Massachusetts’ General Laws, Part 1, Title 1, Chapter 2, and Section 14 designated the Boston Terrier to be its official state dog. The designation came in 1979, twenty years after Bessie Edna Colp of Newton lobbied to get official state recognition for the breed in 1959. A dog trainer, Colp made her argument to the Globe newspaper: “The Boston Terrier is a gentleman. It is striking in appearance. It has the disposition of a Bay Stater. Friendly and loyal, with ability to get tough when the occasion demands.’’
It also happens to be the only dog breed indigenous to the state, and the first Non-Sporting Dog bred in the United States.
It wasn’t all a bed of roses. In 1905, after the great success of Boston Terriers at Westminster, the Globe wrote: “There has been just a bit of prejudice against the Bostons hereabouts. It was never on account of the dog, but because of the fact that a breed peculiar to the United States should have originated anywhere east of this city.’’
No hint as to what caused the Globe to respond in such a way. And for anyone curious, Massachusetts’ state song is “All Hail Massachusetts” (the state folk song is “Massachusetts” by Arlo Guthrie), its state bird is the Black Capped Chickadee, the state flower is the Epigaea Repens, the state insect is the Ladybug, the state tree is the Ulmus Americanus, the State Folk Hero is Johnny Appleseed, the state flower is the Mayflower, Boston Cream Pie is the state dessert, and the state cookie is the Chocolate Chip. If there’s a state shoe, we didn’t find it.