The Boston terrier breed originated around 1870, when Robert C. Hooper of Boston, purchased from Edward Burnett a dog named Judge (known later as Hooper's Judge), which was of a Bull and Terrier type lineage. Hooper's Judge is either directly related to the original Bull and Terrier breeds of the 19th and early 20th centuries, or Judge is the result of modern English Bulldogs being crossed into terriers created in the 1860s for show purposes, like the White English Terrier. The American Kennel Club cites Hooper's Judge as the ancestor of almost all true modern Boston Terriers.
Judge weighed over 27.5 pounds (12.5 kg). The offspring interbred with one or more French Bulldogs, providing the foundation for the Boston Terrier. Bred down in size from fighting dogs of the Bull and Terrier types, the Boston Terrier originally weighed up to 44 pounds (20 kg) (Olde Boston Bulldogge). The breed was first shown in Boston in 1870. By 1889 the breed had become sufficiently popular in Boston that fanciers formed the American Bull Terrier Club, the breed's nickname, "roundheads". Shortly after, at the suggestion of James Watson (a noted writer and authority), the club changed its name to the Boston Terrier Club and in 1893 it was admitted to membership in the American Kennel Club, thus making it the first US breed to be recognized. It is one of a small number of breeds to have originated in the United States. The Boston Terrier was the first non-sporting dog bred in the US.
In the early years, the color and markings were not very important. By the 20th century the breed's distinctive markings and color were written into the standard, becoming an essential feature. The Boston Terrier has lost most of its aggressive nature, preferring the company of humans, although some males will still challenge other dogs if they feel their territory is being invaded. Boston University's mascot is Rhett the Boston Terrier. The Boston Terrier is also the mascot of Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C.