Boston Terriers are cute, fun-loving dogs. Bostons actually hail from the United States (Boston) and were originally â€śbred downâ€ť from a larger, English Bull and English White Terrier mix. The American Kennel Club established them as a breed in 1893.
Bostons were originally nicknamed â€śround headsâ€ť because of their large, round heads. Bostons were originally classified as a form of bulldogs, but were finally labeled â€śterriersâ€ť and named after their home town after several years.
Bostons are truly terriers only in name, and have turned into an often overlooked, yet perfect-for-the house-dog. Bostons prefer the company of humans and make great pets, but they also require high maintenance and have some health issues you should be aware of before you go out to the pet store and adopt them.
How do you know if a Boston Terrier is the right dog for you? Take a look at its traits and decide if YOUâ€™RE the right owner for a Boston Terrier.
The Beauty of Bostons
Bostons are relatively small dogs, with cute round heads and pointed ears. Also referred to as the Boston bull, they exhibit a few traits similar to bulldogs, including their compact size and well-muscled frames.
A Bostonâ€™s face is full of expression through its short, wide muzzle and large round eyes. They have broad, flat heads and, unlike bulldogs, they have no wrinkles on their face or body. They have a nice, square muzzle that leads to a large black nose. The Bostonâ€™s body is thick with a broad chest and strong neck. Strong, straight legs support its body.
The Boston Terrierâ€™s coat is short-haired and shiny in shades of black and white. As they age, their hair grays, giving them a look of dignity and personality.
The Boston Terrier is a breed recognized by the American Kennel Club and the Federation Cynologique International.
The Character of Bostons
Like bull dogs, the Boston Terrier was originally bred to participate in fights with bulls and other dogs. Since then, the breed has been bred with less aggression. The modern-day Boston Terrier is a gentle, responsive dog who carries itself with class.
As a whole, Boston Terriers are very intelligent, mischievous dogs that enjoy getting into â€śtroubleâ€ť, occasionally tearing things up around the house. They have a great sense of humor and are responsive to their ownerâ€™s tone of voice. (However, this doesnâ€™t mean that they listenâ€”they tend to be stubborn at times!)
Bostons enjoy learning and are very receptive to the rewards of being trained. Because they are intelligent, they learn quicker than other breeds, making them easy to train.
Male Bostons make good watchdogs and bark when strangers (and squirrels!) approach their territory. They take pride in defending their masters. However, female Bostons are milder in their barking patterns; if stranger approaches they may not bark at all.
The Bostonâ€™s Companions
Boston Terriers are great with children and elderly people, and are often friendly with strangers. They are playful dogs that are affectionate and like to be considered a part of the family. If you have young children you may want to consider adopting an older puppy or grown dog. Young puppy Bostons tend to be clumsy and may not be able to â€śget awayâ€ť when faced with a child as an obstacle! Also, sometimes they are often difficult to housebreak.
They also get along well with other pets, as long as theyâ€™re NOT dogs. They tend to be able to live with each other, but their demeanor around other dogs depends on each individual dogâ€™s personality. Some males are dominant and may fight with other dogs.
Bostons get along very well with other, non-dog pets. However, remember that it is always different for each dogâ€™s personality. Your dog may be the exception to the rule!
The Bostonâ€™s Ideal Environment
Boston Terriers are great â€śhousedogsâ€ť and are relatively sedentary. They are sensitive to extreme hot and extreme cold weather; they thrive in mild climates. They do well in both an apartment setting and in an open-space setting, adapting to both indoor environments and back yards.
Boston terriers need regular walks and outdoor play to keep healthy and happy. They are picky about walks and canâ€™t walk for a long length of time. If they get tired, however, theyâ€™re small enough for you to carry home.
Grooming the Boston Terrier
The smooth, short-haired coat of the Boston Terrier is easy to groom. To groom a Boston, you should comb and brush it with a firm bristle brush. Bostons only need to bathed when necessary, such as after a swim in the local creek.
You should also wipe a Bostonâ€™s face with a damp cloth every day and clean their eyes carefully. Bostons shed about as much as any other short-haired dog, and they require regular nail clippings.
They have sensitive ears and should be checked regularly for grass seeds, ticks, and ear mites.
The Bostonâ€™s Health
Boston Terriers have a long life that averages about 15 years. They, like other man-created breeds, tend to have an array of health problems.
Because of their short faces, they may have breathing difficulties in extreme hot or cold temperatures. Because of these difficulties, they also often snore loudly and drool.
The Bostonâ€™s eyes are sometimes injury-prone. Juvenile Cataracts are common among the breed and occur between 8 weeks to 12 months of age. Because of their large heads, pregnant Bostons are often delivered by cesarean section. Bostons also may have heart or skin problems.
Bostons also tend to be â€śgassyâ€ť dogs, but this problem can be remedied through proper nutrition as a puppy. If they suffer from periods of malnutrition, serious gastrointestinal disorders may develop. Feed them well!
