Sunday, 23 August 2015

Busted Bostons

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Have a really good look at these two dogs as it's revealing for a host of reasons.

The UK dog on the left won Best of Breed at Crufts this year. The US dog on the right won Best of Breed at Westminster 2014. So same breeds, almost the same time.. and same breed standard!

As you can see, they are enormously different once you get past the similar markings.

Now it's by no means always true that the US show-dogs are always worse than the UK show-dogs - and not all Bostons in the US look like the dog on the right. But, boy, the Westminster winner is just awful.

First look at the heads.

Leaving aside that the US dogs' ears have been cropped (why would you do that in a breed with naturally erect ears?), the US dog has a shorter muzzle and a rounder, more domed head with a shorter back-skull - all features that predispose to syringomyelia (which sadly is increasingly documented in this breed). Note too the rounder, more prominent eye; another potential health issue.

Then see the difference in how the necks flow from the head - and how much thicker the US dog's neck is, too?

Would you expect this man to snore at night? You betcha. And in a soon-to-be-published paper from the Royal Veterinary College, we will see that thick necks (whether from obesity or selective breeding) are a predisposing factor to breathing problems in brachycephalic dogs like the Boston.

Now to the feature that I expect first grabbed people's attention - the terrible "posty" rear end on the American dog.

I am at a loss as to how anyone could think that's a good idea. We know that straight back legs in dogs can cause cruciate ligament injuries and, ta-da... what's the most common orthopaedic problem in Bostons according to the Boston Terrier Club of America? Luxating patellas.. which lead to cruciate tears (see here).

That shorter back is a worry too as it is linked to hemivertebrae (a painful, sometimes paralysing spinal problem caused by misshapen vertebrae). And, guess what? Hemivertebrae is a common problem in Bostons.

The 2014 Westminster winner is not a one-off... Here's the 2015 Westminster BOB, showing a better length of body, but still a very short muzzle, prominent round eye and those bizarre back legs.

Of course, when you point out the obvious link between particular physical features and disease in breeds, you are met with a wall of denial from breeders - and videos which are supposed to prove that the whole breed is entirely healthy. Or if they're not, they've been bred by those awful backyard breeders. In fact, those awful back-yard bred dogs are usually way more moderate, especially when it comes to the length of their muzzles.

Here is how today's show Boston compares to a champion Boston from 1933 and a modern show x pet Boston.

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Bostons are also a mess on the inside - the KC's 2004 health survey found that a whopping 92 per cent of them had been delivered by C-section.

But here, to cheer you up is a great video showing just how athletic Bostons can be.

Now Rosie here does have raspy breathing, but there wouldn't be much to complain about if all Bostons were like this. 

And how great would it be to see a balloon keepy-uppy competition for Bostons at Crufts and Westminster?


  1. I am offended. First off us YANKS created this breed. Who are you to say we FUCKED-UP? Now, as a Breeder I have a preference. However you can not get an accurate assessment from a photo. Regardless which side of the Ocean you reside; Breeders will interpret the Standard. Judges interpret the same Standard and award Ribbons and Points. Judges can withhold. I have seem some poor specimens not only be awarded BOB but go on to take Group 1 placement.

    1. So, Amanda, as a breeder, what do you think of the US dog pictured at the top? Do you think that the criticisms of the dog's structure are valid or no?

    2. Let's start with: that's not the dog that won Westminster this year. I am not a Judge. I have no right to criticize someone elses breeding Program or the merits of their wins. BOTH dogs have been deemed worthy by Judges. I will keep my personal preference to myself.

    3. Judges are not scientists or vet. Nor are they objective; they have a vested interest in their breeds, and humans are very susceptible to trends, whether it be in consumer spending, human beauty standards, or what dogs "should" look like. That the dogs at Westminster won means jack shit.


    4. I thought this might be heated for all the wrong reasons.

      Amanda yes it's possible for a nation to fuck up its own darling breed. Why not? Americans have fucked up a lot of other nations breeds too? Neither scenario is uncommon the globe over. Just look what the Chinese have done to the Tibetan mastiff, the GSD, just look at the American cocker spaniel, also about American as the Boston terrier is. Look at the English bulldog in the UK.

      America is sadly for dogs not an exception.

      The fact is should a dog like this be winning best of breed at America's premier dog show? Why is it winning? I took one look at its outline and saw the tent poles for back legs. The angulation in that dogs hinds is freakishly incorrect for a dog, any dog. The head and back length might not be as bad as the American bred French bulldogs is but it's almost there.

      Is this really the best out there at the moment? This is what the judges are saying.

    5. I suggest people visit the BTCA website, the OFA website and look at the amount of extensive health testing over a wise spectrum that is being done my the responsible breeders in the Boston terrier breed. Instead of cherry picking two Westminster BOB you feel fit your point how about looking at the last five winners of the National specialty all of whom not only represent the beauty of the breed (and yes natural ears) but are all very well health tested dogs (spine, trachea, ears/baer, eyes, patellas, hips, hearts, etc). I notice you chose these two Westminster winners but ignored the two prior who were both lovely, healthy representatives of the breed and successful dogs

    6. Well the fact that you accept that the 2014 and 2015 Westminster BOBs were poor is something. Looking back, the 2013 and 2012 winners were better - but the 2010 BOB.. well... ( Have another read of my post. I do acknowledge that not all Bostons are like this - and I do include a video showing how wonderfully athletic they can be. Which makes the last two years' Westminster winners a huge worry, surely? How on earth can anyone think they were OK?

    7. I'd say the Brits have done a pretty good job contributing to the Boston's problem. That 93% Ceasar stat is from the UK! I'm sure the equivalent figure is too high for the US, but I doubt it's that high. And look at the head size compared to the pelvis width of the Crufts bitch!
      Both UK and US standards accept purely cosmetic restrictions on color, and thus unduly narrow the gene pool.

    8. I'm not commenting at all on the 2014 or 2015 dogs, they're not my dogs and were found to have merit by the judge on that day. I think you should speak with those judges and breeders rather than smear campaign anyone online. I simply stated you could cast a wider net and look a bit further, but didn't because you chose to ignore dogs you didn't think fit your agenda. This year's National winner is a lovely, typey, healthy breed star,but no mention of him. There was a nice father/daughter pair winning at Westminster in recent years demonstrating good health and good breeding since clearly the sire was well represented by his daughter subsequently, but no mention of them either.

    9. Cottage Farm the two show dogs above show exactly how farcical dog showing is though. One breed standard, but obviously interpreted differently by two Judges. Very differently.
      A dog being shown is no prove of health, it just means that on a certain day a person thought that dog looked most like their interpretation of some words called a breed standard. You don't have to be a very healthy dog to trot up and down a ring a few times. Winning a show ribbon is no way prove of a dogs health. The majority of show dogs are below the age of five, before the extremes of the way they are bred start to take their toll on them.
      What exactly is good breeding ? I think the Urban Dictionary sums up the definition of what good breeding means very well, "A vague old-fashioned term used by aristocrats and people who believe they are better than others. May mean being raised well: courteous, polite, part other things, etc. Few know what the term actually means because everyone who uses it defines it differently to criticize the lower-class. But apparently it is one of those things that you can only understand if you have it."

    10. "I am offended. First off us YANKS created this breed. Who are you to say we FUCKED-UP?"

      Amanda I'm sorry, but it doesn't mean a thing that you, Yanks, have created this breed. We can criticize you, as well as we can criticize the Germans for what they've done to their German Shepherd.

      Bad breeding is just bad breeding, regardless of who "invented" the breed.

  2. I have a GCH correct Boston terrier and find this both incorrect and offensive. Clearly you've tailored this to fit your narrow agenda. My dog can EASILY transition from breed ring to agility, obedience, rally, barn hunt AND coursing. To suggest that correct is unhealthy is just ignorance. Not only have serveral vets examined my dog and found him to have very good nares and palate, he has been tested and cleared heart, baer, cerf, and patellas. I'm happy to send you pictures of this dog doing everything from winning breed ring to ultimate frisbee and swimming email me I can find evidence to fit one narrow opinion if I want to as well, how about some accurate "journalism"

    1. Please feel free to email your pictures to jem[AT]

    2. Try jem[AT]

    3. Maybe that's why your anecdotal evidence of a dog didn't win best of breed at Westminster, the pinnacle of your dog shows? It's too moderate? Not showing enough freakish type there?

