To Breed or Not to Breed

Anyone can breed dogs, but not everyone has what it takes to be a responsible breeder.
To see if you might have the qualifications, take this quiz.

1. Responsible breeding starts with the selection of quality breeding prospects. Which of the following is true?

a. I have selected dogs having AKC registration.
b. I have selected dogs that are not only registered with the AKC, but are outstanding specimens of the breed,
who conform to the breed standard and have worked toward or completed their AKC championship title.
c. I have selected dogs having sound health and temperaments, and whose traits are complimentary to each
d. My goals in breeding include the long term betterment of the breed, and the results of my endeavors will show that.

2. Responsible breeding is a time-consuming and expensive undertaking. Which of the following concerns are valid?

a. Pre whelping care and expenses could be considerable, and I have set aside enough money and enough
time to adequately care for the dam.
b. Whether or not a c-section is required, it should always be planned for. I have discussed the possibility with
my regular vet, am aware of the cost, but have also I have set aside money to cover the
costs of an emergency c-section, in the event that my regular vet cannot be reached at the time of labor.
c. I am willing to provide around the clock care for my dam and puppies, at least for the first few weeks.
d. I have a warm, quiet and safe environment set aside in my home for the whelping pen. I have all the required
supplies on hand: heating elements, scales, a complete whelping kit for dogs, supplementary feeding supplies.

3. Responsible breeding means that the prospective parents have been screened for inherited birth defects,
which might include the following tests:

a. CERF, to screen for cataracts or other inheritable eye diseases.
b. BAER, to determine that the dog can hear in both ears.
c. OFA of hips and patellas, to screen against hip dysphasia and luxating patellas.

4. A responsible breeder provides the following care for puppies before they are placed in a home:
a. Has provided at least two series of initial immunizations, and dew claw removal.
b. Proper socialization: the puppies should have ample interaction with the mother, siblings, and other
members of the household, and should meet as many different people as possible (when it is safe to do so).
c. Thoroughly screens each potential new owner, making sure that they are a good a match for the puppy’s personality,
and can provide adequate care and nurturing.

5. A responsible breeder provides the following services after the puppy leaves for a new home:

a. Follows up to make sure the pup is adjusting well.
b. Answers any questions the new owners might have, and continually offer support.
c. Agrees to take that puppy back, willingly, and for the life of that dog, should any problem arise where it is necessary for the puppy to leave the new home.

Of course all the answers are correct!! But there is much more involved than was even touched on in this quiz.
If you have agreed with all the responses here and still feel that breeding is for you, then you have years of study,
work, joy, loss, heartache, smiles, tears, friends, foes, and fears ahead of you. Good luck! (oh yes, you need that too).

Submitted by
Katie Cleary

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The Boston Terrier is a lively, highly intelligent, smooth coated, short headed, compactly built, short-tailed, well balanced dog, brindle, seal or black in color and evenly marked with white. The head is in proportion to the size of the dog and the expression indicates a high degree on intelligence. The body is a rather short and well knit, the limbs strong and neatly turned, the tail is short and no feature is so prominent that the dog appears badly proportioned. The dog conveys an impression of determination, strength and activity, with style of a high order; carriage easy and graceful. A proportionate combination of “Color and White Markings” is particularly distinctive feature of a representative specimen. “Balance, Expression, Color and White Markings” should be given particular consideration in determining the relative value of GENERAL APPEARANCE to other points. Weight is divided by classes as follows: Under 15 pounds; 15 pounds and under 20 pounds; 20 pounds and not to exceed 25 pounds. The length of leg must balance with the length of body to give the Boston Terrier its striking square appearance. The Boston Terrier is a sturdy dog and must not appear to be either spindly or coarse. The bone and muscle must be in proportion as well as an enhancement to the dog’s weight and structure. Fault: Blocky or chunky in appearance. Influence of Sex in a comparison of specimens of each sex, the only evident difference is a slight refinement in the bitch’s conformation.


