Meet an American Gentleman, The Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier at the beach
This dog won’t wake up in the middle of the night because it thinks it saw a butterfly or maybe a squirrel. Want to know more? Read on!

The Boston terrier, one of the few breeds that can claim to be truly American. Boston fanciers like to call this breed the “American Gentleman,” obviously because of its formal, tux-like markings, but also because his personality is gentlemanly and even as well. The Boston’s friendliness, alertness and courage make him an ideal pet and companion dog. Always alert, he’ll also let you know of any strange sounds in the night.

What Is A Boston Terrier?

The Boston Terrier is a very unique breed of dog, with a fascinating history. They are sometimes referred to as the “All American Dog.” The Boston Terrier was bred from a cross between an English bulldog and White terrier. The first crosses occurred in England in the late 18th century and some members of this new breed were brought over to America. 

What Was The Boston Terrier Bred For?

These dogs were originally bred for fighting. Originally bred down in size from pit-fighting dogs the Boston Terrier was much larger than it is today, weighing up to 44 pounds. It seems difficult to believe that these little dogs were once tough pit fighters. The Boston Terrier resembles the Staffordshire Bull Terrier with its strong fighting instinct. In 1891, the Boston Terrier Club of America, (BTCA) was officially formed, and a standard was written. They applied for entrance into the AKC stud book, but entrance was denied. In 1893, though,the boston terrier was accepted to the AKC. The first Boston Terrier to be registered was called Hector #28814. By 1915 the breed was the most popular breed in the United States. It maintained that status throughout the decades. The Boston Terrier has kept its place in American history as a spunky little dog of intelligence and spirit. 

Weather Sensitive Pooches

One thing to remember is that Bostons are house dogs and do not cope well with extreme weather conditions. Because of their extremely short muzzle and elongated palate they cannot cope with heat well easily giving in to heat stroke so be careful.

What do Boston Terriers Like to Do?

boston terrier playing outside
An adorable little Boston Terrier

They love to please their owners. Because of its Bull terrier or Bulldog background, the Boston is alert and keen to learn new tricks and jobs. 

Bostons like children and will play games with them for hours on end

For many families, the Boston terrier is a terrific choice not only because of his compact size and pleasant temperament. It is also a pet with a low-maintenance coat. , but because of his low-maintenance coat. The short-coated Boston goes easy on your carpets and furniture and does well in smaller spaces. 

Bostons come in a variety of colors and sizes

Some owners prefer the small ones, while others like a more romping, substantial-sized dog. Either one will make a great pet with very little grooming required, all of which can be done at home. In the early years, the color and markings were not as important as they are today. By the 1900’s the breeds markings and colors were an essential part of the breed feature. According to the breed standard, the characteristic markings should be marked white in proportion with a black, brindle, seal or combination of those three. ‘Seal’ is a word used to describe specifically a color found on Boston Terriers – a black color with red highlights. The white should cover the chest, muzzle and a band around the neck, halfway up the forelegs. In show dogs, symmetrical markings are preferred. A new breed of colors (red) Boston Terriers is not seal.

How to care for the state dog of Massachusetts 

Care of the Boston Terrier is easy, they being a short haired dog that sheds minimally. Weekly brushing is recommended, a rubber palm brush is what is recommended for their particular coat. Work the palm brush in a circular motion, this aids in removing lose hair.

…and learn to cope with the snoring and farting

Due to the breeds elongated palate they may snore. It is normal in the Boston Terriers may show some degree of airway obstruction. Another problem in this breed, gas. A good diet, along with regular exercise, will keep this problem at bay.

Proper diet is a must. An improper diet as a rule will lead to gas, and intestinal problems for the Boston Terrier. 

Competing With Your Dog

To compete with your Boston Terrier you will need to understand the requirements and procedures used for judging. The American Kennel Club releases breed standards for each breed of dog and the Boston If you want your Boston Terrier to take part in dog shows then you will need to understand the standards and how they relate to your dog.  If you already own or are thinking about owning a Boston Terrier and would like to compete (or show off your dog) here’s a guide to understanding breed specifications. 

It’s important to note that these are descriptions of ideal Boston Terriers. 

Competition ranking systems:  

Dogs are judged out of a total 100 score. When judging Boston Terriers this score comprises the following elements:

  • General Appearance
  • Size, Proportion, Substance
  • Head – skull shape, characteristics of eyes, ears, muzzle, jaw shape. 
  • Neck, Topline and Body
  • Forequarters
  • Gait
  • Coat
  • Temperament

General Appearance According to the AKC

General appearance needs to be well-balanced; this means all limbs are in proportion. Boston Terriers have a smooth coat which is generally brindle, seal or black. The dog must have even white markings. The body is short and the limbs are strong. The tail is short. 

Here’s what’s going to cost ‘ya!

  • Dudley nose: this means a loss of pigmentation in the nose and it is pink or flesh colored, however when Boston’s are first born and up to 6 months their nose will be pink.  It will change to the color black so don’t let this hinder you from buying a Boston with a pink nose.
  • Docked tail: This refers to the practice of cutting tails. It is an outdated practice and your dog will be disqualified. 
  • Lack of required markings
  • Wry mouth – one side of the mouth is longer than the other. 
  • Overshot bite/undershot bite – much like human ‘faults’ this just means an over or underbite. 

That’s as far as we went down the show dog side of the Boston Terrier!

How Big Do Boston Terriers Get?

boston terrier and anotehr black dog in the park out in the sun

This refers to your dog’s weight. There are several official weight categories but the dog’s weight cannot exceed 25 pounds. 