      A dog winning BEST OF BREED at America's premier dog show is not "evidence to fit one narrow opinion" is it? The only dog with flashy enough peg legs and deformed skull in the nation to win?

      This isn't sending a clear message to breeders of Show Bostons in that country is it?

      This is the nations top winning model.

      Not nice.

    4. It's YOUR CHOICE to be offended.Nobody cares that you are offended so be a grown up and take the scientific criticism on the chin. The issue is that you are deliberately screwing up dogs without any credible reference to evolutionary biology, merely some Victorian and antiquated breed standard supported by people with dangerous cognitive dissonance. I AM OFFENDED THAT YOU ARE ALLOWED TO DO THIS! It has to stop...

    5. River, actually Westminster is one day,one all breed show. If you want to actually see the top in the breed you would look to the winners at the annual National show,those this author has chosen to ignore as they are fully health tested and lovely examples of the breed. And fyi, I wasn't at Westminster nor was my dog

    6. They are still BOB in that country what ever you say?

      Good on you for not being at Westminster in any way shape or form.

      Health testing is a very very long way around ever actually changing the dogs so they become a healthy happy breed. It has very limited usefulness in helping most breeds out of their conundrums.

      Never mind the rest of the make up of the poor BOB winners here, those peg legs are what causes patella problems, defect in hind limb conformation. They shouldn't be rewarded in a breed and even worse a breed with patella problems. They shouldn't look like this in any dog.

      Its the same stupid argument. "My dogs eyes are not infected on the day therefore they are of sound conformation" even though the eye lids are dragging on the floor.

      I guess old pole leg wasn't limping around the ring then? Health tested OK? Maybe he lives in "crate".

      I suspect this dog is where it is today despite its deformed hind legs because of its deformed front end.

      A super deformed front end stealing the limelight from the ultimate deformed back end?! Is this called compensation?

      A breed super star surely! When both ends are as deformed as each other? A true BOB of all America.

      Also surely hacking off a dogs ears (litraly) means that there is the highest possibility that the dogs ears were incorrect (for the breed) at birth? Or dont extremeties count? A bit of toe missing is fine too? Tip of the nose? Tail obviously......

  3. Would you judge an entire population by the actions of a few or based solely on the appearance of a few? Are all Muslims terrorists because a few are? Are all Catholics pedofiles? Are all women porn stars and strippers? Of course not! You cannot take outliers in a population and mislead the public into thinking it's the norm. And as to your disdain. For cropping, which is more invasive and has greater recovery time in an elective procedure - a spay or a crop? It's the spay by far

    1. Cropping ears are done for aesthetics, spaying is done to stop unwanted pregnancy and among other health issues pyometra. If is bitch is not bred from she has a reasonable risk of pyometra as time goes by, because of the build up of the uterine wall, which can kill her if not noticed fast enough. To compare ear cropping to spaying is laughable, as the only purpose of ear cropping is because of the dog owners vanity.
      Unfortunately in brachy breeds it is not just a few dogs that are bred to suffer. This dog above is not an outlier in a population, the dog above is winning one of the highest accolades in the dog showing world.
      You bang on about natural this and natural that on your website, Cottage Farm yet you are attracted to the most unnatural looking dogs. You breed dogs with short noses you take away their ability to regulate their temperature efficiently, that is a fact, before you look at all the other issues being brachy cause for dogs. To breed any dog with a nose as short as the Boston is cruel.
      This is from a Brachy breeder who has seen the light. Breeding dogs with mushed up faces is cruel, so please stop it.
      Feeding all natural from hormone free cows or whatever it is you bang on about on your website, does not balance up the cruelty of breeding seriously deformed dogs, it just makes you look like a hypocrite.

    2. Your analogy is not helpful Cottage Farm. Cropping ears is utterly barbaric. Dogs require their ears to signal and communicate so please leave them alone. Cropping is merely to satisfy the pathetic aesthetics of the human ego.

      As for spaying - well, it's a different argument all together!

  4. They're not unnatural looking dogs,that's a matter of opinion. Nor are they inherently unhealthy. Totally false. There are MANY brachycephalic dogs who not only pass extensive health testing ,but excel in a wide variety of dog sports. There are lure coursing Bostons and dock diving dogs. There are quite a few MACH LEVEL and multi Mach level agility Bostons and French bulldogs. These are not new breeds. Try to see outside your narrow viewpoint. Brachycephalic dogs like the King Charles, pugs, etc have been in existence for a very very long time. My dogs all brachycephalic have no trouble in the wide spectrum of new England weather and are both healthy and active whether it be a snow storm or at the beach on cape cod

    1. Me with a narrow viewpoint, smell the coffee Cottage Farm, there are always going to be dogs in a breed you can pick out, and say, "But look at them"
      Generally Brachy breeds are unhealthy. That is not a false statement. I have been around Brachy breeds for around forty years (I also having working dogs as well) and believe me compared with dogs that are breed so their teeth easily fit in their mouth, they are generally an unhealthy group.
      There are not many healthy Brachy dogs, when you look at them as a whole. The amount of dogs that do dog agility compared to the whole dog population does not even enter double figures in percentage terms. So the dogs you mention that are Brachy doing well at agility probably represent not even 1% of the whole Brachy population of dogs. So Brachy dogs winning against none brachy dogs represents less than 1% of the Brachy population.
      All pure breeds are unnatural, but it is the degree of unnaturalness and if that unnaturalness causes them to suffer. Brachy dogs in general suffer for the Brachy look you as a human desire. Terrible dental problems in these breeds, but no doubt you will deny that as well ?

    2. "They're not unnatural looking dogs,that's a matter of opinion."

      They are unnatural-looking. It's not a matter of opinion. Dogs do not look like that in the wild. There's nothing inherently wrong with man-made breeds, as all breeds are artificial. We've selected for certain physical traits and temperaments and that's fine. However, wild dogs always revert back to a pariah type. Look up pariah dogs. There's a lot of variety in their physical appearances, but there's one trait you always see: nice, long snouts. (In addition to nice long legs, nice long backs, and nice long tails.) An extreme brachycephalic face is unnatural. It just doesn't occur in the wild. Another feature of a natural dog is that it can whelp unassisted. Sure, every dog in every breed needs a C-section once and awhile, but a 90% C-section rate in Bostons? How long would the breed survive without human intervention?

      Boston terriers are a short-faced species which have evolved over the course of hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of years. They and French bulldogs have been around since the late 1800s only. When you breed for increasingly short faces, the extra tissue comprising a normal-length muzzle doesn't "evolve" away. Evolution does not happen over decades. That tissue gets compressed into the dog's palate and throat and causes breathing problems. In all extreme brachycephalic dogs? Not necessarily. In most dogs? Yes.

      "These are not new breeds."

      No, but the amount of time a breed has been around is not a measure of its health. How long were Boston terriers at the turn of the century living? What health problems did they have? How about in the 1930s? You can't say because data wasn't tracked until later. Sure you can find plenty of vintage photos of short-faced dogs, but how old were they in the photos? 2 years? 15 years? Probably not the latter, as they only live to be 11 to 13 on average. (Source, Boston Terrier Club of America: That is not an impressive lifespan. The Kennel Club survey shows that 11 years was the average age of death: Not impressive at all. Furthermore, although they're not new breeds, their faces have gotten shorter over the years. What is the reason for that? How does it benefit the dog? Why do American-bred Bostons look so different to UK-bred ones?

      The ability of some Boston to do perfectly normal dog activities (running, breathing freely, lure coursing) is also no measure of the breed's overall health. I'm not going around constantly telling people how healthy my basenjis are because they can run with ease and breathe freely. That's absurd. That's the bare minimum for any species, barring random physical defects. If you've bred a dog to the point where it starts to have trouble with normal activities like this, it's time to step back and take a long, hard look at the breed and the club that sets the standards.

      No doubt you love your dogs. We all do. But love is not enough to stop easily preventable health problems.


    3. Just to add, it appears as though your Lenny and Lilly were whelped 3 and 2 years ago, respectively. Not all health problems show up so soon.


    4. "Boston terriers are a short-faced species which have evolved over the course of hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of years."

      D'oh! That should read "are NOT a short-faced species which have evolved over the course of hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of years."