The skull is square, flat on top, free from wrinkles, cheeks flat, brow abrupt and the stop well defined. The ideal Boston Terrier expression is alert and kind, indicating a high degree of intelligence. This is a most important characteristic of the breed. The eyes are wide apart, large and round and dark in color. The eyes are set square in the skull and the outside corners are on a line with the cheeks as viewed from the front. Disqualify: Eyes blue in color or any trace of blue. The ears are small, carried erect, either natural or cropped to conform to the shape of the head and situated as near to the corners of the skull as possible. The muzzle is short, square, wide and deep and in proportion to the skull. It is free from wrinkles, shorter in length than in depth; not exceeding in length approximately one-third of the length of the skull. The muzzle from stop to end of the nose is parallel to the top of the skull. The nose is black and wide, with a well defined line between the nostrils. Disqualify: Dudley nose. The jaw is broad and square with short, regular teeth. The bite is even or sufficiently undershot to square the muzzle. The chops are of good depth, but not pendulous, completely covering the teeth when the mouth is closed. Serious Fault: Wry mouth. Head Faults: Eyes showing too much white or haw. Pinched or wide nostrils. Size of ears out of proportion to the size of the head. Serious Head Faults: Any showing of the tongue or teeth when the mouth is closed.


The length of neck must display an image of balance to the total dog. It is slightly arched, carrying the head gracefully and setting neatly into the shoulders. The back is just short enough to square the body. The top line is level and the rump curves slightly to the set-on of the tail. The chest is deep with good width, ribs well sprung and carried well back to the lions. The body should appear short. The tail is set on low, short, fine and tapering, straight or screw and must not be carried above the horizontal. (Note: The preferred tail does not exceed in length more than one-quarter the distance from set-on to hock.) Disqualify: Docked tail. Body Faults: Gaily carried tail. Serious Body Faults: Roach back, sway back, slab-sided.


The shoulders are sloping and well laid back, which allows for the Boston Terrier’s stylish movement. The elbows stand neither in nor out. The forelegs are set moderately wide apart and on a line with the upper tip of the shoulder blades. The forelegs are straight in bone with short, strong pasterns. The dew claws may be removed. The feet are small round and compact, turned neither in nor out, with well arched toes and short nails. Faults: Legs lacking in substance; splay feet.


The thighs are strong and well muscled, bent at the stifles and set true. The hocks are short to the feet, turning neither in nor out, with a well defined hock joint. The feet are small and compact with short nails. Fault: Straight in stifle.


The gait of the Boston Terrier is that of a sure footed, straight gaited dog, forelegs and hind legs moving straight ahead in line with perfect rhythm, each step indicating grace and power. Gait Faults: There will be no rolling, paddling, or weaving when gaited. Hackney gait. Serious Gait Faults: Any crossing movement, either front or rear.


The coat is short, smooth, bright and fine in texture.


Brindle, seal, or black with white markings. Brindle is preferred ONLY if all other qualities are equal. (Note: SEAL DEFINED. Seal appears black except it has a red cast when viewed in the sun or bright light.) Disqualify: Solid black, solid brindle or solid seal without required white markings. Gray or liver colors. Required Markings: White muzzle band, white blaze between the eyes, white fore chest. Desired Markings: White muzzle band, even white blaze between the eyes and over the head, white collar, white fore chest, white on part or whole of forelegs and hind legs below the hocks. (Note: A representative specimen should not be penalized for not possessing “Desired Markings”.) A dog with a preponderance of white on the head or body must possess sufficient merit otherwise to counteract its deficiencies.


The Boston Terrier is a friendly and lively dog. The breed has an excellent disposition and a high degree of intelligence, which makes the Boston Terrier an incomparable companion.


The clean-cut, short backed body of the Boston Terrier, coupled with the unique characteristics of his square head and jaw, and his striking markings have resulted in a most dapper and charming American original: The Boston Terrier

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Cantrip Standards

The Boston Terrier Standard was revised on February 28, 1990 to clarify and adapt the language so that everyone – novices, exhibitors, breeders, judges, and potential judges – would understand it. There are many definitions for the words “standard”, but when referring to the Boston Terrier Standard, this one is preferred: “A degree or level of requirement, excellence or attainment.” When you read the breed Standard, the words paint a picture of excellence. In any breed Standard, there is very little leeway for interpretation. There is only one version. Not ours, not yours, but the right one. The Boston Terrier Standard is divided into 12 sections. Each is an important part of the breed. Without excellence in all these parts, no Boston Terrier can be an outstanding specimen of the breed, no matter how many ribbons it wins.

