These lively and fun pups make the perfect companion. Why not learn a little bit more about the joyful Boston terrier?

1. THEY'RE AMERICA'S PRIDE AND JOY.

The Boston terrier is the first official breed created in the United States. They’re nicknamed the “American Gentleman” because of their tuxedo-like markings.

2. THEY WERE BRED TO BE FIGHTERS.

Coachmen crossbred their wealthy employers' dogs to create this pooch. They combined the English Bulldog with the (now-extinct) white English terrier. Originally, they were considerably larger and used as fighting dogs. After dog fighting became illegal, the breed shrunk in size.

3. THEY USED TO BE KNOWN BY A DIFFERENT NAME.

In 1889, about 30 fanciers got together and organized the American Bull Terrier Club. They called the dogs round heads or bull terriers. This moniker led to some opposition because there was already a different breed called the bull terrier that featured a much longer face.

By 1891, the club changed their name to Boston Terrier Club of America, and what once were round heads or bull terriers were now called Boston terriers.

4. IT'S THE STATE DOG OF MASSACHUSETTS.

The little dogs were first created in Massachusetts, so it only makes sense for the state to honor them as their dog emblem. The breed has held the honor since 1979.

5. THEIR NAME IS MISLEADING.

Despite being called Boston terriers, these pooches are not technically terriers. You’ll notice that they are excluded from the terrier category on the AKC website.

6. HELEN KELLER HAD ONE.

Phiz the Boston terrier was given to Keller by her classmates at Radcliffe College. Although the dog was wary of strangers, it’s said that the two hit it off immediately.

7. A WAR HERO MIGHT HAVE HAD SOME BOSTON TERRIER IN HIM.

When a stray dog wandered near soldiers training for World War I at Yale, he was quickly brought into the ranks. The canine was taught how to salute with his paw and named Stubby.

The heroic dog was brought overseas and proved himself by warning troops of gas attacks and helping paramedics find wounded soldiers. After spotting and attacking a German spy, he was promoted to Sergeant. The decorated dog was hailed a hero and got to meet Presidents Wilson, Harding, and Coolidge.

While Sergeant Stubby was probably a mutt, his obituary referred to him as a bull terrier. Since Stubby looks nothing like an actual bull terrier, it’s possible the paper was referring to the old name for the Boston terrier. If you look at Stubby, you can definitely see the resemblance.

8. YOU CAN FEEL PROTECTED WITH ONE AROUND.

Despite their small size, Boston terriers are considered excellent guard dogs. They are very protective of their families and their loud bark is enough to alert their companions of danger.

9. THEY'RE GREAT AT TRICKS.

Boston terriers are intelligent and eager to please, so it’s easy to train them. Dexter the Boston terrier has even mastered the skateboard.

This article originally ran in 2015.