How Was a Boston Terrier Bred?

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A Boston Terrier is a small, muscular dog with large eyes, a short nose, and erect ears. Despite it being used as a fighting dog in the past, it has an amazing temperament. That makes many people curious about their origin. So, how was a Boston Terrier bred?

How Was a Boston Terrier Bred?

A Boston Terrier was bred from a white bitch named Gyp and Robert Hooper’s dog named Judge. Judge was bred from a Bulldog and an English White Terrier, while Gyp was of unknown origin. Hooper’s Judge and Gyp are the ancestors of all pure modern Boston Terriers.

Boston Terrier lying in the rug

Through selective breeding methods, today’s Boston Terrier is smaller than its forefathers. A Boston Terrier in the tiny weight classification does not even weigh more than 15 pounds, while the biggest breed does not exceed 25 pounds.

Coming to America

While the Boston Terrier is known as an American dog, history revealed that the ancestors of the modern Boston Terrier were two English dogs: a bulldog and a white terrier. Now, why do people consider the Boston Terrier as the country’s very own?

In 1870, Robert Hooper from Boston purchased a dog named Judge from William O’Brien. It was clear that Judge was an imported dog. Later, Hooper’s Judge was bred to a white bitch of unidentified origin, owned by Edward Burnett from Southboro.

Judge and Gyp are the sire and dam of the first generation of the Boston Terrier in the US and the ancestors of all the succeeding generations.

The Birth of The American Gentleman

Several generations of crossings erased the fighting temperament of the Boston Terrier. The modern Boston Terrier, which was then called Round Heads, now carries a friendly and playful personality. For this, it acquired the nickname, The American Gentleman.

In 1891, they replaced the name with Boston Terrier. In the same year, the BTCA (Boston Terrier Club of America) was born. 

The Modern Boston Terrier

There have been some slight differences in appearance, size, and traits between the old generations and modern Boston Terriers. With Hooper’s Judge weighing around 32 pounds then, the first generations of the Boston Terriers were bigger. They have a more muscular body and a ferocious-looking face.

Excited Boston Terrier playing on a field

The older generations of Bostons also acquired the personality of pit fighting dogs. This means they had a fighting temperament.

Bostons evolved into more-friendly looking dogs. Their size is also smaller with the biggest breed not exceeding 25 pounds. There are also tiny breeds that do not weigh more than 15 pounds. As expected, with selective breeding methods, a cheerful, loving personality replaced the fighting temperament.

How is a Modern Boston Terrier Bred?

A modern Boston Terrier is bred according to the standards set out by the American Kennel Club. The female dog should be ready for pregnancy when it is healthy and has reached full maturity. It is recommended that the male dog is smaller than the female to avoid problems when giving birth.

There are two ways to breed a Boston Terrier. You can choose between the two according to what is more practical for the situation.

  • natural breeding
  • artificial insemination

Breeding can be a complicated task, especially for first-time owners. You should get help from a legitimate dog breeder to avoid problems and complications.

Things to Consider Before Breeding a Boston Terrier

Many people expect breeding dogs to be easy as dogs naturally mate to multiply. However, there are many considerations before you could proceed to the actual breeding stage, especially when breeding pure Boston Terriers

Two dogs awaiting to be examined to be bred
  • The AKC Rules and Regulations: If you are not going to get a legitimate breeder, make sure to prepare yourself first. Some things to know before breeding includes the AKC rules on breeding dogs. Equip yourself with the right knowledge by participating in dog events and reading guides on dog breeding.
  • Bitch Maturity and Preparedness: The female dog should not be bred until it has reached full maturity, which is about 2 years old. A female dog that is not fully matured may have complications during pregnancy and birthing. Make sure your dog is emotionally and mentally healthy.
  • Pre-breeding Health Tests: Some pre-breeding tests for dogs may be done as well to ensure the bitch has no conditions that may complicate the pregnancy or be adapted by the puppies.
  • Finding a Good Mate: The ideal mate should also be healthy and ideally, have the traits and temperament that will improve the bitch’s weaknesses. Breed to improve is one of the AKC standards. Pre-breeding health tests are also helpful to identify a healthy male dog. 
  • Stud Contract: A stud contract (an agreement to lending or using a specific stud dog to mate and breed a female dog) should be prepared before the mating takes place. Both dog owners should have a copy which includes agreements on fees or pick a puppy agreement and other considerations.

Before we finish this article, let’s answer a couple of related questions regarding the Boston Terrier’s breeding process.

Do Boston Terriers Birth Naturally? 

Some Boston Terriers can birth naturally, yet most of them undergo C-sections. Dystocia or difficult birth is common among Boston Terriers. However, breeders can avoid this with some dog breeding practices for Bostons, such as giving it a high-calcium diet.

At What Age is a Boston Terrier Full Grown?

A Boston Terrier is full-grown at 10 to 14 months. However, the time to reach full maturity is different on every dog and dependent on several factors such as size. Bigger dogs take more time before their bones and joints fully develop.


The Boston Terrier originated from the US in the late 1800s, where the sire was an imported dog from England and the dam was a small, white dog of unknown origin. They are the ancestors of pure breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club today.