The Boston Terrier is an American-born breed, originating in Boston in 1870. The original ancestor to all Boston Terriers is Hooper’s Judge, a Bull/Terrier type dog. The offspring from Hooper’s Judge was bred with French Bulldogs, which created the foundation for today’s modern Boston Terrier. The breed was met with much enthusiasm in the United States, leading to its distinction of being the very first US breed recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1893.
Despite the bad reputation of terriers, the Boston terrier is a gentle breed with a happy-go-lucky personality. They are intelligent, friendly, easy to train, and eager to please. They are often considered one of the top choices for apartment living due to their low-maintenance nature, with few grooming needs, quiet personalities, and low exercise requirements. Through proper socialization Boston Terriers can be excellent companions for other dogs, children, elderly owners, and even animals of other species. For competitive dog owners, Boston Terriers are excellent choices for competitive obedience, Agility, Rally-O, flyball, dock jumping, weight pulling, and lure coursing.
Although Boston Terriers sometimes have larger-than-life personalities, they are actually small dogs, belonging to three weight classes: 20 – 25 lbs, 15 – 20 lbs, and 15 lbs and under. Their fur is short and low-maintenance, with little shedding throughout the year. Five colors are acceptable: black and white, black brindle and white, brindle and white, seal and white, and seal brindle and white. Seal coloring refers to the color of a wet seal, and appears dark brown or even black. Ideally, the Boston Terrier should have white on its chest, muzzle, and around its neck, as well as halfway up the forelegs, hocks, and rear legs, and also between the eyes. Often, Boston Terriers are referred to as the “American Gentleman” due to their tuxedoed appearance. Other common features of the Boston Terrier are its ears, which stand erect, and its tail, which is cropped short.
Boston Terriers have slightly shortened muzzles and flattened faces, which can lead to respiratory issues. As such, they sometimes suffer from exercise intolerance and cooling inefficiencies. They do not handle extremely hot or extremely cold weather well, especially when paired with vigorous exercise. In addition, Boston Terriers require a high quality diet due to their sensitive digestive systems, with gassiness being a common problem. Due to their characteristically large eyes and small heads, Boston Terriers sometimes have difficulty properly protecting their eyes, leading to a higher-than-average rate of developing corneal ulcers. Owners should be vigilant and regularly monitor the eye health of their dogs in order to prevent complications or eye infections should an eye injury occur. Boston Terrier reproduction is a controversial topic as many females are unable to naturally birth puppies. It is estimated that up to 90% of Boston Terriers are born via Caesarian section, which can be especially difficult for the mother’s recovery. Overall, Boston Terriers are sturdy companions, commonly living between 11 and 13 years.