9 Fun Facts About Boston Terriers

iStock/chuckcollier
iStock/chuckcollier

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.

What’s Better Than a Dog in a Sweater? A Sweater That Shows an Image of Your Dog in a Sweater

Sweater Hound
Sweater Hound

If you think the sight of someone walking their sweater-clad dog is just about the cutest thing in the world, you’re absolutely correct. But what if that person was wearing a sweater that showed an image of their dog wearing a sweater? If you think that sounds even cuter, you’re in for a treat.

According to People, New York-based apparel company Sweater Hound will knit you a sweater that displays an image of your dog in a sweater—all you have to do is submit your favorite photo of your dog. And, because not all dogs love wearing sweaters in real life, your dog doesn’t have to be wearing a sweater in the photo you upload.

Each sweater is made from a combination of acrylic and recycled cotton, and will prove to your pet that you truly do love them more than anyone else (unless you already own sweaters emblazoned with the faces of your friends and family).

The sweaters, which cost $98 each, come in both child and adult sizes, and you can choose between cream, navy, black, and gray. The options don’t stop there—Sweater Hound offers sweaters that show your dog wearing just a bow tie, a bow tie and a sweater, a Santa hat and scarf, reindeer ears and a sweater, or even a “Super Dog” cape and domino mask outfit.

sweater hound dog wearing a bow tie on a sweater
Sweater Hound

If sweaters aren’t really your style, there are also hoodies and sweatpants decorated with a smaller, logo-sized image of your dog. Or, you could snuggle with your prized pooch underneath a warm blanket bearing a rather giant image of said pooch.

blanket with an image of a dog wearing a bow tie and sweater
Sweater Hound

While the company does specialize in creating dog-related products, they’ll do their best to accommodate people who love salamanders in Santa hats, birds in bow ties, and other pets wearing clothes. You can email them at Hello@Sweaterhound.com to discuss your options.

If you’re hoping to get someone a gift from Sweater Hound this holiday season, you should act fast: You have to place your order by December 4 in order to guarantee delivery before Christmas, and that date will likely change as the days go by.

Adorable, customizable clothing is just one of the many perks of being a dog owner—here are 10 more scientifically proven benefits.

[h/t People]

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Move Over Dogs, Goats, and Peacocks: Llamas Are the Hot New Therapy Animal

jensenwy/iStock via Getty Images
jensenwy/iStock via Getty Images

Possibly because Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and the rest of the reindeer are pretty busy at this time of year, Kimpton Hotel Monaco in Portland, Oregon, is offering guests the chance to hang out with a few jolly llamas instead.

The Washington Post reports that the friendly, festively dressed llamas belong to Mountain Peaks Therapy Llamas and Alpacas, which usually brings them to hospitals, rehabilitation centers, senior communities, hospice care, special-needs organizations, and even schools. According to the organization’s website, the visits help “alleviate loneliness, lower blood pressure, and reduce stress.”

And, though the clinical benefits to the Kimpton’s guests haven’t been proven, hotel manager Travis Williams confirms that everyone definitely loves spending time with the quirky quadrupeds. Last year, after overwhelmingly positive reactions to the llama visits, the hotel decided to bring them back.

“Once we saw the joy that it brought people, we just kept going,” Williams told The Washington Post.

While it might seem like the use of llamas for therapy is a characteristically Portland-ish idea, it’s not the only place you can find them. The New York Times reports that 20 llamas and alpacas are registered with Pet Partners, a national nonprofit organization for therapy animals, and many others are owned and trained by private family farms across the country.

Jeff and Carol Rutledge, for example, have 13 llamas and alpacas on their property in Stockdale, Texas, outside San Antonio. Three of them are registered therapy animals, having passed a test that includes being touched by strangers and staying unaffected while people argue near them.

During their visits to assisted living facilities, veterans’ homes, and other events in the area, the Rutledges have observed the animals having a profound effect on residents’ behavior. One man, who is nonverbal and recovering from a motorcycle accident, will murmur as he grooms one of the llamas. And the Rutledges’ high-school-aged daughter, Zoe, even did a science experiment for her 4-H club that showed the residents’ blood pressure is lower after visiting with the llamas.

While there’s not a very high chance of seeing therapy llamas in airports just yet, you might be lucky enough to see something a little smaller—like LiLou, San Francisco International Airport’s first therapy pig.

[h/t The Washington Post]

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