The Playful Boston Terrier

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Dog breed info
Boston Terrier
Weight: 12 — 25 lbs
Height: 15” — 17”
AKC Rank 2008 #17
Lifespan: 10—14 yrs
Group: Non Sporting
Origin: United States

  • Breeders And Rescue Groups
  • Health, Dog Illness, Medical Problems

    Dog Breed Info -- The Boston Terrier

    "Hey! Get that camera outta my face!!
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    Breed Overview

    The Boston breed goes back to the 1800's when some coachmen, employed by the wealthy people of Boston began to interbreed some of their employer’s dogs. One of these crosses was between an English Terrier and a Bulldog that resulted in a dog named “Hoopers Judge.” Although ‘”Judge” weighed over 30 pounds, he was bred to a smaller female, and their son was bred to another smaller female. By 1889, the breed had become sufficiently popular in Boston that fans formed the American Bull Terrier Club. the breed name didn't satisfy the fans of the dog. The breed was named Boston Terrier after it’s birthplace. The Boston’s rise from nonexistence to popularity to AKC recognition was fast by standards. The breed was registered by the AKC in 1893.

    The Boston is a happy, gentle, laid back little dog that loves a quiet life and family. They love to take evening walks on leash and snuggle up on the sofa afterwords.


    Easy to train, enjoys training sessions. If you want to make the training go really smooth, try clicker training A clicker costs around $3 or less from your pet store and dogs love the easy system.

    Crate Training

    Want to crate train your Boston Terrier? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

    Boston Terrier running

    Potty Training

    Boston Terrier puppies are very easy to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

    If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.


    The Boston's are well mannered, but quite playful, especially enjoying ball chasing and romping in the yard or house whenever he can. Some can be a bit stubborn. Boston Terriers are smart and learn quickly. The dog is reserved with strangers and some may be aggressive toward strange dogs. Some may bark a lot, as they are terriers at heart.

    If you happen to get a Boston Terrier with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."
    Boston's do tend to wheeze and snore, This breed can not live outdoors or tolerate heat.

    A handsome, healthy Boston Terrier waiting
    for someone to play with him in the house.

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    Friendly Toward Other Dogs

    Yes, most get along with other dogs quite well. Some can be selective. Depends on your dog.

    Friendly Toward Other Pets

    Very good with other pets. Quite tolerant.

    Friendly Toward Strangers

    Yes. Bring on the relatives and neighbors.


    Loves to play.


    Boston's are affectionate dogs. They love their family

    Good with children

    Fairly tolerant with kids. Teach the kids how to act around a dog and it should be OK, but supervise anyway. Kids and dogs should always be supervised.

    Good with Seniors over 65?

    The Boston Terrier is ideal for a senior. A Loyal, friendly dog, easy to pick up, low exercise needs and a great companion as well as a good watchdog. This could easily be a couch potato or an over sized lap dog.

    Living environment

    Apartment, farm, big city, all OK. The Boston does not need a big yard, or really any yard, just as long as he gets his walks and play time in.

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    Energy level

    Moderate energy.

    Exercise needs, daily

    Will need some play time or a short walk. Exercise needs are minimal.

    This is a lively dog that needs a daily interaction with it’s people. It loves games and most of it’s exercise requirements can be met with a romp in the yard or a short walk on leash.


    Excellent watchdog.

    Guard dog

    NO. Bark is more than his bite.


    Yes, short hair and sheds some.


    Brush twice a week to get rid of dead hair. Dogs love the extra attention.



    Suggested Reading for the Boston Terrier

    • The book on the right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog emergencies, illnesses and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for all dog owners. Vol 2, 2008, includes a DVD.

    Please visit our recently added Dog Book and DVD Store.

    All about Boston Terriers!

    Boston Terrier Breeders

    In the event you decide to go looking for Boston Terrier puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training. It's not often that Boston puppies turn up in dog pounds and shelters but you might check anyway.
    Boston Terriers with puppies for sale.

    Boston Terrier Rescue

    In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of a B.T. and are looking for a Boston Terrier rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
    Petfinder - Dog Rescue -- Nationwide Before adoption a dog, read the dog breed info section above and below. Also, be watchful for dog health signals with the new dog.
    Boston Terrier Rescue offers a nation-wide service and may help you.

    Dog Health Issues - The Boston Terrier
    Below: The dog illness /illnesses or medical problems listed for the Boston Terrier by various vets.

    This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog health and medical issues this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

    The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

    • Brachycephalic syndrome—Difficulty breathing in dogs with a short face and head such as the English Bulldog and Boston Terrier. They have a soft, fleshy palate, narrowed nostrils and larynx. Dogs with this will snort, cough, have a low tolerance for exercise, possibly faint easily, especially in hot weather, and breath noisily. This puts a strain on the heart. There can exist a lack of coordination between trying to breathe and swallow. Gastrointestinal problems can follow. Heat stroke is highly possible so keep your dog COOL.

    • Patellar luxation—Limping, Hind Leg Held Up, Can’t straighten back leg. Caused by an unusually shallow spot on the femur, weak ligaments and misalignment of tendons and muscles that align the knee joint and allow the knee cap (patella) to float sideways in and out of position. This can be caused by injury or be present at birth and can affect either rear leg. It’s most common in small and toy dogs. If your Boston has trouble straightening the leg, is limping, is lame, or is walking on three legs and holding one hind leg up, look for patellar luxation. Several of my dogs have had the problem and all I’ve done is reach down, massage the knee a little until they drop their leg, and we’re good to go for another 3 or 4 months. Severe cases require surgery for a fully lame leg.

