20 Things You Didn’t Know about the Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier

What is it about Boston terriers that make them so intriguing? Could it be their ears that stand on attention all the time, as if they’re listening to every single conversation you’re having? Or could it be their faces that emote sadness? Or is it smugness that’s always written across their face? Whatever it may be, Boston Terriers are undoubtedly some of the most interesting-looking breeds of dogs out there.

Some might even say that they’re cute. Boston terriers are intelligent breeds. The American Kennel Club (AKC) accepted Boston terriers as a non-sporting breed back in 1893. While the AKC ranks these dogs as the 21st most popular breed, we think they’re absolutely more famous than they’re given credit for. One might even say that Boston terriers are always trending these days.

You often see their unique and lovely faces on products and various merchandise. They’ve even been featured on a few films including Hotel for Dogs, The Back Up Plan, and Transformers 2 among a few others. Boston terriers are an obvious favorite among pet owners because of their personalities. A quick YouTube search for the breed can bring you to hundreds of videos featuring these super personable animals.

Boston terriers may be small, but they pack a punch when it comes to love and affection. They’re friendly and they’re smart. They’ll always give you something to smile about and even laugh about. If you’ve been thinking about getting a Boston terrier for a companion, look no further. Here are 20 things you probably didn’t know about Boston terriers that will just make you want to go out and get one now.

1. American gentleman

Boston terriers have sometimes been referred to as the all-American dogs, and they’re actually nicknamed the “American gentleman.” It isn’t because they were the product of a cross between an English bulldog and an English terrier. They’re nicknamed so because of their completely genteel demeanor. They’re actually very gentle animals, and it’s one of the reasons that they make incredible house pets. Good breeders will select these personality traits, so make sure that you get your dog from a breeder that has a good reputation. The AKC also says that Bostonian William O’Brian owned the Boston terrier origin, a dog named “Judge.” He sold Judge to another Bostonian, Robert C. Hooper. The rest was history.

2. University mascot

The Boston terrier happens to be the school mascot of a large and famous institution of higher learning. Staying true to their roots, the Boston terrier is Boston University’s mascot. The school has over 32,000 students and each and every single one of these students belong to the larger body of “terriers”—what Boston University athletes and fans are referred to. The mascot actually has a name; the school calls him Rhett after Clark Gable’s character from Gone with the Wind. If you look at Boston University’s athletics department webpage, you’ll notice a script there somewhere that says, “No one loves Scarlet more than Rhett.” More than just a reference to the movie, this is also in reference to the school’s official colors, which happens to be scarlet and white.

3. Extremely playful

If you think that you’ve encountered a dog with a lot of energy, wait until you get a chance to spend a whole day with a Boston terrier. These dogs are so playful because of all the energy they have contained in their tiny bodies. This means that you’ll have to give Boston terriers a lot of exercise. It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise that might be as long as your dog has a way to expend some energy on a daily basis. A good way to go about it is to let the dog just run around in a backyard or a dog park. Because of their ancestry, Boston terriers love to play catch. Just remember that if you’re ever out in the heat playing with your dog, keep an eye out for dehydration, as these dogs tend to overheat faster compared to other dogs.

4. Agility experts

Because of all the natural energy they have, Boston terriers actually excel at one particular competition category: Agility. Combine with their intelligence, Boston terriers have the ability to learn obedience and master obstacle courses easily. Don’t think for once that you’re also forcing your Boston terrier into completing agility courses. These dogs actually love doing agility courses simply because they love to run and play. If you’re ready to train your Boston terrier in doing agility, make sure that you keep your own health in check. These dogs may be tiny but they’re extremely fast. You’ll definitely have to keep up with Boston terriers if you want to be in competition mode.

5. People pleasers

One thing you’ll notice about Boston terriers is how much they love people. We already know that they’re friendly; they actually take friendliness to the next level. This is also another reason why they love agility competitions. Boston terriers love to perform in front of people. In fact, no matter what they’re doing, they almost always think as if they’re performing for whoever is in front of them. For these dogs, agility competitions are simply performances. If there’s no one around to watch them do the obstacles, they will most certainly just sit around and do nothing. And while these dogs are generally not outdoorsy dogs, they love to socialize enough to enjoy their time outdoors. If they were indoors, they love to spend time with their human companions.

