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Boston Terrier Type And The Standard








The standard adopted by the Boston Terrier Club in 1900 was the result of
earnest, sincere, thoughtful deliberations of as conservative and
conscientious a body of men as could anywhere be gotten together. Nothing
was done in haste, the utmost consideration was given to every detail, and
it was a thoroughly matured, and practically infallible guide to the
general character and type of the breed by men who were genuine lovers of
the dog for its own sake, who were perfectly familiar with the breed from
its start, and who were cognizant of every point and characteristic which
differentiated him from the bulldog on the one side and the bull terrier
on the other, and while admitting the just claims of every other breed,
believed sincerely that the dog evolved under their fostering care was the
peer, if not the superior, of all in the particular sphere for which he
was designed, an all-round house dog and companion. In the writer's
estimation this type of dog, for the particular position in life, so to
speak, he is to occupy, could not in any way be improved, and the mental
qualities that accompany the physical characteristics (which are
particularly specified in the first chapter) are of such inestimable value
that any possible change would be detrimental. It may be observed that it
was the dogs of this type that have led the van everywhere in the days
when he was practically unknown outside of the state in which he
originated. Monte, Druid Vixon, Bonnie, Revilo Peach, and dogs of
their conformation possessed a type of interesting individuality that
blazed the way east, west, north and south. Does any one imagine that the
so-called terrier type one so often hears of, and which a large number of
people are apparently led today to believe to be par excellence, the
correct thing, would have been capable of so doing? No one realizes more
fully than the writer the fact that the bully type can be carried too far,
and great harm will inevitably ensue, but the swing of the pendulum to the
exaggerated terrier type will in time, I firmly believe, ring in his death
knell. It is a source of wonderment to me that numbers of men who don the
ermine can distribute prizes to the weedy specimens, shallow in muzzle,
light in bone and substance, long in body, head and tail, who adorn (?)
the shows of the past few years. I am not a prophet, neither the son of
one, but I will hazard my reputation in predicting that before many years
have rolled, a type, approximating that authorized by the Boston Terrier
Club in 1900 will prevail, and the friends of the dog will undoubtedly
believe it to be good enough to last for all time.

It will readily be recalled that Lord Byron said of the eminent actor,
Sheridan, that nature broke the die in moulding one such man, and the
same may be affirmed with equal truth of the Boston terrier, and he will
ever remain a type superior to and differ from all other breeds in his
particular sphere.

It may not be generally known by those who are insisting on a much more
terrier conformation than the standard calls for, that an equally extreme
desire for an exaggerated bull type prevailed a number of years ago
amongst some of the dogs' warmest supporters, whose ideal was that
practically of a miniature bulldog, without the pronounced contour of the
same. I remember when I joined the Club in the early days that some of the
members then were afraid that the dogs were approximating too much to the
terrier side of the house. What their views today would be I leave the
reader to imagine. The plain fact of the case is, the dog should be a
happy medium between the two, the bull and the terrier. Can any
intelligent man find a chance for improvement here? I admit that many
people are so constituted that a change is necessary in practically
everything they are brought into close contact with. But is a change
necessarily an improvement? If some men could change the color of their
eyes or the general contour of their features they would never rest
satisfied until they had so done, but they would speedily find out that
such a change would be very detrimental to their appearance, the harmony
of features and correlation of one part to another would be distorted. I
admit readily that one very important result would be obtained, viz., the
dog of the pronounced terrier type could be bred much more easily. But is
an easy production a desideratum? I certainly think not. To those who
must be doing something and who find a certain sense of satisfaction in
tinkering with the standard, we extend our pity, and state that experience
is a hard school, but some people will learn in no other. To those of us
who love the dog as he is, and who believe in letting well enough alone,
we admit we might as well suggest to improve the majestic proportions of
the old world cathedrals and castles we all love so much to see, or
advocate the lightening up of the shadows on the canvas of the old
masters, or recommend the touching up of the immortal carvings of the
Italian sculptors. We advise the preacher to stick to his text, and the
shoemaker to his last, and to all those who would improve the standard we
say: Hands off! One very important feature in connection with the Standard
is, that while breeders and judges are perfectly willing to have all dogs
that come in the heavyweight class conform practically to it, when the
lightweights and toys are concerned, a somewhat different type is
permitted and the so-called terrier type is allowed, hence we see a
tendency with the smaller dogs to a narrower chest, longer face and tail.
While personally I am in favor of a dog weighing from sixteen to twenty
pounds, or even somewhat heavier, there is absolutely no reason why one
should not have any sized dog one desires, but please observe, do not
breed small dogs at the expense of the type. Let the ten or twelve pound
dog conform to the standard as much as if it weighed twenty. I think an
object lesson will be of inestimable value here. Every one who has visited
the poultry shows of the past few years must have been delighted and
impressed to see the beautiful varieties of bantams. Take the games, for
example, with their magnificent plumage and sprightly bearing. On even a
casual examination it will be discovered that these little fowls are an
exact reproduction of the game fowl in miniature. The same identical
proportions, symmetry and shape. Take the lordly Brahma and the bantam
bearing the same name, and the same exact proportions prevail. And so it
should be with the small Boston terrier. They should possess the same
proportions and symmetry as the larger. Remember always that when the dog
is bred too much away from the bulldog type, a great loss in the loving
disposition of the dog is bound to ensue. Personally, if the type had to
be changed, I would rather lean to the bull type than the terrier. The
following testimony of a Boston banker and director of the Union Pacific
Railroad, to whom I sold two large dogs that were decidedly on the bull
type, may be of interest at this point. Speaking of the first dog he said:
I have had all kinds of dogs, but I get more genuine pleasure out of my
Boston terrier than all my other dogs combined. When I reach home in the
afternoon I am met at the gate by Prince, and when I sit down to read my
paper or a book the dog is at my feet on the rug, staying there perfectly
still as long as I do. When dinner is announced he goes with me to the
dining room, takes his place by my side, and every little while licks my
hands, and when I go out for my usual walk before retiring the dog is
waiting for me at the door while I put my hat and coat on. He follows me,
never running away or barking, and he sleeps on a mat outside my door at
night, and I never worry about burglars. All this is very simple and
commonplace, but it shows why this type of a dog is liked. In regard to
the differences of opinion that different judges exhibit when passing upon
a dog in the show room, one preferring one type of a dog and the other
another, this, of course, is morally wrong. The standard requirements
should govern, and not individual preferences. We hear a good deal said
nowadays about the cleaning up of the head, and the so-called terrier
finish. That seems to be the thing to do, but does not the standard call
for a compactly built dog, finished in every part of his make-up, and
possessing style and a graceful carriage? This being the case, a dog
should not possess wrinkled, loose skin on head or neck, and the shoulders
should be neat and trim. In a word, in comporting to the standard a dog is
produced that possesses a harmonious whole, a thing of beauty and a joy
as long as he lives. In short, the dog should be as far removed from the
bull type as he is from the terrier. If the present judges can not see
their way clear to follow the standard, why, appoint those that will, for
as every fair minded man agrees, the dogs should follow the standard and
not the standard follow the dogs. It is needless to add that I do not
share in the pessimistic view taken by many lovers of the dog who think he
will be permanently injured by the differences of opinion that prevail as
to the type, etc., and the personalities that sometimes mar the showing of
the dog, for I am of the same opinion as was probably felt by the great
fish who had to give up Jonah, that it is an impossible feat to keep a
good man (or dog) down, and that instead of falling off, as one writer
intimates, he will fall into the good graces of a larger number of people
than has heretofore fallen to the lot of any variety of man's best friend.





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