Breed of the Week: Boston Terrier

July 14th, 2007 by Kathy Hawkins

If you’re looking for a dog to take to a formal dinner party, I have a recommendation for you — the Boston Terrier. He already has his own tuxedo, after all.

Boston Terrier
Photo by alaner79.

The Boston Terrier originated, appropriately enough, in Boston, Massachussets, originating from a cross between a Bulldog and an English White Terrier, with subsequent crossings with the French Bulldog. The new pint-sized, bulldog-like breed was first shown in Boston in 1870, under the original name of “Bull Terrier.” Fans of the dog didn’t think the name was sufficiently dignified, so the name was changed to Boston Terrier around 1893. With his distinctive black and white suit-like markings, his dignified face, and his gentle manner, it’s no wonder the Boston Terrier is known as the “American Gentleman” of dogs.

Boston Terrier in Park
Photo by savinca.

The Boston Terrier’s name is a bit of a misnomer — he doesn’t exactly fit in with the rest of the terrier dog breeds, which were bred for sport and for chasing rats and other small animals. The Boston Terrier, on the other hand, was bred solely for companionship. Though he’s athletic, and loves to run around, his main purpose is to hang out with his human friends. For a great homage to one family’s tennis ball-chasing, pizza-making Boston Terrier, check out this video clip.

The Boston Terrier makes friends easily with other animals, too — even raccoons, as Johnny Southern of Oneonta, Alabama, discovered, when he brought home an injured raccoon one day. His Boston Terrier, Pug, adopted the baby raccoon as her own, and the two became best friends until the raccoon was released back into the wild several months later.

Even though the Boston Terrier is fairly young as far as dog breeds go, the breed already has plenty to show for itself. The Boston Terrier was honored with the title of state dog of Masssechussets in 1979, and the cartoon figure, Rhett the Boston Terrier, been the mascot for Boston University’s sports teams since 1922. Even one of America’s most well-known literary dogs, Toto, was originally intended to be a Boston Terrier — though a Cairn Terrier was used in the film, The Wizard of Oz, the iconic dog was portrayed in the novel’s illustrations as a Boston Terrier. Other notable Americans, including former president Warren G. Harding, Helen Keller, and Charmed actress Rose McGowan, have all had Boston Terriers. One of the most famous dogs from the World War II era, Sergeant Stubby, who served in the military, warning soldiers against poison gases and oncoming attacks, was reputed to be a Boston Terrier cross.

Boston Terrier Sticking Out His Tongue
Photo by jeff_hutton.

Want a Boston Terrier of your own? You can find a breeder online, but beware of any breeder that’s willing to ship you a puppy, especially by plane — with the Boston Terrier’s snub nose and propensity for breathing problems, he shouldn’t be flying at all. There are also plenty of young and adult Boston Terriers and crosses available from the network of rescue groups all over the United States — to find a Boston Terrier breed rescue near you, just visit this site and see what’s in your state.

2 Responses to “Breed of the Week: Boston Terrier”

  1. jnin Says:


    that is such a sweet video *thumbsup*, your dog reminds me of Stitch – our french Bulldogg. ^^

  2. Founders Club Judge | Deestination Golf Clubs Says:

    [...] check out this blog entry about Boston Terriers It includes pictures and a video! Share and [...]

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