boston terrier Q&A WITH COLLEEN BROSSARD, MARCIE DOBKIN AND MICHAEL & BEVERLY STALEY
4. What is the correct topline for a Boston Terrier and how much emphasis should be placed on this? MD: The standard requires a level topline. These are not Frenchies or Bulldogs. This distinction from the Bulldog cousins makes the square aspects of the Boston silhou- ette distinct, which is so important to type. M&BS: The Boston Terrier topline is level and the back is just short enough to square the body. Both as breeders and judges, we put a lot of emphasis on a correct topline. On profile while moving the topline should remain level. 5. What effect does ear cropping have on head style vs. natural ears in Bostons? Should there be a pref- erence for either cropped or natural ears? CB: I love the cropped ears. Yet today more Bostons have smaller ears and I feel that there are really only a few veterinarians who trim the Bostons correctly. The small ears or bat ears are very hard to trim. Therefore, today many Bostons look fine either way. The Boston with larger or longer ears really clean up the Boston and give they look of dignity when trimmed. MD: I love cropped ears! The cropped ear adds a clas- sic, “finished” look of elegance to the headpiece. Small upright ears on the back corners of the skull are equally as lovely, but very difficult to find. Cropped ears are becoming much less common in the ring, but breeders don’t seem to put emphasis for the correct ears, thus big, incorrectly set ears are common and detract from proper intelligent and sweet expressions. I’m not sure why cropping has faded in practice, maybe difficulty in find- ing a skilled vet, cost, influence of the AR movement or owners afraid it will be painful to their beloved animals are factors. M&BS: As judges we feel that whether the ear is cropped or uncropped what is important is the correct placement of the ears on the skull and that the ears should be erect and in correct balance with the head. There should be no preference between cropped and natural ears. 6. Is the Boston a head breed? CB: Yes, in my opinion, it is a head breed; but yet again bal- anced with the rest. Without a proper head it would be too Terrier. That is where the shorter nose and the width are most important. I look for what we call the square look of the head from all angles! MD: The Boston IS a head breed! As companion dogs, this is the part we look at the most and seek in a dog whose only job is to make us happy. M&BS: Yes, the Boston Terrier is definitely a head breed as there are 35 points allotted to the head in the standard which is over a third of the total points. Although the Boston Terrier is a head breed, we shouldn’t accept poor structure for a good head. 7. Describe the proper/ideal expression for a Bos- ton. How important are eyes, wrinkles, and facial markings in influencing expression? CB: The eyes are what, in my opinion, give the ideal expres- sion. The eyes have to be large and round; which we lost
front feet; it seems to take away from the movement on most Bostons. MD: Markings are the icing on the cake. Any form of “tux- edo” markings within the standard, to define the dog as a Boston, are fine with me. Sadly, many typey, “plain Janes” are ignored for lack of flash when otherwise, they have all the qualities of a lovely Boston, but are just more subtle. Too much white I think is more of a distraction than not enough of the desired markings described in the standard, but that’s just my personal preference for my own dogs. M&BS: Naturally the Boston Terrier must have the required markings (white muzzle band, white blaze between the eyes and white forechest). This is a most important characteristic of the breed. Lack of these markings is a disqualification. While desired markings are preferred, a dog should not be penalized for not possessing a full collar. 3. What is the correct movement for a Boston Terrier and how much emphasis should be put on move- ment that is correct for our breed vs. “generic” movement? What value do you put on reach and drive in the breed? CB: The Boston movement is ruined when going too fast! We want to see a nice reach with rhythm and level top lines when moving, which will not happen if made to move like a Terrier or Sporting breed! They are not to move like a Bulldog. MD: Of course, sound movement is ideal, but these aren’t field/working dogs dependent on structure for survival, BTs are companions. Bostons have no specialized move- ment like a Bulldog, Whippet or Neapolitan Mastiff. I much prefer a symphony of squareness with a beautiful expression over an incorrect, but more sound, specimen. M&BS: The Boston Terrier is a straight gaited dog with its forelegs and hindlegs moving straight ahead in line with perfect rhythm while maintaining a level topline. The front reach should equal the same distance as rear drive. The Boston should move effortlessly with good reach from sloping and well laid back shoulders at an angle that permits a good stride that is in balance with the rear quarters. Viewed from the rear, the hocks should remain parallel following on a line with the forelegs neither too widely or too closely spaced. Hocks and all four feet should turn neither in nor out. The Boston Terrier should function as a parallel tracking dog. There is some conver- gence toward the centerline, but the paws fall on either side of the centerline, rather than single tracking on the centerline. This would be due in part to the build of the Boston Terrier with its forelegs set “moderately wide apart”. Just as convergence must not be mistaken for moving too closely in the rear, a dog that parallel tracks should not be confused with one that moves with its legs parallel to each other, meaning that no convergence is present. If the Boston Terrier assembly is correct and all parts are in balance, you should have correct reach and drive. Without the correct reach and drive the Boston cannot achieve its proper gait.
260 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A UGUST 2018
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