    5. Interestingly, your Dexter and Jakey on the Rainbow Bridge section of your website have much longer snouts than your current two dogs. Their nares look much better too. I know that they were both rescues, but why not breed dogs that look like Dexter and Jakey? They were good-looking fellows.


    6. "All pure breeds are unnatural, but it is the degree of unnaturalness and if that unnaturalness causes them to suffer. Brachy dogs in general suffer for the Brachy look you as a human desire. Terrible dental problems in these breeds, but no doubt you will deny that as well ?"
      So, is yours a blanket opposition to purebred dogs? Are you under the misconception that mutts do not suffer any health issues? That somehow that mutt which is the product of irresponsible breeding is a better picure of health than dogs from extensively health tested parents? That somehow that snouty, roach backed Boston in the video is inherently a better specimen for its poor breeding? The Boston terrier club of America recommends extensive health testing including heart, spine, patellas, eyes, hearing and the premise that dogs resulting from inferior breeding that do not accurately represent the standard or mutts with no care to the breeding at all are healthier is absurd. When it comes to breeds like pit bulls the mantra is blame the deed not the breed, but when it comes to breeds you have a vendetta for then an example or two is representative of the entire population. There are a very many healthy, the majority, of brachycephalic dogs who are healthy, well bred dogs with wonderful temperaments living long full lives. Every breed is predisposed to something, as breeders we can health test and strive to always breed better dogs. Mutts also suffer ailments, many similar to those documented in purebreds. Mutts get cancers, mutts can have luxating patellas ,etc etc. So what is the solution? Let dogs breed willy nilly as is "natural"? Disregard health testing all together and eliminate purebred dogs? Or eliminate breeds that some people don't like for one reason or another? And when you successfully eliminate all the purebreds and push your spay and neuter blanket agenda then where will dogs come from in your ideal scenario? If we cannot predict and mold our own perfect health in the human population then how can we expect perfection in dogs? The best we can do is apply the health testing and knowledge in the most responsible way possible when preserving a breed. I really don't get the agenda here. Trying to actually educate on a breed is futile when your agenda is clear and your mind made up.

    7. "Terrible dental problems in these breeds, but no doubt you will deny that as well "
      Actually dental is more reflective of diet and care. I've never had to have dental intervention on any of my dogs they all have neat,clean bites. Mutts inheritantly have good dentals? Beg to differ. What are these so called dental issues brachycephalic dogs are overwhelmingly predisposed of that you reference and what evidence to you have to substantiate this?


    9. Cottage Farm, the answer to my question above is, "Yes, you will deny the dental problems in brachy dogs. Why are you bringing mutts into this ? You are not trying to turn this in to a pure versus mutt thing, are you now ?
      The issue is not whether the dog is a pure breed, cross breed, mutt/mongrel the issue is the length of the muzzle and also the widening of the skull and in the process the shortening of the length of the skull which also causes problems which I will not go in to here as the focus is on the dental problems for dogs with short muzzles. If you breed any dog whether mutt or pure with a short muzzle you predispose them to having more dental problems than dogs that are bred with longer noses. I don't give a toss about whether the dog is pure, mutt or indigo russet, if it has a short muzzle its health is being compromised. Please ask any vet what type of dogs they see most with dental problems, like over crowding of the mouth with teeth, needing to extract them etc. It will be dogs with short muzzles.
      A problem often with Brachy pups is that they will need baby teeth removed because of the shortening of the muzzle these means that they lack the chewing efficiency of a longer muzzle and cannot chew hard enough that the teeth are loosened naturally for the adult teeth to come through. How do I know this ? because I have been around Brachy breeds for 40 years or more, but also I have been around dogs that have longer muzzles and know from experience that dogs with short muzzles suffer more with dental problems, than those with longer noses. I don't need a scientific paper to know that breeding dogs with short muzzles is bad for them, I just opened my eyes and listened.
      You know Cottage Farm, it is not normal for a dog to snore or make those weird snorting sounds brachy dogs do, it indicates that the dogs airway is being obstructed, by all that soft flesh that has been squashed to the back of their throat, so their face looks all mushed up and cute for you. Next time you hear one of your dogs snoring listen and actually think about why you are hearing that noise.

    10. Wow, Cottage Farm the stereotypical, "I can't put a valid counterargument forward to breeding dogs with mushed up faces, so I will call you out as an anti everything about breeding dogs."
      Lets start with my statement, which you seem to not be able to comprehend "All pure breeds are unnatural, but it is the degree of unnaturalness and if that unnaturalness causes them to suffer. Brachy dogs in general suffer for the Brachy look you as a human desire. Terrible dental problems in these breeds, but no doubt you will deny that as well ?"
      Now you seem to think this is me having a blanket opposition to pure breeding. It is countering your claim that "They're not unnatural looking dogs" I counter this claim by telling you "all pure breeds are unnatural", neither stating whether I agree with this or not. You then are presumptuous about this statement, putting words into my mouth, because you don't understand what I am saying, so jump to the offensive.
      I then say, "but it is the degree of unnaturalness and if that unnaturalness causes them to suffer." This means to me, that if you breed an animal to look a certain way and it causes them no problems, okay, but if they have to suffer for the look you are trying to create, then this is wrong.
      We know being Brachy predisposes a dog to several problems that we do not see in none Brachy dogs, whether pure or mutt. See for me this is not about pure or cross or mutt, it is purely about breeding healthier dogs. Would it really hurt to have your breed with a longer muzzle, or would you find it harder to love them ?
      Nothing I have said is anti pure breeding, it is just anti breeding dogs predisposed to suffering for a certain look which is of no benefit to them. and by the way, I also don't have any spay or neuter agenda either. Exactly how you come to that conclusion is beyond me. I find it abhorrent to know that in America you do this proceed-er at six weeks old.

    11. Hilarious, "extensively health tested" There are so many health conditions in dogs, that saying any dog is extensively health tested is misleading totally. Now this is what you should be saying, "We test for a few things in our breed we know they get at a higher coincidence than the general dog population." Exactly how many things do you test for ? Wikipedia has listed a few dogs diseases for you there are several more.
      I hope you are not trying to educate on breeding Cottage Farm because what you say above sounds like you lack that knowledge. No counter argument just calling out and finger pointing. Pure breed specialist remind me of religion, when questioned about God, "Well, the Bible tells me about people like you who will question me, so there fore the Bible is right."

    12. Saying this Cottage Farm, stinks of up your own backside pure breeding judgmental snobbery, "That somehow that snouty, roach backed Boston in the video is inherently a better specimen for its poor breeding?" What do you mean by this ? Do you know the breeding of the dog in the video?
      No doubt if the dog has show ribbons and has won agility, you would have to eat your own words and would soon change your tune and be banging on about how wonderful it was as an example of the breeds healthiness.

      Please enlighten us to what is poor breeding and what is good breeding, I'm all ears for the definitive answer to this.

    13. Here are some images of brachycephalic vs. normal dog skulls. Also included are cat skulls. As you can see, none of the brachycephalic skulls have normal dentition:


    14. Goodness. I'd missed Cottage Farm referring to the dog in the video as "snouty" and "roach backed" and of poor breeding. And yet see how elsewhere she feels unable to comment critically on the show-dogs?

      This is plain hypocritical.

      It is also a massive concern that "snouty" is used to denigrate. As if a Boston having a muzzle would be a bad thing in any normal person's opinion.

    15. You took two pictures and by simply looking at them you deemed them "busted" and "just awful." You used them as representative of the entire breed and disregarded evidence to the contrary that there are many lovely, correct, well bred Bostons who are perfectly healthy. You claimed the healthy examples provided were anomalies and discredited them. So one picture you choose to fit your agenda is ok to depict the entire breed, but anything to the contrary is insignificant. You know nothing about the dogs you're judging and their actual health, you're making assessments based on one photo and we're suppose to accept that. Then you post a video and deem it to represent a good example of the breed based on what? Popping balloons?? When in fact the dog in the video is clearly not bred to standard. So what is it? You dislike purebreds or you like some, but have an agenda against brachycephalic dogs? You don't like Boston terriers and think they're "busted" and that the veterinarians certifying the heath tests as outlined by OFA are insufficient, but you're ok with some Bostons those of whom you can determine their health and breeding quality based on a silly balloon video

    16. Cottage Farm, you don't seem to understand the issue here. You think that it's an agenda on disliking a type of dog, when what appalls people is the poor practice which people like yourself continue to do in light of evidence that you are breeding deformed and very unhealthy dogs.

