Breed Group: Non-Sporting
Temperament and Behavior
A Boston Terrier is a comical little dog that is loving, and sensitive. Their endearing, slightly bulldog-like face with bulging eyes has an expression both exuberant and alert. They love all family members and are sturdy enough to be good with children, especially for a small dog. Many seem to have an affinity for the elderly. Once they are introduced, strangers are willingly accepted. They may become blustery at the neighbors larger dog, but only if it stays across the street. A Boston, as they are referred to by those who love them, is even generally accepting of small household pets. As a small dog, they have only a modest need for exercise. A short daily walk and a good inside play session is usually enough. Inside, they are calm when you want them to be, but will always play their favorite game: fetch. Almost any living situation is appropriate for a Boston, from a city apartment to rural farm, as long as they are kenneled indoors and get some attention from their beloved family. Bostons are good watchdogs barking only when necessary, and even then, never excessively. But, their small size prevents them from taking on any role as a protector. Bostons have short faces and as a result, they snort, wheeze, and snore. They can also be gassy.
Physical CharacteristicsBoston Terriers grow to be 13 to 17 inches tall and weigh between 15 and 25 pounds. They are small but sturdy dogs with alert, expressive faces, and prominent eyes. Their coat is short and smooth and has distinct markings in either black and white or brindle and white. A Boston’s coat sheds little and needs only minimal grooming. Like most dogs with short faces, they have trouble breathing, especially in hot, humid weather. Be alert to this potential if a dog is exercised in high summer heat. As a small short-hair dog, they also do poorly in cold temperatures. Use a sweater when going outside in anything less than moderate weather.es averaging 50 pounds.
Trainer's NotesSome may be wary of strangers and other dogs, but socialization can reduce this tendency. Bostons are intelligent but tend to be willful and resist training, especially housebreaking. A trainer may become frustrated but he will never be bored with a Boston. Expect to need patience. They are sensitive to others feelings and harsh training will only make them more resistive. They respond well to positive training methods, especially when food is used as a reward. They make a great choice for first-time dog owners, especially those with small homes.
Boston Terrier, Brindle Coat
HealthDue to their popularity, poorly bred dogs are common. The best way to avoid them is to buy from a show breeder who emphasizes temperament. Beware of puppies with blue eyes or a large amount of white on its body; they tend to have hearing problems. Request a BAER test showing normal hearing in both ears if you want one of these pups.Other tips for selecting a puppy are (1) do not choose one whose eyes bulge or that has more white around the iris than usual; (2) select one whose facial features show no crowding; and (3) pick one whose nostrils are wide open. It is not unusual for Boston Terriers to have problems associated with their eyes. This includes Corneal Dystrophy, Distichiasis, Entropion, Cataracts, Cherry Eye, and Glaucoma. Genetic issues that occur less often include Luxating Patellas which effect about 5% of the breed, Hydrocephalus, PDA, PRAA and a group of conditions labeled Brachycephalic Syndrome. They are also sensitive to anesthesia. Healthy Bostons live to about 13 years of age.
PopularityPopular, the AKC registeres about 15,000 dogs every year. This ranks them in the top 20 most popular breeds.
Breed HistoryUnlike most breeds, the history of the Boston Terrier is well documented. In 19th century Boston, coachmen of the wealthy bred their boss’s English Bulldogs and the now extinct English Terriers to create a dog, named Hooper’s Judge, from whom all Boston Terriers descend. The Judge was then bred to smaller dogs and after several name changes became known as the Boston Terrier. Despite the name, they are not part of the Terrier group bearing a greater resemblance to their bulldog ancestors.
Additional InformationThe official dog of Massachusetts, the breed is one of the few developed entirely in the United States. Boston Terriers have been owned by Warren G. Harding, Vincent Price, Joan Rivers, and Yves St. Laurent. The US parent breed club is the Boston Terrier Club of America.
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