Sunday, September 9, 2012

Breeding Boston Terriers for Color and Markings

The system adopted in our kennels some years ago to obtain seal brindles with correct markings and the desirable luster and reddish sheen to the coat is as follows:

We take a rich red, or light mahogany bitch, with perfect markings, that comes from a family noted for the brilliancy of their color, and without white in the pedigrees for a number of generations, and mate her always to a dark seal brindle dog with an ancestry back of him noted for the same color. The pups from these matings will come practically seventy-five per cent. medium seal brindles. We now take the females that approximate the nearest in shade to their mother, and mate them to a dark seal brindle dog always. The bitches that are the result of this union are always bred to a dark seal brindle dog. The females that come from the last union are bred to a medium seal brindle dog, but now comes the time to introduce a mahogany brindle dog as a sire next time, for if these last bitches were mated to a seal brindle dog a large per cent. of the pups would come too dark or even black. This system is used indefinitely and desirable seal brindles with white markings can thus be always obtained. To the best of my recollection we have had but one black dog in twenty years. We have demonstrated, we trust, so that all may understand how golden, mahogany, and seal brindles are obtained, and how they may be bred for all time without losing the brindle so essential, and we now pass on to the consideration of a far harder problem, the obtaining of the rich seal brindles from all undesirable colors, and we present to all interested in this important, and practically unknown and misunderstood, problem the result of a number of years extended and scientific experiments which, we confess, were disheartening and unproductive for a long time, but which ultimately resulted in success, the following rules to be observed, known as “The St. Botolph Color Chart.”

In presenting this we are fully aware that as far as we know this is the only scientific system evolved up to date, also that there are a number of breeders of the American dog who maintain that this is an absolute impossibility, that breeding for color is as absurd as it is impractical, but we can assure these honest doubters that we have blazed a trail, and all they now have to do is simply to follow instructions and success will crown their efforts.

We will enumerate the following colors in the order of their resistance, so to speak:

No. 1. White. This color, theoretically a combination of red, green and violet will be found the hardest to eliminate, as the shade desired will have to be worked in, so to speak, and it will take several generations before a seal brindle with perfect markings that can be depended upon to always reproduce itself can be obtained. Starting with a white bitch (always remember that the shades desired must be possessed by the dog), we breed her always to a golden brindle dog. The bitches (those most resembling the sire in color being selected) from these two are mated to a dark mahogany brindle dog, and the females from this last union are mated to a dark seal brindle dog. It will readily be observed that we have bred into the white color, golden, mahogany and seal brindle and this admixture of color will give practically over ninety per cent. of desirable brindles. Always see that the sires used are perfectly marked, from ancestry possessing the same correct markings. This is absolutely imperative, where the stock to be improved is worked upon is white.

No. 2. Black. This color is the opposite of white, inasmuch as there is an excess of pigment, which in this case will have to be worked out. Breed the black bitch to a red brindle dog (with the same conditions regarding his ancestry). The females from these matings bred always to a dark mahogany brindle dog. The females from the last matings breed to a medium seal brindle dog with a very glossy coat, and the result of these last matings will be good seal brindles. If any bitches should occasionally come black, breed always to a golden brindle dog. No other shade will do the trick.

No. 3. Gray brindle. This is practically a dead color, but easy to work out. Breed first to a golden brindle dog. The females from this union breed to a rich mahogany brindle, and the bitches from this last litter breed to a seal brindle dog.

No. 4. Buckskin. Breed bitch to golden brindle dog; the females from this union to a red brindle dog (if unobtainable, use mahogany brindle dog, but this is not so effective), and the females from last union breed to a seal brindle dog.

No. 5. Liver. This is a great deal like the last, but a little harder to manipulate. Breed first to a golden brindle dog. The females from this union breed to a seal brindle. The bitches from this union breed to mahogany brindle dog with black bars running through the coat, and the females from last mating breed to seal brindles.

No. 6. Mouse color. Use same process as for gray brindles.

No. 7. Yellow. A very undesirable shade, but easy to eliminate. Breed to mahogany brindle dog as dark as can be obtained, and bitches from this mating breed to a seal brindle dog.

No. 8. Steel and tiger brindles I class together, as the process is the same and results are easy. Breed first to a red brindle dog; bitches from this union to a dark mahogany brindle, and then use seal brindle dog on bitch from last mating.

No. 9. Red brindle. No skill is required here. Breed first to mahogany brindles, and bitches from this union to seal brindles.