      Brachycephalic dogs are deformed and abnormal canids, bred to look a certain way because a few human beings got together and decided that they liked the way they looked. That's it! The breed standard is just something a few people put together over the years. If people stopped breeding Bostons tomorrow, no big deal. The world would continue to turn and fewer dogs would be born to suffer. That's got to be a good thing!

      Please read this opinion piece from a qualified professional (Vet) with an understanding of anatomy and evolutionary biology, You might breed dogs and have some 'experience in Bostons'. But you most certainly don't seem to appreciate or share the grave concerns about the issues that people share based on science and evidence. Otherwise, I'd argue, you would not breed these types of dogs. Period.

    17. What evidence have you produced Cottage Farm ? You are making an assessment of one dog by a bit of video footage, so you are guilty of what you accuse Jemima of. Still avoiding giving a critique of the dogs in the photos as well, but happy to slag off the dog in the video, interesting. I suspect you are less likely to ever meet the owner of the dog in the video, hence the ease you vent your vitriol at the dog.
      And you base your breeding Boston Terriers on a silly breed standard made up before we knew the damage and suffering it causes dogs to have brachy skulls and no muzzle. You can breed none brachy Boston Terriers, just tweak your design specs (Breed Standard) it has been done in most breeds over the years.

    18. And of course, there's the small point that when the breed standard for Bostons was written, they had considerably longer muzzles.

  5. A spay is not necessary and more and more actual scientific research supports that if says and neuter are done they be done much later than is currently practice this being in the best interest of the dogs

    1. Where did I say, "A spay is necessary" ?
      I just made the comment that comparing spaying to ear cropping was laughable because ear cropping is only done because of dog owners vanity. It seems you think spaying is not necessary, do you think cropping ears are necessary then ?
      None of my bitches whether used for breeding or not, are not spayed until over 2.5 years old. I would never neuter a male or female dog as a puppy. I have yet to have any health issues with my dogs connected to spaying or neutering them. The last dog I had castrated at one years old and had a retained testicle was a spaniel and he lived to 14 years without any real health issues, just a bit of arthritis in his teens, his death came from an accident, not from a health problem.
      A spay is necessary in certain circumstances, certain hormone problems in bitches and if a bitch is dying from a uterine infection, antibiotics work sometimes, but the delay by some breeders that prize a bitch with a working uterus more than a bitch without a uterus, can make it even to late for surgery and the bitch forfeits her life.
      Cropping dogs ears whatever age you do it, is certainly not done in the best interest of the dog, is it Cottage Farm ?

    2. Yep cropping and docking is pretty barbaric and an appalling practice to support in the 21st century. Anybody who continues to 'comply' with breed clubs and the silly standards are just behaving like sheep and obviously can't think critically or are smart enough to educate themselves. If you don't have empathy for animals, then I really don't think you have empathy at all. People who do this to animals just look stupid! You really do. We don't think it's cool, we think it's cruel and you reveal yourselves for exactly who you are.The dogs look deformed and like caricatures from some cartoon.

      You better wake up soon as people who genuinely love and respect dogs are no longer willing for people like you to continue these outdated practices without consequences.

    3. I see Cottage Farm that you are also getting in to breeding King Charles Spaniels. You really are in to the most unnatural looking dogs, are you not ?
      And by the way, no one agrees on the origin of the King Charles Spaniel, a lot of conjecture, but very little agreement because there is no prove to substantiate there origins. So basically you can make up any fairy story to their origins.
      One thing is if you look back to King Charles I and King Charles II you will see the toy spaniels they had, had long noses. Please look at this painting,

      The painting shows King Charles I's oldest three children with two Toy spaniels with elegant heads and no mistaking long noses. I have yet to find a painting of either King Charles I or King Charles II with a spaniel with a mushed up face. I think if either King could see what you have done to their elegant but equally happy to hunt and flush Toy Spaniels they would not be best pleased.

    4. From Cottage Farms website for King Charles Spaniels "The English Toy Spaniel is a Rare and Special Breed Loved by a Select Few and as such we are Very Selective in Choosing Families for our Babies." When you read this on a purists website you can hear the death knell for the breed.

    5. Yes. Small gene pools. And SM. Hopefully their breeding stock is MRI'd.

    6. Sorry Jemima, most King Charles are in denial about SM, that is just something those lowly Cavalier King Charles Spaniels get and most Cavalier breeders are in denial still about CM/SM. Although it is frightening how many King Charles breeders are breeding the lower than the King Charles, Cavalier King Charles now, as at one time King Charles breeders despised the Cavalier and just thoght of them as King Charles with that awful longer nose. Maybe there is cross breeding already going on ? How would you know, without DNA testing of every dog ? Good luck to those if they are, they have seen the light, unfortunately the rest are stuck in the darkness, busy trying to climb up each others backside.
      If you take a look at the BVA CM/SM scheme you will not see one King Charles on it and I have yet to see a King Charles breeder mention SM let alone screen for it. There are only 4 King Charles breeders on the KC Assured Scheme, but I suspect this scheme is not select enough for King Charles breeders, only 142 pups registered in the UK in 2014, classified as a vulnerable breed. With the selectiveness that comes with the breeders of these dying out breeds, such a small pool is breeding in them now, this is a breed on the way out, unfortunately it is the dogs that will bare the suffering of the blinkered breeding of them, not the breeders. They seem to think they have some God given right to breed them as they see fit and if you don't agree you are just a breed hater and some kind of extreme animal rights activist. Listen to Cottage Farm, anyone challenges her, she starts trying to out them as some kind of activist, with some sort of agenda to sterilize all dogs. That is what you do when you position is indefensible though.
      One thing I have noted with Brachy breeders in denial of CM/SM is a lot of their dogs die of seizures, which they say is from a suspected brain tumour. I suspect that in many cases it could be from having SM, as seizures are one of the symptoms of SM. A herniated cerebellum causes pressure on the spinal cord, which would give the same symptoms as a brain tumour.

  6. Cottage Farm one or two trees don't make a forest.

    1. Unless you're arguing against something, in which case one or two breed winners at one show are sufficient to represent an entire population.

    2. Can you hear that sound Norman Epstein. That is the sound of what you said flying over the top of Cottage Farm's head.

    3. ...but these dogs were judged the best of the best, and will presumably be used repeatedly at stud (can Boston's mate without assistance?) and other Boston breeders may seek to recreate the look of these dogs (since they won BOB at Westminster so must be exactly what Boston's should look like)
      If these dogs do not represent your breed, and do not represent the direction most breeders think the Boston should go (domed skull, very short muzzle, very straight back legs and short back) shouldn't Boston breeders be starting a dialogue about this?


    4. Reb, Yes, Boston Terriërs can mate without assistance. As a matter of fact, I know that in Scandinavia that they are putting serious effort in breeding dogs that can whelp naturally. My friend in Canada also rarely has to take her bitches to the vet for a c-section and last saturday,one of my own girls delivered a litter of 4 without a c-section, and several of my breeder friends have bitches who free whelp.

  7. I have a little Boston terrier cross that is very healthy and is an agility champion. She came from a BYB which I was judged by a number of people. Doing the right thing the next time I bought a purebred registered male and in his short two years he has had to have two major operations. One for BAOS and one for hemivertebrae. To top of t off he also has epilepsy and has to be hand feed small meals from an upright position, so he can keep his food down and doesn't regurgitate. My dog can't even eat from a dog bowl! We love him heaps and have spent thousands upon thousands. The attitude of th breeders, return him and they will kill him and replace him with another puppy. Then followed it up with a repeat mating! He has many show champions behind him. The breeders actions and lack of compassion for this poor dog and the attitude of the registration authority has left me knowing I will never buy a registered dog again. Cross breeds only for me.

    1. Hmm! I just looked over a BYB litter of Bostons. AKC registered, but still BYB. One little girl had one blue eye and one brown and an almost totally white face. The seller wasn't aware that these are strong risk factors for deafness and didn't even know what BAER testing is.

      I think everyone agrees that there are healthy Bostons out there. Can anyone point to breeders who are doing health testing and are breeding for free whelping, but aren't going for extreme brachy faces?

