Breed Basics: Boston Terrier


boston terrierThe Boston Terrier is the American gentleman of toy breeds. He is one of the few purebreds developed in the United States. Bred down from large pit-fighting breeds, it is difficult to imagine today’s Boston Terrier having ever participated in such an activity. The Boston Terrier is an active, little dog that suits families of all types.


This is a short coated breed that requires little grooming. They are generally no more than 25 pounds and no less than 10 pounds. The original Boston Terriers in the breed’s beginnings were up to forty four pounds. The coat is brindle and white, black and white or seal and white with brindle and white being preferable. The white is an integral part of the dog’s appearance and should be present. Although they are small enough to be treated as a lap dog, they are a small dog that thinks he’s big.


As with all small dogs, housebreaking can be difficult. Indoor training using a puppy training pad or litter pan may be necessary if the dog will be left alone for long periods of time. They are intelligent and very focussed on their owners, making obedience training less onerous. They do have a natural tendency to be a bit dominant and may try to rule the house if allowed to always have their way. This can lead to problems with other dogs in the household if the owner fails to take over leadership of the pack.


This is a relatively sturdy, little dog that does well as a family pet. Being short muzzled, care must be taken that children don’t overdo exercise, especially in hot or cold weather. The eyes also protrude slightly making them more vulnerable to injury. As with all children and dogs, they should never be left alone unsupervised. Accidents happen quickly and children are not the best at reading body language as expressed by dogs.


This is a healthy breed, often living fifteen or more years. They are at risk for respiratory problems due to the shortened muzzle and a variety of eye issues including cataracts, keratitis, cherry eye, corneal ulcers, corneal dystrophy, and glaucoma. Mast cell tumours and problem related to patellar luxation, deafness, and cardiac issues can arise.


This is an active breed and regular exercise is important although they will do fine without a yard and are perfect for apartment dwellers. Grooming needs are minimal due to the short coat. Training and socializing from a young age are important with all dogs including the Boston Terrier and are the key to avoiding issues with excessive barking and dominant behaviours. For a family that lives in an apartment, the Boston Terrier offers a purebred option that has minimal exercise needs and is sturdy enough to play with the whole family.