Boston Terrier

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Species group:

Other name(s): Bostons; Boston Bull; Boston Bull Terrier

The basics:
Despite the name, the utterly charming Boston Terrier is not a terrier, although it may have been developed by mixing English Bulldogs with some terriers in the late 1800s. Its short face means it can offer some health challenges, but overall this dog is small yet sturdy, with a playful and adaptable personality-- a combination of traits that make it one of the most highly regarded breeds for novice dog owners. They are social and love to be with their humans. The typical well-trained Boston Terrier is a friendly, gentle companion.

Appearance / health:
The Boston Terrier is often referred to as the “Gentleman’s Dog” because his coat, if it has all black and white markings in the proper places, gives the appearance of him being dressed up in a little tuxedo. He’s a dapper little dog with a short, close lying and shining coat. For what the Boston Terrier lacks in size, he more than compensates for in personality – the well socialized Boston loves to mingle, make himself known to everyone, and work the crowd! The Boston is a handsome, well-muscled, compact little dog having a short, square body; the skull is square; the muzzle is short and wide; ears are erect and small; eyes are large, round, prominent, dark and set widely apart; and, the nose is black. They are broad-chested and have a barley arched neck; legs are muscular and straight; the hair is short, fine textured and shines. The Boston is one of the more odor-free dogs.

Caring for your Boston Terrier’s coat is a very minimal job and requires only a weekly brush and a bath when needed. Monitor their nails for regular trimming. Check the ears for any debris and wipe them out very gently with a damp cloth. It’s a good habit to develop the practice of wiping their face daily with a damp cloth and check their eyes for injury or drainage when doing so. Bostons are an average, seasonal shedder.

The Boston Terrier does not require much to keep it in good shape; a nice, long walk or off-leash playtimes in an enclosed area will suit them quite well.

Brachycephalic (short-faced) dogs can experience difficulties breathing when over-exerted or exposed to temperature extremes. They overheat easily. Leaving your Boston outside during hot weather or leaving them inside a vehicle or house with no air conditioning is a death sentence. Due to their large heads, whelping is difficult and they frequently require Caesarean Section delivery of their pups. Their prominent eyes are easily injured. Genetic defects to which they may be prone include: brachycephalic syndrome; luxating patella, skin problems due to allergies, dislocation of the kneecap, hypothyroidism, and juvenile cataracts. Additionally, skin tumors are not uncommon in the Boston.

Poor breeding of the Boston Terrier has resulted in a bone defect in the skill. This defect stunts the brain growth and results in a mentally retarded dog.

Behavior / temperament:
Take your Boston Terrier for a ride in the car or a walk in the park – he’ll love either! Bostons love playing and have the ability to be lively when you want them to be but calm when you need them to be. Your Boston Terrier will make a good watchdog because he likes to bark at the things that pass by. Because of their loving and affectionate nature, Bostons are one of the most popular breeds. Bostons are very intelligent, alert and energetic. Having an even tempered disposition, Bostons typically get along with everyone, but they can willful.

Boston Terriers are generally considered to be well mannered, loving and considerate companion dogs. They derive most of their pleasure from being around their owners and pleasing them.

The Boston Terrier is rated high in learning rate, high in obedience, and high in watch-dog abilities. Because the Boston Terrier loves to please, she likes to learn and this makes her easy to train. She learns fast and is quite sensitive to your tone of voice and the atmosphere of the surrounding environment. Train her gently with positive encouragement. The more time you spend with her, the fast she will respond well to training.

This will depend upon the early training you give to your Boston Terrier; some people claim Bostons tend to bark, others say they only bark at something unfamiliar; and, still others will claim their Boston never barks at all.

Is a Boston Terrier right for you?

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What owners are saying about Boston Terrier health

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What owners are saying about Boston Terrier behavior and training

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Not my cup of tea

This breed is a great dog for someone, but they aren't my cup of tea. I got my first when I was 7 years old and my dad ended up a hobby breeder of them. I still have his last that he bred and she is 10 years old now. They were great with us as kids and very loving, but they we...

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