      Btw., IMO eye problems are a bigger problem than BOAS in Bostons. Seems like Bostons are quite prone to all the eye diseases out there. BYB's who don't test are very likely to produce pups who develop cataracts.

    2. Have you reported the breeder? I am so sorry to read this. This is animal cruelty and should be reported as such.

    3. I did report the breeders to their registration authority. Provided all the medical evidence along with a letter from his specialist saying his condition (hemi) is highly inheritable and he along with his siblings and parents should not be bred from again and their response was to allow the breeder to do a repeat mating and register the pups. Yet their code of ethics say they are to breed only to better the breed. They also kept my boy on main registration so I could, if I had zero ethics, breed from him and make the money back that I have spent on him. However I have ethics and would never want to see another dog suffer like my boy. There is a breeder in my state that is deliberately trying to breed for a tail and longer nose and she is slammed by the registered breeders for going against the breed standard? For me I love the nature of the dog so would happily have a long nose and tail in them. So for now, until people wake up cross breeds only!

  8. I am new to breeding this wonderful breed. BUT I am not new to breeding dogs for show/pet. regardless of where the dog originated, it is in the BREED's best interest to be bred with an eye to health and structure. The dog on the right is not one I would choose. to breed for extremes is to breed for problems (IMHO) you take a short nosed dog and breed consistently for shortER nose dogs you are going to get problems. short backs (especially on bitches) generally lead to C-sections. those hind legs on the US winner are way too straight. as for judges opinions - remember they are PEOPLE first with their own interpretation of standards and they do make mistakes.

    1. The biggest cause of c-sections in brachy dogs is because not having a tapered nose slows down the process of dilation of the cervix. As the nose presents it rubs against the cervix helping to release oxytocin which is the hormone that signals the contractions and the nose starts to peep through the cervix as it opens helps for more oxytocin to be released as the nose rubs the neck of the cervix releasing it.
      If a dog has a flat face this process is slowed down so much that it can cause pup to be still born. If a brachy breed is not getting on with birthing, this is most often the reason why and a c-section is a wise choice if you want live puppies. Often breeders of extreme brachys opt for selective c-sections because of the value of the pups the bitch is carrying.
      I have never heard of having a short back being a problem with birthing. Knowing anatomy, I would think if a dog has a tapered face and is short back, it might mean if carrying a large litter, room may be at a premium and a bitch would may be more prone to birthing early. Breeds like the Brittany that are for their size are short backed and in ratio leg to back similar to Boston Terriers have very little problems giving birth because they have tapered long muzzles. I'm short backed, very short from my last rib to my hip, carried uncomfortable, but gave a bit birth early but easily.
      C-sections in brachy breeds have nothing to do with back length, it is to do with the shape of their heads.

    2. I am not sure I knew that (about the flat face not stimulating the release of oxytocin and therefore resulting in dystocia). You sound like you know what you're talking about but given that you have posted anonymously, could you provide some references? I'd be very interested in reading more.

    3. I know this from birthing brachy dogs and being told why brachy dogs struggle more with giving birth, especially extreme brachy dogs by my vet. When I had my first ever dog c-sectioned and the vet explained this to me, it started the process of me questioning breeding dogs this way and the dogs I bred were not considered extreme brachy at the time. Having birthed brachy dogs and none brachy dogs, I know that being brachy causes the bitch to suffer more in the process of giving birth.
      It is why humans have one of the most slow and painful births. Compared to lots of other mammals, humans dilate very slowly, because of our round heads we have, not tapered presenting at the cervix and from experience, one way of helping to speed up a woman birthing is to give what is called a cervical sweep. This is basically putting their fingers up into the vagina and sweeping the fingers around the cervix to stimulate the release of oxytocin. Before we had oxytocin in a bottle, it was and still is the way an experienced breeder will try to stimulate a bitch if birthing a pup slowly. Our round squarish heads are an evolutionary pay off for a bigger brain, not sure what the pay off is for dog having flat faces is ?
      When I say above, I gave birth easily, I mean for a human. I would not know of a paper to direct you to, but if you talk to a vet who has a good knowledge of the process of dogs birthing, they will hopefully confirm the above and may be able to direct you to any papers on the subject. A lot of vets that work in reproduction of dogs don't like to say much about this, especially because of the problems with breeding brachys a lot of their clientele will almost certainly be be brachy breeders, pays not to bite the hand that feeds.

    4. short nose -> birthing problems is an interesting hypothesis. But if it's true, I'd think the problem could easily be overcome by giving the bitch oxytocin while in labor. Not sure it stands up to testing against the animal kingdom. Cats have flatter faces than dogs . . . do they often have birthing troubles? What about the flatter faced monkeys?

      The evolutionary payoff of a flat face has to do with vision. A flat face is good for stereo vision but narrows the field of view. I remember reading somewhere that brachy dogs are likely to be more interested in watching TV because the characteristics of their vision are more human-like than those of breeds with more nose.

    5. Oh great! So lets breed dogs with flat faces so that they can watch TV!

      The 'payoff' is simply due to an anatomical difference. Humans are good at seeing things right in front of us because our photoreceptors in the retina are centrally located in an area called the fovea. Dogs do not have foveae and so are not as good at seeing things right in front of them. Those breeds, like pugs, that have retinas more like ours and can see close up, tend to be lap dogs that focus on their owners’ faces, making them seem “more companionable.” In dogs with long noses, often bred for hunting or herding, however, the photo­receptors cluster along a horizontal band spanning the middle of the eye. This is called a visual streak, and those dogs that have it have better panoramic, high-quality ­vision, and much more peripheral vision than humans. Hence, they are better at catching and herding etc. but don’t tend to like being ‘close up’ in your face, possibly because they can’t see us too well.

      So, I'd say that if I was a dog the better payoff is to have a muzzle. One, my soft palate won't be pushed down my throat: two, I'll breathe and cool down as evolutionary biology intended and three, I'll be much better at catching that ball you throw for me....and herding the sheep, negotiating my way through people as a service dog... etc.

    6. Jennifer, not if a breeder is not reading the signs of a bitch whelping correctly and allows her to go to long. Oxytocin only really helps if a pup is presented already and the cervix is already opened and is only advised to be used for a couple deliveries, otherwise you can risk uterine rupture giving to much. Giving oxytocin when a pup is not presented and the cervix open to be born can be disastrous for the bitch.
      I'm not saying it stops them giving birth it slows up the birth, which is dangerous for animals that have multiple births. Monkeys have slower births compared to other mammals with more tapered faces and like humans mostly single births.
      Cats with more tapered faces give birth more easily than the very flat faced human type breed cats. It is well documented that extreme brachy breeds like brachy dog breeds are often born by c-section.
      Our head shape is to accommodate our brain and the flat face is millions of years of evolution. We can live with a flat face because during our evolution, we developed a very efficient way of controlling body temperature and we have sweat glands to cool down, which dogs don't have. Reduce the nasal chamber of a dog, you take away an important part of how they regulate their temperature.

    7. I've been waiting for someone to bang on about how hard it is for Hyena's giving birth and how evolution gets it wrong sometimes, using it to justify the problems being brachy cause in being born. Yes, evolution is not perfect, but it has never claimed that. As often this is the gem that they use to defend making birth even harder for a dog. Two wrongs do not make a right.
      To think because some animals in their natural state have very arduous births, does not mean humans have the right to take dogs that give birth relatively easy and breed them with a conformation that makes birth even more arduous and dangerous for them. That is immoral in most peoples books.

    8. Jennifer : Although I know it`s a common practise to give oxtytocin to a bitch (who seems to have 'problems ) in whelp but I have read in several articles that this hormone is so strong that all the placenta`s will tear from their wall ( normally on the one near the birth canal will tear , when that puppy is born then the next one will tear from the wall and the next..etc ) that the puppies have to be born fast or else they might die from lack of oxygen. Another thing I read was that puppies can literally get stuck from the strong contractions the bitch will have after she was given oxytocin, and that if you`re not carefull and give them too much their uterus can even rupture. I read it`s best to give it after all the pups are born and if you think that there might be some placentas left inside.

