With his black and white tuxedo coat and wide adoring eyes, the Boston Terrier is ready for anything – but mostly to love and follow you wherever you go. Though originally bred to be pit-fighting dogs, you’d never guess this breed’s background when you get to know their affectionate, cuddly, dopey, yet intelligent personalities.
Whether you’ve already become the parent to a Boston Terrier or are considering it, here’s everything you need to know about this classy little breed.
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Meet The Boston Terrier
Weight: 10-25 pounds
Height: 12-15 inches at the shoulder
Life Expectancy: 13-15 years
Fur type: Boston Terriers have short, fine hair that typically comes in black, seal or brindle, all with a white muzzle and markings that resemble a tuxedo. They are not hypoallergenic.
Commonly known as the “American Gentleman,” Boston Terriers have a classy look and lively, affectionate personalities. They tend to be gentle cuddle bugs and also enjoy some good play time with their family. They can be spunky individuals, capable of entertaining themselves, but would much rather spend time with their favorite humans. They’re typically very intelligent and can sometimes come with a stubborn streak, which means consistency and persistence can be exceptionally important when it comes to their training.
They’re not obnoxiously demanding of attention and can be very well-socialized dogs. It’s beneficial to socialize them with other dogs and people from a young age to cultivate their social tendencies. Whenever you come home or when guests visit, they can make a great greeting party all on their own. They can adapt well to your schedule and want nothing more than to be your companion. They are not the type of dog that should be left alone for long periods of time however, something to keep in mind if considering a Boston Terrier for yourself.
Boston Terriers are high energy dogs who love to play and jump around at your feet, though their well-tempered personalities keep them from bouncing off the walls or going crazy. While they may be down for some action and adventure every day, they still make great couch/lap buddies.
They also don’t have high demanding exercise needs, though this doesn’t mean they can go completely without. It’s good for them to get good walks and playtime every day.
Good With Children
Boston Terriers love children, and children tend to love them right back. They make great family dogs for this reason. They don’t necessarily enjoy being mauled or overrun by children though, so it’s important to teach your kids how to behave around your Boston Terrier and make sure they know how to respect his space.
Good With Other Dogs
As mentioned, Boston Terriers tend to have very social natures and love the company of other dogs or to get in another dog’s business. Especially if they are socialized at a young age, you can expect your Boston Terrier to be very good with other dogs.
Boston Terriers do shed, though it’s not much and can be easily handled with regular brushing.
With their short coats and minimal shedding, Boston Terriers don’t have high grooming demands. They do great with weekly brushing, using a firm bristle brush. You can bathe them as often as you feel is necessary, though since they are an indoor breed, bathing doesn’t need to happen too often. You can typically maintain their cleanliness with some dry, powder dog shampoo and a damp cloth.
Because their eyes are so big, it’s highly suggested that you at least wash their faces daily and check for any irritations or signs of redness. While you’re at it, also clean out their ears and check for any signs of infection. You can safely clean their ears with a cotton ball dampened with gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner.
You should brush your Boston Terrier’s teeth at least 2-3 times a week, though daily brushing is ideal for preventing gum disease and other dental issues. To get them used to brushing, treat the toothbrush like a game when they are young and once they are used to it, add the doggy toothpaste.
Their nails will need to be trimmed once or twice a month. You shouldn’t be able to hear their nails clicking against the floor.
Tip: to help get your Boston Terrier accustomed to grooming, make it a fun and rewarding experience for them. Also be sure to handle their ears and feet frequently to prevent them from developing any sensitivities over time.
Boston Terriers typically have low barking tendencies and don’t have a yappy reputation, but that doesn’t mean they’ll never bark. It’s beneficial to train them from a young age when it’s alright and not alright to bark.
Trainability/Tips For Training
Because they can have a stubborn streak, training your Boston Terrier might take a firm hand, but they typically aren’t very difficult to train otherwise. Persistence and consistency are key.
They tend to learn quickly, though if training is a boring experience for them, then they might grow indifferent. Make training a fun and rewarding experience for them, and they’ll be far more likely to enjoy it and even want to show off what they’ve been learning.
Keep in mind that Boston Terriers tend to be very sensitive to your tone of voice and can shut down if you speak too harshly or firmly to them. They do much better with low-key tones and motivational strategies and positive reinforcement (treats, toys, praise, etc.).
How To Feed My Boston Terrier
First, it is important to note that Boston Terriers LOVE to eat and can have a hard time controlling themselves when it comes to food. Monitoring their eating is important in order to avoid excessive weight gain. If you’re ever unsure about whether they are gaining too much weight, you can either consult a veterinary professional or follow this rule of thumb: you should be able to feel, but not see their rib cage and their waistline should be clear when looking down at them.
For your Boston Terrier (and every dog breed really), you want to be sure you are giving them raw, natural food. They are living beings with digestive systems that stem from their “wolf” heritage (hard to believe when they’re so small, but it’s true). Processed foods do more harm than good for them over time.
Raw food tastes better to them. Its ingredients are simple, it is good for their health and helps keep their coats nice and shiny, it keeps them satisfied and happy and ultimately it saves you money (a pretty good perk)! For more information on how to provide your dog a good, safe, raw food diet, check out our page here.
For dog food in general (especially if you insist on sticking to bagged, kibble food) you want to be sure healthy meats are the highlight ingredient and that the food is not stuffed with additives and ingredients you cannot even pronounce. You especially want to avoid grains and artificial flavorings. Just as you want to be careful with what foods you are putting in your body, so should you also be for your little furry companion.