GENERAL APPEARANCE: describes a number of points. It gives us an outline of the dog, shows us the character of the breed and artistically requires that the dog not only be in balance, but must be well proportioned. It gives a synopsis of the breed and tells us without actually using these words, that the perfect Boston is a bright, sound, elegant, beautifully moving, type dog, with prescribed color and markings. General appearance is especially affected by all parts of the dog. For example, if the dog is faulted in hindquarters, it can not move with determination and an easy and graceful carriage. Neither can a dog with too much white showing in his eyes look intelligent.

SIZE, PROPORTION, SUBSTANCE: The most important point about the weight classification is that each size be in proportion in bone and muscle. That does not mean that because a dog is 20 lbs., it should be coarse and bully. Conversely, an under 15 pound dog must also be in proportion to its size. As owners or breeders, we can have a size preference in the dogs we own or breed; judges cannot. However, this section does state that the length of leg must balance with the length in body to give the dog its striking square appearance. You will see that when other parts of the dog’s conformation are correct, it will also help to make the dog appear square.

The influence of sex is really self-explanatory. It should not be interpreted to mean that a slight refinement in the bitch’s conformation allows the muzzle to be snippy or the body long.

HEAD: It is difficult to imagine a square head on a dog, but when the skull is square, it will be determined by the set of the ears and eyes. The ears should be as close to the corners of the skull as possible, with the outside corners of the eyes in line with the cheeks. The eye placement and the muzzle should both form the lower square of the head. One would believe that the correct Boston Terrier expression comes from the eyes. This is only partially true. It also comes from his upright ears and that exceptional bearing that the Boston has that says “I’m something special!” The eyes should be round and large with a very minimum of white showing. The eyes should be as dark as the coat color, otherwise they will appear even lighter by contrast. Not only should the ears be set properly at the corners of the skull, they must be in proportion to the size of the skull and the muscles that hold the ear erect must be strong so that the ears are held as tightly as possible. Ears like this make the dog appear alert and of course help square the head. Ears that are set badly, are too large or too small, or without good muscles are still apparent to the experienced eye, even if they are cropped. While the muzzle should be short, square, wide and deep, it cannot be correct unless the jaw is broad with an even or slightly undershot bite.

THE NECK, TOP LINE AND BODY should blend smoothly together, with the length of the neck in balance with the body so that the head is carried gracefully. The chest should be deep, and as a rule, in line with the elbows. Aside from aesthetics, the main reason for requiring a level back is that the power generated in the hindquarters is delivered forward by thrust, through the spinal column to the forequarters. A straight column of bones delivers thrust to a better advantage than one that is curved. When the ribs are carried well back, the loins will be short. If you think of the loins as a bridge between the front and rear of the dog, you can understand that a short bridge will be stronger than a long one. It will also help to square the body. The rump curves slightly to a low tail set. A to flat rump usually gives a dog a higher tail set and consequently, straighter stifles.

THE FOREQUARTERS of front assembly, help to give the Boston Terrier its stylish movement. The shoulders are sloping and well laid back. This kind of shoulder requires an angle of 90 degrees, which gives the dog the proper reach in front. When the shoulders are well laid back, the neck will be the proper length. A dog with straight shoulders will also have a neck that is too short, with a shorter reach of the front legs. When the front legs are suspended, they will drop perfectly straight without toeing in or out. While we do not call the feet “cat’s feet”, they are cat-like; small round, and compact.

THE HINDQUARTERS provide the power that is needed to give a dog the drive or push to propel the front. The stifle must be well angulated, with a long upper and lower thigh and the hocks should be well let down, or short in comparison, to give the dog endurance. When the hindquarters have the correct length of bone and angulation, they will be well muscled.

THE GAIT of the Boston Terrier is that “of a sure footed, straight gaited dog, forelegs and hind legs moving straight ahead in line with perfect rhythm, each step indicating grace and power.” The key words in this description are “grace and power”. From this, one can see that the Boston Terrier was not meant to move with dysplastic hindquarters or like a wind-up toy. If he does not move correctly, he cannot convey an “impression of determination, strength, and activity, with style of a high order, carriage easy and graceful.

