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 © 2000-2018
Boston Terriers are very individualistic: Some are high-spirited and clownish, while 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 (typically) 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
- Many potential health problems due to his deformities
A Boston Terrier may not be right for you.
Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.
- You can avoid some negative traits by choosing an ADULT dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. With an adult dog, you can easily see what you're getting, and plenty of adult Boston Terriers have already proven themselves not to have negative characteristics.
- If you want a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy. Unfortunately, you usually can't tell whether a puppy has inherited temperament or health problems until he grows up.
- Finally, you can avoid some negative traits by training your Boston Terrier to respect you and by following the 11-step care program in my book, 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...
- Health problems. Many Boston Terriers live a good long life. Unfortunately, breeders deliberately breed these dogs to be deformed, with a short face and domed head. As such, they suffer more than their share of health problems – not only with their breathing, but also eye diseases, epilepsy, cancer, joint diseases, heart disease, and more. See Boston Terrier Health.
- Boston Terrier "sounds". Most Boston Terriers snort, snuffle, wheeze, grunt, and snore loudly. The sounds are endearing to some people; nerve-wracking to others.
- Potential 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 hard-to-digest ingredients such as corn, soy, and other grains. Boston Terriers who are fed a homemade diet of real meat and vegetables have much less trouble with gassiness.
- Potential slobbering. Boston Terriers with especially loose lips may slobber when they drink, or when they get overheated and need to pant heavily.
- Housebreaking. Bostons can be slow to pick up the concept of housebreaking. Expect several months of consistent crate training. Read more about 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 with this breed, but too many cookies equals a fat Boston Terrier. Also you don't want a dog who only obeys when you're waving a biscuit at him!
Instead you should establish the right relationship between the two of you, where you are the leader and he is the follower. In other words, you must teach your Boston Terrier to respect you. Read more about Boston Terrier training.
To help you train and care for your dog
Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.
The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.
To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.