We have now enumerated practically all the less desirable shades, but let me observe in passing, in the process of color breeding that the law of atavism, or “throwing back,” often asserts itself, and we shall see colors belonging to a far-off ancestry occasionally presenting themselves in all these matings. Once in a while a dog will be found that no matter what color bitches he may be mated with, he will mark a certain number of the litter with the peculiar color or markings of some remote ancestor. Just a case apropos of this will suffice. We used in our kennels a dog of perfect markings, coming from an immediate ancestry of perfectly marked dogs, and mated him with quite a number of absolutely perfectly marked bitches that we had bred for a great number of years that had before that had perfectly marked pups, and every bitch, no matter how bred, had over fifty per cent. of white headed pups. We saw the pups in other places sired by this dog, no matter where bred, similarly marked. We found his grandmother was a white headed dog, and this dog inherited this feature in his blood, and passed it on to posterity. The minute a stud dog, perfect in himself, is prepotent to impress upon his offspring a defect in his ancestry, discard him at once. I have often been amused to see how frequently this law of atavism is either misunderstood or ignored. Only recently I have seen a number of letters in a leading dog magazine, in which several people who apparently ought to know better, were accusing litters of bulldog pups as being of impure blood because there were one or two black pups amongst them. They must, of course, have been conversant with the fact that bulldogs years ago frequently came of that color, and failed to reason that in consequence of this, pups of that shade are liable once in a while to occur. It is always a safe rule in color breeding to discard as a stud a dog, no matter how brilliant his coat may be, who persistently sires pups whose colors are indistinct and run together, as it were.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Breeding Strong Vigorous Pupples

In the first place, in the attainment of vigorous puppies, we state the bitches selected are of primary importance, in our view, as already stated, far more so than the sire. For best results we choose a bitch weighing from fifteen to twenty-five pounds. If they happen to weigh over this we do not consider it any detriment whatever, rather otherwise. Always select said matrons from litters that have been large, bred from strong, vigorous stock, thoroughly matured, and that have been bred by reliable (we speak advisedly) men for several generations if possible. If one can, obtain from kennels that while perfectly comfortable, have not been supplied with artificial heat. There is more in this than appears on the surface. Dogs that have been coddled and brought up around a stove rarely have stamina and vitality enough to enable them to live the number of years they are entitled to, and fall a ready victim to the first serious trouble, whether distemper, or the many and one ills that beset their path. Intelligent breeders of all kinds of stock today recognize the value of fresh air and unlimited sunshine, and if best results are to be obtained these two things are imperative.

Consider the prize herd of Hereford cattle owned by Mr. Joseph Rowlands, near Worcester, England, and conceded by experts to be the best in that country, and to learn that for a number of years the herd (over one hundred in number) have been kept in the open, the cows being placed in the barn for a few days at calving, and that the prize winning bull that heads the herd, “Tumbler,” is sixteen years old, and still used, and it is stated by Mr. Rowlands is producing as good stock today as ever. The significant fact about this herd is, they are and have been perfectly free from tuberculosis. Another herd of Jerseys (although not prize winners) are kept near there, under precisely the same conditions with similar results. A breeder of prize winning Belgian hares has kept these for a number of years without artificial heat, with the best of results with freedom from disease, and the attainment of strong, robust constitutions. When puppies are four months old (in the winter time) they should be placed in well built kennels, without artificial heat. (Of course, this does not apply to a colder latitude than Massachusetts.)

The reason for choosing bitches that come from dams noted for their large litters is this: the chances are (if the dog bred to comes from a similar litter) that they will inherit the propensity to give birth to large litters themselves, and the pups will necessarily be smaller than when only one or two pups are born. The bitch that has but that number runs an awful risk, especially if she has been well fed. The pups will be large and the dam has great difficulty in whelping.

If toy bitches are bred, look out for breakers ahead; only a very small per cent. live to play with their little ones. A toy bitch, bred to a toy dog, will frequently have but one pup, and that quite a large one in proportion to the size of parents. When a toy bitch is bred, attend carefully to these three things. See that the dog used is small in himself, comes from small stock, and does not possess too large a head. Secondly, be sure the bitch is kept in rather poor condition, in other words, not too fat; and thirdly, and this is the most important of all, see that she has all the natural exercise she can be induced to take. These conditions strictly and faithfully adhered to may result in success.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Technical Terms Used for Boston Terriers

These terms were in use in 1910!