6. Short coat shedders

Boston terriers are known for they soft and shiny short coats. They usually come in particular colors of black, brindle, seal, or a combination of all three. There are also dogs with liver, cream, red, and brown coats, but these are very rare in Boston terriers. As beautiful as their short coats are, there is actually a downfall to them. They tend to shed easily, and they do so all year round. This is bad news for pet owners who have allergies, as this will aggravate your condition. One thing that will help the shedding is if you brush their coat at least once a week. This can control the shedding situation. If you’re worried about pet dander when it comes to Boston terriers, you should. These dogs are prone to dander, but this can also be remedied by a healthy dog diet that includes foods rich in omega-3s and healthy oils.

7. Sensitive to owner’s mood

Owners find that Boston terriers are really sensitive animals; they’re very intuitive to their owner’s needs and moods. You might also find that most Boston terriers are one-owner pets. They tend to find a person to stick with, and they become very attached. They also take very well to the elderly, sometimes preferring the aged compared to younger human companions. With that said, Boston terriers are still very sociable animals; they’re fairly outgoing for the most part. Even when they’re being standoffish, they still act polite towards other people. Boston terriers will definitely be protective of you if you were their companion. They will even act as a watchdog whenever it’s necessary.

8. Health problems

Most Boston terriers will live long and healthy lives. However, one of their most distinct qualities also cause them a lot of health issues. Breeders breed Boston terriers to have short faces and domed heads. This quality affects their breathing tremendously. In addition, Boston terriers are likely to develop other health conditions such as eye disease, epilepsy, heart disease, join disease, and cancer. It’s not recommended for first-time pet owners to have Boston terriers for their first pets because of all the health problems that they can develop. If you think that you can handle all the health issues, then you can very well go for it. Just make sure that you have a goo veterinarian close by just in case you might need to bring your Boston terrier in for a check up.

9. Terrier sounds

Most dogs bark. Some may even whine from time to time, and they might growl when they’re angry or defensive. Boston terriers do those as well, but they have a whole group of sounds that are not necessarily unique to their breed alone. They do, however, use all these sorts of sounds to talk to you and let you know what they’re thinking. Sometimes they just make sounds just because they can. So what are these terrier noises? You’ll notice that Boston terriers will use some, a combination, or all of these: snorts, snuffles, wheezes, and grunts. They also happen to snore very loudly while sleeping. Some pet owners find this absolutely adorable, but some pet owners find the noise completely unbearable. You’ll find out which category you belong to soon enough after spending a few days with your Boston terrier.

10. Flatulence

Here’s a little trivia for you. This also applies to all short-faced dogs. Whenever Boston terriers eat and gulp their food, they intake in air as well. That air has to go somewhere, so it goes through the digestive tract and right back out through the other end. The result is incredible flatulence that you will not only hear but also smell. This gassiness is aggravated by whatever dogs may eat. A lot of dog foods out there include ingredients that are difficult to digest, and this makes flatulence even worse. The solution to this problem is to give your Boston terrier better foods. This means a completely grain-free diet or one that’s homemade with better ingredients such as rich proteins, vegetables, and healthy oils.

11. Slobbering

For non-dog enthusiasts, slobbering can be one of the most disgusting dog traits out there. However, only dog lovers understand that slobbering can sometimes be a part of life, and it’s not really a nuisance but sometimes a necessity. The thing is Boston terriers typically have loose lips. It’s definitely adorable, but those loose lips can also cause excessive slobbering when they drink. However, slobbering in Boston terriers get worse when they get overheated. When a dog overheats, they take in more breaths—even more so for Boston terriers; they already take more breaths compared to other dogs even when they’re at rest. So when a dog is feeling to hot, it’ll pant more than usual. This will cause excessive slobbering like you’ll never believe. To prevent this, just make sure that your dog is properly hydrated at all times.

12. Housebreaking

There’s no doubt that Boston terriers are smart pets. They’re highly intuitive and pick up on your cues. However for some reason, they just take a while to pick up on housebreaking. This can be an issue for some pet owners who just don’t have the time or the patience to properly train their Boston terriers. If you can’t train your dog by yourself or if you feel that you’re having difficulty while doing so, you should hire a professional to train your dog for you. Housebreaking a Boston terrier can take several months to do, even for a professional, and it has to be completely consistent for it to work. Otherwise, you’ll just be causing unnecessary tension and strain between you and your dog.

13. Stubborn dogs

As gentle as these dogs are, they can be mildly stubborn. This stubbornness can be actually be a sign of their intelligence, but either way, it’s still something that you’ll have to deal with. You have to show your Boston terrier who is the boss. This should start early on and it should be consistent; otherwise, your dog will completely trample all over you. One good way to motivate your Boston terrier is through the use of biscuits, but you might end up with an overweight dog in the end. The best solution is to create a loving relationship between you and your dog, so you wouldn’t have to wave a biscuit at it every time you want it to obey you. Teach your Boston terrier respect, and you shouldn’t have any problems. On the other hand, you should also give your dog the same respect you expect from it.

