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The Boston Terrier was born and bred in the United States, which is how it got the nickname “American Gentleman.” The breed’s hometown is Boston, MA.

The Boston Terrier came about by cross-breeding a Bulldog and the now extinct White English Terrier. The outcome gave us the best of both worlds, blending the Terrier’s enthusiasm and health and the Bulldog’s gentle sweetness and good sense. The breed’s temperament ranges from displaying mellow or stubborn Bulldog traits to feisty, assertive Terrier attributes, with most Bostons falling somewhere in between.

Facts to Know About Boston Terriers

  • Are lively and active; generally NOT couch potatoes or over-the-top hyper

  • Are house pets and must be inside with air conditioning in the summer months and heat in the winter months

  • Are energetic but NOT jogging partners, as they overheat easily, especially in hot, humid conditions

  • Are amusing and can play on a moments notice, but can also settle down into your lap when playtime is over

  • Love to cuddle and give wet kisses

  • Are enthusiastic and occasionally rambunctious

  • Have a great sense of humor and can sometimes be mischievous

  • Are a great family pet. patient, tolerant, and reliable with children

  • Are eager to explore new things in their environment

  • Love to be the center of attention

  • Have a high degree of intelligence but can be headstrong

  • Often aim to please their owners

  • Do well with other pets, though they can play rough

  • Love for their owners to take part in their activities (playtime and one-on-one time is important)

  • Prefer sleeping in bed with their owners, usually under the covers

  • Are low-maintenance dogs with little grooming required

  • Have short hair and shed lightly

  • Are short muzzled known to snore, sneeze, wheeze, and snort

  • Do not bark much unless making you aware of the presence of another dog or person

  • Would prefer not to be away from the family for long periods of time

  • Are alert and quick to react to sounds

  • Are big dogs in little dogs’ bodies (average size is from 17 lbs. to 25 lbs., but they think they are Great Danes!)

  • Take pride in defending their master

Watch Animal Planet Video about Bostons

Common Boston Terrier Health Problems

Every breed has common health problems. Boston Terriers can have the following:

  • Allergies (environmental or food-related): Ask your doctor about Benadryl and limited ingredient food, such as Natural Balance.

  • Luxating patella: Bad knee caps, which may require surgery due to discomfort and pain. This is common in small-breed dogs. This could be the issue if your Boston is only using three legs.

  • Tumors: This includes both fatty/benign and mast cell/cancer tumors.  Plus brain tumors

  • Thyroid disease: Low thyroid is common. A dog may test in the low-normal range. Medication is recommended if 1.6 and lower. Tests should include the T4.

  • Heart disease: This could include a heart murmur, which requires medication, or congestive heart failure.

  • Kidney disease

  • Seizures: If you dog has more than one seizure in a 30-day period, consult your veterinarian immediately. Medication will be required, usually Potassium Bromide.

  • Juvenile cataracts

  • Eye injuries (ulcers/scratch of the cornea):  due to the setting of the eye

  • Cherry eye: a prolapse of the gland of the third eyelid that is genetic in origin. This is corrected with surgery – inserting the gland back to the original position.  DO NOT REMOVE THE GLAND as it will result in dry eye. 

  • Breathing difficulties: elongated soft palate – the soft palate develops further back and can extend into the larynx; effectively it is too long for the length of the mouth. This can partially block the entrance to the trachea, or windpipe, and increases airway resistance which can lead to breathing difficulties. Surgery is needed to correct the main problems of narrowed nostrils and elongated soft palate; the nostrils may be widen by removal of a wedge of skin from each nostril and the soft palate may be shortened.

  • Megaesophagus: This is a defect in the structure of the esophagus that causes a dog to regurgitate its undigested food.   There are techniques to feeding your dog to decrease vomiting. 

  • Reverse Sneezing: gulping air and wheezing.  

  • Overheating: Bostons are indoor dogs and should NOT be left outside or in your vehicle for any length of time.

  • Anal gland infection 

  • Gas: Bostons have sensitive stomachs, so feeding them the right food is important, Many foods will cause gas. Recommended dog food to eliminate gas problems in Bostons is Purina One Sensitive Systems, Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Stomach, or Natural Balance.  

Boston Terriers

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