* A Crackerjack—A first class, typical dog.
* A Mutt—A worthless specimen.
* A Flyer—A dog capable of winning in any company.
* A Weed—A leggy, thin, attenuated dog, bred so.
* A Fake—A dog whose natural appearance has been interfered with to hide defects.
* A Dope—A dog afflicted, usually with chorea, that has had cocaine administered to him to stop the twitching while in the judging ring.
* A Ringer—A dog shown under a false name, that has previously been shown under his right name.
* Apple-headed—Skull round, instead of flat on top.
* Broken-up Face—Bulldog face, with deep stop and wrinkle and receding nose.
* Frog or Down Face—Nose not receding.
* Dish-faced—One whose nasal bone is higher at the nose than at the stop.
* Butterfly Nose—A spotted nose.
* Dudley Nose—A flesh-colored nose.
* Rose Ear—An ear which the tip turns backward and downward, disclosing the inside.
* Button Ear—An ear that falls over in front, concealing the inside.
* Tulip Ear—An upright, or pricked ear.
* Blaze—The white line up the face.
* Cheeky—When the cheek bumps are strongly defined.
* Occiput—The prominent bone at the back or top of the skull, noticeably prominent in bloodhounds.
* Chops—The pendulous lips of the bulldog.
* Cushion—Fullness in the top lips.
* Dewlap—The pendulous skin under the throat.
* Lippy—The hanging lips of some dogs, who should not possess same, as in the bull terrier.
* Layback—A receding nose.
* Pig-jawed—The upper jaw protruding over the lower; an exaggeration of an undershot jaw.
* Overshot—The upper teeth projecting beyond the lower.
* Undershot—The lower incisor teeth projecting beyond the upper, as in bulldogs.
* Wrinkle—Loose, folding skin over the skull.
* Wall Eye—A blue mottled eye.
* Snipy—Too pointed in muzzle; pinched.
* Stop—The indentation between the skull and the nasal bone near the eyes.
* Septum—The division between the nostrils.
* Leather—The skin of the ear.
* Expression—The size and placement of the eye determines the expression of the dog.
* Brisket—That part of the body in front of the chest and below the neck.
* Chest—That part of the body between the forelegs, sometimes called the breast, extending from the brisket to the body.
* Cobby—Thick set; low in stature, and short coupled; or well ribbed up, short and compact.
* Couplings—The space between the tops of the shoulder blades, and the tops of the hip joints. A dog is accordingly said to be long or short “in the couplings.”
* Deep in Brisket—Deep in chest.
* Elbows—The joint at the top of forearm.
* Elbows Out—Self-explanatory; either congenital, or as a result of weakness.
* Flat-sided—Flat in ribs; not rounded.
* Forearm—The foreleg between the elbows and pastern.
* Pastern—The lower section of the leg below the knee or hock respectively.
* Shoulders—The top of the shoulder blades, the point at which a dog is measured.
* Racy—Slight in build and leggy.
* Roach-back—The arched or wheel formation of loin.
* Pad—The underneath portion of the foot.
* Loins—The part of body between the last rib and hindquarters.
* Long in flank—Long in back of loins.
* Lumber—Unnecessary flesh.
* Cat-foot—A short, round foot, with the knuckles well developed.
* Hare-foot—A long, narrow foot, carried forward.
* Splay-foot—A flat, awkward forefoot, usually turned outward.
* Stifles—The upper joint of hind legs.
* Second Thighs—The muscular development between stifle joint and hock.
* The Hock—The lowest point of the hind leg.
* Spring—Round, or well sprung ribs; not flat.
* Shelly—Narrow, shelly body.
* Timber—Bone.
* Tucked Up—Tucked up loin, as seen in greyhounds.
* Upright Shoulders—Shoulders that are set in an upright, instead of an oblique position.
* Leggy—Having the legs too long in proportion to body.
* Stern—Tail.
* Screw Tail—A tail twisted in the form of a screw.
* Kink Tail—A tail with a break or kink in it.
* Even Mouthed—A term used to describe a dog whose jaws are neither overhung nor underhung.
* Beefy—Big, beefy hind quarters.
* Bully—Where the dog approaches the bulldog too much in conformation.
* Terrier Type—Where the dog approaches the terrier too much in conformation.
* Cow-hocked—The hocks turning inward.
* Saddle-back—The opposite of roach-back.
* Lengthy—Possessing length of body.
* Broody—A broody bitch; one whose length of conformation evidences a likely mother; one who will whelp easily and rear her pups.
* Blood—A blood; a dog whose appearance denotes high breeding.
* Condition—Another name for perfect health, without superfluous flesh, coat in the best of shape, and spirits lively and cheerful.
* Style—Showy, and of a stylish, gay demeanor.
* Listless—Dull and sluggish.
* Character—A sub-total of all the points which give to the dog the desired character associated with his particular variety, which differentiates him from all other breeds.
* Hall-mark—That stamp of quality that distinguishes him from inferior dogs, as the sterling mark on silver, or the hall-mark on the same metal in England.

