The Boston terrier, also known as the American gentleman, is a frisky, kind little dog from the nonworking group. The story goes that the breed can trace their lineage back to a single dog, Judge, born in the late 1860s in Liverpool, England. In 1870, judge was brought to Boston and his name change to Hooper’s Judge as an homage to his new owner.
Judge was born into the English fandom of blood sports and dogfighting. He was a combination of a bulldog and a white English terrier. Over time, Judge’s substantial size (30 pounds of muscle with substantial height) was bred down to become the smaller lighter friendlier dog we know today. The Boston terrier remains beloved in the city of Boston today, as well as all over the world.
BOSTON TERRIER BREED CHARACTERISTICS
With its distinctive appearance, the Boston Terrier is a familiar character in the dog world. Let’s find out more about the specifics of this little companion.
Today’s Boston Terrier is a small, compact but still powerful little dog. With a height between 15 and 17 inches at the shoulders and weighing between 12 and 25 pounds, Boston’s are graceful and easy to keep.
Well known and easily recognize to recognize for their characteristic tuxedo coat, they may be white and black brindle or dark brown color known as seal. Their fur is sleek, short and very soft.
Another distinguishing characteristic of the Boston Terrier are the expressive, round eyes. Set wide and high on their heads and topped by their rounded skulls, the eyes lend to their reputations for being friendly and curious little dogs. The skull is square overall, ending in flat cheeks and a short, flat muzzle. Known as a brachycephalic breed, their upper jaw is shorter, giving the appearance of having a pushed in face.
The Boston Terriers body throws back to their history as a fighting dog. They are quite well muscled for such a small dog, with strong, low shoulders and wide set legs. Their deep chests give an overall sturdy, boxy appearance.
Temperament and Personality
Bostons are known to be an excellent companion pet. They are not known to be aggressive. They are friendly, open to meeting new people, and integrate well with other pets. Bostons also travel extremely well, due in part due to their moderate energy levels and overall easy-going nature.
They have a reputation for being particularly affectionate and gentle with children. Bostons also make an excellent option for an urban dwelling or apartment pet. They are usually quite content to hang around the house with their people and require only moderate exercise. These characteristics recommend them as an ideal pet for the elderly or infirm, or just busy families.
The intelligence of the Boston Terrier makes them very sensitive and in tune to their human companions. It’s not uncommon for a Boston to respond to their owner’s facial expressions or tone of voice. This intelligence also makes them quite easy to train!
Being a terrier, some Bostons may be prone to a bit of occasional stubbornness. A caring owner, though, will understand this is in part due to their background as a fighting dog. Their jolly personalities more than make up for any difficult moments, as they’re quite easy to talk out of any naughtiness!
Speaking of talking your Boston terrier out of something, they just might talk back. While Bostons are not known to be particularly barky dogs, they do tend to grunt, snuffle, snort, and often snore quite loudly! To many owners this is all part of their charm!
CARING FOR YOUR BOSTON TERRIER
Caring for your Boston Terrier is much like caring for any smaller dog breed, with a few special considerations for them.
Boston Terriers are generally stout, healthy dogs and do very well on a high quality, commercial dog food. For their size, it is generally recommended to feed about a cup of food, two times a day. However, as their age and activity levels change throughout their lives, the amount of food they may require will vary.
As they age, they do have an unfortunate tendency to lean toward obesity. Be sure to talk with your veterinarian about making a change to a more specialized food for senior dogs, or even a low calorie option.
Bostons are quite easy keepers, and tend to prefer active play to heavy exercise. While each individual dog’s needs will vary, in general, a walk around the neighborhood each day will suffice.
For many Bostons, an even better option than a walk is a good game. They are known to love chasing a ball and playing fetch with their owners! Be sure to invest in high quality toys, or even a fetch machine if your Boston is a ball fiend.
Bostons are known for excelling in dog sports like dog agility and obedience, as well as fun options like flyball. Any way your Boston Terrier can combine play with spending time with you will make for a happy dog!
Training a Boston Terrier is often a very easy process. Beginning in puppyhood, training and socialization are wonderful ways to ensure that the dog can enjoy a balanced life. They will quickly learn to be comfortable in a variety of settings.
Because Boston Terriers are such intelligent dogs, they learn new behaviors quickly. Even a novice dog owner can quite successfully raise an obedient and personable Boston. Training sessions should always be kept as short as possible to avoid fatiguing or stressing the dog. And above all, always remember to be positive and use lots of rewards. Boston Terriers are thoughtful and it can be quite easy to hurt their feelings!
Like any dog breed, Boston Terriers have certain health needs and conditions that are more common. Reputable breeders test their breeding animals and puppies for many of these conditions and can help buyers make informed decisions.
One of the most significant overall healthcare factors to be aware of is that Boston Terriers are sensitive to climate. Flat-faced breeds tend to more susceptible to complications of hot weather due to their short or “pushed in” muzzles. Their short nasal passages make it more difficult for them to effectively cool the air they’re breathing in. This in turn makes regulating their body temperature challenging.
Keeping them safe and cool in hot, humid weather is a top priority. Consider investing in doggy cooling pads, and always ensure that your Boston Terrier has unlimited access to fresh, cool water!
Another common health concern for Boston Terriers is a tendency to develop eye problems, including corneal ulcers, cataracts, and “cherry eye,” a problem with a gland within the dog’s third eyelid. Due to their prominence, they can also frequently become dry, so keep drops on hand.
In addition to those concerns, Boston Terriers sometimes experience deafness, esophageal malformation, allergies, and patellar luxation (a joint problem that causes the dog’s kneecap to line up improperly with the leg bones).