Which American Dog Breed Is Called the Gentleman?

Humans have fastidiously bred dogs for thousands of years to produce desired traits. This continuous genetic manipulation resulted in some unusual breeds; some dogs have been bred to catch rats, hunt birds, or sit quietly on laps. But what about the American gentleman dog breed?

The Boston terrier is among the few breeds that can truly call itself American. Boston fanciers refer to this breed as the “American Gentleman,” owing to its formal, tuxedo-like markings but also its even and gentlemanly personality. The Boston Terrier’s alertness, friendliness, and bravery make it an excellent pet and companion dog.

This article will bring a brief overview of these energetic little dogs, explore their ancestry as fighting dogs, their breeding history, and important information you should be aware of.

What Is a Boston Terrier?

Overview of the Breed:

  • Non-Sporting Group (AKC)
  • 12 to 25-pound weight range
  • 15 to 17 inches tall
  • Life expectancy ranges from 11 to 13 years.
  • Smooth coat with seal, brindle, or black markings.

The Boston Terrier is a one-of-a-kind dog breed with a rich history. They are also known as the “All American Dog,” The Boston Terrier is a cross between a White Terrier and an English Bulldog. The first crosses occurred in late-nineteenth-century England, and several members of this new dog breed were brought to America.

Boston terriers were developed in—you guessed it right—Boston, Massachusetts. A Boston man purchased Judge, a cross between the extinct white English Terrier and a bulldog.

Judge was a small fellow, weighing around 30 pounds, but he was very muscular. He laid the groundwork for the Boston Terrier breed. Canines that were even smaller and had a sweeter face arose through selective breeding, giving us the breed we have today.

What Were Boston Terriers Bred For?

a Boston Terrier with a leash on a wooden bridge

To understand the origins of this unlikely little brawler, we must travel back to the 1870s in Boston, Massachusetts. While there are many stories and theories about the true origins of this breed, all historians and experts seem to agree they revolve around a New England city.

Some reckon that the Boston Terrier we know today evolved from a cross between the now-extinct English White Terrier and the Bulldog. They were created by the coachman of a rich Boston family as pets for the elitists.

There is little proof to reinforce this claim. Nonetheless, this origin story is widely regarded as a coincidental half-truth. A more factual origin story for the Boston Terrier takes place in Boston, but the history is rather bleak.

Originally, these dogs were bred for fighting. The Boston Terrier was originally bred down quite a bit from pit-fighting dogs and could weigh up to 44 pounds. It’s hard to believe these little animals were once strong pit fighters.

The Boston Terrier is similar to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier with its strong fighting instinct. The Boston Terrier Club of America (BTCA) was formed in 1891, and a standard was written. They applied for entry into the AKC stud book but were turned down.

On the other hand, the Boston Terrier was accepted into the AKC in 1893. Hector #28814 was the first Boston Terrier to be registered.

By 1915, the breed had become the most popular in the United States. Throughout the decades, it remained in that position. 

What You Should Know About the American Gentlemen

a Boston Terrier on a leash wearing a blue bandana on its neck

What Do Boston Terriers Enjoy Doing?

They enjoy pleasing their owners. The Boston is alert and eager to learn new tricks and jobs due to its Bull Terrier or Bulldog ancestry. Bostons adore children and will spend hours playing games with them.

The Boston terrier is an excellent choice for many families because of its pleasant temperament and small size and because of its low-maintenance coat. The short-coated Boston is gentle on furniture and carpets, and it works well in small spaces.

Learn more about the top low-maintenance dog breeds here.

Bostons Come in Various Sizes and Colors

Some owners prefer small dogs, while others prefer a larger, romping dog. Either one will make an excellent pet with minimal grooming required, which can be accomplished at home.

Color and markings were not as important in the early years as they are now. However, by the 1900s, the breed’s colors and markings had become an important part of the breed’s identity.

The breed standard states that the characteristic markings must be white in proportion to a black, seal, brindle, or a combination of those three. The term “seal” refers to a specific color observed on Boston Terriers – a black with red highlights.

The white must cover the muzzle, chest, and a band around the neck, midway up the forelegs. Symmetrical spots are preferred in show dogs. 

Apartment-Friendly Dogs

Boston terriers can live without a playground as long as they get enough exercise. This means they are appropriate for apartment living. However, you should be aware that they are extremely sensitive to weather extremes, which means they should be kept somewhere neither too cold nor too hot.

They Handle Their Managers

They also make fantastic watchdogs because they do not bark at random. This means you won’t get up in the middle of the night because your dog saw a butterfly or a squirrel. However, there are times when the American gentleman will not bark at all.

Canines With Intelligence

a Boston Terrier looking at a notebook held by its owner

Another appealing feature of this breed is its intelligence, which makes it simple to train. This fact is bolstered by the dog’s innate curiosity and desire to learn. The American Kennel Club ranks Boston Terriers among the most intelligent dog breeds, making house training a breeze.

Boston terriers can be extremely sensitive to a person’s voice tone. This could be described as an emotion detector. A Boston Terrier can respond to how you feel while talking because of its sensitivity to tone.

Weather Sensitive Dogs

Remember that Boston Terriers are house dogs and do not fare well in extreme weather. Due to their elongated palate and extremely short muzzle, they cannot cope with heat well and can easily succumb to heatstroke, so exercise caution.

Common Health Issues

  • When pushed too hard, they easily become overheated.
  • This breed is prone to heart and skin tumors. As a result, you must take the dog to the vet regularly.
  • They can be sensitive to extreme weather, and being too cold or too hot can cause breathing difficulties.
  • Skull defects: a prevalent bone defect in inbred dogs that stops the brain from growing. This will result in developmental problems.

Learn How to Deal With Snoring and Farting

They may snore due to the breed’s elongated palate. It is common for Boston Terriers to have some level of airway obstruction. 

Another issue with this breed is gas, which can be avoided with a healthy diet and regular exercise. A healthy diet is essential. A poor diet will almost always result in gas and bowel problems for the Boston Terrier.

How to Take Care of the Massachusetts State Dog

The Boston Terrier is an easy dog to care for because it has short hair and sheds very little. Weekly brushing is advised, and a rubber palm brush is recommended for their specific coat. Work the brush circularly to help remove loose hair.

This is how the Boston Terrier has maintained its reputation as a spunky little dog with intelligence and spirit throughout American history.