Of course, each dog is different, and they may have any or all of these conditions. Be prepared to care for them in sickness and in health.
The Boston Terrier was the first â€śMade in Americaâ€ť purebred. This breed developed in Boston, Massachusetts in the late 19th century when several men bred an English Bulldog with a now extinct White English Terrier in order to produce an aggressive dog to use in pit fights. When the blood sport was outlawed, fans of the breed worked to get the dogs recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). In 1893, the breed was accepted and the first Boston Terrier was admitted.
Early Boston Terriers weighed over 44 pounds, but as the dogs were bred down in size, the breed gained in popularity. The Boston Terrier was the most popular breed in the U.S. between 1929 and 1935 and remained in the Top 10 until 1960. Boston Terriers are currently ranked as the 20th most popular breed in America.
Today's Boston Terrier has been bred to have less aggressive tendencies. Terrier only in name, these dogs now prefer being gentle companions for their human family members.
The ears of the Boston Terrier should always stand upright. Their head is wide and flat, but no wrinkles should be present. The neck should have a small arch, and the chest should be powerful and wide. The fur of these dogs should be short and glossy, and the colors of the coat should be brown, white, black, or brindle.
Boston Terriers are compact, muscular dogs. Their broad, flat faces are unmistakable with a short, wide muzzle; large, dark eyes set far apart; ample, black noses; and small, erect ears. The alert, the intelligent expression is an important characteristic of the breed.
The Boston Terrier's coat is short and fine in texture. Markings will vary, but all Boston Terriers come in black and white, brindle and white, or seal (black with a red cast) and white. Most of these dogs look as if they are wearing a tuxedo. The smooth coat requires minimal grooming.
This medium-sized breed has an average weight of between 10 to 25 pounds, although some may weigh up to 30 pounds. They stand 15 to 17 inches tall at the shoulders.
Despite their sturdy physique, Boston Terriers are subject to a number of health concerns. Because they have short noses and dark, short coats, Boston Terriers are highly sensitive to weather extremes. Many Boston Terriers have respiratory difficulties and, thus, a tendency to snore or wheeze. Their prominent, bulging eyes make them more vulnerable to eye injuries. These dogs also have a tendency toward juvenile cataracts.
Boston Terriers need about 20 to 40 minutes of exercise each day. However, because they love to play with their owners and their toys, long walks are generally unnecessary.
Boston Terriers have an average life span of 12 to 15 years. If good health is maintained, members of this breed can live as long as 18 years.
Also Known As
Boston Bull Terrier
While the Boston Terrier was originally used in dog fights, it has been bred to reduce these fighting instincts. It is an active dog that is very intelligent, and it will behave well when it is properly trained. The owner must careful with the way they speak to these dogs, as they will react based on your tone of voice. Because of their intelligence, Boston Terriers are easy to train. Many owners have said that Boston Terriers are excellent watchdogs. While they are good with children, they don’t make good guard dogs because they are friendly with strangers as well. These dogs are immensely popular in the US.
Boston Terriers may have breathing problems if they are exposed to high levels of exercise in hot weather. They are also known for drooling. Heart problems are well known with this breed, and their eyes can be hurt easily. If they are not bred properly, these dogs could have skull abnormalities that could lead to mental problems. The Boston Terrier has a maximum life expectancy of about 15 years.
It is important for owners to make sure these dogs get reasonable amounts of exercise. They should be taken for walks, and they should be allowed to run and play in a secure area. These dogs are well balanced and can function well in apartments or yards. However, they cannot tolerate extreme weather conditions. They should not be taken for long walks in weather that is unusually hot or cold.
Special Grooming Needs
The Boston Terrier has a smooth coat that only requires simple care. You will want to use a comb or brush when the coat needs to be groomed, and the face and eyes should be cleaned each day. Owners will want to be gentle when cleaning around the eyes. It is also important to check the ears to make sure no ticks are present. These dogs will shed a standard amount of fur.
Because they are sensitive to weather extremes, Boston Terriers are basically indoor dogs who require air-conditioning in the summer and a coat in the winter. These dogs also have a well-earned reputation for being escape artists and should not be left unattended in the yard.
IF YOU DECIDE TO GET A BOSTON TERRIER
Resist those cute puppies in the pet shop window. Unfortunately, most of these dogs are raised under inhumane conditions and have probably not received the time and care needed to mature into good pets.
The most dependable source for a purebred Boston Terrier is a reputable breeder. A good breeder should be willing to give you a pedigree, documentation the dog has been screened for genetic problems, and a chance to observe the dogâ€™s siblings and mother.
If you are interested in a mature dog, check with your local rescue club. These groups provide foster homes for Boston Terriers who have been abandoned, abused, or left homeless after the deaths of their owners.