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You say, "Not an Ordinary Dog".  What's so special about the Old Dominion Terrier?

Glad you asked!  The Old Dominion Terrier (previously called Decker Terrier) is an historical combination of several breeds, with the basis being the Giant Rat Terrier.  The two most prominent out-crosses are the American Staffordshire Terrier (AmStaff) and the African Basenji.  The Giant Rat Terrier contribution is a robust dog, with a love of family and extreme intelligence.  While energetic, it is one of the calmest varieties of the Terrier group.  The influence of the AmStaff brings a dog that is watchful and devoted to the family, loyal and trustworthy.  The AmStaff supplies good muscle and strong jaws and more size.  The African Basenji delivers a graceful demeanor, speed, and an inherent tendency to quietness.  Basenjis don't bark; although they do "yodel" to let their needs be known.  All three of these recent outcrosses afford a sleek, smooth coat that is easily cleaned, along with great health and stamina.  Active & athletic, yet quiet and cuddly, their medium size and sleek smooth coat make them easy keepers, suited to both city life and the country.  Their strong hunting drive will make them an incredible addition to your farm and perhaps even a good livestock dog, while their lasting energy and watchfulness will produce a steady hiking partner.  The trainability and sporty character of the Old Dominion Terriers make them an excellent candidate for the 4H dog club or agility competitions!  Yet on the flip side, they love to be with the family and are just as happy to take a nap on a lap.  As you can see, the Old Dominion Terrier is truly Not an Ordinary Dog!

Terrier-type dogs tend to be yappy.  Is the Old Dominion Terrier a yappy dog?

The Old Dominion Terrier is not a yappy dog!  They are not silent, however, and will bark when there is something to bark about.  From the yodel of the Basenji comes a bit of a whine when they have a need, but they are most commonly rather quiet.  Now, pups learn from their pack, and if you are introducing your Old Dominion Terrier pup to a dog you already have at home that does get yappy, without intervention or training your pup could acquire that trait.

Does the Old Dominion Terrier shed?

Yep, they do.  Their coat is short, tight and sleek - a daily vacuum and a lint roller should take care of it.

I live on a farm and our animals are kept outside.  Is the Old Dominion Terrier suited to live exclusively outdoors?

Yes they are!  Don't let that short coat fool you.  Remember the Rat Terrier?  They were originally bred as farm dogs to keep the local rodent population extinct.  While they should definitely have access to heat and shelter in the winter, you will very likely find them out romping in the snow!

Does the Old Dominion Terrier have any genetic health issues I should know about?

Does the Old Dominion Terrier get along well with other animals?

Currently, the Old Dominion Terrier is a hardy breed.  You can find a list of issues along with a percentage break down for the Decker Terrier in a 2004 report at healthfacts (

What is the history of the Old Dominion Terrier?

They sure do!  But... REMEMBER THEY ARE HUNTERS.  Watch your chickens, cats, pet hamster, parakeet, etc... Anything that looks like prey could be prey.  Early training from Day 1 can minimize this but always be watchful.  A companion dog, goat, horse, etc., would be a more suitable animal friend.

In the 1970's, a gentleman by the name of Milton Decker acquired a dog of questionable ancestry and proceeded to create a "perfect" hunting dog, using a quite hap-hazard method of breeding mostly with the Rat Terrier.  When Mr. Decker retired from breeding, a woman named Kim Seegmiller took his Decker line of terriers (most notably Giant Rat Terriers bred with Basenji) and began an organized breeding program, gradually phasing out the "Decker" name and outcrossing with the American Staffordshire Terrier to set the type and size of the Old Dominion Terrier.

Why doesn't the AKC recognize the Old Dominion Terrier?

Simply put, the gene pool isn't large enough to sustain a healthy and diverse population of Old Dominion Terriers.  More outcrossing is needed and application has not yet been made to the AKC or the UKC.

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