The Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier is one of the few breeds that is distinctly of American origin. Their name indicates their nativity, and all that can be learned of their ancestry points to their having been of a pit bull terrier origin. Pit bulls are usually the result of a cross between bulldogs and terriers, and vary in form. Some have the long, clean head of a terrier; others, the round, almost puggish head of the bulldog. The round-headed, short-faced brindle dogs that were a result of these crosses could not win against the terrier types in their own classes, and as they were crowded out their admirers succeeded in having classes organized for them, and these classes were eventually recognized by the American Kennel Club.

In the early history of the breed there was no established type, some favoring the bulldogs, while others were partial to those that were on the terrier order. As late as 1894 the American Kennel Club canceled a Boston Terrier pedigree because the sire was a bulldog. The registrar of the Boston Terrier Club, when called upon for an explanation, stated that it was necessary to resort to the bulldog cross to retain certain characteristics of the bulldog, namely, the rose ears, flat skull, and short, tapering tail, and further asserted that the Boston Terrier at that time was becoming too strongly terrier.

At the present time the best opinion on this subject is that the Boston should be neither bulldog nor terrier in type, but a happy medium. The Boston Terrier has proven to be the great commercial success of this country, and no other breed has ever attained such great popularity in so short a time. The tendency from year to year has been to reduce them in size, and as a result of careful selection they have become well fixed in type and much of their early irregularity has disappeared.

The description, standard and value of points as adopted by the Boston Terrier Club is as follows:

GENERAL APPEARANCE.-The general appearance of the Boston Terrier should be that of a lively, highly intelligent, smooth-coated, short-headed, compactly built, short-tailed, well-balanced dog of medium station, of brindle color and evenly marked with white.

The head should indicate a high degree of intelligence and should be in proportion to the size of the dog; the body rather short and well knit; the limbs strong and neatly turned; tail short; and no feature being so prominent that the dog appears badly proportioned.

The dog should convey an impression of determination, strength, and activity, with style of a high order; carriage easy and graceful.

A proportionate combination of “color” and “ideal markings” is a particularly distinctive feature of a representative specimen, and dogs with a preponderance of white on body, or without the proper proportion of brindle and white on head, should possess sufficient merit otherwise to counteract their deficiencies in these respects.

The ideal “Boston Terrier expression” as indicating “a high degree of intelligence” is also an important characteristic of the breed.

“Color and markings” and “expression” should be given particular consideration in determining the relative value of “General Appearance” to other points.

SKULL.-Square, flat on top, free from wrinkles; cheeks flat; brow abrupt, stop well defined. EYES.-Wide apart, large and round, dark in color; expression alert, but kind and intelligent; the eyes should set square across brow, and the outside corners should be on a line with the cheeks as viewed from the front.

MUZZLE.-Short, square, wide, and deep; free from wrinkles; shorter in length than in width and depth, and in proportion to skull; width and depth carried out well to end. Nose black and wide, with well-defined line between nostrils. The jaws broad and square, with short, regular teeth. The chops of good depth, but not pendulous, completely covering the teeth when mouth is closed. The muzzle should not exceed in approximate length one-third of length of skull.

EARS.-Small and thin; situated as near corners of skull as possible.

HEAD FAULTS.–Skull “domed” or inclined; furrowed by a medial line; skull too long for breadth, or vice versa; stop too shallow; brow and skull too slanting.

Eyes small or sunken; too prominent; light color; showing too much white or haw. Muzzle wedgeshaped or lacking depth; down-faced; too much cut out below the eyes; pinched nostrils; protruding teeth; weak lower jaw, showing “turn up.” Poorly carried ears or out of proportion.

NECK.-Of fair length, slightly arched and carrying the head gracefully; setting neatly into the shoulders.

NECK FAULTS.-Ewe-necked; throatiness; short and thick.

BODY.-Deep, with good width of chest; shoulders sloping; back short; ribs deep and well sprung, carried well back to loins; loins short and muscular; rump curving slightly to set-on of tail. Flank slightly cut up. The body should appear short, but not chunky.

BODY FAULTS.-Flat sides; narrow chest; long or slack loins; roach back; sway back; too much cut up in flank.

ELBOws.-Standing neither in nor out. FORELEGS.-Set moderately wide apart and on a line with the points of the shoulders; straight in bone and well muscled; pasterns short and strong. HINDLEGS.-Set true; bent at stifles; short from hocks to feet; hocks turning neither in nor out; thighs strong and well muscled.

FEET.-Round, small, and compact, and turned neither in nor out; toes well arched.

LEG AND FEET FAULTS.-Loose shoulders or elbows; hindlegs too straight at stifles; hocks too prominent; long or weak pasterns; splay feet.

TAIL.-Set on low; short, fine, and tapering; straight or screw; devoid of fringe or coarse hair, and not carried above horizontal.

TAIL FAULTS.-A long or gayly carried tail; extremely gnarled or curled against body. (Note.-The preferred tail should not exceed in length approximately half the distance from set-on to hock.)

COLOR.-Brindle, with white markings.

IDEAL MARKINGS.-White muzzle, even white blaze over head, collar, breast, part or whole of forelegs, and hindlegs below hocks.

COLOR AND MARKINGS FAULTS.-All white; absence of white markings; preponderance of white on body; without the proper proportion of brindle and white on head; or any variations detracting from the general appearance.

COAT.-Short, smooth, bright, and fine in texture. COAT FAULTS.-Long or coarse; lacking luster. WEIGHTS.-Not exceeding 27 pounds, divided as follows: Lightweight, under 17 pounds; middleweight, 17 and not exceeding 22 pounds; heavyweight, 22 and not exceeding 27 pounds.

DISQUALIFICATIONS.-Solid black, black-and-tan, liver and mouse colors. Docked tail and any artificial means used to deceive the judge.

VALUE OF POINTS.-Skull, 12; ears, 2; eyes, 5; muzzle, 12; neck, 3; body, 15; elbows, 4; forelegs, 5; hindlegs, 5; color, 4; ideal markings, 10; feet, 5; tail, 5; coat, 3; general appearance and style, 10. Total, 100.