The Boston Terrier

Who and what is this little dog that has forced his way by leaps and

bounds from Boston town to the uttermost parts of this grand country, from

the broad Atlantic to the Golden Gate, and from the Canadian border to the

Gulf of Mexico? Nay, not content with this, but has overrun the imaginary

borders north and south until he is fast becoming as great a favorite on

the other side as here, and who promises in the near future, unless all

signs fail, to cross all oceans, and extend his conquests wherever man is

found that can appreciate beauty and fidelity in man's best friend. What

passports does he present that he should be entitled to the recognition

that he has everywhere accorded him? A dog that has in 35 years or less so

thoroughly established himself in the affections of the great body of the

American people, so that his friends offer no apology whatever in calling

him the American dog, must possess peculiar qualities that endear him to

all classes and conditions of men, and I firmly believe that when all the

fads for which his native city is so well known have died a natural death,

he will be in the early bloom of youth. Yea, in the illimitable future,

when the historian McCauley's New Zealander is lamenting over the ruins of

that marvelous city of London, he will be accompanied by a Boston terrier,

who will doubtless be intelligent enough to share his grief. In reply to

the query as to who and what he is, it will be readily recalled that on

the birth of possibly the greatest poet the world has ever seen it was


The force of nature could no further go,

To make a third, she joined the other two.

And this applies with equal force to the production of the Boston terrier.

The two old standard breeds of world-wide reputation, the English bulldog

and the bull terrier, had to be joined to make a third which we believe to

be the peer of either, and the superior of both. The dog thus evolved

possesses a type and individuality strictly his own, inherited from both

sides of the house, and is a happy medium between these two grand breeds,

possessing the best qualities of each. To some the name terrier would

suggest the formation of the dog on approximate terrier lines, but this is

as completely erroneous as to imagine that the dog should approach in like

proportion to the bull type. When the dog was in its infancy it was

frequently called the Boston bull, and then again the round-headed bull

and terrier, and later, when the Boston Terrier Club was taken under the

wings of the great A.K.C. in 1893, it became officially known as the

Boston terrier.

There are several features that are characteristic of the dog that tend to

its universal popularity--its attractive shape, style and size, its

winning disposition, and its beautiful color and markings. From the

bulldog he inherits a sweet, charming personality, quiet, restful

demeanor, and an intense love of his master and home. He does not possess

the restless, roving disposition which characterizes so many members of

the terrier tribe, nor will he be found quarreling with other dogs. From

the bull terrier side he inherits a lively mood, the quality of taking

care of himself if attacked by another dog, and of his owner, too, if

necessary, the propensity to be a great destroyer of all kinds of vermin

if properly trained, and an ideal watch dog at night. No wonder he is

popular, he deserves to be. The standard describes him as follows:

The general appearance of the Boston terrier is that of a smooth,

short-coated, compactly built dog of medium station. The head should

indicate a high degree of intelligence and should be in proportion to the

dog's size; the body rather short and well knit, the limbs strong and

finely turned, no feature being so prominent that the dog appears badly

proportioned. The dog conveys an impression of determination, strength and

activity, style of a high order and carriage easy and graceful.

The men composing the Boston Terrier Club, who framed this standard in

1900, were as thoughtful a body as could possibly be gotten together, and

they carefully considered and deliberated over every point at issue, and

in my estimation this standard is as near perfect as any can be. I was an

interested participant in the discussion of the same, having in my mind's

eye as models those two noted dogs owned by that wonderful judge of the

breed, Mr. Alex. Goode, Champion Monte, and his illustrious sire, Buster.

If one takes the pains to analyze the standard he will be impressed by the

perfect co-relation of harmony of all parts of the dog, from the tip of

his broad, even muzzle, to the end of his short screw tail. Nothing

incongruous in its makeup presents itself, but a graceful, symmetrical

style characterizes the dog, and I firmly believe that any change whatever

would be a detriment.