Monday, December 7, 2009


One other disease, and that the most deadly of all, remains to be considered, viz., distemper. This is largely contracted at the dog shows, or being brought into contact with dogs suffering from the disease. I do not believe it is ever spontaneous, and dogs kept away from infected stock will be exempt. Well do I remember my first dose of it. I had loaned a friend of mine a young dog raised by him to show, as he was trying for a prize for Druid Merk as a stud dog. The dog in question, Merk Jr., came back from the show rather depressed, and in a few days I had my entire kennel down with the disease. It was in the spring of the year, cold and damp, and I succeeded in saving just one of the young dogs and Merk Jr. After a thorough fumigation with a great quantity of sulphur I managed to get the kennels disinfected, and did not have an outbreak again for several years. A bitch sent to be bred where a case of distemper existed, unknown to me, of course, brought it to my place again, and I had the same unfortunate experience over again; fortunately this time it was in the early fall, and weather conditions being auspicious, we lost only about twenty-five per cent. of young stock. By extreme vigilance, in knowing the conditions of the kennels where bitches were sent for service, we succeeded in escaping an attack for several years, when an old bitch that had had distemper several years previously, brought back the germs in her coat from a kennel where two young dogs, just home from the Boston show, were sick with the disease. This was in the spring, the weather was wet and cold, and a loss of practically fifty per cent. ensued.

One very interesting and peculiar feature of the last attack was, that half the dogs sick were given the best medical treatment possible, with a loss of one-half; the other half were not given any medicine whatever, and the same proportion died. Of course, all had the best of care, nursing, and strict attention to diet paid.

I was very much gratified to observe that in these three attacks we have never had a dog that had a recurrence of the disease, and what is of far greater importance, have never had any after ill effect (with one solitary exception, when a bitch was left with a slight twitching of one leg) in the shape of the number of ailments that frequently follow, and in all cases after the disease had run its course the dogs seemed in a short time as vigorous as ever. This we attribute solely to the strong, vigorous constitutions the dogs possessed. A breeder who raises many dogs will have a very difficult feat to accomplish if he aspires to enter the show ring also. In our case we were convinced at the start that these two would not go together. When one considers that dogs returning from shows frequently carry the germs in their coats, and even the crates become affected, and while not suffering from the disease themselves, will readily convey it to the occupants of the kennel they come in contact with, also that the kennel man (unless a separate man has charge of infected stock exclusively) can readily carry the germs on his hands, person and clothing, it will instantly be perceived what a risk attends the combined breeding and showing. I think it pays best in the long run to keep these two branches of the business separate. The temptation to exhibit will be very strong, but before doing so, count the cost, especially if much valuable young stock is in the kennels.

In regard to the treatment of this much dreaded disease, there are a number of remedies on the market, one especially that has lately come out, viz., “Moore’s Toxin,” which claims to effect a cure, but having never used it can not give a personal endorsement. Whatever remedy is tried, remember that good nursing, a suitable diet, and strict hygienic measures must be given. Feed generously of raw eggs, beaten up in milk, in which a few drops of good brandy are added, every few hours, and nourishing broths and gruels may be given for a change. If the eyes are affected then the boracic acid wash; if the nose is stopped up, then a good steaming from the kettle. While the dog must have plenty of fresh air, be sure to avoid draughts. When the lungs and bronchial tubes are affected, then put flannels wrung out of hot Arabian balsam around neck and chest, and give suitable doses of cod liver oil. If the disease is principally seated in the intestines, then give once a day a teaspoonful of castor oil, and the dog should be fed with arrow root gruel, made with plenty of good milk, and a very little lean meat (beef, mutton, or chicken), once a day. When the dog is on the high road to recovery be very careful he does not get cold, or pneumonia is almost certain to ensue. Do not forget a thorough fumigation of the kennels, and all utensils, with sulphur.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Feeding Pups After Weaning

In regard to feeding the pups after weaning, it will be found an excellent plan to feed until ten weeks old four times a day, from that age until six months old, three times daily, and from that age until maturity, twice daily. I think a good drink of milk once a day excellent, and where there are enough fresh table scraps left to feed the pups, nothing better can be given. Where the number of dogs kept is too numerous to be supplied in this way, then a good meal of puppy biscuits in the morning, a good meal of meat (fresh butcher’s trimmings, not too fat, bought daily) with vegetables at noon and at night well cooked oatmeal or rice with milk makes an excellent safe diet. Good, large bones with some meat on are always in order, as all dogs crave, and I think ought to have, some meat raw. Be careful not to over feed, and above all do not give the dogs sweets. When a puppy is delicate or a shy feeder, an egg beaten up in milk forms an excellent change, and good fresh beef or lamb minced up will tempt the most delicate appetite. Give the puppies a chance to get out on the fresh grass and see what Dr. Green will do for them. Above all see that they always have free access to pure, cool water.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Suitability of Stud Dogs

