|In the year 1975, Milton Decker, owner of a plant
nursery near Eugene Oregon made the find of a lifetime while looking for
nursery stock. As he pulled into the driveway of Chris and Betty Lindseth,
of Monroe Oregon, who’s son had a small wholesale Nursery, the door flew
open and several large terriers ran out. Milton had grown up with terriers
as pets and hunting companions, but the typical terrier of the northwest
in those days was 20 lbs at the largest. These dogs were much larger.
The conversation with the Lindseths was not about nursery stock, it was
about these dogs.
| As Milton sat and visited with the Lindseths,
he watched the dogs. The Lindseths told him they had more than they needed,
and told him to pick one out for himself. Henry was a three year old male
with a much quieter disposition than the others, so Milton chose him. Milton
took Henry to some nearby young timber, and hunted with him. He soon figured
out Henry was gun shy, but had all the hunting instincts Milton desired.
During the first few minutes, Henry jumped a nice spike buck deer and ran
it about one hundred fifty yards while yipping. Not long after returning,
he flushed a Ruffed Grouse and barked “treed” as it perched on a low tree
branch. A short while later, Henry sniffed out a wood rat, killed
and ate it. Milton was elated, knowing this big 32 pound male
Henry’s dam was a registered smooth haired Fox Terrier named Frosty Dew, and his sire was a good old terrier type, farm dog named Jock. The exact breeds present in Jock’s ancestry are unknown, but Henry had all the traits of a terrier while hunting. He wouldn’t run off, but would hunt along with you, as a companion. Over the next year, Milton worked with Henry, and he got over his fear of guns, and was always ready to hunt anything! Henry was an outstanding all around hunter. He had a natural treeing instinct, was great on upland birds, became a great duck dog, and would hunt any pest out there, raccoons, rats, possums, skunks, and feral cats. Milton learned from trips to Eastern Oregon that chukar partridge were one of Henry’s great loves. Henry was not only a great hunter, but was a very loyal family pet. He quickly stole the hearts of the Decker family.
Deckers Towser Deckers Mr Big
|Milton soon realized that he had found a once in a lifetime friend. A short time after he obtained Henry, the Lindseths informed him that Henry’s dam, Frosty Dew had died. Knowing that no more of these fine hunting terriers would be produced in the future, Milton and Mary Decker began to travel the United States in search of suitable mates for Henry. They made trips to Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, Texas and Washington to find suitable mates for Henry, always looking for the best quality rat terriers, adding size wherever possible. Kenny Keller, of St. Johns, KS, E.C.Allen of Marlin, TX, Paul Gentry of Searcy, AR, and Trilby and Carolyn McPhail of Calhoun City, MS were significant suppliers of breeding stock. Many of the foundation dogs of the Decker Rat Terrier weighed less than 20 lbs, but all possessed qualities that added to the development. Dogs like Decker’s Brandy, Decker’s Lady, Deckers Josh, and Decker’s Texas Star added a great amount of refinement to Henry’s rugged looks and rough coat, and Henry supplied the size, hunt, and very mild disposition. Using dogs with erect ears as often as possible was another key to the development of the Decker Rat Terrier. Decker’s Brandy, Decker’s Lady, Willis’ Pete, and Decker’s Zack were all erect eared, and eventually this trait was locked in.|
|A noteable milestone was when Deckers Wragler was born. Milton had sold a pair of puppies to Arlene Fischer, who lived near Portland OR. The male was sired by Deckers Josh, a big piebald male from Paul Gentry of Searcy, Arkansas and out of Deckers Twinkie, a daughter of Henry and Texas Star. The female puppy chosen for Arlene Fischer was out of Texas Star and by Henry’s full brother, Lindseths Spunky. A few years later, Cather’s Gillian showed up at Deckers to be bred. This beautiful big female was from Arlene Fischer’s pair. Cathers wanted her bred to Deckers Towser. Towser was sired by Deckers Zack and out of Henry’s beautiful, black and tan daughter, Echo. This recipe for perfection nearly never happened. Gillian was a shy breeder and only after three visits over the next year and a half, and a few dog bites from Gillian to Towser, Milton, and Mrs. Cather, did that litter with Wragler in it, finally get born. However, he was tops at 34 pounds, classic piebald, tri color, very erect ears, mild disposition, and plenty of “HUNT”.||
|By the mid 1980s, The Decker line
of Rat Terrier was larger than the standard Rat Terrier, with most dogs
between 25 and 35 lbs, and had a very refined look with the majority of
the dogs having erect ears. For several years, the dogs that were produced
were quite uniform and beautiful as well as useful. Cougar, Badger
and Mr. Big were among these dogs.
Ivy Sugar Twinkie
|In 1993, the last litter of pups
was raised at Milton’s house, and each of the Deckers kept their favorite
Several of the dogs were sent to Tim Brown of Pennsylvania. For several
years, Tim bred a pure line of Decker Rat Terriers, always keeping quality
in mind. Unfortunately, Tim's health issues forced him to quit breeding
Decker Rat Terriers, but he aided in helping other breeders keep the line
going. Others of note in furthering the breed were Rosalie Rinear,
Stan Simon, Ina Kleinschmidt, Parsons, Jim Johnson (Sycamore Flats), Barry
Clark, Dean Dickison, and later Eli Brown. The National
Rat Terrier Association has also had a large affect on the Decker Rat Terrier,
and the promotion of the line. The NRTA has been tracking original Decker
bloodlines, and has recognized the Decker Line on pedigrees since 1995.
Their efforts have been invaluable!
In recent years, many have begun to breed Decker Rat Terriers primarily as a show dog and companion, without considering a dogs hunting ability before breeding it. The Decker Hunting Terrier Registry is a group of breeders that are dedicated to breeding dogs for hunting ability and temperament, along with conformation, and all around beauty. We are not a group that is against showing dogs, but feel that a dog should have more than just show qualities to be a Decker. Size, temperament, hunting ability, genetic health, conformation, and all around beauty are all needed to be considered a Decker Hunting Terrier. The Decker Hunting Terrier Registry is group of breeders that are concentrating on promoting solid, ethical breeding practices so that future generations can enjoy these fine hunting companions!