Boston Terrier Dog History, Health And Care

Introduction Of Boston Terrier Dog

The Boston Terrier, also known as the American Gentleman, the Boston Bull, the Boston Bull Terrier and simply the Boston, is a true American breed created by cross-breeding an English Bulldog and a white English Terrier, with considerable subsequent inbreeding to standardize type. This is one of the most popular breeds in the United States and has been designated the State Dog of Massachusetts. Boston Terriers are lively, intelligent, friendly, compact and well-balanced, with striking dark coats and flashy white markings. This breed thrives on interaction with people and other pets – especially other Bostons. It does quite well with children if properly socialized and monitored. The Boston Terrier was admitted to the Stud Book of the American Kennel Club in 1893.

The Boston Terrier is classified by 3 weight categories: under 15 pounds, 15 pounds to under 20 pounds, and 20 pounds not to exceed 25 pounds. It stands between 15 and 17 inches at the withers. Its short shiny coat is easy to care for, and while Bostons need regular exercise, they are not considered to be particularly high-energy dogs.

Boston Terrier Dog Breed Quick Facts

Affection Level5/5
Apartment Friendly5/5
Barking Tendencies4/5
Cat Friendly3/5
Child Friendly4/5
Dog Friendly3/5
Exercise Need2/5
Grooming Needs1/5
Health Issues2/5

Boston Terrier – Appearance & Grooming


Boston Terriers are compact little dogs with broad heads, protruding eyes, and a tuxedo-patterned coat. Bostons have square faces with short muzzles which resemble the face of a Boxer. Their roots are in the bulldog lines, but Bostons, with their square proportions, are built more like terriers. The ears are small, erect and may or may not be cropped. Their short tails are set low on the body, taper, and can be either straight or screwed. Their smooth, short coat comes in black and white, seal and white or brindle and white.

Size and Weight

Boston Terriers are small dogs who stand between 12 and 15 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 10 and 25 pounds. The AKC has three size classifications: under 15 pounds, 15 to 20 pounds, and 20 to 25 pounds. Any dog who weighs less than 10 or more than 25 pounds is undesirable by breed standards.

Coat and Color

Boston Terriers have a fine, smooth coat that lays flat against the body. They come in three colors: black, seal, which appears black but is actually red, or brindle. All Boston Terriers have white muzzles, face blazes, and chests, which makes them look as through they are wearing a tuxedo. Bostons do not come in solid colors. Breeders with solid-color dogs are not adhering to proper standard, and solid-colored Bostons are immediately disqualified in the show ring.

Grooming Needs

Grooming a Boston Terrier is a snap. This breed sheds lightly throughout the year, so weekly brushing is enough to keep dead, stray hairs in check. They only need to be bathed as needed, when they get particularly dirty. Some owners find that a dry shampoo helps keep the dog clean, the coat healthy, and further minimizes the need for a bath. Their faces should be cleaned daily, as their protruding eyes can easily become irritated or pick up an infection.

Weekly ear and teeth cleaning will keep harmful bacteria at bay, and Bostons who don’t wear their nails down naturally will need a monthly clipping.

Boston Terrier – History and Health


In the late 1800s, Robert C. Hooper of Boston acquired an imported dog commonly known as “Hooper’s Judge.” He was a high-stationed, dark brindle dog with white markings and is the direct ancestor of virtually all modern Boston Terriers. Judge was a cross between a white English Terrier and an English Bulldog, although he resembled the Bulldog much more so in type. During this era, crosses of bulldogs and terriers typically were used in Britain and eventually in the United States for the blood-sports of bull-baiting and pit dog-fighting, which later were outlawed. Judge was bred to a low-stationed white bitch of unknown origin named “Burnett’s Gyp,” and from their offspring descended the foundation of the Boston Terrier breed. It is thought that some French Bulldog blood was later added to the mix, possibly to shrink the breed’s size. In 1889, a number of fanciers in the Boston area organized the American Bull Terrier Club, exhibiting their dogs as “Round Heads” or “Bull Terriers”. Over time, this group met with considerable opposition from Bull Terrier and Bulldog fanciers who objected to the confusing and overlapping breed names.

In 1891, Boston Terrier fanciers formed the Boston Terrier Club of America and renamed their breed the Boston Terrier, after its city of origin. It took several years to convince the American Kennel Club that the Boston was, in fact, a pure breed that would produce true to type. Boston Terriers were officially admitted into the AKC Stud Book in 1893, and the breed club gained AKC membership the same year. With a certain amount of selective inbreeding to cement its type, today’s Boston Terrier is instantly recognizable as a clean-cut, small dog with a short muzzle, a flat face, large pronounced round eyes, snow-white markings on a short dark brindle or black coat and with a stout body resembling that more of a terrier than a bulldog. By the 1920s, the breed had reached Europe, and by the 1950s it reportedly was the most popular purebred dog in North America. The Boston Terrier remains a popular and devoted companion dog.


The Boston Terrier has an average life span of 13 to 15 years. Because the breed has been selectively bred down in size while retaining its large head, Boston bitches frequently have difficulty delivering their puppies naturally. Caesarean sections are common in this breed. Other breed health concerns may include generalized demodicosis, atopy, allergies, pattern baldness, ulcerative keratitis, tail-fold intertrigo, hyperadrenocorticism, vascular ring anomaly, pyloric stenosis, congenital elbow luxation, patellar luxation, melanoma and other forms of cancer, hydrocephalus, hemivertebrae, congenital deafness and a variety of ocular disorders. Brachycephalic upper airway syndrome is common in this breed as a consequence of breeding for exaggerated facial characteristics. Hypoplastic trachea is also seen in this breed.

Boston Terrier – Temperament & Personality


The Boston Terrier personality varies from individual to individual. Some are rowdy and sassy, others more mellow and subdued, while still others will do anything for a laugh. All Boston Terriers, however, love people, love activity and love lots of attention. They are especially good dogs for elderly people, as they tend to focus most of their attention to one person, and tune in to that person’s emotions. A Boston knows when his person is sad, happy, lonely or angry and can adjust his own behavior accordingly.

Activity Requirements

Boston Terriers are small, but love to run. They will chase after a ball as often as you are willing to throw it. Apartments are perfectly suitable for a Boston, but they will need daily walks and play time. Families of any size or age can adopt a Boston with confidence. They will happily romp around the yard with children, or spend the afternoon curled on the lap of an elderly companion. They are very adaptable and will adjust their activity level to the person they care about the most.


Beware the expressive eyes of a Boston Terrier. He will use his charming looks to melt the hearts of those who try to train him. Despite their tendency toward manipulation, however, Boston Terriers are highly trainable. Consistency, a little positive reinforcement and lots of treats are the best training combination for this breed. A harsh tone and disciplinary action will cause a Boston to develop avoidance behaviors and stubbornness.

Behavioral Traits

Bostons bark. Just like other terriers they are quick to alert everyone that there is a stranger approaching, leaving, or walking somewhere across the street. Like other terrier breeds, Bostons also like to bark at other dogs, but they are rarely aggressive. They are a true case of bark being much worse than bite. Early training to learn a stop barking command is essential to maintain family sanity.

Boston Terriers love their family and want to be with their people as often as possible. For this reason, separation anxiety is often a problem, and Bostons will bark, chew and scratch until their people come home. Keeping a Boston well exercised and giving him lots of activities to keep himself busy while he’s alone can prevent problems.

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