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9 Frisky Facts About Boston Terriers

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These lively and fun pups make the perfect companion. Why not learn a little bit more about the joyful Boston terrier?

1. They’re America’s pride and joy

The Boston terrier is the first official breed created in the United States. They’re nicknamed the “American Gentleman” because of their tuxedo-like markings.

2. A violent past led to their conception

Coachmen crossbred their wealthy employers' dogs to create this pooch. They combined the English Bulldog with the white English terrier (now extinct). Originally, they were considerably larger and used as fighting dogs. After dog fighting became illegal, the breed shrunk in size.

3. The name changed

In 1889, about 30 fanciers got together and organized the American Bull Terrier Club. They called the dogs round heads or bull terriers. This moniker led to some opposition because there was already a different breed called the bull terrier that featured a much longer face.

By 1891, the club changed their name to Boston Terrier Club of America, and what once were round heads or bull terriers were now called Boston terriers.

4. The Boston Terrier is the state dog of Massachusetts

The little dogs were first created in Massachusetts, so it only makes sense for the state to honor them as their dog emblem. The breed has held the honor since 1979.

5. Their name is misleading

Despite being called Boston terrier, these pooches are not technically terriers. You’ll notice that they are excluded from the terrier category on the AKC website.

6. Helen Keller had one

Phiz the Boston terrier was given to Keller by her classmates at Radcliffe College. Although the dog was wary of strangers, it’s said that the two hit it off immediately.

7. A war hero might have had some Boston terrier in him

When a stray dog wandered near soldiers training for World War I at Yale, he was quickly brought into the ranks. The canine was taught how to salute with his paw and named Stubby.

The heroic dog was brought overseas and proved himself by warning troops of gas attacks and helping paramedics find wounded soldiers. After spotting and attacking a German spy, he was promoted to Sergeant. The decorated dog was hailed a hero and got to meet Presidents Wilson, Harding, and Coolidge.

While Sergeant Stubby was probably a mutt, his obituary referred to him as a bull terrier. Since Stubby looks nothing like an actual bull terrier, it’s possible the paper was referring to the old name for the Boston terrier. If you look at Stubby, you can definitely see the resemblance.

8. You can feel protected with one around

Despite their small size, Boston terriers are considered excellent guard dogs. They are very protective of their families and their loud bark is enough to alert their companions of danger.

9. They can do tricks

Boston terriers are intelligent and eager to please, so it’s easy to train them. Dexter the Boston terrier has even mastered the skateboard.

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Big Questions
Why Do Cats Freak Out After Pooping?
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Cats often exhibit some very peculiar behavior, from getting into deadly combat situations with their own tail to pouncing on unsuspecting humans. Among their most curious habits: running from their litter box like a greyhound after moving their bowels. Are they running from their own fecal matter? Has waste elimination prompted a sense of euphoria?

Experts—if anyone is said to qualify as an expert in post-poop moods—aren’t exactly sure, but they’ve presented a number of entertaining theories. From a biological standpoint, some animal behaviorists suspect that a cat bolting after a deposit might stem from fears that a predator could track them based on the smell of their waste. But researchers are quick to note that they haven’t observed cats run from their BMs in the wild.

Biology also has a little bit to do with another theory, which postulates that cats used to getting their rear ends licked by their mother after defecating as kittens are showing off their independence by sprinting away, their butts having taken on self-cleaning properties in adulthood.

Not convinced? You might find another idea more plausible: Both humans and cats have a vagus nerve running from their brain stem. In both species, the nerve can be stimulated by defecation, leading to a pleasurable sensation and what some have labeled “poo-phoria,” or post-poop elation. In running, the cat may simply be working off excess energy brought on by stimulation of the nerve.

Less interesting is the notion that notoriously hygienic cats may simply want to shake off excess litter or fecal matter by running a 100-meter dash, or that a digestive problem has led to some discomfort they’re attempting to flee from. The fact is, so little research has been done in the field of pooping cat mania that there’s no universally accepted answer. Like so much of what makes cats tick, a definitive motivation will have to remain a mystery.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Animals
Listen to the Impossibly Adorable Sounds of a Baby Sloth
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Sometimes baby sloths seem almost too adorable to be real. But the little muppet-faced treasures don't just look cute—turns out they sound cute, too. We know what you're thinking: How could you have gone your whole life without knowing what these precious creatures sound like? Well, fear not: Just in time for International Sloth Day (today), we have some footage of how the tiny mammals express themselves—and it's a lot of squeaking. (Or maybe that's you squealing?)

The sloths featured in the heart-obliterating video below come from the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica. The institution rescues orphaned sloths, rehabilitates them, and gets them ready to be released back into the wild.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

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