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Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Boston Terrier? The Boston Terrier is one of the few breeds that are native to the United States. As the name implies, Boston Terrier originated in Boston, Massachusetts around 1865, from a cross between English Bulldog and the White English Terrier. The breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1893 and became very popular in the early 1900’s. Despite its name, Boston Terrier is not a Terrier and is not in the AKC’s Terrier group, instead they are considered as a companion dog in the AKC’s Non-Sporting group.
Boston Terrier is a “brachycephalic” (flat nosed) breed with a sweet and easy going personality. They are often referred to as the “American Gentleman” because of their domestic heritage and gentle disposition along with their black & white markings which often resemble a tuxedo.
How big do they get? Boston Terrier can weigh anywhere from less that 10 to over 25 lbs. The AKC Boston Terrier breed standard does not recognize dogs under 10 lbs or over 25 lbs and these dogs are disqualified from entering AKC Conformation shows. Fortunately, there are no weight restrictions for entering AKC performance events such as Obedience, Rally and Agility where Boston Terrier of all sizes do very well.
What are their colors? Boston Terrier come in three recognized colors: black & white, seal & white, and brindle & white, with specific breed-standard markings. Browns, reds, fawns, whites, grays and blues, which some unscrupulous breeders advertise as “rare” are indeed rare only because responsible breeders avoid such colors. These non-standard colorings are a result of a recessive or a diluted gene and are commonly linked to health and behavior problems. Complete and regular veterinary screenings are essential for these off-colored Bostons. Though some may make wonderful pets, these Bostons should be spayed/neutered and should never be bred.
Any health issues? Common health problems in Bostons are: Brachycephalic Syndrome including cleft palate, stenotic nares, elongated soft palate and harelip; Hypothyroidism; Eye diseases including corneal ulcers, cataract and corneal dystrophy; Deafness; Patellar Luxation; Epilepsy; Back problem such as Hemivertebrae and Dermatitis including demodectic mange.
Responsible breeders have been striving for years to breed many of these hereditary conditions out of their lines, but despite their efforts, some conditions are still prevalent. Lessen the odds of getting a puppy with a genetic condition by insisting on reviewing a certificate for CERF (eye), BAER (ear), and OFA-Patella (knee) testing on the the Sire and the Dam of the puppy. They should have passed these tests prior to being bred in order to minimize the chances of the bad genes being passed on to the puppies.
Do Bostons make great pets? It depends on you and your lifestyle. Boston Terrier, due to their short coat and short snout, should not be kept outdoors. They are indoor dogs. In some households, it’s sometimes a given that Bostons sleep in its owner’s bed, and under the covers of course!
Because of their large, prominent eyes, corneal ulcers from lacerations are a very common problem with this breed, which when left untreated can lead to a loss of vision. Extra caution is required in a home with small children and/or cats. Many breeders hesitate to place their puppies in such homes, but you shouldn’t feel offended, for the concerns are for the well being of the puppy.
If possible, consider an adult Boston. They’re usually pre-house trained, and will adapt easier to your household than a puppy. A Boston’s average life span is 12 to 15 years, so even an adult dog will still have plenty of years left to love your Friendly.
Bostons are lively, loveable and affectionate but they can also be stubborn, tenacious, and hyperactive. They also tend to “snort” and drool more than the average dog. Bostons can also snore loudly, which can be a problem if you are a light sleeper. They also have a tendency to be slightly more flatulent than other breeds.
Where do I find one? Boston Terrier puppies are hard to come by, especially from a reputable breeder. They often have a long waiting lists for puppies. Bostons routinely require a caesarian section to give birth. As a result, the females cannot be bred as frequently as other breeds. The number in a litter also tends to be small and a litter of one is not uncommon. It doesn’t matter if you are interested in “only a pet”. “Pet” puppies come from the same litter as “show” puppies.
Difference between a pet and a show puppy? Not much. Sometimes a breeder will sell a puppy as a pet because of a minor cosmetic reasons, such as the size of it's ears, or a marking that may not be as balanced. A breeder might keep a puppy or two from a litter that best matches the Boston Terrier breed standard as a potential show prospects and place the rest as pet to a non-show homes.
How much do they cost? A well bred puppy from a reputable breeder tends to be expensive. However, the cost often means that you are getting a puppy from a dog that has had all of it’s genetic testing and proper health screenings. You will also benefit from the knowledge of an experienced breeder who has been involved the breed for many years.
What about AKC papers? The American Kennel Club is a registry of purebred dogs. AKC pedigree does not guarantee quality but it does certify that the puppy came from a mother and a father that are also registered with the AKC.
What about other registries? Continental Kennel Club, American Canine Association, Universal Kennel Club, Dog Registry of America and America’s Pet Registry are businesses often used by puppy-mills and backyard breeders whose dogs do not qualify for AKC registration. These companies sell pedigrees without requiring any proof of a dog’s lineage. Reputable breeders do not register their dogs with these organizations!
How do I pick a good breeder? There is no “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” for dog breeders, but the following is a list of things you should be aware of:
Reputable breeders screen their dogs for health problems BEFORE they breed.
Reputable breeders supports the breed by being an active member of a parent club or it’s local affiliate. For Boston Terrier, the parent club is the Boston Terrier Club of America. You should question any breeder that isn’t dedicated enough participate in a breed club.
Reputable breeders know the breed standard and breed their dogs towards that standard.
Reputable breeders take pride in their dogs being shown at AKC dog shows. You should question any breeder that does not show their dogs themselves or by a handlers.
Reputable breeders do not advertise “puppies for sale” in local newspapers, on the internet, or on supermarket bulletin boards and they never supply puppies to pet stores.
Reputable breeders can produce a pedigree with a lineage going back at least several generations with show champions at each level.
Reputable breeders support breed rescue and health research.
Reputable breeders will tell you the positive side about the breed, as well as the negative points.
Reputable breeders promote spaying and neutering for the dogs they sell as “pets”.
Where do I find a good Boston breeder? Start by contacting BTCA Breeder Referral (listed below) then contact as many breeders as you can. Ask each one for additional referrals. Reputable breeders have no problem referring you to other breeder. If you are not comfortable with a particular breeder, go to the next one. Find the one that you feel comfortable with.
Go to an AKC dog show. Talk to the owners, the handlers, and the breeders. Gather names, phone numbers and business cards. Get to know the breeder and allow the breeder to get to know you. (Note: At dog shows, please ask first if it is a good time to talk, since they might be busy preparing their dogs for the show ring.)
Should I get a puppy? A puppy will be with you for a long time, as much as 15+ years. You are responsible for it’s well being for it’s entire life. Owning a dog is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Do you have the time to devote to your dog? Can you afford the extra expense of owning a dog? Boston Terriers are wonderful pets, but they are not for everyone. Please do your homework and research the breed to get the facts and then make the right choice for you and your Friendly.
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