Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier

Photo: BIS.BISS.MCh.Devil Mountain’s Cherry Garcia

Boston Terrier was developed in the U.S. in the late 1800s from English Bulldogs, white English Terriers, French Bulldogs, and a few other breeds. The Boston Terrier has received many accolades from fans. These Boston Terrier dogs have been called “American Gentlemen” because of their fine manners and American roots. The Boston Terrier was the first American breed recognized by the American Kennel Club and, for many years in the early 1900s, was one of the most popular breeds. One of the breed’s first nicknames was “roundhead,” for its round skull shape.

The Boston Terrier stands 15 to 17 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 15 and 25 pounds. She has a round head with a shortened muzzle; large, round, dark eyes; and ears that can be either cropped or left natural. The body is short, the legs strong, and the tail either straight or twisted. Unlike many other terrier breeds, the tail is not docked. The short, smooth coat is brindle, seal, or black with white markings. This breed is easy to groom; it requires twice weekly brushing with a soft bristle brush. If the dog has skin wrinkles on her muzzle, those should be cleaned daily.

The Boston Terrier is not a high-energy dog. She will be happy with a good walk and a playtime or two. Most Bostons enjoy playing fetch, and some will do so for as long as someone will throw the ball. Exercise should be avoided during the heat of the day in hot climates or in the summer, as her shortened muzzle can cause breathing difficulties. In cool weather, the Boston Terrier enjoys agility.

Many Boston Terriers have also served admirably as volunteer therapy dogs. This friendly breed enjoys the socialization aspects of a puppy kindergarten class. Training should begin early, as some Boston puppies have housetraining challenges, but with patience and persistence, they do learn what is expected of them. Leash training is also important, as Bostons are strong for their size and love to pull. Training should be structured yet fun; when motivated, Bostons love to learn, but they can be a touch stubborn.

The Boston Terrier will bark when people approach the house but is not known for being protective. This barking can cause a problem with neighbors, so it should be addressed early with training. This is a great family dog who will become very attached to her people. She enjoys playing with children as long as they are not too rough.

Many Boston Terriers have been dressed up in doll clothes and wheeled in doll carriages, and they put up with it all with great patience. Bostons generally get along well with other dogs, although playtime with larger dogs should be supervised; Boston Terriers have no idea that they are are small, and larger dogs could hurt them inadvertently. If a strange dog challenges a Boston, she will not back away from a scuffle. Interactions with small pets should be supervised. Health concerns include breathing disorders, deafness, and thyroid and knee problems.


3 replies on “Boston Terrier”

Boston Terriers are very individualistic: Some are high-spirited and clownish, some are calm and dignified, even placid. Some are stubborn characters, while others are sweet and gentle.
But in general, the Boston Terrier is an altogether dapper and charming little dog. Playing games and chasing balls are (frequently) two of his passions.
Seeking companionship is another, for the Boston always wants to be with his family. His large expressive eyes, attentively cocked head, and snorting and snuffling sounds bring out parental feelings in many people.
Extremely sensitive to his owner’s moods, some Boston Terriers are one-person dogs, with a special affinity for the elderly. But many are outgoing with everyone, and even the ones who are a bit standoffish are polite. Yet he is a dependable watchdog who will let you know when someone is at the door.
Fine with other family pets, Boston Terriers may put on a blustery show upon spying a larger dog across the street, but they are seldom truly aggressive.
This breed is often a good choice for first-time owners — as long as you can deal with the health issues resulting from their unnaturally short face.

America’s sweetheart, the Boston Terrier, was the first fully recognised American bred non-sporting breed. Developed in Boston, Massachusetts, after the civil war and registered with the American Kennel Club in 1893, the breed was an admixture of two older more established dogs, the English Bulldog and the English White Terrier (now extinct). Additional crossings with the English Bull Terrier, Boxer and French Bulldog contributed to the development of the modern breed. In the Victorian era, pedigrees were snobby indicators of dogs and the people who owned them. As a rule, purebred puppies cost $15 to $300 – a luxury item working class families could ill afford. By 1900, as the standard of living improved, Americans were moving in droves from cities to suburbs. For the first time, regular folks could own a single family dwelling, a garden and a family dog. And not just any dog – a purebred dog. Hobby-kennels of wealthy aristocrats gave way to large numbers of small commercially operated kennels. Costs of purebred dogs dropped substantially making papered-pooches within reach of a large part of the American public. For the next thirty years the Boston Terrier ranked as the first or second most popular breed in America.

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