Boston Terrier

A Quick Look at the Boston Terrier...

The Boston Terrier, also known as the Boston Bull Terrier, is a very lively and intelligent breed of dog that has a wonderful personality. They are very determined and active and have a strong appearance, despite their small size. He has a very compact body and has a soulful and sweet expression.

Bostons are an energetic breed and can become high strung if not provided with the proper exercise. They are intelligent and highly trainable and greatly enjoy the company of their family.  Considered by many to be the "All-American" dog, Boston Terriers are fabulous companions that are well-mannered, enthusiastic and very alert.

Here are some fast facts about the Boston Terrier:

Dog Group:
Non-Sporting (AKC)
Recognized By:
Dogs – 10 - 25 lbs. (4.5-11.3 kg)
Bitches – 10 - 25 lbs. (4.5-11.3 kg)
Dogs - 15-17 in. (38.1- 43 cm)
Bitches – 15-17 in. (38.1- 43 cm)
Average litter size:
Life expectancy:
Average of 15 years or longer
Health problems:
Coat care:
Exercise needs:
Suitable for children:
Pet compatibility:
Barking frequency:

Brief History

Though they are stylish and loving companions today, it is hard to believe that Boston Terriers were initially bred for pit fighting. They originated in the U.S. city of Boston, Massachusetts, and are one of the only breeds of dogs that were developed in the United States.

The first Boston Terriers were a cross between a breed that is now extinct, called the English White Terrier, and the well known English Bulldog. Once upon a time, they were available in three different weight classifications, including middle, lightweight and heavyweight. Hence, the small and mellow terrier that has become popular today is a far cry from his roots.

Throughout the 19th century, Bostons were bred smaller and they became quite popular among the citizens, and were finally given the name Boston Terrier. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1893.

Boston Terrier Breed Appearance and Characteristics

General Appearance - Boston Terriers are compact and muscular dogs that have a square look, a short body and a slightly arched neck. Their square-like head has a flat top and their short, wide and deep muzzle is proportioned to their head. They have a well defined stop, black nose and large, dark round eyes that are wide apart. Their small ears are erect and can be cropped or left natural, folding forward slightly. They have muscular legs and a tapering short tail that is set low and not docked. Their coat is short and fine textured, and is available in various colors, such as seal, black and white, brindle and white and - on occasion - brown and white.

Typical Temperament - Bostons are alert, smart and mild mannered dogs that are eager to enjoy life. They are very affectionate and playful and are an all-around friendly breed.

Boston Terriers are reliable with children, are particularly good with elderly people, pleasant with other humans not part of their pack, and are usually tolerant of other pets, including those that are non-canine. Due to their friendly nature, they are not guard dogs, but they can be ideal watchdogs, alerting their owners to the presence of strangers. That said, this breed is not typically an avid barker.

This particular pooch is incredibly lively and he has a need and desire for plenty of activity. As such, he requires adequate physical stimulation to allow him to release pent up energy that can otherwise cause him to become high strung or rambunctious.

Boston Terrier Care Requirements

Grooming - The short-haired coat is easy to care for and should be groomed with a firm bristle brush every few days. His face needs to be wiped with a clean, damp cloth daily to remove any dirt, and his eyes and ears should be checked everyday for grass seeds or any other debris that could have accumulated. His nails require a monthly clipping, and his teeth brushed weekly at the very least.

The Boston is an average shedder and does not have a strong odor. He should only be bathed when absolutely necessary.

Exercise - This breed can be very energetic and is happiest when he is sufficiently exercised on a daily basis. Each day he should be taken on a long walk (I.E. 30 minutes), as well as given the opportunity to run freely in an enclosed space. It is essential that this pooch stays in shape for his well being. Other ways you can exercise a Boston includes, fetch, agility trials, and swimming. Note: Bostons are short muzzled canines and should not be taken for jogs or exercised in very warm temperatures as they can easily overheat and suffer heat stroke.

Approximate Food Cost - Depending on the size and activity level of a Boston Terrier, he or she will likely require 1 to 1 ½ or 2 cups of dry food daily. It will cost about $10 - $15 per month.

General Health Information

Boston Terrier are prone to certain health problems, and some of these issues are genetic while others are simply the cause of age, lifestyle and sometimes environmental factors. Bostons are predisposed to the following: eye problems (i.e. juvenile cataracts, glaucoma, corneal ulcers, cherry eye, dry eyes, entropion distichiasis), patellar luxation (knee dislocation), heatstroke, deafness, tumors, seizures, heart disease, thyroid disease, environmental and/or food allergies, and breathing difficulties.

Note: whelping can be difficult for expectant mothers, as the large head of the pups is difficult to pass through the narrow pelvis. Since this is the case, many pups are delivered via cesarean section. Furthermore, Bostons have a short muzzle, which makes them more susceptible to heatstroke in hot climates and it can sometimes be difficult for them to catch their breath should they be over exercised or overly excited.

Common Illnesses include: allergies, eye problems and disease, anal gland infection, tumors, heart disease, heatstroke and breathing difficulties.

Are You the Right Boston Terrier Owner?

Living conditions - Boston Terriers can live happily in both apartments and in the country. They are quite active indoors and will do fine without a backyard as long as they are provided with the adequate exercise they need (i.e. a daily walk). They thrive in a home with a yard, as they enjoy moving around freely. Bear in mind, this breed is sensitive to hot and cold weather conditions and shouldn’t be outdoors in extreme weather and should be kept cool in the summer.

Training - Boston Terriers like to learn and enjoy challenges, so they are not a difficult breed to train. They are highly intelligent and will pick up commands easily as long as they are delivered consistently, firmly, yet gently. That said, if the handler and other humans that command the dog are not firm in their leadership, the Boston can become willful and will turn the tables and attempt to order their owner around. He needs a strong pack leader who is confident and reliable or he will develop Small Dog Syndrome and think he is in charge.

Common Problems - Boston Terriers are generally happy-go-lucky dogs but they are not perfect and can be difficult to housebreak. Furthermore, they have the tendency to become high strung if they are not provided with the activity they require. Finally, because they are a flat nosed breed they are prone to snoring, sneezing, snorting, and wheezing.

The bottom line...

The Boston Terrier is a fun loving, bright and lively dog that is the perfect pet for any family who is looking for a friendly canine that is great company, an active participant in their daily lifestyle and a loyal companion. He is easy to groom, excepting of strangers and children, and is simply looking to be loved, cared for and included.

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