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Boston Terrier Info

Appearance

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. Boston terriers can weigh from 10 to 25 lb, typically in the vicinity of 15 lb. Bert however is on the big end of the spectrum, he weighs in at 30lbs, and this was the weight vicinity of the sire as well. Ernie is average with a weight of around 20lbs.The breed is known for its gentle, alert, and intelligent expression. Boston Terriers usually stand 15-17 inches at the withers.

14 month-old Boston Terrier; 10 lb
14 month-old Boston Terrier; 10 lb

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. 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."

Frequently, variations on the standard are seen depending on the ancestry of the individual dog. At various times, the English Bulldog, 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.


 

Temperament

Young Boston Terrier pup with black coat and white markings
Young Boston Terrier pup with black coat and white markings

Though bred at first for use in dog fights, today's Boston Terrier has been bred to have less aggressive tendencies. It is gentle, alert, very intelligent, and well-mannered. Enthusiastic and occasionally rambunctious, this breed has a sense of humor. They are very sensitive to the tone of one's voice. This breed likes to learn and therefore is not difficult to train. Their intelligence ensures they pick things up quickly. At times they can be somewhat willful. Some owners have reported that their dogs are good watchdogs barking only when necessary, while other owners have reported their female Boston Terriers do not bark at the door at all. Most reliable with children, especially good with elderly people and very friendly with strangers. The Boston Terrier is playful, very affectionate and likes to be part of the family. Very popular in the United States, due above all to its excellent character. They generally get along well with non-canine pets. Some males are dominant and may fight with other dogs. These little dogs may be difficult to housebreak.


 

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 humidity due to the shortened muzzle, so hot weather brings the danger of heat exhaustion.

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


History

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 kg.) he was bred down in size with a smaller female and one of those 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, the breed was named the Boston Terrier after its birthplace.

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

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 their 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.