The Boston Terrier breed was created from the breeding of the White English Terrier and British Bulldogs back in the 1860s by an American by the name of Robert C. Hooper. Hooper, who lived in Boston, raised his first dog, “Judge” and the pups he sired and called them American Bull Terriers. The breed’s name was later changed to the Boston Terrier to give credit back to Robert Hooper and the breed’s origin.
Boston Terriers are wonderful companion dogs. They are often called the “American Gentleman” due to their tuxedo-wearing appearance and also due to their friendly disposition. They are avid lickers and will lick anyone and everything if given a chance. They are excellent with people and other dogs as long as they are properly socialized when young. These sturdy little dogs are full of energy and need an outlet for that energy. For this reason, even though they are considered a small breed, they are not ideal for apartment living, unless they are exercised regularly. Boston terriers are a wonderful little dog that acts like a much bigger dog. They are often owned by people who say that they would never have had a small breed dog but since these dogs are spunky, athletic and super playful they don’t seem like a small breed at all.
Being terriers, Boston’s are natural predators and will chase anything that moves, unless they have been raised knowing which animals are family members (i.e. the family cat, guinea pig, etc.) because otherwise, anything else that runs will be fair game. They are well-known for both their intelligence and their stubbornness. As with all dogs, they need early training to avoid issues with these, and other, personality traits.
There are several different classes of Boston Terriers. The smallest weighs under 15 lbs, the middle class weighs between 15 – 20 lbs and the largest weighs between 20 and 25 lbs. Typically their height does not exceed 17 inches at the shoulder blades (withers). Their short hair coat is very easy to maintain, with no brushing required. An occasional bath every 3-4 weeks, is all that is usually needed.
Purebred dogs are prone to various health issues and the Boston Terrier is no exception. The number one health problem faced by Boston Terriers is allergies. They suffer from both gastrointestinal sensitivities and outward signs of allergic response such as itching, skin irritation and face rubbing. Often allergy testing needs to be performed to isolate which allergens are bothersome to the dog, so that a suitable food can be found and allergens in the environment can be minimized. They are also particularly prone to eye issues as their eyes protrude due to their pushed in faces. Cataracts, ulcers and injuries while running through bushes are just to name a few. Unfortunately, they are also prone to heart issues.
Due to their pushed-in faces, they are prone to over-heating in the summer as they can’t regulate their body temperature as well as other, longer-nosed breeds. They cannot be exercised on hot days, as this can be deadly. Boston terriers, being a very short-coated dog, are also not designed to be outside in the winter . They often spend the winter months lying in the sun on the living room floor or spread out over a favourite heating vent trying to stay warm. Owners of Boston’s often joke that they have a spring and fall dog due to these temperature constraints.
On a humorous final note, like Pugs, Bulldogs and French Bulldogs, Bostons make a range of vocalizations that most people would never know a dog could make. A bizarre combination of chirps, squawks, high-pitched trills, squeaks, snorts, grunts and snoring in addition to barking, can be heard on a daily basis. To new owners or a person unfamiliar with these pushed-in faced breeds, these sounds can sometimes be very disconcerting but long-time owners find these sounds endearing for sure.