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The Boston Terrier: An all American

The history of the Boston Terrier parallels the history of the new Americans descended from European colonists. In the 1800's, new America was trying to find their own identity not only in their place in the world, but in their own homes. They wanted to take the best of the European dogs they were familiar with, but change it a bit to make the dog breed more American like they were. They wanted a companion in the home.

This is not as crazy as it might first sound. Many breeds of dogs that are vicious to other dogs are very protective and loving to people. Often, gentleness to people was favored in dog fighting dog breeds such as the American Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the original Staffordshire Bull Terrier. It seems that if the fighting dogs can't get their companionship from other dogs, they'll turn to people for company. Over time, the Olde English Bulldogge was bred smaller, with a different shaped head and even gentler personality to become the Boston Terrier.

There were dogs already in North America living with the Native Americans, but they were not the kind of dogs the European colonists were used to. Also, the Native American dogs were still half-wild and independent. The young country of America, although proud of their American-ness, also yearned for some of the comforts of the old country. One of these comforts was for a companion dog based on Bulldog stock.

Hooper's Judge looked a lot different from today's Boston Terriers. The only Boston Terrier information we have of him is written descriptions. He was thought to be over thirty pounds, a solid dark brindle color except for a white blaze down the nose. His head was more round like an English Bulldog. He established a breed called the Old English Bulldogge (which has gone through several spellings). The breed still exists today, but it is very rare.

Eventually, the determined Boston breeders got the dog they wanted. This Boston Bull Terrier or Boston Bull was about fifteen to twenty five pounds, had a naturally short tail and had an evenly proportioned amount of white with the colors black, seal or brindle.

Various name permutations have included the Bull Terrier (which ticked off the emerging breed of the same name), the Boston Bull and the Boston Bull Terrier.

The future of the Boston Terrier looks very good, because there has been just as much attention to breeding a good temperament as there has been to breeding cute looks. There have been attempts to make a teacup sized Boston Terrier, but they are frowned on because of health concerns.

Although some outright mean dogs in other breeds have won in the show ring, this has not happened with Bostons. They are always ready, willing and able to be part of the family.

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Wednesday, 17 April 2024

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