The Boston Terrier.

This Holidays 4 Dogs article will take a closer look at these unusual little dogs. They were once seldom seen in the U.K, but are now popular as family pets. Boston terriers are are ‘dapper’ little dogs with happy, gregarious personalities. Read on to find out more.


The breed began with a dog called ‘Hooper’s Judge’ who was imported from England. The origins of his breeding are said to be crosses between the bulldog, the now extinct English white terrier and the French bulldog. ‘Judge’ was smaller than the bulldog with the lively character of the terrier and so began the leaning towards a smaller more lightly built bulldog type. They were first shown in 1888 and at the time these dogs were known as the, ‘Boston Roundhead’ due to the dog’s apple shaped head.

Boston terriers were very popular in the mining districts of England in the 1870’s, notably in the Liverpool area, where the dogs were used to catch rats.

However, the dogs were also very much favoured by the elite living in the beacon area of Boston. Many employed coachmen began breeding these dogs, out crossing to other similar, but smaller breeds. Very soon, serious dog fanciers began to take an interest in this emerging new breed and began importing dogs of a similar type to Judge, from England. By the 1920’s, the Boston terrier as a recognised breed, arrived back on the shores of England.


Due to selective breeding of the modern Boston terrier, it is quite unlike other terriers. While they can be lively and animated, they can also be calm and placid. They are sturdy little dogs and quite energetic, despite their small stature. They love engaging in games and activities, but can sometimes be somewhat stubborn and do need plenty of socialisation when puppies.

These “American gentlemen”, with their smart tuxedo coats can make lively and engaging pets. However, it is important to be aware that these dogs can be high maintenance in terms of health.


There are many critics of the breed. They are knows as a brachycephalic dog; that is, they have been selectively bred to have squashed skulls. This results in a congested nasal passage and pharynx. In turn, this can pose serious health issues, particularly in relation to respiratory failure. Therefore, care must be taken to ensure these dogs are not over exercised in hot weather. In addition, this means many are not terribly good swimmers and should be supervised around water.

In addition, as a consequence of selection for curly tails they can also suffer from hemevertebrae; a deformity of the spine. This puts pressure on the spinal cord, sometimes resulting in weakness or loss of sensation. Unfortunately, they are also susceptible to hereditary cataracts. Breeders should always test their stock for Hereditary cataract (HC-HSF4).