In general, when your puppy is 8-12 weeks old, he likely will be needing to eat at least 3-4 times a day. You want to be sure you are feeding your puppy the amount he needs, but also not too much. Again, you should be able to feel, but not see their ribs and they should have a visible waist when you are looking down at them.
Feeding Your Adult
By 6 months you will want to start reducing the amount of food you feed your Boston Terrier to fit an adult Boston Terrier feeding plan (about 2 meals a day). Make it a routine, feeding your Boston Terrier around the same times every day. You should be feeding your Boston Terrier 1/2- 1 1/2 cups of food a day, split between the two meals. It is recommended to avoid giving them table scraps and “people” food, as this can cultivate begging habits and a tendency for weight gain and health problems. This is a rule that should be implemented from the very beginning and be understood by everyone in the family and members of your social circle who spend time around your Boston Terrier.
It should be noted that the amount of food you feed a dog ultimately depends on their size, weight, age, build, metabolism and activity level. Be sure you know your Boston Terrier and his individual needs, especially when it comes to feeding.
Health Concerns For Boston Terriers
Every breed of dog has its own health concerns and issues to which it is prone. Though generally healthy dogs, Boston Terriers are no different. If you give them the proper attention and care, however, most health problems can be avoided. Some of the most common health concerns Boston Terriers are prone to include:
- Cataracts – this is a condition where the eyes develop a cloudy film over the lens that may or may not result in vision loss. Boston Terriers can develop these at young ages or when they are older.
- Cherry eye – this is a prolapse of the gland of the third eyelid that could possibly be genetic. It can occur at young ages and can require surgical attention from a veterinary professional.
- Patellar luxation – this is a common problem in small dogs. It is when the knee bones are not properly lined up and can slip out of place. It can lead to joint pain and other health concerns over time.
- Heart murmurs – this is a soft or harsh regurgitant sound in the heart. This can cause a lack of blood flow throughout the body.
- Deafness – Boston Terriers have a history of developing deafness in one or both of their ears.
- Brain tumors – these can develop in unhealthy Boston Terriers, just like they can in any living creature.
- Allergies – Boston Terriers can develop a range of allergies, ranging from contact allergies to food allergies. If your Boston Terrier is showing signs of irritation (excessive licking or rubbing face), consider consulting a veterinary professional.
- Megaesophagus – this is a defect in the structure of the esophagus, which can cause the Boston Terrier to regurgitate his undigested food.
- Seizures – Boston Terriers are prone to seizures, making it something that should be watched out for. If your Boston Terrier presents any seizure-like behavior (can manifest differently in different dogs), consider consulting a veterinary professional.
- Reverse sneezing – this can be caused when your Boston Terrier gets overexcited, or if he eats too fast, or is affected by pollen, etc. It happens when nasal secretions drop on the soft palate and cause it to close over the windpipe, resulting in wheezing. This can panic your Boston Terrier and he may need help calming down.
- Breeding concerns – because of their build, Boston Terriers can have a lot of trouble with pregnancy and giving birth. If you breed your Boston Terrier, do not do it without professional help and guidance.
If you ever have questions or concerns about your Boston Terrier, be sure to consult a veterinary professional. If you take the proper care of your Boston Terrier and make sure to get him frequent medical examinations though, many of these health issues can be prevented.
Frequently Asked Questions About Boston Terriers
Q. What is the Boston Terrier a mix of?
A. The Boston Terriers’ origins are a little disputed, but the general belief is that they were created from crossing a bulldog with the now extinct English White Terrier or English Terrier.
Q. Will my Boston Terrier calm down?
A. Boston Terriers generally have lively personalities, though if you give them the proper attention and make sure they have the chance to exercise daily, their energy should be manageable. Any behavioral issues that stem from their energy can also be addressed in training. If you need help, consider consulting a professional trainer.
Q. When will my Boston Terrier be full grown?
A. Because of their small size, Boston Terriers tend to slow down growth after 6 months and can be considered full grown at one year (though this doesn’t mean they’ll lose their “puppy” behavior too quickly).
Q. Will a Boston Terrier protect its owner?
A. Boston Terriers are not an aggressive breed, though they have been known to show protective behavior for their families and favorite humans. They tend to have sharp, intelligent instincts and are capable of sensing a potential threat.
Q. Can Boston Terriers swim?
A. Due to their build, Boston Terriers are not meant for swimming and can struggle a lot in water, to the point it can be dangerous towards their health.
Q. How much do Boston Terriers cost?
A. Purebred Boston Terriers can range from $1,000-2,000, sometimes upwards of $5,000 depending on where/who you get one from.
Q. Can my Boston Terrier be left alone?
A. Boston Terriers tend to be a very social breed and do not do well being left alone for long periods of time. They much prefer being around their family and going out with you.
Q. Can Boston Terriers live outside?
A. Though they can enjoy walks and spending time outdoors, Boston Terriers are not an outdoor breed. They are meant to be indoor dogs, making them ideal for home and apartment living.
Q. Are Boston Terriers smart?
A. Yes, Boston Terriers are considered an intelligent breed, despite their sometimes dopey-looking expressions.
Q. When will my Boston Terriers ears stand up?
A. Boston Terrier ears should stand up on their own by around 4 months old. If not, they may need help with some taping and strengthening. Consult a veterinary professional if you are concerned.
Classy, spunky, affectionate and adoring, Boston Terriers make excellent companion dogs and a great choice for family settings. If you make one a part of your family, you can expect to have a great playmate, cuddle bug, adventure buddy and personal welcoming committee for many years to come.
Do you have any additional questions? Let us know, we would love to hear from you!