This story begins with a dog named “Henry”. This Terrier possessed qualities that are seen only once in a lifetime. Henry was a 32# male with button ears and exhibited tremendous working and hunting qualities. He was quite intelligent made a superb all around family dog with an excellent disposition.
Being so taken with this dog, and wanting to preserve that all around, versatile dog, there embarked a journey about the year 1970. Traveling from Oregon to as far away as Texas, Kansas and Mississippi; searching for the largest “Rat” Terriers to locate for breeding stock to recreate the ideal of that perfect dog. By breeding the Henry dog to the Rat Terrier stock that were obtained the “Decker” strain was on its way to development. There has also been rumored Basenji added in for fixing erect ear set and Cur for size. Although these were added at the beginning of the strain and should not be added now as our genetics are set. Because there was a need for larger dogs at the time, this made way for breeding and retaining the large size. Decker Terriers were then established along with fixing in an erect ear set. And so the name Decker “Giant” Terrier came into existence.
The dogs that were produced from these lines lived up to all expectations. Here was a utility dog that was an excellent all around hunter. Vermin, squirrel, bird and upland quail were commonly hunted and they would also retrieve from water when necessary. These dogs were capable of baying up wild pig and would tree just about anything. they were also skilled in hunting big game like deer, cougar and bear. Some were even used on Jaguar in Central American before they hit the endangered species list. Bow hunters loved them because they were such a great scent trailers. the dog would stay within 300 feet of the hunter and have been known to even turn the hunt back.
Natural instinct without any training makes them valuable to the farmer. they will efficiently and quickly rid a farm of mice with a quick shake, a toss over their shoulder and proceed onward. When presented with many mice to kill at once, what couldn’t be put in his mouth to kill was pinned down with his paws until he could get to them.
The Decker Terrier has proven invaluable in states where new laws have prohibited the use of poison baits or traps. They help to control gophers and feral hogs on ranches that are plagued with them.
Their ability is not limited to hunting. Their quiet demeanor also makes them an excellent companion dog.
Our present day Decker Terrier has remained true to his origins. A remarkable dog that is both a family companion yet a versatile hunter and varmint getter. Decker Terriers are in fact the old heirloom dog that was on nearly every single homestead in this country until the Great Depression. As the smaller family farms gave way to industrialization so, then too Decker Terriers became something of a rare item through the 1950’s and 60’s. In 1970 there were several families actively preserving the larger size. the Swanson’s, Lindseth’s, Decker’s and Kuenzi families to name a few. Surely without their help this dog may have been reduced to a distant memory in time. Our dog of today have a regal bearing, elegant profile and sturdy build.