Boston Terrier

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brindle, seal or black with white markings
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Good with kids:
Pros Cons

  • gentle and adjustable to any living conditions

  • wonderful playmate for children

  • needs very basic grooming

  • unpretentious to daily exercise

  • friendly with unknown people

  • prone to eye problems

  • poor guard dog


The native land of the affectionate, merry and lively Boston Terrier (nicknamed the American Gentleman) is America and more specifically Boston, Massachusetts. Initial purpose of its development was participation in canine fighting but it fairly quickly won national recognition as an excellent companion animal. This easy-going and friendly breed with adorable face is the optimal choice for town dwellers and families with children.


The Boston Terrier traces back its ancestry to a dog called Judge. This hybrid of the English Bulldog and the now-extinct English White Terrier was adopted by a Boston resident named Mr. Robert C. Hooper roughly in the year 1865. Judge possessed unusually long legs, brindled coloration and massive sturdy head with the almost levelled mouth of the today’s Boston Terrier. It was crossed with a white-coated English Bulldog called Burnett’s Gyp owned by Edward Burnett of Southborough, Massachusetts. One of the puppies from this litter was nicknamed Well’s Eph and was subsequently bred to Tobin’s Kate. These four dogs became the foundation stock for the current version of the Boston Terrier.

Although the breed was originally developed exclusively for fighting arena, soon it caught attention of breeders who took no interest in this cruel sport. In their breeding efforts they used the offspring of Hooper’s Judge as well as other breeds including English Bulldogs and French Bulldogs. The latter granted this dog its distinctive prick ears. As soon as in 1888 the breeds’ specimens entered the show ring under the name the Boston Bull Terrier.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) gave the dog its formal acceptance in 1893 and renamed it to the Boston Terrier. This breed was initially kept primarily by American barbers and carriage drivers but by the early XX century it became the favourite companion of wealthy and influential people in this country. At that point these dogs were already quite uniform in conformation and enjoyed incredible popularity with all classes of the then American society. In 1914 the Boston Terrier also entered the studbooks of the United Kennel Club (UKC) and was one of the first canine companions recognised by this registry.

The number of the breed’s fanciers spiked upwards during the 20s of the XX century when the American economy experienced sharp growth in the post-war years. The Boston Terriers’ moderate size, invariable playfulness and gentle nature made it an ultimate canine friend for keeping in a city apartment. In the years of the Great Depression its popularity ebbed away very noticeably although the dog has never left the list of the most widespread companion breed in its homeland.

Nowadays the Boston Terrier predominantly performs the role of a family pet and lots of its specimens produced great results in dog shows as well as in obedience and agility competitions.


Friendly personality and sweet temper of the Boston Terrier caused its huge popularity as a companion animal. This dog seems to like each and every person who addresses to it with gentle words or an invitation to play. It strongest desire is always to be in the centre of its masters’ attention although it will be quite satisfied just by their constant presence nearby. The breed has tendency to feel extremely upset and stressed if it has to spend long hours alone. That’s why it’s not the best choice for a full-time worker. Despite the dogs’ small stature it is robust and strong enough to put up with a bit of rough handling from younger family members and usually makes a wonderful canine friend for a child of any age.

The Boston Terrier easily gets into contact even with unfamiliar people whose it commonly perceives as potential playmates. Actually without some basic obedience training this dog may grow into an improper greeter. Some of its specimens are ready to voice the warning when someone is coming to the door so they can become relatively successful watchers. But this good-natured dog is simply unable to aggressive behaviour and therefore should never be trusted with guarding tasks.

On the whole, the Boston Terrier makes friends with its counterparts. Be mindful though that with its propensity to domination its specimens (especially unneutered males) may develop canine aggressive issues. Early and sufficient socialisation can effectively prevent such problems from initial appearing. This breed usually tolerates the presence of other pets in the house and rarely bothers them. Thanks to its weak prey drive it’s rarely tempted enough to chase a street cat and gets along extremely well with home cats.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

· problems with breathing;

· heat intolerance;

· flatulence;

· birth difficulties;

· eye problems;

· deafness;

· demodicosis;

· atopy;

· cerebellar hypoplasia;

· cleft lip/palette;

· hernivertebrae;

· hyrdrocephalus;

· heart problems;

· patellar luxation;

· baldness;

· pyloric stenosis;

· fold dermatitis;

· hypoplastic trachea;

· craniomandibular osteopathy;

· hyperadrenocorticism;

· spina bifida.


The Boston Terrier requires very simple grooming. Its short hair should be occasionally brushed in order to stay in neat condition. Bathe your pet only when it’s absolutely necessary so you won’t risk removing the layer of protective skin oils.

Nonetheless it’s not so easy to care for this breed. It’s predisposed to several health concerns (for example daily eye drop), which may substantially increase the amount of daily maintenance. It’s almost unpredictable what particular treatment will need each individual specimen of the Boston Terrier but it’s still worth to study the ancestry of the pup before acquiring it.

The rest is a standard care, which includes regular nail trimming, weekly teeth brushing and periodic ear cleaning.


The training of the Boston Terrier is a welcome task. With its eagerness to please and quick mind it can learn a great deal with very reasonable amount of efforts from your part. This dog usually becomes a successful participant of agility and obedience trials. Nonetheless this breed can’t boast the quick-wittedness of the German Shepherd so there is a certain ceiling in its training.

It’s absolutely unnecessary to resort to negative reinforcement while working with the Boston Terrier. It demonstrates implicit obedience when its interest is stimulated by its favourite treats and kind words. Housebreaking is the only training area, which poses stern difficulties for the Boston Terrier. Expect that it will take quite a while to fully housebreak this miniature breed.


The Boston Terrier is a moderately vigorous dog that requires little amount of physical exercise. It will be quite content with a long daily walk but it doesn’t mean that this dog doesn’t like playing and running outside. It loves typical canine games and can readily play for several hours on end.

However too strenuous activities can do this dog harm and therefore should be avoided. An under exercised Boston Terrier is prone to exhibit highly destructive, hyperactive and even aggressive behaviour.