A Look at Boston Terriers

Known as the “American Gentleman” Boston Terriers have a big reputation to live up to for a smaller dog. With a friendly disposition, happy-go-lucky attitude, and an eager sense to please their owner, Boston Terriers have been the choice breed of dog for many families the world over. For many breeds, tracking their lineage back can be tricky at best, with the exception of Boston Terriers, who can trace their beginning back to Hooper’s Judge.

Photo Taken By: Ed Siasoco


As breeds go, a Boston Terrier is a mix between a terrier and a bull. The first of the breed made it’s appearance around 1870, and was owned by a man named Robert C. Hooper. Hooper had purchased Judge, later known as Hooper’s Judge, from Edward Burnett who later became a US congressman. Hooper’s Judge was either the direct descendant of the original bull and terrier breeds or was the result of an English Bulldog and a terrier breed that was created for show purposes in the 1860’s. The AKC has named Judge as the original ancestor of almost all modern Boston Terriers.

A Dog by Any Other Name

Boston terriers are named after the city where the original Hooper’s Judge had come from. Judge had been bigger in size than his modern day counterparts, due largely in part to his offspring being bred with french bulldogs to bring them down in size from the bull and terrier types that Judge had come from. The names and nicknames of the breed have changed almost as much as the breed has throughout the years. In the earlier years, when the breed could average up to 45 lbs, they were known as Olde Boston Bulldogges. Later, as they became more popular, the first American Bull terrier club had nicknamed them “roundheads”. It wasn’t until 1893 when it was suggested the club change the name that they became the Boston Terrier we know today. The “American Gentleman” nickname comes from the dogs coloring and markings. The blazes and white markings looking very similar to human formal wear, this coupled with the refined personality has earned them the stylings of the gentleman.

Boston Terriers Today

Perhaps one of the biggest claims to fame for this breed is being the first US breed of dog to be recognized by the American Kennel Club, as well as being the first non-sporting dog in the US. That said, Boston Terriers have changed a great deal over the years from their origins. No longer a fighting dog, they’ve not only come down in size, but have also become more personable. With a genuinely friendly disposition, they are a great choice of dog for homes with children and other dogs. Boston terriers can also get along with non k-9 pets so long as they are properly socialized. One of the biggest advantages to the breed is that both males and females are often quiet and only bark when necessary, making them an ideal choice of dog for people who live in apartments or close proximity to their neighbors. With the right training and a lot of love, this gentleman can be the perfect addition to your home.

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+Neil Kilgore is the Jack (Russell) of all trades at Greenfield Puppies in Lancaster Pa. He regularly blogs about dogs, breeders and puppies on the Greenfield Puppies website.