    • Atopic dermatitis's—Atopy. Hereditary. Shows at 1 to 3 years age in the Boston Terrier. Skin allergy triggered by dust mites, pollen, poor quality foods and other garbage we put into the dog’s environment. Many breeds are prone to this. The dog will lick, rub, chew and scratch the infected areas. Allergens can also come from fleas, bacteria and yeast infections. See your vet. There are many treatments ranging from medicines, antihistamines, diets, bathing, cleansing the house of dust mites and so on.

    • Corneal Dystrophy—An inherited disease of the eye. A fluid buildup causing the outer part of the cornea to appear white and move inward toward the center.. A very painful and difficult to treat ulcer will develop.

    • Mast Cell Tumors—Mast cells are found throughout the body and help maintain the Boston Terrier’s normal immune response, health and body functions. The tumors in question are CANCEROUS and spread through the body. There is no known cause for mast cell cancer and no cure, other than surgery for early-detected, low degree tumors that haven't spread too far. The best formula is to keep the dog as healthy as possible and be aware of any signs of tumors or poor health. Whether the dog survives or not depends on how advanced and fast moving the malignant tumor is.

    • Stenotic nares—Brachycephalic dogs such as those with smashed in faces tend to have very narrow nostrils. The narrow nasal openings can make it difficult for the dog to breathe. This can only be corrected by surgery and only if the problem is severe.

    • Elongated Soft Palate—Brachycephalic dogs like those with short, smashed-in faces have a soft palate that separates the nasal passage from the oral cavity flaps down into the throat which creates snorting sounds. All brachycephalics suffer from this except in Bulldogs, breathing distress is rare. Excess barking ore panting can cause swelling in the throat and lead to more trouble breathing.

    • Mitral stenosis (Mitral valve insufficiency)—Hereditary heart problem. A weak mitral valve allows blood to flow backwards and to simplify this, the net result is an enlarged heart and when the heart can no longer compensate, look for a loss of desire for exercise, trouble breathing, coughing at night and liquid in the lungs. As this progresses, the dog may collapse. There is no cure... but if you act quickly, the vet may be able to make your Boston Terrier more comfortable with medication and diet.

    • Deafness—Hereditary or caused by: Excessive loud noise, Intolerance to anesthesia, drug toxicity, and Otitis (middle ear infection), In some cases, one ear can have no hearing from birth and the other ear can be losing the ability to hear over time, undetected, then suddenly one morning the hearing is totally gone. There is no reversing once that happens.

    • Cataracts—Hazy or cloudy vision, similar to humans and can cause blindness if not treated.

    • Corneal ulcer—Caused by eye injury and common to dogs whose eyes are prominent. Corneal ulcers can easily become infected. Keep all dogs with prominent eyes like Pugs and Boston's away from dirty, polluted, dusty areas. Infections are very hard to treat.

    • Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca—(Keratitis) A fancy way of saying “dry eye.” Inadequate tear flow causes painful eye infections of a chronic nature. Causes vary from distemper to certain medications to removing the third eyelid tear gland.. Often treated with cyclosporine drops. or an ointment called cyclosporine topical therapy.

    • Pyloric stenosis—Hereditary. A narrowing of the opening into the small intestine. The dog will vomit food and water after eating. Usually seen in puppies. Generally a problem for the breeder. Found most often in Boxers, Boston Terriers, Golden Retrievers.

    • Cushing’s disease—(Hyperadrenocorticism) Too much glucocorticoid is produced by the adrenal or pituitary glands at which time symptoms occur such as hair loss, increased drinking and urination, increased appetite and enlarged abdomen. The disease progresses slowly and the Boston Terrier can be sick 1 to 6 years without anyone noticing any symptoms. Some dogs may have just one symptom, usually hair loss and owners often contribute the dog's condition to “old age. This is not a young dog’s illness. There are several treatments available including surgery which might save the dog’s life depending on the existence of cancerous tumors.

    • Hydrocephalus—An excess of spinal fluid built up in the brain caused by an obstruction in the fluid pathway. Congenital Hydrocephalus is moist common and occurs shortly after birth. A number of things can cause it. Hydrocephalic adult dogs can get it from tumors or infections in the brain. Some neurological signs are seizures, loss of coordination, unusual behaviour, walking in circles, and blindness. Doctors have various tests to detect this disorder so don’t fool with it if you suspect something is wrong.

    • Hemivertebrae—Congenital abnormality of the spine causing an angle in the spine, possibly due to inadequate blood supply in the womb. The tail is most often affected in which case there is no problem. However, it is serious when the spine itself is affected. When the spinal cord becomes twisted or compressed, the dog will show incontinence and weakness in the rear legs. Mild cases may require no action. Moderate cases might require an injection of corticosteroid to reduce inflammation and severe cases could require corrective surgery.

    • Cataracts - Hazy or cloudy vision and if not treated can lead to total blindness.

    • Melanoma - A form of cancer.

    • Craniomandibular osteopathy (CMO) - Hereditary. A disorder that affects the bones of the jaw in dogs under 10 months. Dogs with this have trouble chewing, swallowing and may drool. There is pain upon opening the mouth. Shrinking of muscles over the head and jaw as well as some fever can occur. Treatment is medication for pain, surgery for severe cases and often the problem will lessen as the dog matures. Found in Westies, Cairn, Scottish and Boston Terriers.

    Other health problems could occur in your Boston Terrier. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.

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