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The 'American Gentleman' as the Boston Terrier is sometimes called, is a sweet natured, gentle and intelligent dog that originated in the US and was recognised by the American Kennel Clun in 1893.
The Boston Terrier as a breed appeared in the 1870's, when a gentleman named Robert Hooper, of Boston, purchased a dog called Hooper's Judge. Hooper's Judge was a Bull Terrier type dog although his specific blood line is unknown. Hooper's Judge weighed over 13.5 kilos and was successfully bred with French Bulldogs, whose pups were the founders of the Boston Terrier breed, originally called the 'Olde Boston Bulldogge'.
By the turn of the century, the profile of this breed had risen considerably and the American Bull Terrier Club was formed. Shortly after the club changed its name to the Boston Terrier Club and in 1893 it was admitted into the American Kennel Club. By the early 20th century the breed's distinctive markings and colour were written into the standard.
Boston Terriers are still very popular dogs in America and are commonly seen as mascots for schools, universities and clubs.
Average height to withers: Males and females should vary between 15-17 inches.
Average weight: Between 4.5-11kg for males and females. Strict guidelines in the standard disqualify any dog over 11.3kg (25lb) in the show ring.
Boston Terriers have short, compact and muscular frames with well-balanced and graceful postures. The short and wide head (once leading to their nickname 'Roundheads'), is in proportion to their bodies and a has square, wrinkle-free muzzle, widely set dark or brown eyes and large black noses The ears are large, triangular and held erect. They have slightly arched necks and broad, barrel chests with strong legs and short tails. Their smooth, short and fine coats come in brindle and white, 'seal' and white (seal is a specific Boston Terrier colour which is a black base with a reddish tone in the sunlight or bright lights), or solid black and white.
The Boston Terrier is generally well mannered, alert, good natured and fun. Without a certain amount of stimulation they can become rather over enthusiastic, bordering on unmanageable. With this in mind, a good exercise and training routine is essential. The Boston Terrier must be trained in a firm and consistent manner and is the type of dog which needs to respect its owner. That is not to say training methods must be harsh, but if allowed to, this breed can become quite dominant and may display quite negative behaviours. A recognised, respected 'pack leader' is needed and this must be the owner, not the dog. They are also notoriously difficult to house train!
They are routinely reliable with children and especially good with elderly people, often being used as PAT therapy dogs in hospices, nursing homes and schools. The Boston Terrier is playful, very affectionate and will thrive on being part of the family. They are also reliable and good with other household pets and early socialisation will only serve to enhance this.
Boston Terrier have a long life expectancy of 15 year plus, in good health. However, there are a number of conditions which routinely affect this breed the most prolific of which is problems breathing and overheating. Because of the Boston Terriers head and nose shape, it is considered a brachycephalic (short faced) dog breed. As such, care must be taken when exercising this dog, especially in the heat, to ensure it does not over heat. This is in large due to breathing issues and a decreased efficiency in panting, which all dogs used to cool down. Shade and water must be provided (for all dogs) in hot weather, but it is especially notable for the Boston Terrier.
Other issues facing this breed included eye diseases and problems such as cataracts as well as being prone to injury due to their prominence. In addition, pups are routinely delivered via a caesarian section because of their large heads in proportion to the narrow pelvis of the dam.
Eye care is essential in this breed and it will benefit from a gentle daily clean in this area. As mentioned, care is also needed in warmer weather where exercise is concerned and shade/water must be provided when the dog is outside. Alternatively, the owner needs to keep the dog indoors and cooler during the heat of the day. That said, the Boston Terrier is quite an energetic breed so twice daily walks are needed. The coat is short and fine and requires little in the way of grooming and/or bathing.