Boston Terriers Should You Bring One Home

A Boston Terrier owner gives her take on the top six pros and cons you should know about Bostons before you choose one as your next pet. Find out if this popular small dog is the right fit your lifestyle.

Perhaps you've already been sneaking peaks at Boston Terrier puppy pictures as a daily pick-me-up? Never fear, there is still time to make a reasoned decision about whether to bring home a Boston Terrier. Training and caring for these small, indoor dogs can be a rewarding experience, but the commitment is worth serious consideration.

My husband and I brought home a Boston Terrier two years ago and have never looked back. What follows is my candid take on the joys and, yes, occasional burdens of being a Boston Terrier owner.

Here are the top six positive and negative traits you can expect from most Boston Terriers:

The upside:

1) Boston Terriers are extraordinarily people-oriented.

This point cannot be overstated. Bostons adore people--all people, anytime, anywhere. They will be smitten with you, observant of your every movement and mood swing. If you change rooms, your Boston will want to accompany you. You will probably trip over your Boston and risk injury a few times. They thrive on being close. This people-orientation makes Bostons a lovable--if occasionally irritating--companion. For the squeamish, be warned that Bostons can offer kisses at a an alarming rate per minute.

2) Boston Terriers are highly trainable.

Because they are intelligent people-pleasers, Bostons are relatively easy to train. They are so focused on your voice and movements that they will notice the nuance in requests, learning variations on a large number of commands and tricks. If you keep training fun and consistent, you can reach an advanced level of training with a Boston with less effort than required for many dogs.

3) Boston Terriers are kid-friendly.

Most Bostons are gentle and trust-worthy in the presence of children. They are rarely aggressive (if properly socialized and neutered in the case of a male) and make sweet family dogs. Our Boston 's playful personality has made him hands-down the favorite canine playmate of all of the children in our family.

4) Boston Terriers are quiet.

You won't get noise complaints from neighbors because of a Boston . Bostons are lively but not yappy. They do not bark much, usually only when alarmed by a sudden noise or when excited during play. Often described as "the large dogs of small dogs," Bostons can transition quickly from exuberant frolicking outside to quiet lounging in the living room. They relish sleeping in on a weekend.

5) Boston Terriers are ideal for indoor living.

Bostons can lead full, happy lives and get needed exercise even if you have a small home or no yard. It just takes more effort on your part. They are not problem chewers, so you won't have to worry about them destroying your shoes, phone cords, furniture or other things lying about. You also won't find hair covering your furniture. Since Bostons have such short-haired coats, they are a breeze to groom and bathe. You'll save on grooming fees.

6) Boston Terriers live to play but require only moderate exercise.

Usually half an hour of energetic play will keep Bostons happy and out of trouble. They may even become tuckered on a hot summer day after only a ten-minute walk around the neighborhood. As a rule, they would prefer to play games with you rather than go on a walk. They live to play! If you won't derive joy from romping about with this little clown of a dog, then a Boston may not be for you!

The possible downside:

1) Bostons Terriers are hyper.

Without dedication in training, your Boston will find it hard to resist bowling you, your family members, co-workers, and random solicitors down when you or they come to the door. Be prepared for the challenge and embarrassment of keeping your Boston's excitable nature in check, especially in the presence of new people or dogs.

2) Boston Terriers can be needy.

Because Bostons love their people, it can be tough for them to be alone for stretches of time. If you have to be away on a consistent basis or work full-time without the possibility for mid-day breaks, a Boston may not be the right fit. The same is true if you prefer a dog that doesn't crave to be the center of attention. A Boston will want a good deal of attention. That said, it is not a problem to crate a trained adult Boston for several hours when you need to work or go out.

3) You may have to referee playtime between a Boston and your small child.

Our Boston has an intuitive sense of the vulnerability of infants and small children and shows amazing restraint in their presence. Still, Bostons are gentle but not calm and may knock a child down during play. More often, you probably will need to protect a Boston from unintentional (or intentional) pokes, kicks and swats from small children, being particularly mindful of those big brown eyes, which are vulnerable to injury.

4) Boston Terriers can be a challenge to house train.

Bostons are sensitive dogs with a stubborn streak, and this can affect house training. They may not want to venture out into cold or wet weather to do their business, or they may refuse to go unless you accompany them. They may be easily distracted by people, dogs, or goings-on in the neighborhood. Their digestive issues may make them susceptible to emergencies. With training you can overcome these challenges, but it will require persistence.

5) Boston Terriers have sensitive digestive tracts.

Bostons are greedy eaters with sensitive stomachs. They may display an intolerance to ingredients in commercial dog foods. Be prepared to spend for high quality commercial dog food (or other specialty diets) unless you want to deal with loose stools and excess gas. Stress may exacerbate stomach problems. Regardless, you will need to prepare yourself for some foul smells! Their short faces cause them to take in air when eating, which leads to gas.

6) Boston Terriers have limited tolerance for cold and hot weather.

Bostons have two strikes against them when it comes to adjusting to winter or summer temperatures. Because of their short coats, they have little natural protection from cold or rainy weather. They will dread venturing outside in the cold and will need a coat when they do. On the other hand, they may have breathing difficulties in hot weather, and you'll have to protect them from overheating.