Monday, July 5, 2010

Boston Terriers: Made in America

Today is the 5th of July, so it's not the 4th of July anymore, but it's still a holiday.  And the reason for that is because the real 4th of July came on a Sunday this year.  Which means that we can go on celebrating for another whole day!

Anyway, when I was first trying to think up interesting and patriotic topics to write about on Independence Day, I thought I could tell you about the dogs that some of our country's Founding Sires had.  But I have already told you about George Washington's dogs and Thomas Jefferson's dogs, and there's not much information on John Adams' dogs.  So I thought maybe Benjamin Franklin had some dogs, like maybe French poodles, since he spent a lot of time in France.  But sadly, after I spent a whole fifteen minutes doing in-depth research on this topic, I could not learn anything about it.

What I did learn, though, is that Mr. Franklin was born in Boston, in a little house that looked like this:

And Boston was the same town where Boston terriers were invented.  Mr. Franklin was a famous inventor himself, but he did not invent the Boston terrier.  Maybe this was because he mostly lived in Philadelphia when he was an adult.  But I think that if he had wanted to invent a dog breed, the Boston terrier would have been the one he invented.

So the real inventor of the Boston terrier was a man named Robert C. Hooper, who bought a dog in 1870 that was called Hooper's Judge.  This dog was of the Bull and Terrier type, which was made by crossing the Old English Bulldog with different sorts of terriers.  These Bull and Terrier dogs were mostly used for hunting, dog fighting, and baiting.

Judge was bred with some French bulldogs and some pit-fighting type dogs.  Originally, the new breed of dogs weighed as much as 44 pounds, but they were getting to be really popular in Boston and other towns around there.  And people wanted smaller dogs that would be companion dogs and not fighting dogs.  In 1889, all the people who liked these new dogs got together and made the American Bull Terrier Club.  But people who owned bull terriers were not happy about this because they said the "roundhead" dogs were not real bull terriers.  So the club changed its name to the Boston Terrier Club.

In 1893, the Boston terrier was recognized by the American Kennel Club, and this made it the first official U.S. non-sporting breed.  At first, it didn't matter too much what color Bostons were, but now the standard says they have to be black-and-white, brindle-and-white, or seal-and-white.  What they mean by "seal" is that the dog is black, but in the sunlight there are red highlights.  But of course, as I have mentioned before, black-and-white is the very best color combination ever for a dog.  Boston terrier show dogs have to have just the right kind and amount of white markings, and this makes them look like they have on a tuxedo.  Which is why Bostons are called the "American Gentleman."

Boston terriers are not supposed to weigh less than 10 pounds or more than 25 pounds.  They usually live 10 to 13 years, but some live 15 years or more.  Because Boston terriers have short faces, they have trouble breathing in really hot weather or really cold weather.  Also they might snore or snort or fart a lot because they swallow air when they are eating.

Bostons are not really terriers, and they aren't mean anymore, like they used to be when they were fighting dogs.  Now they are gentle and friendly and smart.  Also they like to run and play.  

So anyway, that's my story about the patriotic American breed, the Boston terrier.  Mom has met a few of them at the shelter, and she thinks they are nice dogs, so I asked her if we could get one of our very own, but she said no.  Maybe someday I will finally get something I really want, but for now I guess I will just have to go back to celebrating the 4th of July, even though it's now the 5th. 


  1. Dear Piper, I just read your most recent blog to Dodi/Di; although, Dodi isn't a very good student. He tends to look everywhere except at me. a very good student. Anyway, once again, I learned something new and that's the reason I LOVE your blog.....I love learning new things. I did not know the Boston Terrier was referred to as the "American Gentleman" but now I can understand why. I also think the picture of the puppy is soooo cute, but I've yet to see a puppy that I don't think is cute. Thanks for another learning experience!
    Love, AP
    P.S. oops-almost clicked the "post comment" but Di kindly reminded me to ask about the cats and how they are doing.

  2. Dear Aunt Patty,
    I'm glad you learned something from my blog because I also learned some stuff when I wrote it. I didn't know about the American Gentleman thing either. You can tell Di that our kitties are doing well, and Mom has taken some more pictures of them, so maybe I can put them in my blog soon.
    Love, Piper