Boston Terrier History

The Boston Terrier did not arrive on the shores of the United States by boat.  It didn’t arrive by air or any other means of transportation. In short, it was bred here in the U.S. and soon became one of the most popular breeds of all times.  The following short history of the Boston Terrier is excerpted from a small book, The Boston Terrier, recently reprinted by the Boston Terrier Club of America and written by: J.Varnum Mott, M.D. combined with information from the archives of the Boston Terrier Club of America, Inc.

“The question is often asked, “How did the Boston Terrier originate?” 

“Briefly stated it may be said to have resulted from a cross between the English Bulldog and the white English Terrier, and then to have been considerably inbred.  Incidental peculiarities of the first dogs used as sires are partly responsible for the present type.”

English Bulldog

English White Terrier

“Mr. Robert C. Hooper, of Boston came into possession of a dog named Judge.  This dog, which he purchased of Mr. William O’Brien of the same city, was undoubtedly imported from England.  Judge, commonly known as Hooper’s Judge, was destined to be the ancestor of almost all the true modern Boston Terriers.  He was a cross between an English Bulldog and a white English Terrier.  He was a strongly built, high stationed dog of about thirty-two pounds weight.  In color he was a dark brindle, with a white stripe in the face.  His head was square and blocky, and he resembled the present Boston Terrier in that he had a nearly even mouth.  Judge was bred to Burnett’s Gyp (or Kate).  Gyp was a white bitch, owned by Mr. Edward Burnett, of Southboro, MA.  She was of about twenty pounds weight, had a fine three-quarter tail, and was quite low stationed.  She was of stocky build, showing considerable strength in her make-up.  Her head was good, being short and blocky.”

“From Judge and Gyp descended Well’s Eph. This dog was of strong build, and like his dam was low stationed.  His weight was about twenty-eight pounds.  He was of dark brindle color, even white markings, and like Judge, had a nearly even mouth.”

“Eph was mated with Tobin’s Kate.  This bitch was of small size, weighing only twenty pounds.  She had a fairly short head, was of golden brindle color, and had a straight three-quarter tail.”

Start of the breed, the Boston Terrier

From these dogs can be traced the start of the Breed, the Boston Terrier. Dogs were bred and exhibited by these Fanciers as Round Heads and as time went on these fanciers met with numerous obstacles, but they would not give up after years of hard work.  In 1891, the Boston Terrier Club of America was organized and being a Boston bred dog the name was changed from the Round Heads, to the Boston Terrier.

In the year 1893 occurred the most momentous event in the history of the Boston Terrier.  After two years of trying to have the breed recognized, The American Kennel club admitted the breed to recognition for registration in the Stud Book, and the Club as a member of the American Kennel Club.

Boston Terrier as American gentleman

Up to this time the Boston Terrier was just in its infancy.  There was much hard work ahead to perfect and standardize the breed and try to breed the Boston Terriers to a more even lot.

Much progress has been accomplished in the breed since the year 1900 in the developing of different strains by scientific breeding, and some inbreeding, that has produced some very fine dogs, with clean cut short heads, snow white markings, dark soft eyes and the happy medium body leaning more to the Terrier than the Bulldog.

There are few dogs, having the disposition of the Boston Terrier.  Their kind and gentle disposition have won them the name of the American Gentleman, a name rightfully given, and as companions or house pets, they have few equals.  Breeders must take great care in the selection of breeding stock, as the future of the breed lies in the careful breeding of our present generation.