when they are on the hunt, and they have very good sight, which they use a lot. They do follow hot track, but they are not cold nosed dogs. These dogs just love to hunt, it is their passion. They are less yappy than Rat Terriers, on the hunt and also outside the hunt.
When they are not on the hunt, they also make very good lively and playful companions. This dog is pretty fast learner who is capable of learning all the basic obedience commands quite easily. Of course, patience and consistency is the key when training any dog. The Decker is pretty good companion for older kids and they can live with other dogs in the family as well, especially if socialized from the puppyhood. Other smaller household pets, like guinea pigs, might be problematic, due to the Deckers higher prey drive.
Decker Hunting Terriers have pretty high energy level and they definitely need daily exercise to stay healthy and happy. These dogs are not coach potatoes and they are best suited for active people who love outdoors. You must take your Decker on several daily longer walks, accompanied by some playtime and some mental exercise, so the dog is not bored and does not develop any unwanted behaviour, such as destruction. You can even try some dog sport with these dogs, such as agility or some hunt related activities.
As i mentioned in the intro of the video, this is pretty new dog breed. And indeed, Deckers history is tracing only to 1970s to Oregon, where it was developed by Mr. Milton Decker. When he was shopping at a wholesale nursery, he randomly met several larger terrier dogs, which he liked a lot. Those dogs were owned by the owner of the wholesale and Mr. Decker was offered to choose one dog he could keep. He picked larger dog, that was calmer and quieter than the rest of the pack and named him as Henry.
Henry was probably Smooth Fox Terrier cross and he had excellent hunting skills. After some time, Milton Decker decided to breed Henry in order to preserve his hunting instincts and pleasing temperament.
Henry was bred mainly with Rat Terriers and few Basenjis were also used in the breeding process, which gives the dog additional size and prey drive.
Health and grooming
Decker Hunting Terrier has a short and easy to maintain coat, which will stay in good condition even without any grooming at all. Of course, regular brushing is only beneficial as it will remove any dirt and loose hair from the coat and keep it as clean and shiny as possible. Just like with any other breed, you should regularly check the dogs ears, eyes, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed. Extra attention should be paid to the ears to ensure that they are kept clean and dry in order to prevent infections.
This is usually very healthy dog breed with good lifespan around 15 years and which does not suffer much from any serious genetical health concerns. But of course, just like any other breed in the world, they may suffer from some issues, such as patellar luxation, hip dysplasia and some heart conditions, allergies or infections.