    9. Linda Schurgers, as I said above oxytocin should only be given when a puppy is presented and you can feel the cervix is open on examination. If you give oxytocin and the cervix is not open the bitch will contract the puppy so hard against the closed cervix you risk oedema of the cervix and rupture of the uterus.
      The times I have used oxytocin under veterinary advice is with bitches that have had large litters and the last couple pups have presented and contractions are weak. It also can be used after a bitch has finished whelping, to contract down the uterus and this helps expel any afterbirths that may not be accounted for.
      I work in Dairy farming and on occasion I have injected fresh calved heifers with oxytocin to get them to drop their milk. A cow only needs a few ml's of oxytocin to actually encourage them to drop their milk, which shows how strong the hormone is. I have worked in Dairy for over 28 years and have only needed to do this to two heifers. I think in America on a lot of intensive Dairy farms the practice of giving cows oxytocin to drop more milk is common practice, in the UK I have only ever known it used on heifers that when first milked won't drop their milk to start with, not to make them produce more milk.

    10. Thanks for the well argued counter arguments. It sounds like people are saying an overdose of oxytocin during whelping, particularly early in the delivery, is disasterous. That is consistent with everything vets have told me. (I've only dealt with large litters of Labradors [mostly 9 or 10 pups] . . . and vets have given me oxytocin to finish off whelping and perhaps clean out withheld placentas. . .always with cautions to keep dose low and not give the stuff until late in delivery. This has never resulted in problems. I have a science PhD, and vets have made it clear to me that they trust me to understand the importance of correct dosage and not go gung ho with a more-is-better approach. I've been warned that people who 'do' oxytocin wrong and often run into serious problems, as in comments above).

      However, if failure to stimulate oxytocin is the reason that flat faces result in hard deliveries, I would still think that giving the right, perhaps very tiny, dose, at an appropriate time should resolve the problem. I'm also curious as to why so much breed literature blames whelping problems on broad heads and narrow pelvises, if the problem is really the absence of a nose to push against the birth canal. Surely someone has done some research on this.

      Understanding causation is important here. If the flat face is the problem, then breeding for a nose (possible with Bostons, because a fair number do have noses, even if they don't win BOB) should result in free whelping. If the head:pelvis ratio is the problem, or part of the problem, a different sort of selection is required.

    11. On the vision question . . . many sources say the same thing. Here's a typical treatment. from

      "How a dog’s eyes are set determines the field of view as well as depth perception. Prey species tend to have eyes located on the sides of their head. This gives the animals an increased field of view and allows them to see approaching predators. Predator species, like humans and dogs, have eyes set close together. Human eyes are set straight forward while dog eyes, depending on the breed, are usually set at a 20 degree angle. This angle increases the field of view and therefore increases the peripheral vision of the dog.

      Increased peripheral vision compromises the amount of binocular vision. Binocular vision occurs where the field of view of each eye overlaps. Binocular vision is necessary for depth perception. The wider-set eyes of dogs have less overlap and less binocular vision (thus less depth perception). Dogs’ depth perception is best when they look straight ahead. This is not an ideal situation as their nose often interferes. Predators need binocular vision as a survival tool. Binocular vision aids in jumping, leaping, catching, and many other activities fundamental to predators."

      As I read this, brachy dogs, like monkeys and people, should have excellent depth perception but poor peripheral vision. I am not advocating brachy traits . . . just discussion a physiological trade-off.

    12. Dystocia, obstructed labour is when the puppy is to big to pass through the birth canal and breeding dogs with broad heads and also dogs with big shoulders causes a lot of c-sections. I agree on that, but then we have the lesser mentioned problem that happens when being born, caused by having no muzzle.
      My vet explained to me that also a cause in slow birthing in dogs with flat faces is because of the lack of nose to gently be contracted against the cervix stimulating more oxytocin and as the cervix dilates contractions will push the pups nose into the cervix, as it opens keeping up the release of oxytocin. With a flat face, this process does not happen, the pup has no nose to enter the cervix and stimulate more oxytocin as it opens, so a flat face pup can only push against the outside of the cervix releasing oxytocin at a lesser rate and can only move through the cervix when it has fully dilated.
      Giving a dose of oxytocin without the pup in position with the cervix not open, would not resolve the problem. It would more likely exasperate the problem. If the contractions are to strong before the cervix dilates you ram the puppy against the cervix and this can cause an oedema making it even more impossible for the cervix to dilate and the oedema can then obstruct the birth further.
      Dogs need very small doses of oxytocin, when the pup is in position to be born. Trying to use oxytocin to progress labour when the cervix is yet to dilate fully in a bitch would be very precarious for the bitch, get the dose slightly wrong and it could be disastrous for the bitch. Don't put ideas in breeders heads about giving oxytocin before the puppy is presented and the cervix fully dilated, please.

    13. Couldn't agree more about not putting ideas into breeders heads!
      On the vision thing, there is actually no payoff if the dog has a deformed muzzle that makes something fundamental to health and welfare, breathing and cooling down, difficult. I'd hate the unintelligent breeders to latch onto this with the opinion that 'because a dog can see like a primate' then it must be some sort of selective advantage. That's anthropocentric.

    14. 27 August 2015 at 12:41. Anthroprocentric? Finding a similarity of form and function that spans from owls to monkeys to humans and can be backed by models based on the basic physics of optics is anything but!

      My girls (Labradors) have had no trouble pushing out breach pups, maybe one in three pups is born breach. The butt-first pup coming down the canal shouldn't ofter the same stimulation as the nose-first I just think skepticism is required given an untested and unproven hypothesis where there is a lot of prejudice on both sides.

    15. Jennifer, I thought you might bring the birthing backwards argument and anyone involved in birthing dogs should know although a dog can birth backwards it slows the process up. I'm not saying a bitch cannot birth a flat face, but that having a flat face slows up the process. I have had a whole litter of four boys born backwards, long time between each presentation and my vet said to me, "Did all survive, it slows up birth being born backwards and for a whole litter to be born backwards, you are lucky all were born alive." All four did survive, even the last one after 45 minutes massaging him and giving him his first fed with a bottle.
      I recently had a litter of four pups born and this bitch and her mother are fast whelpers, first pup was born forward, then 43 minutes to second pup born forward, then 1 hour 40 minutes until third pup born backwards and last pup born 25 minutes after and had defecated in its back. Fourth pup died 24 hours later with inhalant pneumonia. When pups start to be born and one takes longer to be born, this can have a knock on effect to the next pup. All the pups will be feeling those contractions as the uterus pushes each one out and the delay in birthing the third pup, may be why the fourth pup had already defecated before birth.
      This bitch before had produced her two other litters, all forward pups and never before like her mother goes over an hour between pups. Being born backwards is known to slow birth as well. My records of whelping statistically support this, as I record time between each birth and how the pup is presented at birth.
      The only time I have had a quick backwards birth with a pup is with a bitch giving birth to a big litter and the pup must of literally had its bum pressed against the pup being born and came right out behind the pup being born in front of it. If they present quick enough to the pup being born in front of them, a backward puppy may not be delayed anymore than a pup coming forward.
      As I'm not saying,"Having a flat face stops birth", I'm saying "Being flat faced slows up the birthing process of each pup, which is dangerous for dogs having multiple births."
      It is well known documented and a well known fact that being born backwards slows up birth. Does not stop it but slows it up. Ask your vet Jennifer, I'm sure he/she will confirm what I am saying.

    16. Jennifer, it is about how quick the cervix dilates and you need to understand the process of how the cervix is stimulated to release oxytocin. It is a well known fact that although birth can occur backwards, the process is slower than being born forwards. Sometimes this causes no problems, but sometimes it can result in the pup being born still born or cause pups waiting to be born problems, as their birth is delayed further.
      So it pretty well stands to reason that breeding dogs with flat faces can and does slow up the birth process.

    17. Jennifer, what is your point?? "Anthroprocentric? Finding a similarity of form and function that spans from owls to monkeys to humans and can be backed by models based on the basic physics of optics is anything but!"

      We don't know if it is beneficial for dogs to have that anatomical optical difference, especially since we selected for it based on our general inclination to be emotionally drawn towards paedomorphic features in animals. Why don't we know if it is beneficial for dogs to see like monkeys? Because they can't tell us.

      What do we know for sure? That dogs in the wild do not have flat faces. We have selectively bred dogs to have flat faces. That extreme brachycephalic dogs suffer. The fact dogs may see like us or other flat faced mammals is not something that we can judge to be a positive outlook based on our own perspective of the world as a human being.

