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Boston Terrier

Bulldog Breeds


Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier is a breed of dog originating in the United States of America

Boston Terriers are typically small, compactly built, well proportioned dogs with erect ears, short tails, and a short muzzle that should be free of wrinkles. They usually have a square sort of face. Boston terriers can weigh from 10 to 25 lbs, typically in the vicinity of 15 lbs. Boston Terriers usually stand 15-17 inches at the withers.

The Boston Terrier is characteristically marked with white in proportion to either black, brindle, seal, or a combination of the three. Seal is a color specifically used to describe Boston Terriers and is defined as a black color with red highlights when viewed in the sun or bright light. If all other qualities are identical, brindle is the preferred color according to most breed standards.

Ideally white should cover its chest, muzzle, band around the neck, half way up the forelegs, up to the hocks on the rear legs, and a white blaze between but not touching the eyes. In show dogs, symmetrical markings are preferred. Due to the Boston Terrier's markings resembling formal wear, in addition to its refined and pleasant personality, the breed is commonly referred to as the "American Gentleman." The breed is known for its gentle, alert, and intelligent expression.

Frequently, variations on the standard are seen depending on the ancestry of the individual dog. At various times, the English Bulldog, American Pit Bull Terrier, English Mastiff, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and French Bulldog—among other breeds—have been

The Boston Terrier breed originated around 1870, when Robert C. Hooper of Boston purchased a dog known as Hooper's Judge, a cross between an English Bulldog and an English White Terrier.

Judge weighed over 30 pounds (13.5 kilos). He was bred down in size with a smaller female and one of his male pups was bred to yet a smaller female. Their offspring interbred with one or more French Bulldogs, providing the foundation for the Boston Terrier. Bred down in size from pit-fighting dogs of the bull and terrier types, the Boston Terrier originally weighed up to 44 pounds (20 kg.) (Olde Boston Bulldogge). Their weight classifications were once divided into lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight.

The breed was first shown in Boston in 1870. By 1889 the breed had become sufficiently popular in Boston that fanciers formed the American Bull Terrier Club, but this proposed name for the breed was not well received by the Bull Terrier Fanciers. The breed's nickname, "roundheads", was similarly inappropriate. Shortly after, at the suggestion of James Watson (a noted writer and authority), the club changed its name to the Boston Terrier Club and in 1893 it was admitted to membership in the American Kennel Club.

In 1893, the American Kennel Club (AKC) admitted the Boston Terrier breed and gave the club membership status, making it the first US breed to be recognized. It is one of a small number of breeds to have originated in the United States that the AKC recognizes.

The Boston Terrier was the first non-sporting dog bred in the US.

In the early years, the color and markings were not very important, but by the 1900s the breed's distinctive markings and color were written into the standard, becoming an essential feature. Terrier only in name, the Boston Terrier has lost most of its ruthless desire for mayhem, preferring the company of humans, although some males will still challenge other dogs if they feel their territory is being invaded.

Boston Terriers enjoyed particular popularity during the 1920's in the US.

Boston Terrier Health -

Several health issues are of concern in the Boston Terrier: cataracts (both juvenile and adult type), cherry eye, luxating patellas, deafness, heart murmur, and allergies. Curvature of the back, called roaching, might be caused by patella problems with the rear legs, which in turn causes the dog to lean forward onto the forelegs. This might also just be a structural fault with little consequence to the dog. Many Bostons cannot tolerate excessive heat and also extremely cold weather, due to the shortened muzzle, so hot or cold weather combined with demanding exercise can bring harm to a Boston Terrier.

They can live up to 15 years or more, but the average is around 13 years.

The Boston, like other short-snouted breeds have an elongated palate. When excited, they are prone to a "reverse sneeze" where the dog will quickly, and seemingly laboriously, gasp and snort. This is caused by fluid or debris getting caught under the palate and irritating the throat or limiting breathing. "Reverse sneezing" episodes won't hurt a Boston in the least, but it will scare the dog, and maybe its owners, a good deal. The quickest way to stop these episodes is to talk to them calmly and gently rub the throat to induce swallowing. Otherwise, the reverse sneezing will usually resolve on its own.

Because of their short snouts, they do tend to snort and snore. These can be signs of serious health issues. Due to the Boston's prominent eyes, some are prone to ulcers or minor injuries to their cornea.

Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier did not arrive on the shores of the United States by boat.  It didn't arrive by air or any other means of transportation.  In short, it was bred here in the U.S. and soon became one of the most popular breeds of all times.  The following short history of the Boston Terrier is excerpted from a small book, The Boston Terrier,  recently reprinted by the Boston Terrier Club of America and written by J.Varnum Mott, M.D. combined with information from the archives of the Boston Terrier Club of America, Inc.

"The question is often asked, "How did the Boston Terrier originate?"  Briefly stated it may be said to have resulted from a cross between the English Bulldog and the white English Terrier, and then to have been considerably inbred.  Incidental peculiarities of the first dogs used as sires are partly responsible for the present type.

     "...Mr. Robert C. Hooper, of Boston came into possession of a dog named Judge.  This dog, which he purchased of Mr. William O'Brien of the same city, was undoubtedly imported from England.  Judge, commonly known as Hooper's Judge, was destined to be the ancestor of almost all the true modern Boston Terriers.  He was a cross between an English Bulldog and a white English Terrier.  He was a strongly built, high stationed dog of about thirty-two pounds weight.  In color he was a dark brindle, with a white stripe in the face.  His head was square and blocky, and he resembled the present Boston Terrier in that he had a nearly even mouth.  Judge was bred to Burnett's Gyp (or Kate).  Gyp was a white bitch, owned by Mr. Edward Burnett, of Southboro, MA.  She was of about twenty pounds weight, had a fine three-quarter tail, and was quite low stationed.  She was of stocky build, showing considerable strength in her make-up.  Her head was good, being short and blocky.

     "From Judge and Gyp descended Well's Eph.  This dog was of strong build, and like his dam was low stationed.  His weight was about twenty-eight pounds.  He was of dark brindle color, even white markings, and like Judge, had a nearly even mouth.

"Eph was mated with Tobin's Kate.  This bitch was of small size, weighing only twenty pounds.  She had a fairly short head, was of golden brindle color, and had a straight three-quarter tail." 

From these dogs can be traced the start of the Breed, the Boston Terrier.Dogs were bred and exhibited by these Fanciers as Round Heads and as time went on these fanciers met with numerous obstacles, but they would not give up after years of hard work.  In 1891, the Boston Terrier Club of America was organized and being a Boston bred dog the name was changed from the Round Heads, to the Boston Terrier.

     In the year 1893 occurred the most momentous event in the history of the Boston Terrier.  After two years of trying to have the breed recognized, The American Kennel club admitted the breed to recognition for registration in the Stud Book, and the Club as a member of the American Kennel Club.

     Up to this time the Boston Terrier was just in its infancy.  There was much hard work ahead to perfect and standardize the breed and try to breed the Boston Terriers to a more even lot.

     Much progress has been accomplished in the breed since the year 1900 in the developing of different strains by scientific breeding, and some inbreeding, that has produced some very fine dogs, with clean cut short heads, snow white markings, dark soft eyes and the happy medium body leaning more to the Terrier that the Bulldog.

     There are few dogs, having the disposition of the Boston Terrier.  Their kind and gentle disposition have won them the name of the American Gentleman, a name rightfully given, and as companions or house pets, they have few equals.   Breeders must take great care in the selection of breeding stock, as the future of the breed lies in the careful breeding of our present generation.


Bulldog Types