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Boston Terrier: History and Appearance
The Boston Terrier is a breed that hails from America. It is believed that the dog was bred down from pit fighting dogs, and the original Boston Terrier weighed in at 44 lbs. The modern breed weighs around 17 to 20 lbs.
Robert C. Hooper of Boston, Massachusetts, purchased an imported dog by the name of Judge in 1870. Judge was a crossbreed of the English Bulldog and a white English terrier. He is considered to be the ancestor of the modern Boston Terrier; though he bore more of a resemblance to the English Bulldog.
Judge was mated to Gyp, and it was from this pairing that Well’s Eph descended. Well’s Eph was a dark brindle dog with white markings. He was considered “low stationed.” He was bred to Tobin’s Kate, a little twenty lb. female with a short head and small tail. It was from these two dogs that the Boston Terrier of today evolved.
In 1889, roughly thirty fanciers of the breed organized “The American Bull Terrier Club” and began exhibiting the dogs. At the time, the breed was known as “Round Heads” or Bull Terriers. However, The group began to receive opposition from Bulldog and Bull Terrier fanciers, who felt the breed name was too similar. Those in opposition were quick to point out that the new breed was very unlike both the Bull Terrier and the Bulldog, even though these two breeds were its descendants.
The American Kennel Club had its own concerns regarding the Boston Terrier, as it had only been around for a short time and there was no guarantee it would breed true to type. Those that fancied the breed, however, continued to fight to get it established as a purebred line. The name was changed to Boston Terrier, citing its city of origin. The Boston Terrier Club of America was formed and worked for two years to convince the American Kennel Club to admit the breed into the stud book. The AKC acquiesced in 1893, and the club was given membership.
The Boston Terrier, at the time, was still a brand new breed of dog, and standards had not yet been established. It took generations of selected breeding and even inbreeding to produce the dog we are familiar with today.
The Boston Terrier has earned the nickname “the American Gentleman” because of his sweet disposition. They are considered to be a wonderful companion and family pet. The Boston Terrier even has the honor of being named the State Dog of Massachusetts.
The Boston Terrier is a smooth coated, compact dog. They are considered to be lively and intelligent. This breed is divided into three weight classes; under 15 lbs., 15 lbs., and under 20 lbs. The length of the body must be balanced by the length of the legs. The Boston Terrier has what is called a “square appearance.”
This breed has a squared head that is flat on top. The head is wrinkle free with flat cheeks. It is considered to be very important that Boston Terriers have an expression that is alert and kind. The eyes should be set very wide apart. The eyes are large, round, and dark colored. Boston Terriers have small ears that can be natural or cropped.
Their muzzle is short and square, and wide in proportion to the head. It is shorter in length than width. The nose is black and wide. This breed has broad jaw with short teeth. The bite is even and slightly undershot.
There is an emphasis on the appearance of balance in the physique of this breed. The neck is slightly arched and sets into the shoulders. Boston Terriers have a back that is short and level. The chest is deep and wide. The body itself should not appear short. The tail is set low. It is short, fine, and tapering. The forelegs should be set wide apart, rising up to sloped shoulders. Dewclaws may be removed. Feet are small and compact.
The Boston Terrier has a coat that is short and smooth. The fur is fine textured. Coloring can be brindle, seal, or black with white markings. All other qualities must be equal in order for the brindle coloring to be desired. Required markings are a white muzzle band, white blaze between the eyes, and a white forechest. Desired markings include a white blaze on the head, white on the forelegs, and white below the hocks on the hind legs.
Showing the Boston Terrier
After so much work and effort to get the Boston Terrier recognized by the American Kennel Club, it is no surprise that the dog is held to some very specific standards in the show ring. The breed cannot exceed 25 lbs., and should never have a chunky or block appearance. There is particular attention paid to the expression of a Boston Terrier, as it should demonstrate intelligence and kindness. Eyes must be of a dark color, as blue eyes are considered a disqualification. The nose should be wide and black. Any deviation is a flaw. The eyes should not show too much white, and the nostrils should not be pinched. The size of the ears should never be out of proportion to the size of the head. The teeth and tongue may not show when the mouth is closed.
The body must be squared, balanced and compact. Tails must not carry high, and it should never be docked. Splayed feet and insubstantial legs are also considered flaws.
The gait of a Boston Terrier should be straight. The dog should appear to be surefooted. There should be no paddling, weaving, or rolling when in motion. Any kind of crossing movement in the front or rear is classified as a serious fault.
The Boston Terrier should not have a coat that is all black, as it is a disqualification. The coat may not be solid brindle or solid seal without white markings. There should be no gray or liver coloring.