Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier relaxing at home

The Boston Terrier is considered to be the epitome of an all-American dog. Their history dates back in Boston. At one point, Americans were so enamored with this breed, that their popularity topped the charts for most of the early 1900’s.

This small size and medium energy breed has been strutting along American culture with its fine and short tuxedo coat ever since the late 1800’s. Unfortunately, the breed became known and used as a pit fighting dog.

Thankfully, a shift in society gave this canine breed a different role in society. One that is much safer. A role they cherish and thrive in as a family companion pet.

So what is it that makes the Boston Terrier so adored and appreciated as one of America’s own canine breeds?

Here is what you need to know about the Boston Bull Terrier.

History

The best and most accountable version of this breed’s history goes back to 1870. The story involves a dog named, Judge, and two friends from the Boston area. According to accounts, a Bostonian named, Robert C. Hooper, had obtained a dog from a friend and fellow breeder, Edward Burnett. Although other accounts vary, one consistent detail of the Boston Terrier’s history is the dog named, Judge.

Judge’s ancestry line is either original Bull and Terrier breeds or even a direct result of today’s, English Bulldog.

According to the American Kennel Club, who originally registered and recognized the Boston Terrier in 1893, that dog Judge is the ancestor of today’s Boston Terriers.

By then, fanciers in Boston had already created their own American Bull Terrier Club, but the 30 members disagreed on the club’s name. In the midst of that disagreement sparked names such as Round Heads, Bull Terriers and Boston Bulls. Eventually, these men settled with Boston Terrier Club.

The breed became the first non sporting group dog in the U.S. and the first to be inducted into the American Kennel Club out of all ten American made breeds.

Most Boston Terriers during this time were bigger in stature and used for devious activities such as chasing down rats in factories and fighting in pits with fellow canines. However, once the breed gained clearance from the AKC, they were bred down to size for non sporting group purposes. Their coat color and other markings weren’t written into their standard until the 1900’s. Today, a Boston Terrier can belong to three different weight groups.

In 1915, the Boston Terrier was considered to be the most popular dog breed in the U.S. The American Gentleman received a distinguishing honor being named as America’s bicentennial dog back in 1976. In 1979-80, the breed was officially Massachusetts state dog and has been featured as Boston University’s mascot.

Today, the Boston Terrier is still very popular with dog lovers and is considered the 21st most popular breed in the world, according to the American Kennel Club.

Size

Classified as a small breed with medium energy, the Boston Terrier can be in three different weight classes. Males and females may vary but on average, the Boston should weigh between 15 to 25 pounds. Males can weigh under 15 pounds, but typically fall between 20 and 25 pounds. Females range from as low as 6  to 22 pounds. The average height is 15 to 17 inches.

Personality/Temperament

Once humans in the early 20th century began frowning upon pit fighting with dogs, they began realizing how useful the Boston Terrier could be in a different capacity. That they are.

Considered to be silly at times, and sometimes the class clown, Boston Terriers are a wannabe lap dog, usually with too much size to be one. Although they are labeled in the small breed group, a Boston has a giant heart and just wants to love its humans.

Starting with children, the Boston Terrier isn’t big enough to trample over smaller kids, but they aren’t small enough to be bullied either.

Muscular and compact, sometimes Boston Terriers like to exude a little bit of showmanship through playful combat with fellow dogs and pet owners.

They can be described as gentle and incredibly affectionate. Early socialization is always key for how well they are around other animals and smaller children.

Ultimately, unless you were to raise a mean dog, the Boston Terrier is happiest at home and curled up on the couch with his brother or master.

While they do enjoy the outdoors, the Boston Terrier is susceptible to excessive heat due to their short muzzle. On the other hand, the cold weather isn’t ideal for this breed either.

They should get out and walk at least once a day. They can be greedy with their food and ardent beggars.

Boston Terriers, despite the first impression you may have, are friendly and consider many to be a friend. They thrive in agility testing, and embrace new tasks and tricks to learn.

Boston Terriers can adapt to many surroundings, and are considered to be the perfect canine companion.

Health

Many consider the Boston Terrier to be a relatively healthy canine. However, there are some hallmark issues that they seem to inherit more than other breeds. Anyone purchasing a Boston Terrier, should do so by purchasing from a reputable breeder. In other words, you should always obtain clearance papers and validation on health.

One health concern found in many Boston Terriers is Patellar Luxation. This will cause your dog to lean forward on its forelegs unnaturally. This can also cause lameness in the legs and certain Patellar Luxation cases can lead to arthritis and surgery.

