There is a misconception that a great hunting dog is developed. In fact, the truth of the matter is most great hunting dogs are born to be great hunters. How can that be you ask? Because most great hunting dogs come from an ancestry of proven hunting dogs that have the genetic being and pedigree to be a great hunting dog. A pedigree is a lineage that shows a great deal about the line from which a dog descends by listing all of the ancestors behind a particular dog or litter. In the Rat Terrier world, the name “Decker” is synonymous with great hunting dogs.
Milton Decker started developing the Decker Rat Terrier strain in the mid 1970’s. Milton had a clear vision of what he was trying to accomplish. His breeding decisions were based on his experience, expertise and his vision of the perfect Rat Terrier. Although his vision of the perfect Rat Terrier had many aspects, one thing stood strong from the beginning, the strong hunting desire all his dogs possessed.
Over the last two decades there have been several reputable Rat Terrier breeders who are also well known for their hunting line of Rat Terriers. Jim Johnson of Sycamore Flats, Dean Dickison with Amazing Rat Terriers, Tim Brown and Barry Clark are a few that come to mind. Each of them produced many great hunting dogs that have left a lasting impression in the eyes of many hunters who use dogs to pursue all types of game. If you look into their dog’s pedigrees, you will find most of their early dogs were from, by one way or another, the Decker kennel.
I have spent a better part of a decade attempting to seek out exceptional hunting dogs. What I have discovered as a hunter, who uses my dogs to pursue game, is over the last decade; the Rat Terrier breed has changed – in some ways for the better and in some ways for the worse. It seems that because of the overwhelming popularity of the Rat Terrier, many strains have been bred for generations primarily for trainability and the show ring. Many of today’s Rat Terriers seem to be lacking in the inherited natural hunting abilities that they were originally developed for. That is because as their popularity has increased, the overall inherited hunting abilities of the breed have been diluted.
For a small minority of hunters, proven hunting stock is still needed today. The strain of Rat Terrier that Milton Decker developed carries the inherited natural hunting ability it did three decades ago. If you are serious about acquiring Rat Terrier blood that has been used for hunting for several generations, then the Decker Rat Terrier is superior. The strain was developed to hunt and has proven it self year after year to be an exceptional hunting line. There are several breeders today that have developed their hunting lines around the Decker Rat Terrier and are actively breeding to maintain the natural hunt of the breed. If you want to hunt over a dog that has the genetics to be a great hunting dog, then it is my view there is not a better strain of Rat Terrier then the “Decker” strain for hunting.
George A Palmer IV