Truly an “All-American” dog, the Boston Terrier is a lively and highly intelligent breed with an excellent disposition. Following the Civil War, the Boston Terrier breed was developed in the stables of Boston, Massachusetts as a fighting dog. The breed is a cross between an English Bulldog and a white English Terrier. In 1891, the breed became known as Boston Terriers, taking the name of the city where they originated. An imported dog known as “Hooper’s Judge” (sold to a Boston man in 1870) became the ancestor of almost all true modern Boston Terriers. The Boston has been nicknamed “the American Gentleman” because of his dapper appearance, characteristically gentle disposition and suitability as companion and house pet.
Helen Keller discovered the Akita breed on a speaking tour in Japan. A young Akita Police Department instructor, Mr. Ichiro Ogasawara, presented her with a puppy. Sadly her first puppy passed away, but Mr. Ogasawara brought her a full-grown Akita, the brother of her first puppy, all the way from Japan two years later. Ms. Keller and her dog Go-Go, settled in Easton, Connecticut. She described him as “a splendid protector and companion, and a precious part of my daily life”. Although known to be a quiet dog (they are known as the “Silent Hunter” in Japan), the Akita has strong guarding instincts and will sound the alarm if an intruder breaks into your house.
The National American Kennel Club (later called the American Kennel Club) began printing studbooks of dogs in America around 1883. The second volume of the studbook, printed in 1885, registers a black Cocker Spaniel named Brush II. Commings Cocker Spaniel Kennel of New Hampshire imported this dog from England. Right around this time, in 1881, Clinton Wilmerding and James Watson formed the American Spaniel Club. The Cocker Spaniel remains one of the most popular breeds according to AKC® registration statistics. He is a merry, well-balanced dog whose desire to hunt renders him a capable gun dog; he covers territory speedily, flushing game and retrieving only when under command. He readily takes to water. Cockers are intelligent, gentle dogs that thrive as part of a family.
In 1929, Howard Knight, a Rhode Island businessman, was the first American to gain membership into the highly regulated German dog breed club. The eight dogs Mr. Knight brought to America in the years following are considered to be the foundation stock of the Weimaraner in the United States today. Often referred to as the “grey ghost” because of the distinctive color of its short, sleek coat, the Weimaraner is a graceful dog with aristocratic features. Bred for speed, good scenting ability, courage and intelligence, he remains an excellent game hunter and active participant in other dog sports. It is believed to be a descendant of the Bloodhound and was originally used to hunt wolves, deer and bear. Over the years because of the rarity of bigger game in his surroundings, the Weimaraner adapted to become a bird dog and personal hunting companion. The Weimaraner is also known for being an easily trainable, friendly and obedient member of the family. This is a breed that loves children and enjoys being part of his family’s “pack.”
There are more dogs out there that were imported from Europe into New England. The next time you see one of the ones we mentioned, you can smile to yourself and say “That dog is a New Englander!”