It seems to be hardly necessary at this late date to give a history of the

dog, but perhaps for that large number of people who are intensely

interested in him but have not had the chance to have been made acquainted

with his origin, a brief survey may be of service. Although Boston rightly

claims the honor of being the birthplace of the Boston terrier, still I

think the original start of the dog was in England, for the first dog that

was destined to be the ancestor of the modern Boston terrier was a dog

named Judge, a cross between an English bull and bull terrier, imported

from the other side and owned by Mr. R. C. Hooper, and known as Hooper's


On my last visit to England I found that quite a number of dogs have been

bred in this way, viz., a first cross between the bull and terrier,

especially in the neighborhood of Birmingham in the middle of England; but

these dogs are no more like the Boston terrier than an ass is like a

thoroughbred horse. Judge was a dark brindle, with a white stripe in face,

nearly even mouthed, weighing about thirty-two pounds, and approximating

more to the bull than the terrier side. He was mated to a white, stocky

built, three-quarter tail, low stationed bitch, named Gyp (or Kate), owned

by Mr. Edward Burnett of Southboro. Like Judge, she possessed a good,

short, blocky head. It may not be out of place to state here that some few

years ago, on paying a visit to Mr. Burnett at Deerfoot Farm, Southboro,

he told me that in the early days he possessed thirteen white Boston

terrier dogs that used to accompany him in his walks about the farm, and

woe to any kind of vermin or vagrant curs that showed themselves. From

Judge and Gyp descended Well's Eph, a low-stationed, dark brindle dog with

even white markings, weighing twenty-eight pounds. Eph was mated to a

golden brindle, short-headed, twenty pound bitch, having a three-quarter

tail, named Tobin's Kate. From this union came a red brindle dog with a

white blaze on one side of his face, white collar, white chest, and white

feet, weighing twenty-two pounds, and possessing the first screw tail,

named Barnard's Tom. I shall never forget the first visit I made to

Barnard's stable to see him. To my mind he possessed a certain type, style

and quality such as I had never seen before, but which stamped him as the

first real Boston terrier, as the dog is today understood. I was never

tired of going to see him and his brother, Atkinson's Toby. Tom was mated

to a dark brindle bitch, evenly marked, weighing twenty pounds. She had a

good, short, blocky head, and a three-quarter tail, and known as Kelley's

Nell. The result of this mating was a dog destined to make Boston terrier

history, and to my mind the most famous Boston terrier born, judged by

results. He was known as Mike, commonly called Barnard's Mike. He was

a rather light brindle and white, even mouthed, short tailed dog, weighing

about twenty-five pounds, very typical, but what impressed me was his

large, full eye, the first I had ever seen, and which we see so often

occurring in his descendants. I owned a grandson of his named Gus,

48136, who was almost a reproduction of him, with eyes fully as large.

Unfortunately he jumped out of a third-story window in my kennels and

permanently ended his usefulness. Chief among the direct descendants from

Hooper's Judge were the noted stud dogs, Ben Butler, Hall's Max, O'Brien's

Ross, Hook's Punch, Trimount King, McMullen's Boxer, and Ben, Goode's Ned,

and Bixby's Tony Boy. The two dogs that impressed me the most in that

group were Max, a fairly good sized, beautiful dispositioned dog that

could almost talk, belonging to Dr. Hall, then a house doctor at the Eye

and Ear Infirmary, Charles street. He was used, I am told, a great deal in

the stud, and sired a great many more puppies than the doctor ever knew

of. Bixby's Tony Boy was the other. I had a very handsome bitch by him out

of a Torrey's Ned bitch, and liked her so much that I offered Mr. Bixby, I

believe, $700 for Tony, only to be told that a colored gentleman (who

evidently knew a good thing when he saw it) had offered him $200 more.

Of the line of early bitches of the same breeding may briefly be mentioned

Reynold's Famous, dam of Gilbert's Fun; Kelley's Nell, dam of Ross and

Trimount King; Saunder's Kate, dam of Ben Butler; Nolan's Mollie, dam of

Doctor, Evadne and Nancy.

Quite a number of other small dogs were subsequently introduced into the

breed, which had now been somewhat inbred. These were largely imported

from the other side, and were similar in type to Hooper's Judge. One of

the most noted was the Jack Reede dog. He was an evenly marked, reddish

brindle and white, rather rough in coat, three-quarter tail, weighing

fourteen pounds. Another very small dog was the Perry dog, imported from

Scotland, bluish and white in color, with a three-quarter straight tail,

and weighing but six pounds. I have always felt very sorry not to have

seen him, as he must have been a curiosity. Still another outside dog,

also imported, and very quarrelsome, white in color, weighing eighteen

pounds, with a good, large skull, and an eye as full as Barnard's Mike,

but straight tail, was Kelley's Brick. Another outside dog (I do not know

where he came from), was O'Brien's Ben. He was a short, cobby, white and

tan brindle color, three-quarter tail, with a short head and even mouth.

It will be observed that practically all these outside dogs were small

sized, and were selected largely on that account. By the continued

inbreeding of the most typical of the sons and daughters of Tom, the

present type of the dog was made permanent.

Perhaps this somewhat restricted review of the breed, going back over

thirty-six or seven years and showing the somewhat mixed ancestry of our

present blue-blooded Boston terrier of today, may afford some explanation

of the diversity of type frequently presented in one litter. I have seen

numbers of litters where the utmost attention has been paid to every

detail with the expectancy of getting crackerjacks, to find that one will

have to wait for the next time, as the litter in question showed the

bull type, and the terrier also, and very little Boston; but fortunately,

with the mating intelligently attended to, and the putting aside of all

dogs that do not comport to the standard as non-breeders, a type of a dog

will be bred true to our highest ideals. My advice to all breeders is, do

not get discouraged, try, yes, try again, and Boston terriers, that

gladden the eye and fill the pocketbook, will be yours.

Technical Terms Used In Relation To The Boston Terrier And Their Meaning The Boston Terrier Club facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail