Boston Terrier

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Fast Facts

Country of Origin:United States
AKC Group:Non-Sporting Group
UKC Group:Companion
Use today:Companion
Life Span:11 to 13 years
Color:Brindle, seal (black with a red cast) or black with white markings.
Coat:Short, smooth coat.
Grooming:Brush weekly.
Size:Small Dog Breed
Height:Leg should be proportionate to length.
Weight:15 to 25 pounds

Charming and highly intelligent, the Boston Terrier makes a wonderful family companion. It is ideal with other pets and children and is an excellent watchdog. The Boston's alertness makes it fun and easy to train. The Boston Terrier is truly an American breed. Developed in this country from the Bulldog and the English Terrier, it was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1893. At one time this was the most popular breed in the United States. The breed's size makes it adaptable to any living environment, and Bostons are clean of habit and easily maintained. For show purposes the Boston Terrier is divided into three classes by weight: under 15, 20 and 25 pounds. Its coat is smooth, short and shiny, needing only a weekly brushing. Permissible colors include brindle and white (preferable) or black and white, and dogs should have a white muzzle and white blaze on their heads, necks, chests, forelegs and below the hocks of their hind legs. This is a long-lived, affectionate breed whose exercise needs are minimal. A short daily walk and plenty of indoor playtime will keep the Boston in fine fettle.

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Boston Terriers

C.C. Sandorfi

Janet Dillard had no intention of falling in love with a Boston Terrier. In fact, she was running a Pug rescue in Cosmopolis, Wash., and had no interest in branching into other dog breeds. That all changed with a phone call.

"My vet asked if I could board a Boston Terrier until he could find a home for her," Dillard says. "She put her paw on my knee, and that was it."
The personality that won Dillard's heart is typical of Boston Terriers -- active, playful, and bright. These dogs are also outgoing, curious, sometimes sly but always entertaining.

"She's just wonderful," Dillard says of Cider, who is now 10 years old. "She's incredibly smart and has a big vocabulary. She knows a lot of the words that I say."

This small dog breed, ranging up to 25 pounds, according to the American Kennel Club standard, has more than just great attitudes. They also have the distinction of being American blue bloods.

Sometimes known as the American Gentleman, the Boston Terrier is one of the few American dog breeds. It originated around 1870, when Robert C. Hooper of Boston purchased a dog known as Hooper's Judge, a cross between an English Bulldog and a white English Terrier.
Hooper's Judge and his descendants were commonly called Bull Terriers or Boston Bull Terriers, but Bull Terrier clubs objected because these new Terriers were significantly different from their breed.

The AKC was also unconvinced this dog breed would reproduce true to type. But undeterred supporters changed the name to Boston Terrier in honor of the founder's hometown and in 1891 established the Boston Terrier Club of America. In 1893, the AKC admitted the breed and gave the club membership status-making it the first American dog breed to be recognized.

Today's Boston Terriers should be brindle, seal or black in color with even, white markings. Their tails might appear docked, but they are either short or corkscrewed, according to Emily Lane, of the Golden Gate Boston Terrier Club in Berkeley, Calif.

Boston Terriers rose in popularity after the turn of the century when the breed became a high society status symbol. "They were the society dog in the 1920s through the mid to late '40s," Lane says.

"The main thing is it's such a companion dog," says Karen Milham, a breeder and AKC judge from Phoenix. "Boston Terriers are small enough that they can be lap dogs or sit on the sofa, but they’re sturdy dogs with a lot of vitality."

Don't think this is a low-maintenance dog breed, however. Boston Terriers need plenty of love and attention from their owners. "Most Boston Terriers are very social - they have been bred to be a companion for 100 years," says Linda Trader of Mather, Pa. "People are the most important thing in a Boston Terrier's world, and the cruelest thing you can do to a Boston Terrier is to isolate it from people."

Aside from their affinity for beds - and their habit of sleeping under the covers and snoring in their owners' ears – Boston Terriers enjoy getting up on anything high. They're agile and good jumpers. This, coupled with their innate curiosity and sense of fun, can put them in some interesting situations.

Boston Terriers are also adept at appropriating the furniture or, better yet, their owner's lap. "They're just terribly spoiled; they have us wrapped around their little paw," says Jean Craig, a breeder in Indianapolis. "When we sit in a chair to watch TV, it's usually a race to see who gets in the chair first. And then to try to get up ... it's not easy. Not too long ago, I had three Boston Terriers lying across my legs."

Boston Terriers are sociable with people and other dogs. They make ideal family dogs, but their sociability can get them into trouble. Boston Terriers will follow almost any friendly person and are often stolen, Trader says.

These dogs are genetically prone to cataracts, epilepsy, cleft palate and luxating patella, in which the kneecap slides out of its groove.

Prospective owners should buy from reputable Boston Terrier breeders who have an available health history of their dogs.

Boston Terriers have a difficult time giving birth because they have a narrow birthing canal and the puppies' heads and shoulders are disproportionately large. Also, the Boston Terrier's short-nosed build makes them prone to breathing irregularities, such as snoring, and prevents them from engaging in prolonged exercise. Although they love to run and play, this dog breed is not a running companion.

People who want to purchase a Boston Terrier will find they are in short supply because of the breed's birthing problems and small litters. Owners should allow two to three years for research, interviewing breeders and finding a puppy.

-About Boston Terriers-

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