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The Boston Terrier, nicknamed The American Gentleman, is the first dog breed to be developed in America. They were bred specifically to be companion dogs to human beings.
However, their ancestors were fighting dogs, including their original type of the rare breed the Olde English Bulldogges. This ancient breed was thought to have been created from crossing the English Bulldog and the long-gone English White Terrier.
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.
The founding sire of the Boston Terrier breed is thought to have been a jaunty little dog called Hooper's Judge, owned by Robert C. Hooper of Boston, who bought him in 1870.
This pivotal dog was imported from England and made a big impression on not just the female dogs of Boston, but their owners as well.
He was thirty-two pounds, which is a lot heavier than the Boston Terriers of today. He also is described in old America Kennel Club records as having a well built, high-stationed body, being a dark brindle with a white blaze down the nose.
No matter what kind of bitch Hooper's Judge was put to, the puppies took on mostly his characteristics and not hers. Nobody spayed or neutered their dogs back then, as there was usually a need for more dogs, and no sign of the pet overpopulation problem of today. Also, veterinary medicine for dogs was pretty primitive back then. Soon, the Boston Bull Terrier was known outside of Boston.
The Boston dog breeders first developed the Old English Bulldogge, which is a far larger dog of solid colors and a round head.
The founding father of the Boston Terrier is considered to be the English import Hooper's Judge, which was bought by Richard C. Hooper of Boston in 1870. Smaller dogs were favored and kept in the breeding program. The Boston Terrier became a familiar sight in the fashionable homes of the North East as early as 1889.
The breed as we recognize it today wasn't seen until about 1900. That was when top breeders formally set down their breed standard.
Although there were strict physical standards for a Boston Terrier to make it in the show ring, there were also strict standards on temperament.
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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