POLITE, SWEET, ENTHUSIASTIC
History & Origin
Unlike the majority of dog breeds, the Boston Terrier is uniquely American. It was bred in the USA and was originally a cross between a white English Terrier and an English Bulldog. This was around 1870. Subsequent inbreeding has resulted in the dog as we know it today, and the result of the breed’s own set of unique features, although they were later also crossbred with French Bulldogs (an offshoot of English Bulldogs), in order to further refine both its physical characteristics and particular temperament.
Although this dog was originally bred to fight in the ring, it is a lover and not a fighter. They were, for pit fighting, even put into different weight divisions, i.e. lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight! It’s sweet temperament, though, in the 19th century, coined it the nickname of the little ‘American Gentleman’. Their days in the pit fighting rings were not long-lasting.
This gentle little dog was so in demand and so popular, that the Massachusetts State Legislature, in 1879, recognized the Boston Terrier as their official state dog. The Amercian Bull Terrier Club was specifically started for this breed in 1889, but there was some confusion with its name as they were most definitely not bull terriers in the full sense of the word. Subsequently, the American Kennel Club (AKC), in 1891, gave recognition to the Boston Terrier Club of America (BTCA) as the only club which was specifically devoted to this new, uniquely American breed of dog at that time.
PERSONALITY AND TEMPERAMENT
Your puppy will grow up to be a sweet-natured, enthusiastic little dog, as it has received the best quality from its original ancestors: the sweet English Bulldog temperament, and his enthusiasm and zest for life from its terrier ancestor. This is an extremely intelligent breed that adores playing the part of the clown for its family, loves attention, adores people, and likes nothing more than snuggling down on someone’s lap…or sleeping in their bed!
Although he likes nothing more than being around his family, he has no problem with entertaining himself – if he has his toys. This breed is extremely adaptable, although separation anxiety may occur if left to its own devices for extended periods of time. Because of their small size, they do not need a large yard and are a perfect pet for those living in an apartment.
Boston Terriers are great family dogs as well as excellent companion dogs, with a special affinity for the elderly. They are also great with other pets and get along with strangers, although they may need to be reassured that visitors are no threat to their family. Boston Terriers are extremely polite, and when properly trained and socialized, know their place in the home’s hierarchy and stick to it.
They may be considered lovable, affable family pets, but they can get territorial, especially with regards to their family, and as such, their protective instincts may come into play, thereby making them excellent little guard dogs. Nothing gets past them without you knowing about it!
Because of their inherent intelligence and agility (gained from their terrier ancestry), they excel at agility training and are often trained to compete at national and international levels. No mean feat when taking its English Bulldog origins into consideration!
NUTRITION AND FEEDING
Caring for a Boston Terrier is a relatively easy task, as their sleek, short hair and lack of ‘doggy’ smells means that they are a relatively clean breed all around. They do tend to slobber rather a lot, though, and are prone to flatulence due to their gobbling habit when eating! So do keep these two things in mind when you decide on a new puppy! Their wonderful temperament, on the other hand, should not make these two ‘habits’ too much of a problem to handle, while the joy they bring more than make up for them.
Boston Terrier puppies should not be removed from their mother until they are at least 8 weeks old. Once home, your new baby is going to eat about four times a day, until it reaches the age of about six months, by which time it should be on a regular schedule of two meals a day, which is a schedule that should be kept for the rest of its life.
Home cooked is always the best option for any dog breed, and chicken, beef and fish are excellent, as well as vegetables and fruit (if your newest addition to the family will eat it). Adding brown rice is also an excellent choice as it helps with digestion. Remember to cut up all food finely, as a Boston Terrier puppy has a small mouth and might have trouble chewing its food initially.
This breed tends to have quite a vociferous appetite for its size, and as such, will gobble up anything it deems to be food! A free-feeding schedule whereby food is available 24/7 is therefore not to be recommended. It could lead to obesity which has its own set of health complications attached, such as heart problems or even diabetes, for example.
If you decide to feed your dog commercial dog food, try to keep it breed specific and of a high quality. Because they are small, their food requirements are not as much as is the case with a larger dog. Also, make sure that the individual grains of food are small enough for your puppy to chew on, as it would have difficulty trying to eat larger pellets that are designed for larger dogs.
Another thing to consider when deciding on a commercial brand of dried dog food, besides quality and price, is the fact that the cheaper brands tend to contain what are termed as ‘fillers’. These are additives that are designed to make the dog feel ‘full’, although they do not, in fact, have much nutritional value. As a dog lover, this is not a good choice to make when deciding on what to feed your new family member.
