Not surprisingly, the Boston Terrier is the state dog of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. They are thought to have a humble beginning, bred solely as pit fighters in the stables of Boston. A cross between English Bulldog and the now extinct English Terrier with a little French Terrier thrown in, they were quite formidable as ferocious fighting dogs.
It did not take long before they became popular with wealthy Boston Brahmins. Eventually, the fight was bred out of them, to make them companion dogs and family pets. Gaining their nickname as the American Gentlemen, because they look like they are formally dressed in a tuxedo, they were THE dog to be seen with during the Roaring Twenties. Extremely fashionable as family pets and companions until the 60’s, Bostons are rapidly climbing back in popularity like the adorable, little champs they are.
The most common colors found among Bostons are seal, brindle, black and white, and any combination of the four colors. The majority proudly sport a white chest, resembling a tuxedo shirt.
This small, stocky, muscular dog weighing between 10-25 pounds, is in the Non-Sporting group. They are in the Mastiff family. These mini-Mastiffs share many common personality and temperament traits of their gentle giant cousins.
In general, Bostons are highly intelligent and easy to train. Some can be stubborn, but their willingness to please their owners is normally so important to them, you can make them come around to your way of thinking by using a calm tone of voice. To avoid Small Dog Syndrome, establish and maintain your status as leader.
It is recommended to get a Boston into positive reinforcement, punishment free Puppy Kindergarten and socialization classes at an early age. They will absorb obedience training and socializing like little sponges. This is especially important if you have children and other pets. For the most part, Bostons love everyone. They are a fantastic family pet. With adequate training and socialization, they normally get along well with other dogs and small animals. However, some males can be territorial and protective. Nevertheless, if properly trained he should respond to corrections immediately.
Bostons are a favorite of older owners who appreciate their gentle, yet clownish antics and faithful companionship. Being a small dog that does not have a reputation for being a yappy barker, they are quite welcome and comfortable in an apartment or condo.
Typical of many small breeds, they can be a challenge to housebreak. Be patient, fair, firm and consistent. They will catch on.
As they do have a short coat and are brachycephalic; Greek meaning “short head,” they are sensitive to temperature extremes. Bostons are not a dog to toss out alone in the backyard for hours. Even though they thoroughly enjoy long, brisk walks and interactive playtime with you to burn off excess energy; like most proper Bostonians they would much rather be indoors than outdoors. This is not a breed that normally requires hours of daily exercise. They would much rather spend that time learning something, like tricks. They usually excel in agility rallies, flyball and obedience competitions.
Most of the health problems Bostons suffer involve their beautiful, large, dark eyes. They include: juvenile and adult cataracts, cherry eyes, endopian, districhiasis, corneal ulcers, glaucoma, corneal dystrophy, and dry eyes. Other health issues may include: allergies, heart murmurs, seizures, patellar luxation, deafness, gastrointestinal problems, hypothyroidism, megaesophagus, tracheal collapse, tumors and obesity.
In addition to reverse sneezing, Bostons are known for doing three things like champs. They are snoring, snorting and farting! Watch their diet and don’t overfeed them! They have a reputation for being non-stop eating machines.
Ask Boston owners to describe their pets. As their eyes light up you will hear: fun, silly, stubborn, friendly, loves everyone, great with other animals, loyal, alert, gentle, doesn’t bark much, cute, a character, busy, happy, quiet, smart, clownish, docile, affectionate, loves attention, devoted and devilish. What most appreciate is as active as they are outdoors; indoors they are relatively inactive, unless performing for your amusement.
Being a shorthaired breed that sheds minimally, they are easy to groom. A quick wipe with a damp towel and brushing; viola, you are done! Check their ears and clip their nails regularly.
This is a long-lived breed. Boston Terriers have been known to live over 15 years.
Bottom line: Do your homework. Research the breed. Talk to Boston Terrier owners. This is a wonderful pet for the right person or family. Run; do not walk away from puppies at pet stores, classified ads and flea markets. They only perpetuate horrifying puppy mills and sloppy, inexperienced backyard breeders. It may cost a bit more, but a reputable, responsible breeder is your best bet for a healthier, happier dog. If you cannot afford a good breeder, check with shelter and rescues. As Bostons are so popular with older owners, many are surrendered because of nothing more than life circumstances. You just may find your new best friend there, patiently waiting for you and a forever home.