Another important fact to be observed in breeding Bostons, is the suitability of certain stud dogs for particular bitches. It used to be my belief for a number of years, and I suppose many dog men today entertain the same idea, that a first class dog in every respect mated with a number of equally well bred typical bitches would produce on an average a comparatively uniform type of pups. Nothing could be further from actual results. The same dog bred, say to four females practically alike in style, size, conformation, color and markings, and from common ancestry, will give perchance in one litter two or three crackerjacks, and the other three will contain only medium pups. This same thing will occur every time the dogs are bred. This is because the bitch with the choice pups and the dog “nick,” a phrase signifying that some psychological union has taken place, not understood by man, in which the best points of both dogs are reproduced in their offspring.

Whenever one finds a dog eminently suited to his bitch, do not make a change, always breed to the same dog. I am perfectly cognizant of the fact that a great temptation presents itself to want to breed to a better dog, a noted prize winner probably, expecting, of course, that inasmuch as the dam did so well with a somewhat inferior dog, she must of necessity do correspondingly better with an A 1 dog. The reasoning is perfectly correct, but the result does not correspond. Very inferior pups to her previous litter by the inferior dog surprise and disgust the owner.

In our kennels we have had numerous examples of this. One bitch especially, years ago, when bred to “Buster,” always gave first class puppies of uniform type each litter, but the same bitch bred to some noted prize winner always gave ordinary pups. Another bitch that at the present time is practically retiring from the puppy raising business from age, when bred to Hickey’s Teddy IV., always had in her litter four crackerjacks out of the seven or eight she always presented us with; when bred to any other dog (and we have tried her with several), no matter how good, never had a first class pup in the litter. Hence I repeat, if a dog “nicks” with your bitch, resulting in good pups, do not on any account ever change. Let the marriage last for life. Somewhat closely connected with this last fact is another equally important, the fact of prepotency in a stud dog, consisting of the capacity on the part of the dog to transmit his share of characteristics to his offspring in a far larger degree than is imparted by the average dog. Those who closely follow the breed will discover how certain dogs do, and have done in the past, from “Barnard’s Mike” down to certain dogs of the present time, stamp the hall-mark of excellence on all the pups they sire, in a greater or less degree.

Happy are those owners of dams who are aware of this important fact and take pains to use in the stud dogs of this character. I have sometimes wondered how much Barnard’s Mike was worth to the breed. It will be doubtless remembered by horsemen that the great trainer, Hiram Woodruff, speaking of the importation of the thoroughbred, “Messenger,” one of the founders of the American trotter, in 1788, said that “when Messenger charged down the gang-plank, in landing from the ship, the value of not less than one hundred million dollars struck our soil.” He would be a very courageous man who would dare compute the worth of “Mike” or “Buster” or “Sullivan’s Punch,” when viewed from the same standpoint.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Perdetermining the Sex

Most breeders, of course, are anxious to have male pups predominate in a litter, and it is a demonstrated fact that ordinary mating produces from four to ten per cent more males than females. For a number of years I had always believed it was impossible to breed so as to attain more than the excess of males above noted, but several years ago I accepted an invitation from Mr. Burnett, of Deerfoot Farm, of Southboro (the owner of Kate or Gyp, the mother of the breed), to spend the day. He was, as will be recalled, one of the earliest and most enthusiastic breeders of the Boston, and is now a scientific breeder of choice dairy stock. We had been discussing a number of problems in regard to raising stock, when he exclaimed: “Mr. Axtell, I believe I have discovered the problem of sex breeding. If I want heifer calves, I breed the cow as soon as she comes in season. If a bull calf is wanted, the cow is served just before going out of season.” And said he, “In nineteen experiments I have only been unsuccessful once, and I think you might try the same plan with your Bostons.” I have since done so, and although not nearly the same measure of success has attended my experiments as his, yet by breeding bitches at the close of the heat rather than at its commencement, the number of males in a litter has materially increased. Again, I find if a young, vigorous dog is bred to a similar bitch, females will predominate in the offspring, whereas, if the same bitch is bred to a much older dog, an excess of males will generally occur. Occasionally some dogs will be met with that no matter what mated with, will produce largely males, and some the opposite of this will nearly always produce females, and some bitches, no matter how bred, do likewise, but these are exceptions, and not the rule. A kennel man need never worry about sex, inasmuch as good dogs of either gender will always be in demand.