My Opinion on Breeding "Off Colored" Bostons
For the last several years, I've seen colored Bostons (Colored, meaning non standard colors including red, blue, cream,
fawn, etc.) go from a "rarity", to flooding the online classified sites to the point of over taking standard Bostons in sheer
numbers. They no longer are "rare", and they still are not accepted by the BTCA or AKC as an acceptable color. They may
be registered under various colors, however they are not allowed to set foot in the AKC conformation show ring.
I used to be more open minded about colored Bostons than I am now. A few years ago, there were a handful of them and my
thought was "what could it hurt for there to be a few different colored Bostons in the world?". Even the most careful show
breeder can have a red or blue Boston puppy turn up in a litter from generations of standard colored parents. Not often, but
not impossible. But fast forward a few years and now there are literally thousands of them purposely churned out each year
for profit. Higher prices can be commanded for something that is "different" or "rare". After the reds became over populated,
the blues became popular and seeing only two or three advertised has turned into dozens of puppies for sale each month.
Blues increased in population, now we have an increase in breeding "creams", "champagnes", "fawns", "lilacs" and whatever
variation is created. It's true the Boston breed included colored Bostons at the start and actually excluded black and white,
but the early founders of the breed chose to eliminate these colors long ago and accept only black, brindle and seal. That
has been their vision for the breed for the past several decades and I feel it should be respected.
The next issue... If a colored Boston cannot be shown, the two other possible placements for puppies are "pet" and
The world has enough poorly bred "pets" from backgrounds with little or no health testing. Rescues are full of them, backyard
breeders and puppy mills churn them out by the thousands. Do we need thousands more of these types of pets churned out
from homes that may or may not health test or care about the quality of the dog since they can't show anyway? Umm, no.
That leaves puppies being placed for "breeding". Breeding what? More pets? See above. Combine this outcome with
breeders who sell their colored puppies for $1500 - $2000 each and it's apparent that money is the motivation for many.
Honestly, even those claiming to be laying the foundation for the "future" of the colored Boston Terrier do NOT need to
produce a dozen litters per year to "improve" their breed.
Another type of color breeder is a "foundation" breeder, believing the standard will some day change to allow these colors.
They are concentrating on improving quality in the colored Boston. Some of these breeders health test a little, some health
test fully, some do not health test at all. Here is where I feel there are a few people with good intentions but unfortunately are
probably spinning their wheels. Here is also where I see a lot of statements being made that are contradicted by actions. I
hear claims of "quality being more important than color", yet I see breeders keeping a half dozen JHC carriers in their
breeding programs. Keeping a carrier is an exception... only when the dog is superior quality and your goal is to selectively
breed a non carrier from it to keep for your program, retaining the quality but breeding out the health issue. Keeping carrier,
after carrier, after carrier, especially of average or poor quality, is only setting that devastating health trait into your breeding
program and into your "foundation". Keeping a carrier under these circumstances is irresponsible and damages the breed
as a whole. JHC affected puppies go blind before the age of two. Would a good breeder really risk passing the ability to
produce that defect on in multiple litters and dozens of puppies? This leads me to believe that color is taking precedence
over the health of the puppies being produced. One excuse is that "the gene pool is so limited". Yes, if you are only breeding
color to color, the gene pool IS limited. Do you know why? Because we've been trying to get rid of those colors for decades!
Breeding for better quality will require breeding out to a better quality dog regardless of color. I often see colored offspring
with poor conformation or severe faults are kept for future breeding prospects while standard offspring of higher quality are
sold as pets. Much conversation is given to what color can be produced. I don't see enough conversation regarding what
areas of structure and type can be improved.
So, why such a fuss? Why not live and let live? Well here's my thoughts on the subject and see if you can understand the
big picture. Many breeders of colored Bostons claim to want to "improve the breed", however their off colored dogs cannot
be evaluated by a licensed judge against its peers to prove quality of conformation. They can show against each other, but
they cannot show against other standard Bostons in an AKC show. So... they cannot prove their quality and honestly I have
yet to see more than one or two colored Bostons that I feel would be competitive in an AKC ring. You cannot "improve the
breed" with dogs whose conformation is much lower quality than what is already being bred and shown by standard
breeders. I cannot count how many times I have gone to the website with colored Bostons on it and have seen the breeder
claim "top quality" and they are committed to the "betterment of the breed" yet the dogs have horrible conformation and do
not even resemble a Boston. In many instances, it's painfully obvious that someone somewhere used other breeds in that
dog's background to get those colors. Creams with earsets and toplines like Frenchy's. Reds and blues with heads and
muscle structure like a pit bull.
Not all colored Bostons have other breeds in their backgrounds, but there is a lack of consistent true Boston type in nearly all
of them. How does one improve upon that? Bring nice champion standard Bostons into the breeding program. But how many
show breeders want to offer their dogs to be bred to lower quality non standard dogs? It's not the color of the dog that
affects the quality, it's the inability to bring proven show stock into the breeding programs that hinders the quality of most
colored Bostons. So what do some color breeders do? They lie to obtain those show lines. This has created a rift between
show breeders and color breeders, and with good reason.
If you thumb your nose at the standard, you do not get the privilege of taking advantage of
those dogs whose standard qualities are needed in your program to improve it.
Sneaking bloodlines from dedicated breeders to further your experiment in non-standard color and conformation isn't okay.
So, am I against color breeders? I'm not "against" anyone. I am against off color breeding though and will never help to
further it through my bloodlines or my dogs. I am also against the lying, sneaking, and pedigree hiding that goes on by many
breeders. If a color Boston breeder would like to try and deceive me to obtain my bloodlines in order to breed against
standard, I invite them to take a look at my purchase contract and rest assured that I will bring the legal hammer down hard
on them without hesitation. If color BT breeders would like to be completely honest and up front with me and would like to
learn more about conformation or would like assistance in finding health testing in their area, I'd be happy to help, however
my dogs and bloodlines still remain off limits.
I feel there are many who do love the Boston breed and want to do right by it, and who health test and are selective in the
litters they produce. I feel it's a shame that these breeders don't take that same ambition and work toward truly improving the
breed and following the written standard, producing puppies that are allowed in an AKC show ring to truly prove the level of
quality they have produced as a dedicated breeder.