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The Boston Terrier

Picture of a Boston Terrier puppy

Boston Terrier Puppy

Origin

As its name suggests the Boston Terrier is a breed of terrier developed in Boston by cross breeding English bulldogs and Bull Terriers. Like many of the American bred terriers its history is rooted in its development as a fighting dog. It is a short compact pugnacious, well-muscled dog. You can imagine it not just fighting, but also winning. Yet laterally it has been bred as much for its temperament and jaunty appearance.

In the American history of dogs it is an old stablished breed (as established as they can be on a new Continent) but in European history it is a newcomer. Robert Hooper purchased a cross between an English bulldog and an English white terrier in 1870 in Boston. He bred this dog down a size and then bred the offspring with a french bulldog. They were originally like the poodle, bred as three sizes: heavyweight, lightweight and middleweight.

Description

The Boston Terrier is a small dog with a unique "tuxedo": a white splash of colour on the front of a black, brindle or seal coat. Seal as a colour in the context of the Boston terrier is black with red highlights that glint in sunlight. Its exterior masks its temperament it is in fact it a well-balanced family pet. It has an easy graceful carriage and like all terriers it is intelligent.

Some of the Boston terriers do have eye problems and some of them are inbred. Their eyes are naturally protruding and they have a short muzzle, which means they can get into places such as cactus plants that can harm their eyes. They have over twenty types congenital eye diseases and these include juvenile cataracts.

Temperament

In some senses one can say that this breed is a terrier only in name. Boston terriers are gentler, better mannered and certainly more sedate than its feisty English terrier cousins. They get along well with other pets and are excellent with children and their comical antics will keep children amused. In some circumstances the dog is capable of being rambunctious.

Best of all, Boston Terriers are wonderful personal guard dogs and they are also easy to house train. No wonder that this dog breed was the most popular dog in America in the early thirties. However the Boston terrier is a very gregarious and social dog, it does not like to be left for long periods of time. It thrives on human interaction and is not a dog to leave chained up all day. They are loyal and wonderful companions, but they do need company. Some Boston terriers can be trained to be a guard dog whilst others will not bark at all.

Grooming

Because the Boston terrier is shorthaired it has no special grooming needs, a weekly brush will keep this dog's coat in peak condition.

Exercise

Today the Boston terrier is much smaller than its forefathers and it is a versatile family pet in the sense that its exercise needs are minimal. The Boston terrier does enjoy exercise, but to maintain optimum fitness it does not have to be taken for a long hike in the country everyday. The Boston Terriers are aptly named as they have adapted to life in the city; they do not need a large garden or endless supervision. Although one of the most adaptable of dogs in terms of ideal conditions they do need a commitment to play and exercise as well as human interaction time.

Training

There is a big difference between buying a Boston terrier puppy and an older dog, and there are advantages and disadvantages to both. When you buy a dog, as a puppy you do not know what temperament it will have as an adult dog; in much the same way you do not what your child will be like. The advantage in buying an older dog is that character is already established, but it can also have a few bad habits and potentially irritating traits as well and you know what they say about teaching an old dog new tricks!

All dogs are pack animals, they need to know where they belong, and their rank in the "pecking order", and this psychology is more important with untrained puppies. Even if you are a single person, and you buy one Boston terrier puppy you are in effect creating a pack, you may not look on it in that way, but your puppy will! The Boston terrier is definitely a dog that needs to be part of the family! All packs need a leader and if you do not assume that role then your Boston terrier feels he has to, until he is taught respect. The process of training a Boston terrier is no harder than any other dog, but it is time consuming. In fact the Boston terriers love to learn, they have a very reliable history with both the elderly and children, and they do seem to benefit from the interaction.

Susceptible to the same temperament issues of many of the smaller dogs in general, and not just terriers being overindulged can lead them to become tyrants and dominate their masters. This breed is gentle with animals and humans, but not overly soft, intelligent, but not overly confidant.

Special traits

The Boston Terrier Club Of America offers a list of breeders for this wonderful American pet, both in the States and international. It strongly recommends buying this dog from an established and registered breeder. The main reason for this is that the Boston terrier was bred from a small gene pool, the bottom line being certain health problems have been potentially inbred into the dog.

They have short muzzles, and prominent eyes, both features cause health problems, they suffer from cataracts, both as a puppy and later on in life. Their short muzzles lead to respiratory problems, they can gulp in air. Other genetic diseases that can affect the Boston terrier are megaesophagus , which is an abnormality that causes the Boston terrier to regurgitate undigested food.

They suffer from thyroid diseases, skin diseases, and deafness, as well as diseases of the urinary tract. The Boston Terrier Club of America health committee is addressing these breeding difficulties by collecting data and providing informative articles. A reputable breeder is more likely to breed from healthy dogs. Despite these problems it is possible to have a healthy dog. However it is of vital importance to know the parentage of your dog, not only to save a fortune on veterinary bills, but also to save yourself years of heartache, incurred by watching a dog suffer.

The Boston terrier puppies often have to be delivered by caesarian section as they have large heads but small pelvises.

Ideal weight: 15-20 pounds / 7-9 kg
Average height: 15-17 inch / 38-43 cm
Life expectancy: 15 years

 

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