Another common health concern affiliated with Boston Terriers is deafness. It is likely that a Boston Terrier is deaf in one ear, which can affect the way it learns as a puppy, if you are unaware. Certain dogs are fully deaf.

Reverse Sneezing is something that should monitored, where the dog sneezes while it eats, gets excited, or pollen season.

Keep in mind that this is a Brachycephalic breed, which means short face dog. These traits usually display small nostrils, long palates and narrow tracheas. This can cause the dog to breathe harder and with more effort as well as chronic snoring.

A U.K. Kennel Club Survey said that 90 percent of all Boston Terriers born in the study were by caesarean section. This can cause complications and deformities at birth or even death.

Other issues include:

  • Cherry Eye
  • Cataracts
  • Megaesophagus.
  • Allergies
  • Brain Tumors and Heart Murmurs.

Always exercise good judgement when buying from a breeder and always be sure your dog is checked up by your veterinarian.

Care

Boston Terriers should receive early socialization as puppies, and this breed requires low-key training. They don’t like to be scolded or demoralized. This can cause them to shut down and react unfavorably.

They can be destructive, if they feel neglected and unwanted. This could result in excessive chewing or torn up furniture. A simple solution such as a daily walk, and mental stimulation exercises will keep this American Gentleman very happy.

A Boston Terrier can be stubborn and ravenous with food. Always maintain a healthy diet and also be consistent with your training.

Ultimately, the Boston Terrier wants to be where you are. They love their families and should be included on family expeditions. They should be indoors during extreme cold or hot temperatures due to their genetic makeup. However, they do enjoy walks and jogs. They do learn well, and are considered one of the more intelligent dog breeds around.

Boston Terriers should receive a bath when it’s necessary. Their teeth should be brushed two to three times per week to promote hygiene and good dental health. This will reduce the likelihood of gum diseases.

Trimming nails once a month is a good idea so that your furniture isn’t ripped up inadvertently. This will help the dog as well avoid pain from overgrown and torn nails.

To avoid ear infections, you should regularly clean out their ears with a damp cloth.

Finally, always clean their faces and check for facial irritation or redness.

Feeding

At a younger age, puppies will expend much more energy than their adult counterparts. This should translate and most likely will result in 3-4 meals per day up until 4-6 months. You should reduce their meals down to 2-3 around that time. Around 9-12 months, two meals separated in the morning and during evening is recommended.

Try giving your Boston Terrier 1-1.5 cups of top-rated dry kibble a day. To keep their compact body vibrant and healthy, you should feed them quality protein like Chicken or Lamb. Most quality manufacturers will top out at 20 to 27 percent proteins levels. Avoid corn and other grain food substances.

As always, you should have fresh and clean drinking water available to your Boston Terrier. Reward them with healthy treats like biscuits and bones to promote better teeth.

Coat

A Boston Terrier shouldn’t come in a solid color coat. If a dog breeder says they have one, then they are yanking your chain.

According to the American Kennel Club, a Boston Terrier has three coat colors. These colors are: brindle, seal, black, and is marked by white around the chest, muzzle, neck band, and the upper portion of the forelegs.This gives the dog that “tuxedo look” earlier mentioned.

Their coats are short, smooth and considered to be slick. This makes it hard for the dog in colder weather, so try to keep in moderate climates. Grooming isn’t a big deal with this breed, as they shed infrequently.

Boston Terrier

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Boston Terrier dog side profile. By Dora Zett / Shutterstock

Fun Facts About The Boston Terrier

  • Did you know that Boston Terriers can live as long as 15 years? The life expectancy rate for a Boston Terrier is 11-13 years.
  • Many Bostonians used the breed as a deterrent to chase away rats inside different factories.
  • The Boston Terrier is not only the mascot for Boston University but also for Wofford College in South Carolina and Redlands High School out in California.
  • Many elderly and disabled people today use the Boston Terrier as a therapy dog.
  • Did you know that actress, Rose McGowan and actor, Ben Stiller both own Boston Terriers?
  • Singer Louis Armstrong is said to have owned a Boston Terrier.
  • Two U.S. presidents, Gerald Ford and Warren G Harding both owned Boston Bull Terriers.

Closing Words

From singers to celebrities, and even U.S. presidents, they have all enjoyed the companionship of a Boston Terrier.

The story of a Boston Terrier is a good one. It originates as a bellicose breed, that was forced into pit fighting and hurting fellow canines. Thankfully, civility kicked in and found a better role and purpose for this breed.

If you want a quiet dog, that doesn’t have much personality, then the Boston Terrier probably isn’t right for you.  But if you want a companion that is loyal, excellent with children, fun and playful with fellow animals, the American Gentleman has all of those boxes checked off.

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