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Boston Terrier

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Boston Terrier
One of the only breeds to get its start on American soil, the Boston Terrier is an energetic small package of loyalty, affection, and intelligence. Known as the "American Gentlemen" of dog breeds, these kind and gentle, family-orientated companions have remained popular since first bred from an English Bulldog and white English Terrier in the late 1800's. With their distinct, square head, large protruding eyes, short, smooth coats, and elegant, yet strong, muscular bodies, it is said that the Boston Terrier is always well-dressed and often well-mannered.

Interesting Breed Facts:
Popularity: 17th in 2008; with 10,930 registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC).

First recognized as a breed: First bred by Bostonian's Robert C. Hooper and Edward Burnett around 1870, the Boston Terrier entered the AKC studbook in 1893. The current, revised AKC standard was approved on January 9, 1990.

AKC Grouping: Non-Sporting.

Size: Both sexes measure approximately 15" to 17" at the shoulders. Weight for both males and females is divided into three classes - under 15 pounds; 15 pounds and under 20 pounds; and, 20 pounds not to exceed 25 lbs.

Boston Terrier Appearance: Boston Terriers are smooth-coated and compactly built with small erect ears, a short tail, and a short muzzle. Their head has a square shape with a flat top and well-defined brow, while their round eyes are large and very dark in color. They do shed their fine hair throughout the year, but overall they require a minimal amount of grooming. Acceptable coat colors include brindle, black with white markings, or seal, which is a coat that appears solid black but has a red cast under direct light.

#1 preventable health problem: Protecting their large, protruding eyes is essential. Prolonged sun exposure, playing in dirt and/or dust, rooting in thorny plants, bushes, or stick piles, as well as rough play with other dogs, could all result in eye injury. Also susceptible to skin allergies, extra care should be taken in areas with fleas, ticks, mites, mosquitoes, or other biting insects.

Preferences: Boston Terriers prefer an involved human family that offers daily companionship, exercise, and protection from extreme heat and cold. They cannot be left outdoors and, because of their lively, curious, and intelligent nature, should always be leashed or contained by a yard fence. They enjoy a variety of suitable toys and need a high-quality diet. With proper care and regular visits to a veterinarian the average Boston Terrier lives between eleven and thirteen years, though some have lived to the age of fifteen.

Best features: With a lovable and affectionate disposition, loyal and intelligent nature, and a handsome elegance wrapped around their small frame, Boston Terriers can make wonderful companions for the dedicated owner. Because of their smaller size and usually quiet, well-mannered poise, they can thrive equally well in both city apartments and country homes, as long as a moderate amount of daily exercise is offered.

Biggest challenge to owners: Because of their loyalty, Boston Terriers need to be fully involved in the day-to-day activities of their human companions. If ignored or left in a non-stimulating environment, these kind and gentle dogs can quickly grow bored, which may result in either somewhat destructive behavior or an unhealthy depression. In addition, regular visits to a veterinarian are essential for both preventive measures against heartworms and other parasites, as well as to screen for the over twenty known eye diseases, including glaucoma and cataracts, that can affect this breed at any age.


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