Showsight Presents The Boston Terrier

American Bull Terriers or Round Heads, in 1888 the New England Kennel Club recognized the breed in competition as the Round Head Bull and Terrier. Noted as a dog of stable keepers and barbers, the descendants of Judge soon enough acquired reputations as sought- after household pets. Bred down in size, their temperament was more suited as a companion than as either a ratter or a pit dog and the Boston Terrier quickly gained favor as a companion dog with both the working class and the wealthy. During the 1880s, the appeal of breeding dogs increased as an extensive assortment of breeds was brought into this country. Th is necessitated ever greater numbers of dog shows, to which many exhibitors travelled by train, horse drawn buggies, wagons or carts. However, the mode of customary transportation began to change in 1900 as automobile ownership began to grow. Travelling and shipping dogs by rail also enabled a greater market to be reached—by 1900 more than 200,000 miles of track crisscrossed the country and AKC registrations of Bostons were on the rise. At the beginning of the last decade of the 19th century, the most noted of breeders and fanciers in and around Boston came together with the intention of forming an organization, then calling themselves the American Bull Terrier Club. In 1891, armed with breeding and litter records and a newly written Standard of the breed, the club petitioned the American Kennel Club for breed admittance. However, opposition from the AKC O ffi cer, among them the a ffl uent dog and horseman August Belmont, Jr., (and first President of AKC) prevented recognition of the breed, citing lack of consistency of type. Although the breed was denied entrée to the Stud Book, the Boston Terrier Club

Illustrations from The Ideal Boston Terrier by Josephine Z. Rine (c. 1932).

was admitted to AKC membership and the breed was for once and for all given the o ffi cial name of Boston Terrier. Its Standard was adopted, allowing weight classes from 15 pounds and under and up to 36 pounds. Th e preferred colors were brindle and white, or brindle or solid white, but black, mouse or liver were not acceptable. Th ere was no consideration for the markings that later became coveted by the Boston Terrier fancy. Two years later, with conditions attached that only those Bostons having an approved three-generation pedigree would be eligible for registration, the Boston Terrier was finally admitted into the AKC Stud Book on February 27, 1893. By then, the good folks of Boston and its environs began breeding America’s first dog in earnest. More and more often Boston Terriers were brought from the stable and shed into the kitchen, where many a litter found warmth in a paper-lined box behind the wood-burning cook stove.

Over the next three decades, the Boston’s popularity grew and enthusiastic breeding of Bostons took on prolific proportions. During the 1920s, one-fifth or more of the entries at all-breed shows were found on the Boston Terrier benches and entries numbering over 200 weren’t unheard of at specialty shows. It was during the first third of the 1900s that such

Ch. Fastep – owner unknown (c. 1927).

“BY THEN, THE GOOD FOLKS OF BOSTON AND ITS ENVIRONS BEGAN BREEDING AMERICA’S FIRST DOG IN EARNEST.”

Ch. Million Dollar Kid Boots owned by Mrs. Jesse Thorton (c. 1930s).

242 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , F EBRUARY 2015

Powered by