      There is no point being sceptical for the sake of an argument. It just becomes an intellectual wanking contest and really I wonder why anyone would justify dogs having a flat face as an evolutionary pay off when they have not naturally developed that way. They have been artificially selected. Be careful what you write...

    18. anon 11:40
      Not skepticism for the sake of argument. Pugs and Bostons are among the few small breeds I can stand from a perspective of temperament/behavior. I just wish they didn't have problems with brachycephaly, not to mention spinal and eye problems, and (usually) inability to whelp naturally. If, indeed, flat faced pups make it hard for the dam to whelp naturally, then selectively breeding the brachy breeds to regain their noses (which I think would be a good thing anyway) should help resolve whelping problems.
      I am skeptical because the only source cited is 'my vet told me'. I've googled. I asked on a high-level breeders discussion forum. Breeders don't believe this ( ) and there seem to be no published studies. JH asked for references and got none. So I am skeptical.
      As for the optics question . . . my motive here is curiousity, not skepticism. Is cranial structure tied to behavior? If one could breed the nose back into the pug, would you lose the pug temperament? Or is the brachy morphology closely tied to breed behavior? Answer is no one knows. Could be, like Belyaev's foxes, that behavior is closely tied to form. I have heard speculation that it is linked to enhancement of sight and deterioration of the sense of smell . . . who knows. Or do you define anything that questions your beliefs as intellectual wanking?

    19. 'Or do you define anything that questions your beliefs as intellectual wanking?'

      It's not 'beliefs'. It's opinions, which are informed and rooted in a balanced view aimed at promoting animal welfare and not the human aesthetic appeasement that seeks justification for selecting disabling features in companion animals. Beliefs can be dangerous and usually not rooted in empiricism.

      Dogs that have a visual streak have better panoramic and peripheral high-quality ­vision than brachy dogs, whose vision you could actually argue is impaired when compared to a morphological normal canine with a muzzle?

      If your motive is curiosity then that's a valid reason for sure. But I would question the appropriateness of that curiosity, particularly when we know that brachy dogs have significant welfare issues. There will be people who read this blog and who are not so smart desperate to look for a justification why brachy dogs are 'healthy'. Implying that their vision could be somewhat advantaged is merely an opinion rooted in anthropocentrism and not empathy when you look at their disabling features. IMHO.

      Balyaev's work did suggest that behaviour (tameness) is possibly correlated to colour coat (and floppy ears). The change in colour of the coat is attributed to the production of agouti protein. The agouti allele may influence behavior.

      The agouti protein does more than regulate pigment production in hair. MSH and its family of melanocortins are found elsewhere in the body, including the brain, where they have been found to be potent neuromodulators with diverse effects on mammalian behavior and physiology (De Weid and Jolles 1982, O'Donohue and Dorsa 1982, Voisey et al. 2003). The behavioral effects of the agouti protein may therefore be mediated through melanocortin receptors on neurons, but exactly how this occurs is not yet understood.

      Agouti and nonagouti animals have strikingly different neural profiles of catecholamines. Catecholamines (like dopamine and noradrenaline) are neurotransmitters that activate the body and prepare it to deal with stress. The agouti protein affects the distribution of catecholamines in the brain, and hence may influence the animal's docility (Hayssen et al. 1994).

    20. Jennifer, the breeders you talk to will probably be suffering a thing called denial and most breeders I know who profess to know about breeding actually have very little anatomical and gynecological knowledge. I have heard some horrific stories from vets about apparently experienced breeders and I would actually take the word of my vet, who spent many years qualifying as a vet and then many years specialising in fertility and reproduction over some breeders on a forum. Breeders of Brachy dogs don't believe it, because firstly many don't have the understanding to even comprehend it and thirdly it is not in their interest to comprehend that not having no or little muzzle slows up the process of birth, but it does.

      Why have you not asked someone from the veterinary profession ?

      Flat faces are not tied with temperament, as we have plenty of breeds that have lovely temperaments and have muzzles. I have been cross breeding a brachy dog now for over seven years and the longer muzzle has not changed the nature of the dogs. Flat faced dogs tend to often be low exercise dogs, but this is not down to temperament, this is due to the disabling that is caused by being brachy, such as obstructed airways and because of no nose lack of being able to regulate temperature. Most of these breeds are couch potatoes not because they want to be, but because they are so disabled by the way they are bred, that they have no choice and this disabling of them is sadly what attracts many to brachy breeds.

      Since I have been cross breeding with a brachy breed to lengthen and improve the health of the breed. Easier whelping and a significant rise in the average litter size have been noted in our records.

    21. Here Jennifer is the opening to the forum you reference "Someone on a well known and controversial blogsite claims that so many brachycephalic bitches require Ceasarians is that puppy noses against the birth canal stimulate oxytocin release. Flat faced pups do this poorly, thus in many cases (a majority of cases for some breeds) a Ceasar is required. According to this theory, the usual argument, that the head is to wide for the pelvis, is not true."

      Firstly at no stage have I said, "that the head is to wide for the pelvis, is not true." So thus the whole discussion is then about whether the head width or the dog having no muzzle causes them to have a very high occurrence of c-section. Not much of a discussion though is it, when the only counter is pups can be born backwards, so it must be okay then. We know being born backwards slows up birth.
      Both these anatomical exaggerations cause problems for brachy dogs giving birth. I have not said it stops birth, but it slows up birth which can cause problems and does.
      I will stand corrected though on saying, "The biggest cause of c-section", I should of said, "One of the biggest cause of c-section" in brachy breeds is because of their lack of muzzle.

      Here is a reply on the forum to the question above "Sounds a bit far fetched to me considering that about half of the pups will be born breech and many will still be in their sacs.
      Yes, the stretching of the canal by the pup stimulates contractions but I don't think that has anything to do with its nose other than that is part of the puppy and may or may not be leading the way." This person is not that good on anatomy. This person thinks it is the stretching of the birth canal that stimulates contractions. It is the stimulating of a specific area the cervix that stimulates the contractions. The birth canal is the vagina and the puppy cannot get into the birth canal unless it stimulates the cervix enough to dilate fully.
      My experience is I am nearly fifty and have been around dogs birthing since my birth and I have been birthing in dogs, cows, horses, sheep, pigs and the odd cat since my teens and I read and try to understand and learn at every opportunity.

    22. I can find anecdotal evidence up the yin yang saying that this or that homeopathic treatment helped some dog. Do I believe it. Not at all. No rigorous scientific test has ever confirmed the value of highly highly diluted herbals as used in traditional homeopathy.
      Likewise, I can find scads of testimony about what this or that trendy dog food has done for some dog's health. And equally as many testimony about dogs living to 20+ years without health problems on diets that lots of dog fanciers would rank as crap.
      Sorry. We are all subjective in our interpretation of causes and effects. Show me the numbers. I respect documented evidence. I have little respect for anecdotal evidence . . . and my skepticism extends to my own experiential evidence.
      For that matter, look at the history of the now discredited science of phrenology. Some remarkably bright people strongly believed in racial superiority and looking at skull shape played a big role in some people's definition of 'superior'.

      There are a lot of people looking for a friendly, goofy, playful small dog, preferably with short hair. Here's a clip from a discussion forum thread about creating new breeds: "I want a 15-25lb, high drive, smooth coated, high energy, high drive, biddable, handler focused, more soft than hard dog." (Ie, size and shape of a small terrier without the vermin-killer instincts). I suspect the popularity of pugs, Bostons, and Frenchies, despite health concerns, owes as much to the temperaments of these breeds as their flat faces.

      Yah yah you're nearly fifty . . . I'm 66. I also have a science PhD, a publication record, and a high IQ. I am still capable of subjective misinterpretation. Humans are pattern seekers, and we look for patterns that agree with our biases. And it's possible to be very stupid in one dimension when you're very smart in another.

      I haven't asked a vet because my present dogs are all neutered and the vet I'm using now doesn't know squat about reproductive biology. Also, even a repro vet is capable of biased interpretation.

      As I initially stated, flat nose->less stimulation of oxytocin release->difficulty with natural whelping is an interesting hypothesis. I hope it is true. Before I'd be willing to invest in it (I am seriously considerring going into raising Bostons with primary focus on health and temperament and with no concern about achieving BOB) I'd like to see documented and statistically sound evidence. It would be WONDERFUL to be confident that simply breeding for presence of a decent snout would improve the chances of natural whelping.

