Are All Boston Terriers Black and White?

When you think of the Boston Terrier, you probably picture a small dog with large ears and black-and-white coloration. While this is certainly the most common coloration for Boston Terriers, not all dogs of this breed look that way. Keep reading to learn more about the Boston Terrier’s history as well as the different color combinations.

History of the Boston Terrier Breed

Sometimes known as the American Gentleman, the Boston Terrier is a small breed of dog that originated in the United States. The breed officially got its start in 1870 when Robert C. Hooper, a resident of Boston, purchase a dog from Edward Burnett. The dog was of Bull and Terrier lineage and was directly related to the original lines of Bull and Terrier breeds from the 19th and the early 20th centuries. Judge, Hooper’s dog, was obtained by crossing English Bulldogs with various terrier breeds including the White English Terrier. After he came into Burnett’s possession, Judge was bred with one or more French Bulldogs to create the foundation of the modern Boston Terrier Breed.

The early specimens of the Boston Terrier breed weighed as much as 44 pounds at maturity – they remained fairly large even though they were bred down in size from various fighting dogs of the Bull and Terrier types. The first Boston Terrier was shown in 1870 but it wasn’t until nearly twenty years later that the breed became popular enough that fanciers formed the first breed club, the American Bull Terrier Club. The name was changed to the Boston Terrier Club in 1893 and, in the same year, it was admitted into the American Kennel Club as the first U.S. breed to be officially recognized. During the early years of the breed, coat color and markings were not important but the breed’s characteristic appearance was written into the breed standard in the early 20th century.

How Many Coat Colors Are There?

Characteristically, the Boston Terrier is a black and white dog, though that is not always the case. Acceptable colors for the breed include black, brindle, or seal with white markings. Brindle is not a color but a coloring pattern that slightly resembles tiger stripes, though in a very subtle way. Seal is, as you might have guessed, a color similar to that of a wet seal – a very dark brown that appears black except in bright sunlight. The Boston Terrier may have any of these three colors (or a combination of such) with white markings on the face, chest, legs, and feet. According to the AKC standard, no other colors are acceptable because they are typically achieved by crossbreeding with another breed which may cause the dog to lose its characteristic tuxedo-like appearance.

Unless you play to show your Boston Terrier, his coloration may not matter much to you. If you do intend to breed or show your dog, however, you should make sure that he is a strong example of the breed standard – especially when it comes to the placement of his white markings.

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