Like many dog breeds named after the area where they were originally developed, the Boston Terrier was named after the city of Boston in the USA. It was the most popular dog breed in America during the 1950s and is the smallest of the Bull dog breed. It is a lively, intelligent, compactly-built dog with a smooth coat, short head, short-tail and brindle in colour with white markings. White markings are on the muzzle, over the head, neck, breast, any or all part of the front legs and below the hocks on the hind legs. It has a square-shaped head, flat on top and free from wrinkles with flat cheeks, abrupt eyebrows and well-defined stop. The eyes are round and dark in colour with a vigilant, mild-mannered and intelligent expression. The small thin ears are carried erect. The head is supported by a slightly arched neck of fair length. It has a short body with a wide chest, short back, and well-sprung ribs. The short tail tapers to the tip, set on low and carried either straight or curled and has no fringes or coarse hair. The ideal weight of the Boston Terrier must not exceed 11.5 kilos while the ideal height is between 23-38 cm.
The Boston Terrier is an all-American dog breed, that originated in the city of Boston, USA. Robert C. Hooper of Boston was an avid fancier of the English Bulldog and English Terrier crosses. These dogs were very popular in the mining districts of the UK during the 1870s. In that same year, Mr. Hooper bought a dog from Massachusetts congressman Edward Burnett named Judge and renamed him “Hooper’s Judge” later on. Judge was a mixed Bull and Terrier type and is thought to be closely related to the same breed of the late 19th to early 20th century or was a cross between the modern Bulldog and the English White Terrier (now extinct). Judge weighed around 12.5 kg at that time and was mated to Burnett’s Kate (also a Bulldog/Terrier cross). The litters were crossed with the French Bulldog which became the foundation stock of the modern Boston Terrier. Today, it is highly accepted that Judge is the ancestor of the modern Boston Terrier. The breed was first exhibited in 1888 at a show in Boston. It became very popular by 1889 and fanciers formed what would become the Boston Terrier Club. It was admitted to the American Kennel Club in 1893 and was the first US breed to be recognized.
The Boston Terrier is nicknamed the “American gentleman” among the breeds of dogs because of its naturally gentle nature. It has a very friendly personality and a good sense of humour. It has a tendency to be protective of its owner which can sometimes result in aggressive behaviour towards other people and pets. It is generally a quiet breed that rarely barks and only when necessary which makes it an excellent companion dog for someone who lives in an apartment or suburban home.
The lively attitude of the Boston Terrier and its inert eagerness to please its owner makes it an easy-to-train breed. Training must start at an early age and must be taught basic obedience training to “come” and “sit” as well as leash training. Positive, non-violent and rewards-based training method from a consistent, firm and gentle trainer will bring out the best in the breed As a puppy, the Boston Terrier is not the easiest breed to house train but it is not the most difficult either.
The Boston Terrier’s short and smooth single coat requires a minimum amount of grooming and is quite easy to maintain. Regular brushing on a weekly basis will help keep the coat healthy and in excellent condition. Pay extra attention to the face, eyes, and ears as these are the most important areas to keep clean. The eyes are quite sensitive and delicate and must be attended to immediately if injured. Facial wrinkles must be cleaned with cotton and kept dry all the time to prevent bacteria from setting in. Check and clean ears as necessary. Trim nails on a regular basis and bathe the Boston Terrier only when necessary using a mild shampoo. The Boston Terrier is an average shedder.
Having a short muzzle, the Boston Terrier is relatively sensitive to and cannot tolerate extreme weather conditions, hot or cold. It has a tendency to have patellar problems which result to “roaching” or the curvature of the back that causes the dog to lean forward onto the front legs. Flatulence is also an issue with the Boston Terrier because of its highly sensitive digestive system so make sure to give good quality food. The large round eyes of the breed also makes it prone to corneal ulcers. As a brachycephalic breed, it is prone to snoring and reverse sneezing. The majority of puppy Boston Terriers are born via caesarean section (90%), according to a Kennel Club survey. The average life expectancy of the breed is 12 years.
Exercise requirement for the Boston Terrier is on the average. This energetic breed requires plenty of play time or it’ll develop destructive behaviour. Hiking is a great exercise for the Boston Terrier, although it must not be overdone. Running should be at the dog’s pace and should be done at a slow start – around five minutes per day and slowly increasing the duration as the days go by. Pay extra attention if the dog is experiencing heat exhaustion. Another good work out is to take the dog to a dog park where it can play around and meet other dogs as well.
This gentle and lively breed loves being with people and will get along quite well with children and other animals, both big and small, especially if properly socialised at an early age. It is a good breed for first-time pet owners.