How to Make Sure Your Boston is a Family Dog

1. Good socialization means a good family dog. 

Boston Terriers are easy to socialize. Take your puppy with you in the car or out on errands whenever you can. The puppy should get used to being around people and other dogs. Although it is not recommended that you take your puppy into public places before they have received all their vaccines – you can take your puppy in the car with you when you fetch the children from school. 

2. Teach Your Kids How to Behave With the Dog

Children need to be taught not to tease or bother the dog while eating. Any dog gets aggressive if disturbed while eating. This can result in bites. Letting your children feed the dog is a great way to get them involved in caring for your dog. If your dog does growl you should discourage him by saying “No” and making it clear that growling is unacceptable behavior. 

3. A few sessions with a dog trainer are a good idea

Even if your Boston Terrier is well behaved; a dog trainer can reassure you all that your dog is aware of the boundaries in your family. 

4. The puppy may not bite the children – even playfully. 

Teething puppies are no problem; their gentle little bites don’t hurt now – but they will when your dog gets teeth! Rather encourage a policy of “no bite”. Offer toys and other appropriate outlets for the play bites. 

5. Make the boundaries clear

As with any dog – boundaries are the key. Your puppy should not be allowed to roam the house freely until he is properly housetrained. This is a fun process in which you can involve the children. The puppy will need to be taken out every time he needs to go and the children will benefit from taking them outside and waiting until they have done their business. 

Following these tips should assure you of a family friendly Boston Terrier. 

Having a dog in the house, particularly a Boston Terrier – can be a wonderful positive experience for your children 

Your children will learn many valuable life skills from their dog. They benefit by learning the value of respect. They learn responsibility (children should be encouraged to take part in caring for the dog too). In addition they will learn patience, kindness and compassion. Your dog will develop a special relationship with your children. Boston Terriers are generally content to be played with. If socialized correctly they are tolerant and will even allow the kids to play dress up with them. Boston Terriers are intelligent and child friendly. Proper training and teaching children to respect and love the dog will ensure your Boston Terrier becomes a valued part of your family.

Are They Intelligent Dogs?

Boston Terrier are intelligent and sassy! this one has a toilet paper roll on its head...

The temperament of the Boston terrier can be described as enthusiastic as it often loves to play. Most people comment that the Boston terrier actually has a great sense of humor. Another characteristic that people find delightful with this breed is the fact that they are intelligent and easy to train. This fact is also enhanced by the dog’s natural curiosity and love for learning. Boston Terriers are rated by the American Kennel club as one of the most intelligent breeds of dogs; making housetraining simple. 

Emotional Intelligence to Boot

Boston terriers can be very sensitive to the tone of a person’s voice. This may be described as a sort of emotion detector. Because of this sensitivity to the tone, a Boston terrier will be able to respond to how you are feeling when you are talking. This means, however, that you need to take care when training your dog. You need to make sure that anger and frustration do not find their way into your voice. 

They Manage Their Managers

They also make excellent watchdogs as they do not bark indiscriminately. This means that you won’t wake up in the middle of the night because your Boston terrier thinks it saw a butterfly or maybe a squirrel. There are some cases, though, when a Boston terrier will not bark at all. 

Apartment-Friendly Dogs

boston terrier on its back sunning outside

Boston terriers can do well enough without a yard as long as they get regular exercise. This means that they are suitable for apartment living. However, you should also know that they are very sensitive to the extremes of weather. This means that you should keep it in a place that’s neither too hot nor too cold. 

Finding a Good Breeder

People think that finding Boston terrier dogs for sale is easy. There’s more to finding Boston terrier dogs for sale than looking inthe classified ads. When you are trying to find Boston terrier dogs for sale, you need to look for a breeder who genuinely cares for the animals. This will assure you that the animal is well taken care of properly. A great dog breeder knows that breeding goes far beyond determining the appearance of a dog. When you are looking for Boston terrier dogs for sale, you need to look for a breeder who knows that breeding also determines the temperament of a dog. When looking for Boston terrier dogs for sale, you need to find a seller who does not ask you how much you are willing to pay but asks you what your qualifications are. When you are looking for Boston terrier dogs for sale, you need to find a breeder who will not push the dog towards you but will truly take the time to know if you are fit to own a dog. 

When you are looking for Boston terrier dogs for sale, you need to look for a seller who would be willing to take back the dog if you somehow neglect it. Do not go for sellers who will exchange the puppy for cash and then walk away. A great breeder will leave you with a way to contact him or her in case you change your mind. Another way to find the best kinds of Boston terrier dogs for sale is to look for the proper documentation. Often, true breeders will be able to provide pedigrees that can trace back the lineage of a puppy. Through this, you know that you are buying the best. with the right attitude and information, you should be able to get the best puppy for you. 

If you need to know more, we wrote a whole article on how to find a proper breeder. 

Do they shed a lot?

Unlike other terrier breeds, the Boston terrier is an average shedder. This means that you should be wary of keeping it indoors as it can shed fur over your floor. We all know how much of a fiasco that can be.

Common Health Problems

boston terrier dressed as the pope in the grass
Boston Terriers look good in dog costumes.
  • They easily get overheated when they are pushed too hard. 
  • They can also be sensitive to extreme weather and any weather that’s too hot or too cold can leave them with breathing difficulties. 
  • Skin tumors and heart tumors are very common with this breed. So you need to bring the dog to a vet regularly.
  • Skull defects: a common bone defect in badly bred dogs prevents the brain from growing. This will cause developmental disorders. 

3 thoughts on “Meet an American Gentleman, The Boston Terrier”

  1. All 8 of the BTs I owned have enjoyed playing ball with a 4 wall handball. It’s a great size for their mouth. BTS are playing machines and pretty fun to be around.


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