Boston Terrier Care

Anyone considering adopting a Boston Terrier that needs a home should know that these small-sized, lively dogs are fairly low-maintenance overall. Though animated, a Boston's energy is usually expelled in short, frequent bursts, so it doesn't need a lot f prolonged exercise; neither does this breed require much grooming, have particular dietary restrictions, or need specific living environments. Below you'll find plenty of useful details on growth and development, maintenance and diet needs, and more.

Boston Terrier Breed Development

As a smaller breed, Boston Terrier growth happens more quickly than it will for larger breeds. Depending on its size when mature (and these dogs' size can vary from less than 15 pounds to 25 or more), a Boston Terrier's early life stages should be completed, and the dog will reach adulthood, at 12-14 months. Bostons typically reach nearly full height and length early (at 8-10 months), and fill out over the following several months. The chart below lists the milestones in a Boston Terrier puppy's development:

Boston Terrier Exercise Needs

Though a lively breed, Boston Terrier exercise needs aren't excessive--but they should be frequent. These dogs get constant (but short-lived) "bursts" of energy, so they'll need daily "playtime" in addition to a good walk or jog. And as a well-built, athletic breed, a Boston can be exercised starting relatively early in puppyhood (4-6 months).

Be aware, though, that Boston Terriers don't do well in temperature extremes. Because of their short coats, they get cold rather easily; due to their short noses, they're brachycephalic (meaning they can't cool the air they breathe as well as longer-nosed breeds), so they can suffer heat stroke in hot temperatures. Exercise a Boston outdoors only in moderate temperatures, and keep the dog inside during hot or cold snaps.

Boston Terriers are interesting: they can curl up in their owners' laps for an hour or more--but the second the owner gets up, they'll be a dynamo, running and jumping throughout the house. So several exercises (both indoors and out) are recommended:

  • Fetch: Can be done indoors or out, with a ball, stick, or chew toy
  • Frisbee: Great exercise for these lively, athletic dogs
  • Walk or jog: Short to moderate (about 30 minutes) should be adequate
  • Hide & seek: Good indoor activity during extreme hot or cold weathe
  • Hiking: Be sure to do it in moderate temperatures, and bring plenty of water!

With Boston Terriers' sporadic energy bursts, having a ball or toy lying around for the dog to fetch is the perfect remedy for their restlessness. It's a good idea to also stick to a regular daily exercise routine, such as two or three short "play periods" during the day, followed by a good walk after dinner.

Boston Terrier Maintenance

In regards to drooling and shedding, this breed is low-maintenance. Boston Terrier drool or slobber is basically nonexistent, and though they lose a little hair during shedding season, overall Boston Terrier shedding is pretty minimal. Breed owners should have no problem caring for their Bostons in these areas.

Does a Boston Terrier shed at all? A little--and mostly during the spring and fall shedding seasons, which normally last 2-3 weeks. For most of the year, twice-weekly brushing and monthly baths should minimize any shedding for these dogs; during the two shedding seasons, brush more frequently (3-4 times per week, if not daily). And a bath in the midst of the shedding period will wash away a lot of the hair that would otherwise end up on the carpet or furniture. A bit of vacuuming, along with a lint roller on the couch, recliner, etc., should get rid of hair that the brushing and baths don't get.

Boston Terrier Diet

As with all dog breeds, diet is important for Boston Terriers in maintaining their health. These dogs can vary widely in size--from less than 15 pounds to more than 25--so adults should receive anywhere from half a cup to 1½ cups of dry dog food per day (an average of 600-700 calories). Puppies, obviously, need less--from a third to a half a cup daily (400-450 calories). (See the chart below for more information.)

Mature Bostons need to be fed twice daily. Puppies, since they're still growing, can be fed more often (3-4 times daily), if possible; if not, twice a day is okay. Regardless of a Boston's age, the dog should be fed at the same time each day (at breakfast and dinnertime, for example) so the dog's digestive system can "schedule" itself, so to speak.

Also like most breeds, Boston Terriers have some diet-related health concerns--the biggest of which is obesity. These dogs can be pretty gluttonous and gobble their food quickly; to avoid ending up with a fat Boston Terrier waddling around, closely monitor a Boston's eating and exercise habits. And if you notice the dog becoming overweight, the same rule applies as for humans: eat less, move more. Unfortunately, dogs of this breed are also known for both flatulence and bad breath, so feeding dry kibble like Royal Canin to a Boston Terrier, rather than canned food, is better because it has less grains that can produce those bad odors.

Living Environment

Dogs of this breed are definitely more comfortable living indoors. Because of its small size, a Boston Terrier is apartment-friendly, too. And temperature extremes are no good for a Boston Terrier; winter chill is bad because of its short coat, and hot weather may cause a Boston to suffer heat stroke.