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Boston Terrier: Training, Breed Temperament, Exercise Needs & Health (Boston Bull)

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About Boston Terrier

Country of Origin, History of Boston Terriers

The Boston Terrier originates from the United States of America. The breed has been around since the year 1870, when a man named Robert C. Hooper bought a dog named ‘Hooper’s Judge’. Hooper’s Judge was a cross between an English Bulldog and an English White Terrier.

Over time the breed was bred down in size and in 1893 they gained recognition with the American Kennel Club.

In 1889, about thirty people from the Boston area organized the American Bull Terrier Club. Dogs known as "Round Heads" or "Bull Terriers" were bred and exhibited by these people. Bull Terrier breeders objected that these crosses were not Terriers and Bulldog breeders objected because they were not Bulldogs. In 1891 the name was changed to the Boston Terrier Club of America, (BTCA) and a standard was written. In 1893 the breed was accepted by the American Kennel Club.

By 1915 the breed was stabilized and had become the most popular in the country. They were number one in registrations in 1919, 1920 and 1930. The Breed remained in the Top Ten until 1960, but have slipped steadily since that time.

This Breed has become refined and standardized, has this intelligent and spunky little dog is a fitting representative of the spirit of independence from Boston Commons.

Boston Terrier Tools

Breed Selector Tool - is the Boston Terrier the right breed for you?

Is the Boston Terrier the right breed for you and your family?

Find out by using our Free Dog Breed Selector Tool

Check Your Boston Terrier's Learning Style

Are you aware dogs also have a learning style that can greatly affect their ability to housetrain as well as be trained correctly. Evaluate your Boston Terrier's learning style and personality using our free Learning Style tool so that you are better able to provide him with the proper Boston Terrier training methods.

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Boston Terrier Calorie Calculator

Do you know how many calories your Boston Terrier needs every day and how many cups of food you should be giving it every day? Click here to use our Boston Terrier Calorie Calculator.

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A General Appearance of the Dog

The Boston Terrier has a typical "tuxedo" appearance. They have a squarish head and a short muzzle with no wrinkles. They have a broad chest and a short tail.

Coat Type

They have a short, shiny, smooth coat.

Coat Color

Typically they have white marks on black, brindle, seal or very dark brown coat. Due to the Boston Terrier's markings resembling formal wear, the breed is jokingly called "the American Gentleman."

Height: 15-17 inches

Weight: 12-25 pounds

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Boston Terrier Personality Traits

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Temperament of the Dog

Although the dog was originally bred for fighting, it has been since bred down to more of a companion dog. These days the breed is gentle, well-mannered and alert, and they also tend to have a few of the spunky Terrier characteristics.

One advantage of the breed is that they are fairly quiet animals and they do not bark unless it is necessary. They love being around people and they are quite a cuddly breed. However, there are some which prefer to be independent.

The breed also tends to have a sense of humor and they can be fairly enthusiastic and occasionally Rambunctious. They can make good watchdogs although generally they are really good with strangers.

As well as being naturally quiet dogs, the female breeds have been reported to not bark at all. This means if you are looking for a watchdog, a male would be your best choice.Although they are generally a gentle breed, they can be protective of their families and extremely loyal too.Overall this breed is one of the best family pets to own.

Better suited to an indoor or outdoor lifestyle?

The Dog generally should be kept indoors. All small breeds are better off indoors, especially if they only have a short coat which will not keep them warm enough in the colder months.

Are they suited to homes with kids?

As the dog loves to be around people, it would ideally suit a home where there is somebody constantly with it. A home with children is ideal as they will give the dog plenty of attention and the breed thrives in a family household. As the breed is so small and they do not need a great deal of exercise, they can be kept in an apartment. This breed does not cost much to keep so it is an ideal breed for those who are on a low income.


Due to their intelligent nature, the breed is fairly easy to train. They are willing to please and the only problems people generally tend to have with the breed is housebreaking. Whilst the dog is intelligent it can often take a while for it to learn various things and housebreaking is one of them.

It is always easier to start training the dog as early as possible. If shown from an early age what is expected of them, they will learn a lot quicker and you will not have as many problems when the dog grows up.

This breed tends to thrive on routine and they need a training schedule which is structured and consistent. Ensure that the puppy is not allowed to chew much when they are first brought home. Whilst it may seem cute at first, the puppy’s teeth will grow and it will carry the habit through until they are fully grown where it starts to become a problem! So, be consistent and stick to a routine. That way your dog will know exactly what is expected of them and they will be a lot easier to train.

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Boston Terrier Activity Level

How active is the breed?

The Boston Terrier is not overly active and so usually you can get away with having only a fenced yard for them to play in. They can easily be kept in an apartment without any worries about whether or not they will chew the place to bits whilst you are gone.

Generally tiring them out with a few dog toys seems to do the trick and one walk a day is often sufficient enough for them.

Exercise Needs

As a puppy the breed will not need much exercise at all. Just a few sessions of playing with them with a dog toy will be enough for them as they tend to get tired out fairly easily. You should never play with your puppy straight after they have eaten as this could cause serious health problems with the dog. Adult dogs do not need much exercise at all, and usually just running around in a fenced yard, or taking the dog on one walk a day should be enough. Remember that this breed has small legs so when you do go for a walk, it should only really be a short one as you do not want to tire the dog out too much.

How to take care of a Boston Terrier Puppy?

When you first purchase your dog puppy it is essential that you feed them regular, small meals throughout the day. It is always better to feed a good quality food and try and keep the diet consistent. If you change it too much the puppy will develop an upset stomach.

All puppies need rest and quiet time in order to allow them to properly settle and grow. It is also important to socialize your puppy from an early age as some male dogs have a tendency to fight.

The breeds like all small dogs should not be overfed. It is always better to feed around three small meals a day and the food should be a mixture of dry biscuits and meat.


The breed sheds seasonally and usually you only need to brush the dog weekly with a firm bristle brush. As the coat is so short there is no risk of it becoming matted, that is why daily grooming is not always necessary. To keep them completely clean, it is always better to wipe the face daily with a damp cloth and be sure that you clean around the eyes as they are prone to eye infections.It is also important to check the ears frequently too for any signs of infections or irritations.

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Free Course on Boston Terrier Training & Obedience
Stop All Bad Behavior, Excessive Barking and Biting

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Health and Care

While the SWD seems to be a very healthy breed there are some issues that the SWD have, just like all other breeds. There are cases of Hip Dysplasia in the breed, so choose your breeder carefully.

All breeding dogs should have their hips tested, either by OFA or PennHIP. There have been a few cases of PRA reported in Europe so it is advised that all breeders should test their breeding stock for PRA and other such genetic eye diseases with a yearly CERF exam. A responsible breeder will be able to produce the results in writing.

Like other Water Dogs and related breeds, they grow hair in their ear canals and can be prone to ear infections. The ears must be kept dry and clean. . Because these dogs are (as a general rule) so active and energetic as puppies, they may seriously injure themselves from too much running and jumping when their skeletal structure is still developing.

National Breed Clubs

Life Expectancy: About 10-14 years.

Group: Utility, Non-Sporting Group

AKC Popularity Ranking: 21

Also Known As: Boston Bull, Boston Bull Terrier

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Whereas other dog training related web sites and books offer generic information for dogs in general, ours is the ONLY web site that offers Boston Terrier information specifically, from a renowned panel of experts - because as you probably know, Boston Terriers have their own special training requirements that other dogs don't have.

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The Boston Terrier training information you will read here was developed by a panel of renowned dog training experts whose combined wisdom represents nearly 100 years of specialist experience training dogs.

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