    23. Jennifer, you were quite happy to buy in to the breeders forum not agreeing with the nose flat causing slowing up of birth. To make a very poor counter enlargement. You are a bit of an old hypocrite.
      Yes, that is the second time you have mentioned the PhD and that means you have a certain type of intelligence. Sorry, you beat me on the paper exam front. I only mention my age and experience because the forum you referenced wanted to know what qualifications and experience I had. I know that you certainly don't beat me on the experience of birthing in animals though and as usual like the person above says, " you make it about intellectual wanking."
      I have mentions in two publications about dog breeding, but hey, that ain't a Phd. Now look who's trying to big up themselves. LOL
      If you know any thing about anatomy and the birthing process of the stimulation of oxytocin from the cervix, you would know that breeding any mammal with a more streamlined presentation to the cervix will make dilation faster and birth easier, you don't actually have to have a PhD to understand that.

    24. Jennifer - you may have a PhD, a publication record and a high IQ. But that doesn't automatically make you a better decision maker.

      Science, statistical analysis and empiricism can be very important when making informed decisions. Cognitive biases are evident in all areas of decision making in life. But that doesn't mean that someone is automatically cognitively biased because they have many years of experience in a particular area. Particularly if they have researched and read around the subject. There are other things such as recognition heuristics in cognitive processing's not that black and white.

      'I suspect the popularity of pugs, Bostons, and Frenchies, despite health concerns, owes as much to the temperaments of these breeds as their flat faces. '

      The flat face possibly drives the temperament....? Just because people want something, doesn't mean they should have it. Particularly when rotten health and welfare evidence is abundant. 'Oh but I like the temperament so I'm gonna keep on breeding them.'

      ' It would be WONDERFUL to be confident that simply breeding for presence of a decent snout would improve the chances of natural whelping.' And how confident do we need to be (95% CI, 99% CI).
      Or is it OK to go ahead breeding these types of dogs (despite plenty of evidence on brachy welfare and anecdotal concerns about whelping flat faced dogs) because we don't yet have any data?

      these anecdotes are flags.

    25. Phrenology developed by Franz Joseph Gall and Gall's assumption that character, thoughts, and emotions are located in specific parts of the brain is considered an important historical advance toward neuropsychology. So although unfortunately "some people with causes used phrenology as justification for European superiority over other "lesser" races" (The same people who promoted eugenics), it was an important stepping stone in learning about the brain. Phrenology is still taught about in Universities and is a medicine of its time, heavily influenced by religious diatribe, but it was the first to "bring about the idea of rehabilitation of criminals instead of vindictive punishments that would not stop criminals" and "phrenology, introduced a more humane way of dealing with the mentally ill", so it was not all bad.

      Jennifer, there are some remarkably bright people today that believe utter twaddle. Unfortunately that is just human nature. Like you presenting only one side of the Phrenology story, you know there is much more to it than just the people who used it for their own ends, but you biased it to make it fit yours.

      I find it interesting that you will not talk to a vet about the release of oxytocin from the cervix and how having a longer nose helps in the release of oxytocin and quicker dilation of the cervix, as for a vet this should be basic knowledge, but happily become skeptical reading replies on a forum from people who think the birth canal (vagina) contracts to push the pup out. That is hilarious and also shows how lacking in knowledge some of these breeders who think they are experienced are. The vagina only contracts during sexual stimulation and no where hard enough to expel a baby, it is the uterus that pushes a baby out (not the birth canal), after the cervix has dilated.

    26. Jennifer, some remarkably bright people today strongly believe that having a PhD and doing an IQ test makes them intellectually superior to those who have not and plays a big role in some people's definition of 'superior'.

      "My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors."

      Maya Angelou

  9. My Boston would win at the balloon keepy-uppy competition! LoL

  10. Anyone with a genuine interest in the health testing, not disease testing, that is being done by responsible breeders can find more on the OFA website Many breeders are testing cardiac, eyes, baer (hearing), patellas, spines and trachea. The Boston terrier is by no means a perfect breed, but many of it's breeders are working diligently for healthy dogs and healthy puppies. Please, do not discredit their efforts. No breed is perfect. Please also acknowledge the good examples of the breed(s) by more than just a video or a picture, you can highlight dogs with actual health clearances and real accomplishments.

    Some of the people here have chosen to make this a personal attack on myself, which is unwarranted and frankly unfair. All I asked is that you recognize there is health and merit in the breed and to not paint all Bostons, or brachy breeds for that matter, with a broad brush stroke.

    1. Sorry Cottage Farm these are some of the things you have said about peoples posts "Totally false" and " Try and see outside your narrow viewpoint" You accuse someone of wanting a blanket ban on pure breeding and that they also want all dogs sterilized when they have made no suggestion of either and then you try the old pure breeders trick of trying to make it a discussion about mutts versus pure breeds. You then call the dog in the video "snouty" "roached backed"and "poor breeding" I think one might think you a bit of a hypocrite.
      Just because you lack any answers or evidence against any of the comments above you are now playing the personal attack card. Poor you. You have not had a personal attack, just some home truths told to you, it hurts does it not, especially if you truly have empathy for dogs and have actually thought about what has been said to you.
      Unless you get around changing the mindset of pure breeding, you can health tests as much as you like. It will make very little difference to conditions caused by a dog being bred to be brachy. You don't MRI scan do you ?
      You don't even seem to understand what the word disease means, so here is the dictionary definition of disease. "Disease: a disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, especially one that produces specific symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury."
      You health test to check dogs for disease, so technically it is disease testing. So any one with a genuine interest in not breeding dogs predisposed to certain diseases associated with being brachy, if you really do care you should try to breed away from them being brachy. Breeding a dog to be intentionally brachy is irresponsible breeding.

    2. Very interesting Cottage Farm, that you seem to not like health testing to be associated with the word disease. A health test is done to find out if a dog has, will go on to get, is a carrier or is clear of a certain disease.
      So you don't test your dogs to see if they have certain diseases ? So what exactly are you health testing for ?

  11. I would very much caution you against taking Rosie's antics as a sign of vitality and health . . . My aunt had such a Boston Terrier; bred from "show lines". At first, her energy and agility were a wonder to behold. But by the time she was five years old, she had to have surgery on both her hips and patellas. It became a nightmare keeping this energetic, active dog from exercising herself to death. Recently, she had her third eye surgery; this time to completely remove her eyeballs. After the veterinarians were unable to save her sight, it proved impossible to keep this rough and tumble dog from continually injuring her protruding eyes. She is now ten years old.

    1. Yes exactly seabrooksr.

      "I've got a wonderfully athletic energetic Boston pity it's missing a muzzle" And they are undeniably getting shorter and shorter by the looks of the grand BOB winners in America at least.

      Other than hideously deformed hind legs being promoted at the very top of the breed in America and no face the breed does seem otherwise to have a very athletic little frame, good length of leg, big heart and willing mind.

      For them It must be like running an obstacle course with a wedge of rubber forced down their throat and their noses pinched closed. Completely gagged. Im surprised they still have open ears, as it is the eyes are ready to pop right out too which will make watching TV rather awkward.

      This is what is so tragic. So many dogs are able to by sheer force of will and stoicism surmount the most appalling human induced deformities inflicted on them. Its enough to make you cry.

      In this case I think something else is also in force. I suggest when their brains are deprived of oxygen, the lucid, hallucinogenic state called hypoxia kicks in. The rush is said to be no less powerful than cocaine, and highly addictive. This kicks their sporting capacity into over-drive. This is why bulldogs turn blue foam at the mouth and soldier on until they drop.

      Complete break down of joints, muscle, and eventual death could of course be some of the worrying little side effects of exercising deprived of sufficient oxygen on peg legs.

      I think brachycephalic dog owners should be barred from these type of competitions with their dogs, banned completely. Its despicably cruel.

    2. I come from a family that has raised boston terriers for approximately 40 years (I don't raise these dogs myself). I don't believe that breathing problems has been an issue. That being said, I realize that this is a small sample size. I do know one thing, the breed as a whole is unhealthy. If a breed cannot procreate or free whelp; it is unhealthy to say the least.