Decker Rat Terrier vs. Rat Terrier – Full Comparison

A rat terrier and decker rat terriers are often thought of as synonyms.

Both enjoy a sweet bond of ancestry (Rat Terriers are one of the parents of Decker Rat Terriers)!

And that’s why both hunting dog breeds manifest closely related temperament and maintenance requirements.

Decker Rat Terrier vs. Rat Terrier

Though there are striking similarities, they are very different breeds.

In this article, we will put forth a detailed comparison between them.

Origin And History

In the early 1900s, the Rat terrier was the apple of the eye of the farmers who developed this dog breed for pest-hunting skills.

So, to get the desired outcome, over the years, the final form of rat terrier had the ingredients of seven dog breeds: Smooth Fox Terrier, Bull Terrier, Manchester Terrier, English White Terrier, Italian Greyhound, Whippet, and Beagle.

Whippets and Italian Greyhounds were added for their speed.

Beagles were added for their scent capabilities.

They seemed to keep adding to the breeder list to get specific traits!

But the whole point was to get a farm pest hunter, and that’s why the ‘rat’ is in the name.

Rats and rabbits were the significant victims of rat terriers on farms back then.

When we come to the Decker Rat Terrier, a man called ‘Milton’ has close connections with its origin.

Milton was quite impressed when he met Henry, an extremely able Rat Terrier.

He made a whole breeding stock of the biggest and strongest Rat Terriers he could find.

And then he bred them with Fox Terriers.

When he was finally done with his passionate breeding program, the result was a much heavier and taller Terrier.

He would preferably call his breeding product a ‘Decker Terrier.’

So, that’s how we know Decker Terriers today.

Physical Appearance

You see, both breeds are more or less overlapping.

But what sets them apart from each other is their physical appearance.

Strength, power, and muscular body are all features of the Decker Terrier.

And size and height are what Milton Decker aimed for when he bred the biggest and strongest Rat Terriers.

A Decker Rat Terrier stands somewhere between 22 to 40 pounds in weight.

Whereas a Rat Terrier should range between 10 and 18 pounds in weight.

A male Decker Rat Terrier can reach a maximum height of 19 inches, while a female is 17 inches.

Nevertheless, it should not be less than 16 inches in height, whether male or female.

For the miniature Rat Terrier, 15 inches is the average height for both sexes.

The prominent feature of a Rat Terrier is its robust and arched neck.

In comparison, a Decker Rat Terrier identifies from its wedge-shaped head and tapered muzzle.


The temperament of a dog breed is probably the most important thing to know when planning to get a pet.

Will he be able to socialize?

Does he get aggressive very often?

We know that both of them have almost the same ancestors.

But we know that the rat terrier was bred as a farm pest hunter, while the decker rat terrier came for its better hunting capabilities and strong body. It sets their temperament quite apart.

Dogs used for hunting prey, such as Rat Terriers, possess some inborn qualities:

  1. Intelligent, fearless, and stubborn
  2. Chase small and large moving objects
  3. Need a lot of play, walking, and exercise
  4. Always alert and curious to learn
  5. Pick up commands fairly easily but get bored too quickly when left unengaged
  6. Significantly less pleasing qualities, you must socialize them very early to be good and obedient to humans.

These qualities are inherent to a terrier, a typical hunting dog with an alert, intelligent senses and a robust and muscular body.

But with Decker Terriers, you will find them a little more pronounced.

They are curious creatures, eager to learn.

But this may present a problem because they cannot sit idle.

They get easily bored and may respond by being aggressive and non-obedient.

What else?

Hunting dog breeds, especially the Decker Rat Terrier, need to be trained with people and fellow pets early because their temperament is not much pleasing.

But nothing to worry about; they are smart enough to recognize their owners or the faces they know.

Rat Terrier vs. Decker Rat Terrier


Rat Terriers are easy to groom because of their fine, smooth coats.

Once or twice weekly brushing does fine.

But coat shedding can be a whole task during the spring and fall!

Their skin gets irritated, so they do better if you don’t bathe them too often.

One thing that needs your attention is the nails.

The nails of a Rat Terrier grow rapidly, and regular trimming and cutting are required.

And the most important thing: if you want your it to be healthy and thriving, a farm or a spacious backyard for sufficient physical activity is a must-have!

Decker Rat Terriers are not messy with their coats.

They may shed once a year, otherwise, once weekly brushing is fine.

You can bathe them when needed, but they are prone to skin allergies like their ancestors.

So, the products you use are essential.

Grooming involves ear care because their ears should be dry and clean, so they don’t develop an infection.

They are also more prone to developing a dental disease than many other breeds.

So, oral hygiene and regular dentist follow-ups are essential.   

Significant Differences Between Breeds

Here we have their differences summed up:

  1. Rat Terriers have been on this planet for quite a long time.
    They can be dated back even to the 19th century.
    While we only got to meet the Decker Rat Terrier in the 1970s for the first time.
  2. Rat Terriers are old dog breeds famous for pest-hunting skills.
    They were bred long ago using almost seven different dog breeds.
    But the Decker Terrier is here with us due to breeding between Rat Terriers and Fox Terriers.
  3. A Decker Rat Terrier should weigh no more than 40 pounds, while the maximum average weight for a Rat Terrier should be 18 Pounds.
  4. A Decker Rat Terrier should be at least 16 or 17 inches in height, male or female, while the average height for a Rat Terrier is almost 15 inches.
  5. You will find a Decker Rat Terrier a degree less yappy and obedient than a Rat Terrier.
    While you can trust a Rat Terrier for easy training, you must be careful with a Decker rat Terrier.

Decker Terrier Activity Requirements

Like most terrier breeds, decker terriers are energetic dogs.

Because they have high energy, they require a lot of physical and mental stimulation throughout the day.

At the same time, since they come from a hunting breed, they naturally desire to run after animals smaller than they are, such as rodents.

Decker Terriers are also attentive and smart.

Hence, they are relatively easy to train.

Aside from being fast and vigilant, rat terriers are also fond of water.

So you can expend its energy swimming in your pool. Just ensure that you take precautionary measures to keep your beloved pet from drowning.

How To Train a Rat Terrier

Potty-training a rat terrier is the same as how you train other dog breeds.

You may either find it relatively easy or challenging, depending on how long each of you develops trust with one another.

If, as a trainer, you have strong leadership skills, then it would be a lot easier for you to train your dog.

Final Thoughts

As we move to the end of this blog post, we know both are excellent pets: intelligent, cute, trainable, and athletic!

Decker rat Terriers are made for those who like to accept challenges.

At the same time, Rat Terriers are known for their playful, jolly, and lively pet dog nature.