14. American dog

This American gentleman also happens to be the very first dog breed developed in this nation. Compared to other breeds that have lost their origin to history, the Boston terrier’s history is well documented and fairly new. Earlier on, we already mentioned the origin dog named Judge. However, we need to finish his story. As a recap, Judge was an English bulldog and English terrier mix. Judge was bred with a dog named Gyp. The result was a puppy named Eph. Eph and all of his pups became the original ancestors of the Boston terrier breed. Eventually, the breed evolved to the way it looks now after so many years. This whole process started around the 1870s, a short time ago in comparison to other breeds that are considered ancient.

15. Bred to fight

Boston terriers come from a long line of fighters, much like their English bulldog relatives. It should come to no surprise, then, that Boston terriers were also bred for pit fighting. However when they were first bred back in the days, Boston terriers were a lot heavier and larger. They use to weigh up to 44 pounds in fact. In comparison, modern-day Boston terriers only weigh about half of that. At some point in history, dog fighting became illegal and largely unpopular with people. Eventually, the breed just morphed into the small companions we know and love today. Things would be much different if Boston terriers maintained their sizes to this day. Surely evolution had something else in mind.

16. State dog

First off, you have to know that not every state in the U.S. has an official state dog. It’s probably because there aren’t a lot of recognized breeds that originate in the U.S. to begin with. Massachusetts was the first American state that was able to claim as the birthplace of an original dog breed. All of this happened in Boston, so naturally in 1979, Massachusetts officially recognized the Boston terrier as its official state dog. We’re not sure why it took them about a century to get it done officially, especially since everyone in the state already considered and loved the Boston terrier as if it was the official dog. Nowadays, pet owners from all states and all over the world love the Boston terrier. What’s not to love anyway?

17. Dog confusion

Considering that they shared a common ancestor, Boston terriers and black and white French bulldogs are often confused for each other. They actually resemble each other so much that it’s not hard to do. But upon closer examination, even the untrained eye should be able to tell the difference. French bulldogs are generally shorter and thicker, while Boston terriers should be taller and a bit lighter. Another big difference can be found in the ears. While both breeds have ears that point upwards all the time, their shapes are distinctly different. Boston terrier ears are noticeably pointed. French bulldog ears, on the other hand, are completely rounded. These differences should be enough for you to distinguish between these two breeds like an expert.

18. C-section delivery

Boston terriers inherited their large heads from their English bulldog ancestors. However, they’re not just any large heads; they’re actually disproportionately larger than the rest of their bodies. It makes for a really cute dog, but it makes for a really difficult delivery. Because Boston terrier heads are too big for natural birth to be even possible at all, almost all Boston terrier births have to be done via C-section in order to ensure the safety of the pups and their mothers. Maybe one day evolution will fix this problem but it’ll be difficult if breeders are still selecting the large head trait for future breeds. It makes us wonder how they did the C-sections so long ago when the breed first came about. Maybe they didn’t need to do it then because Boston terrier bodies were a lot more proportionate during that time.

19. Presidential dogs

It’s no surprise that the Boston terrier is a dog fit for kings. Okay, maybe a dog fit for presidents is more like it. According to history, two American presidents owned Boston terriers at some point in their lives. The first one was Gerald Ford. Ford had two dogs when he was a little boy. These dogs were his Boston terriers, Fleck and Spot. There’s actually a historical photo of young Gerald Ford with one of his Boston terrier. The next president that had a Boston terrier pet was Warren G. Harding. Harding’s pet was called Hub, and Hub came about the former president’s life as an adult already. Harding described Hub as “a grateful and devoted dog, with a dozen lovable attributes.” Hub passed away in 1913, just 10 years before Harding himself passed away.

20. Helen Keller

Another famous figure was known to have had a Boston terrier as a pet, and it was none other than Helen Keller. In 1901, Keller and her longtime teacher and companion Annie Sullivan visited Presto Kennels. Presto was located in Newton, Massachusetts, so you can imagine what breed of dog they found over there. Keller me a Boston terrier named Sir Thomas. They took to each other right away even though Sir Thomas didn’t make friends so easily. Fast-forward to several months later, and Keller was back in school at Radcliffe College for midterm exams. Keller’s classmates presented Keller with a surprise gift after the exams to celebrate. The surprise gift was none other than Sir Thomas, of course. Keller reportedly burst into tears of joy after finding out that Sir Thomas was now her pet. We’re pretty sure that Sir Thomas must’ve felt equally joyous at that moment.

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