COAT texture is often determined by the color of the coat. Brindle coats are usually finer than darker colors. Fortunately, even though some coats are not as fine as others, the quality of the coat is usually determined by the condition of the dog.

COLOR AND MARKINGS are very important. They make a Boston look like a Boston. Desired markings are icing on the cake. It gives that extra bit of flashiness that sometimes is needed, However, it will not compensate for other things that they may be lacking.

THE TEMPERAMENT of the Boston Terrier is a most important requirement of the breed and one we must take care not to lose. Without their friendly disposition and intelligence, they wouldn’t be Boston Terriers.

THE SUMMARY is an abridged version of the Standard…”The Boston Terrier in a Nutshell”.

THE SCALE OF POINTS is a guide that can be used to determine the relative importance of parts of the whole dog. If it is used to critique a dog, remember that if the value of one area is lowered, it often affects another. There is also one area that has not been assigned a point value, without which a Boston would be without value and that is excellent temperament. Let us not forget it.

Boston Terrier breeder Joseph Balmer said it beautifully for us, many years ago…..


The standard helps us to safeguard and improve the breed; it is our responsibility to protect the Standard.

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Cantrip Boston History

Breeding dogs for over 30 years has brought Cantrip Kennels to the understanding and

knowledge of the many benefits of natural rearing.

For the sound health and longevity of my charges, I feed a raw diet with no preservatives.

By incorporating modern veterinary care along with Holistic medicine, the goal of Cantrip is

to produce a healthier, happier Boston Terrier.

These benefits can be seen in the quality pets and show dogs that come from the Cantrip Home.

Judy Zahas

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Breeder of Merit

The Boston Terrier is said to be the first “manmade” dog in the United States, often being
referred to as The American Gentleman. Several breeds were used to make up the Boston Terrier.

The French Bulldog, English Bulldog, German Boxer, and the American or Pit Bull Terrier
are listed as progenitors. This is the reason, I believe, why we have different types of
Bostons: some resembling the terrier side; some taking more characteristics from the bulldog.
The Boston was larger in the earlier days, within the 20 to 30 pound, range, but, over the
years, the size has been reduced to an average of 15 pounds. Though the body was bred
to a smaller size, the BT still thinks itself to be of the larger size… he has a “big dog” mentality
, showing no fear. The Boston is not truly aggressive in nature, but, usually, will not back
down from a fight, if challenged.
The early records tell us that the first AKC Bostons were brindle and white and were living
in the Boston, Massachusetts area. They were first recognized by he AKC in 1893 and were
listed as Terrier (Boston). There was at one time a listing of the “Toy Boston Terrier”. They had
to be under 15 pounds at the age of 12 months to be listed as Toys. There is no longer a
division of Toys in the Boston Terrier. Boston Terriers are now listed in the Non-Sporting
Group with the AKC, and shown as 15 pounds and under, and 15 pounds and over in the
classes, but compete equally in the winners’ classes and the Best of Breed competition.
Over the years the standard has changed, as the Boston developed into the wonderful
little dog that we now see. The colors that are now listed as acceptable in the Boston Terrier
standard are Brindle & White, Black & White, and Seal & White. The weight is not to exceed
25 pounds. The body should have a square appearance, with bone and muscle in proportion.
The Boston is born with little to no tail. Boston tails can be twisted, cork screwed, or kinked
The temperament of the Boston is friendly, with a high degree of intelligence. They have a
great deal of determination and will need patience to train. The BT is a great dog for children,
for they are always looking for someone to play with. They never seem to tire out. When
there is a Boston in the house, there should be a toy box full of tug toys and chew toys,
and even some soft cuddle toys.
The coat of the Boston is very short and needs little grooming. A quick bath and a soft
brushing is all that is needed. They do shed, but due to the shortness of the coat, it does
not seem to be a complaint from BT owners. The one draw-back of the short coat is that
the Boston is an indoor dog and cannot stand to be out in the cold for very long. You will
find that most Bostons love to sleep under the covers, whether they are on your bed or
a special bed you have made up for them.



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