COAT AND GROOMING
This is a small, compactly built breed. They are muscular yet extremely agile! Although males reach about 17 inches in height, and females about 16 inches, they are usually classed into three categories by weight: under 15 pounds, between 15 to 20 pounds, and finally, between 20 and 25 pounds. They have a small, elegant frame, with large, round eyes that steal your heart.
A Boston Terrier’s face tends to be flattish, although it does not have the English Bulldog folds of its ancestors. This means, however, that they do tend to snore quite a lot.
Their coat comes in three color variations: brindle/white, black/white, and finally, seal/white. No other variations are acceptable. Their coat tends to be short, and fine, and all that is needed to keep it in good condition is a regular brushing, especially for shedding purposes.
Because they have no undercoat to really speak of, this breed does tend to feel the cold during the colder months of the year, and it is not at all unusual to see them walking around wearing warm ‘clothes’ during this time. They are, typically, indoor dogs, and not outdoor dogs.
Their grooming needs, as far as bathing is concerned, are minimal, and this only needs to be done on an ‘as needed’ basis, because they do not tend to attract much dirt. Your nose will usually tell you. They have a few folds around their eyes and snout that need to be cleaned quite regularly, approximately every week, in order to prevent any dirt accumulating, which is easily done with a damp cotton wool ball or washcloth.
Their ears can be cleaned in the same manner while you are at it while it is a good idea to also check their toenails. Being dogs that live in the house most of the time, their toenails do not tend to wear down naturally as is the case with larger dogs.
Generally speaking, your new puppy does not require any formal exercise; playing with you is more than sufficient for its needs.
These little fellows are extremely intelligent, very easy to train and adore the mental stimulation they get associated with it. Training, therefore, should begin the day your new puppy comes home, and the first two things to look at are socialization and housetraining.
This little breed does not take kindly to being harshly treated, however, and all training should be consistent and loving yet firm! He needs to know who the boss is, but he does not need to be forced. He will learn just about anything you want to teach him as long as he is treated kindly and with respect.
Your puppy will, initially, sleep anything between twelve to eighteen hours a day. This does not mean there is anything wrong with him! He is a baby and needs the sleep in order to grow.
As they get older, though, they will sleep less, just like humans, although it is not uncommon to find them snoozing. Never think, however, that because your Boston Terrier is snoozing it is not totally aware of whatever is going on around him. Shake his kibble and you will quickly see how alert he actually is, or let someone just come near the front door! Those perky little ears miss nothing.
Your new puppy has a life expectancy of between 13 to 15 years and is a member of a breed that does not have too many health issues, thankfully. However, as is the case with all breeds, there are certain issues that may crop up.
In order to make sure you bring home a healthy puppy, make sure you have a reputable breeder and that you are informed of the history of your new family addition’s parents. It is all in the genes! A good place to start your search is with the Boston Terrier Club of America, where you will be referred to breeders that look after the wellbeing of the breed and its future.
Most of their problems have to do with their eyes. These include corneal ulcers which tend to form because of the protruding tendency of their eyes. Their eyes to tend to get scratched by accident, or get something in them, which, if not attended to, can cause ulcers to form. They also have a tendency to develop cataracts, that, if not treated in time, could lead to blindness. Neither of these conditions needs to occur or develop to extremes, however, if you take immediate action.
They could also develop a condition which is known as Patellar Luxation, which is when their knee gets dislocated and is easily identifiable by limping. You might also see your Boston Terrier stretching out the offended leg on occasion in an attempt to get it to pop into position again. This is usually a genetic trait, but obesity is also known to cause this problem.
One of the most common skin problems associated with the breed is Allergic Dermatitis. In most instances, this allergy is associated with the food your puppy is eating, and as such, a proper nutritious diet is important right from the outset.
A long-lived, smart, easily trainable breed, the Boston Terrier makes an excellent family addition as well as a companion dog. Its needs are few: a little grooming on occasion, attention in spades, no fixed exercise routine, and proper nutrition. All it asks for its slavish adoration is that its basic needs are met, that it is allowed to be close to you, in the home, and that it gets the love and attention this little gentleman, or gentlewoman, of a dog so richly deserves.
As a watchdog, he is superb, and as a friend to your other pets, if you have any, you cannot go wrong. His sparkling personality and willingness to learn makes it an incredibly easy dog to care for while he will provide you with hours of entertainment pleasure. On a scale of one to ten, a Boston Terrier tips the scale at a resounding eleven!
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