Boston Terrier Breed Information
Alternative names -
Boston Bull & Terrier
Country of origin - United States
Classification and breed standards
FCI:|Group 9 Section 11 #140|Stds
ANKC:|Group 7 (Non-Sporting)|Stds
CKC:|Group 6 - Non-Sporting|Stds
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. According to international breed standard, the dog should weigh no less than 10 pounds and no more than 25 pounds. 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 Bulldog, American Pit Bull Terrier, English Mastiff, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and French Bulldog—among other breeds—have been crossbred with Boston Terrier lines to minimize inbreeding in what is necessarily a small gene pool.
While originally bred for fighting, they were later down bred for companionship. The modern Boston Terrier can be gentle, alert, expressive, and well-mannered. Many still retain the spunky attitude of the typical terrier. It must be noted however, that they are not considered terriers by the American Kennel Club, but are part of the non-sporting group. Boston Terrier is something of a misnomer. They were originally a cross-breed between the Old English Bulldog and the English White Terrier. Both of these breeds are now extinct.
Some Bostons enjoy having another one for companionship. Both females and males generally bark only when necessary. Having been bred as a companion dog, they enjoy being around people, and, if properly socialized, get along well with children, the elderly, other canines, and non-canine pets. Boston Terriers can be very cuddly, while others are more independent.
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.
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.
The Boston Terrier breed originated around 1870, when Robert C. Hooper of Boston purchased a dog known as Hooper's Judge, a cross between the Old English Bulldog and the English White Terrier. (Both of these breeds are extinct)
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 were particularly popular during the 1920's in the US.
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