Posts Tagged ‘Hooper’s Judge’

Hall's Max

Hall's Max

Well, some people got really close.

It’s not an American bulldog, a pit bull, a boxer, or a Great Dane (Deutsche Dogge).

It’s certainly not an Olde Boston Bulldogge.

But it is pretty close.

I don’t know if anyone has looked into the history of the Boston terrier, but behind that dog are several dogs that had this appearance.

The dog in the photo is a descendant of “Hooper’s Judge.” Hooper’s Judge is considered to be the ancestor of the modern Boston terrier. He was a cross between an English bulldog and an English bull terrier. Some sources claim that he was a derivative a toy strain of bulldog and a smaller bull terrier.

I don’t know whether that is true or not, but I do know that the Beacon Hill set who first bred these dogs were interested in created a strain of bull and terrier that was smaller in size.

The dog in question is “Hall’s Max.”  Max is described in Edward Axtell’s The Boston Terrier and All About It (originally published in 1910):  “Max, a fairly good sized, beautiful dispositioned dog that could almost talk, belonging to Dr. Hall, then a house doctor at the Eye and Ear Infirmary, Charles street. He was used, I am told, a great deal in the stud, and sired a great many more puppies than the doctor ever knew of.”

If you look closely at Max, he has a totally white head, cropped ears, and a whip-like tail.

Now, I have seen only a few Boston terriers that were not black and white in color. I’ve never seen one with cropped ears. All have had the naturally erect ears. And their tails are never long and whip-like. I should say here that several contemporaries of Hall’s Max had the modern Boston terrier tail, like

Now what’s interesting is that Axtell includes several breed standards for the Boston terrier in his book. It becomes a testament to the fickle nature of breed standards.

In a later edition, Axtell publishes a 1914 standard that calls for the dogs to be “brindle with white markings.” To which I laugh–I’ve seen only a few Bostons that were brindles! The 1914 standard replaced the 1891 standard, which called for this color “Any color, brindle evenly marked with white, strongly preferred.” (I can forgive the bad grammar).

The current AKC standard calls for “brindle, seal, or black with white markings. Brindle is preferred ONLY if all other qualities are equal.”

But if you go deeper into Axtell’s text, he also posts an even earlier standard for  a dog called the “Round-headed Bull and Terrier Dog.” The preferred color is “[A]ny color, except black, mouse or liver; brindle and white, brindle or whole white are the colors most preferred.”  Today, solid white isn’t allowed in Boston terriers, and if black and white were not allowed colors in Boston terriers, then most of the Bostons I’ve seen were very faulty indeed.

The Boston terrier actually started out as an American version of the pet bull terrier. The bull terrier produced by Hinks was meant to be a pet for gentlemen. The Beacon Hill set who bred these dogs wanted to produce an American version of this dog, just much smaller and with a rounded head.  Of course, the breed actually evolved away from that form when it was the women of Beacon Hill fell in love with them. It wasn’t very long before this breed became the perfect accessory for up and coming women, and it didn’t take long for this dog to develop into companion-type dog, which is what they are today.

But it is remarkable how quickly dogs can change through selective breeding, It is also rather amazing how dissimilar many modern domestic dogs are from their ancestors.  All of this tells you that the dog fancy can rather fickle and even a bit mercurial in determining what is correct.

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