Boston Terrier Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
Boston Terrier Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2015
Boston Terriers are very individualistic: Some are high-spirited and clownish, some are calm and dignified, even placid. Some are stubborn characters, while others are sweet and gentle.
But in general, the Boston Terrier is an altogether dapper and charming little dog. Playing games and chasing balls are (frequently) two of his passions.
Seeking companionship is another, for the Boston always wants to be with his family. His large expressive eyes, attentively cocked head, and snorting and snuffling sounds bring out parental feelings in many people.
Extremely sensitive to his owner's moods, some Boston Terriers are one-person dogs, with a special affinity for the elderly. But many are outgoing with everyone, and even the ones who are a bit standoffish are polite. Yet he is a dependable watchdog who will let you know when someone is at the door.
Fine with other family pets, Boston Terriers may put on a blustery show upon spying a larger dog across the street, but they are seldom truly aggressive.
This breed is often a good choice for first-time owners -- as long as you can deal with the health issues resulting from their unnaturally short face.
If you want a dog who...
- Is small yet sturdy -- not a delicate lapdog
- Has large expressive eyes
- Has a sleek easy-care coat
- Is usually polite with everyone, including other pets
- Typically loves to play games and chase balls
A Boston Terrier may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- Snorting, snuffling, wheezing, snoring, some slobbering
- Gassiness (flatulence)
- Slowness to housebreak
- Quite a few potential health problems due to his deformed face
A Boston Terrier may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of Boston Terriers
If I was considering a Boston Terrier, I would be most concerned about...
- Minimizing the problems that can be caused by their short face. Read about these special health problems and make sure you're willing to take extra steps to care for your Boston Terrier:
- His respiratory system is compromised, so don't smoke near him, don't use chemical cleaning products, and keep him away from allergenic pollen and freshly-cut grass.
- Make sure your vet uses only the most modern anesthetics (such as isoflurane) and insist on a heart and blood pressure monitor. Many vets are NOT careful enough when anesthetizing short-faced breeds.
- In hot or humid weather, minimize his outdoor activity and keep him in an air-conditioned home. Short-faced dogs have a high risk of heatstroke because they can't pant vigorously enough to lower their body heat.
- Walk him in a Y-shaped harness that wraps around his chest, not his throat. A collar puts pressure on his windpipe and makes it harder for him to breathe.
- Wash and dry the folds of skin on his face after every meal.
- Housebreaking. Bostons can be slow to pick this up. Expect four to six months of consistent crate training. Read more on housebreaking your Boston Terrier
- Stubbornness. Most Boston Terriers are mildly stubborn. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say. Food is a great motivator, but too many cookies equals a fat Boston Terrier....and you don't want a dog who only obeys when you're waving a biscuit at him! Instead...
You must teach your Boston Terrier to respect you. A dog who respects you will do what you say and will stop what he's doing when you tell him "No."
My book Teach Your Dog 100 English Words, gives you a unique vocabulary to use with your dog AND teaches my Respect Training Program. Your dog will look at you when you speak and do what you say. Not just when he's hungry for a treat or feels like it. But all the time. Because he respects you.
- Boston Terrier sounds. Because of their short face, most Boston Terriers snort, snuffle, wheeze, grunt, and snore loudly. The sounds are endearing to some people; nerve-wracking to others.
- Slobbering. Boston Terriers with especially loose jowls may slobber when they drink, or when they get overheated and need to pant heavily.
- Gassiness (flatulence). All short-faced breeds gulp air when they eat, and that air has to go somewhere, after all. However, commercial diets make flatulence worse by including fibrous or hard-to-digest ingredients such as corn, soy, and other grains. Instead, feed your Boston Terrier an easy-to-digest, meat-heavy, homemade diet.
- Shedding. Boston Terriers are average shedders.
- Finding a healthy one and keeping him healthy. Many Boston Terriers live a good long life, but they are very prone to health problems, including eye diseases, epilepsy, cancer, joint diseases, heart disease, and more. To avoid these problems, you need to buy your Boston Terrier from a person who can pass the "14 Family Companion Guidelines" in my book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams. If they're not following these guidelines, it's a big risk to buy a puppy from them.
Once you have your puppy home, you need to keep him healthy by following the 11-Step Health Care Program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy.
If you want your dog to live a long, healthy life and seldom need to visit the vet, this is the book for you. How to prepare healthy meals, getting only the right vaccinations (not the ones that are either useless or risky), preventing fleas, ticks, and heartworm safely, getting dangerous (to dogs) products out of your home, healing or improving current health issues, and much more. This is my best book, and bargain priced, too!
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