The power of the dog/The Boston Terrier

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The power of the dog by Arthur Croxton Smith
The Boston Terrier

"Shall I tell you what it is, gentlemen of Boston?"
Walt Whitman.


BOSTON TERRIER

"Jeffries Junior"

Owned by Miss Claudia Lasell


THE BOSTON TERRIER

"I am an American—and whenever I look up
and see the stars and stripes overhead, that is
home to me.
"

Oliver Wendell Holmes.

 

THE United States is a great country, full of many beautiful and wonderful things, but strangely enough it has grown few dogs of its own, the native varieties being singularly limited in number. Although the Boston Terrier is also an exotic, being composed of materials imported in the first instance from Great Britain, we would not be so churlish as to rob our American cousins of one of their most cherished possessions. He is named after the "Hub of the Universe," and that must suffice. The Americans annex all that is best of our own breeds. It was they who gave £1,300 for a St. Bernard, nearly as much for some collies, and over a thousand for several bulldogs, but we have never reciprocated by introducing the gentleman from Boston. Perhaps, in the interests of good feeling between the two nations, it is as well that we have not done so, for the chances are that if we had we should have altered his style, changed the standard of points, and made him something altogether different. That is a little way we have, a way that occasionally causes a proper resentment in other lands.

I will not venture upon a speculation as to the reason why we have decreed the French Bulldog; to be worthy of our esteem, while the Boston Terrier has been neglected. The two have many superficial points of resemblance; indeed, it is almost necessary for one to be an expert to detect the difference. Both are built much upon the same lines, and the heads are not greatly unlike, except that the ears of the American dog are cropped instead of being allowed to retain their natural shape. This is not surprising when we consider that the Boston Terrier was formed from probably the same foundation stock—the lighting dog from Birmingham and the Midlands, fined down with an admixture of Terrier blood. The result is an active, game, "trappy" little fellow, ht for my lady's carriage or as a friend of the working man. My introduction to the Boston Terrier took place at the Villa d'Este, upon the shores of the Lake of Como. Passing an idle hour or two in that beautiful spot one afternoon my attention was suddenly arrested by the appearance of a dog of strange appearance. A second look told me his description, and his owner, a charming American, was quite pleased to find an Englishman who knew a little about her favourites. In the summer of 1911, I had a further opportunity of renewing my acquaintance with the breed, a lady exhibiting some specimens at the Ladies' Kennel Association show in the Royal Botanical Gardens. With these exceptions, my knowledge of the Boston Terrier is confined to reading and hearsay, but from what I can learn I imagine that there is much to commend him. Were it not so, it is hardly probable that such a dog-loving race as the Americans would make a furore about him. Over two hundred and fifty have been benched at one show, and a good one is worth anything from £100 to £400.

The Boston Terrier has blossomed into a dandy of high breeding, with his even white markings usually on a clear brindle body. Was that the intention of the men who produced him in the first instance? My impression is that the desire was to manufacture a gladiator fit for the pit; and a cross between a bulldog and a terrier would be about as useful as anything for this horrible purpose. Fate, however, had in store for him a kindlier destiny than mauling his fellows and being mauled in turn.
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