Everything You NEED TO KNOW About The BOSTON TERRIER!
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Temperament Let’s first take a look at their typical temperament and personality traits. A world away from their historical use as fighting dogs, a Boston is a perfectly compact companion! They are renowned as one of the friendliest breeds, either for a single person or couple, to a family with children. They’re people orientated and amusing. The small size means they will be happy in any home, given the access to proper exercise! You want to be able to give them 30-60 minutes a day of interesting, fun exercise. This will alleviate boredom and strengthen your bond! This little dog will be one to keep you laughing all day with their humorous tendencies and spurts of hyperactivity! Training is a must for this breed as they are really quite intelligent. Be wary though that with intelligence comes mischief! Mischief is just an outlet for boredom or lack of mental stimulation so with some daily training or games, they will be a joy to have. Health Now, for something a bit more serious, the health of the Boston Terrier. This breed is known as a brachycephalic breed, if you aren’t aware of this term, it describes all breeds that have a shortened muzzle or ‘flat face’. With this physical characteristic it can affect their respiratory tract, making it difficult to breathe. Now Boston’s aren’t the most severe brachycephalic breed, a Pekinese being a prime example of ‘extreme’, but there are still key truths you need to be aware of if you choose to get one! To stick with the brachycephalic topic, the Boston can have trouble breathing, be at a higher risk of asphyxiation pneumonia (where they inhale food or water into their lungs, causing an infection) and be intolerant to the heat. Whilst these can be serious issues, there are steps which you can take as the owners to lower the risks. Researching and locating a respectable breeder for one, to ensure steps have been taken in order to produce healthy puppies. Providing them with slow feeders is the most effective way to ensure they don’t eat their food too quickly, especially if you can’t be there to supervise. And in the summer, be aware of the weather. Do not walk them if the weather isn’t suitable, they are best to go a day or two without a walk to the park if it risks heat stroke. Heat and humidity will cause your Boston to pant, and with their small respiratory tract, this becomes counter-productive. They will have to pant harder than say, a spaniel, preventing them from actually cooling down. This can then lead to heatstroke which can be fatal. Another medical concern you should be aware of is that Boston Terriers can have luxating patellars, or loose kneecaps to non-medical folk! This can vary in severity, and the best way to reduce the risks of this is, again, by researching and buying from a good breeder. A good breeder will be aware of this issue and will take steps to ensure they breed dogs that will hopefully be less affected. Gentle exercise, or just being able to prevent them from charging up and down the stairs or on and off the sofa can help prevent them becoming lame with this issue. But if you happen to notice any lameness or suspect discomfort, always consult a vet! We’ve mentioned breeders a bit in terms of health and there is another crucial fact you need to know should you ever want to breed a Boston Terrier. The bitch can really struggle to naturally whelp her puppies. The big head and shoulders combo of the Boston is extremely counter-productive for a smooth labour, for obviously reasons! This is an extremely dangerous concern as both mum and pup can pass away if you don’t act quick enough to get her to the vet’s for a c-section. Diet Despite its small size, a Boston can be gluttonous with their food! We’ve already mentioned that a slow feeder can stop them from wolfing down their food, but you also need to make sure you don’t overfeed them or give them too many calories! Now, the Boston requires a simple, wholesome diet. Nothing too fancy! When looking for suitable food for your companion, you want there to be little to no by-products. So you want to check for real protein sources such as lean muscle, fish, seeds ect. Dogs are carnivores by nature, you want their food to include animal proteins wherever possible. Essential fats are another key part of their diet, key word being essential. The fats you want to be aware of in your Boston’s diet is omega 3 and 6. A fish based diet of either salmon, mackerel or sardines would give your dog an abundance of these fats. But for a less smelly option, pork, beef, hemp and flax seeds are also good option. Now to the non-essential aspect of their diet; carbs. This aspect is very dependent on the activity level of your Boston, if you have a lazier pup, restrict their carbs! Much like a human after Christmas! You want to stay away from starchy carbs for a Boston, for example, grains, rice or potatoes. These are less digestible and can be high in sugar. Not good for a breed that is susceptible to weight gain! Instead try them with blueberries, apples, carrots, bananas, pumpkin seeds or almonds, to name a few. To keep their carbohydrate intake low, use their favourite option as training treats. This will ensure they work for their carbs, meaning they’re less likely to become overweight! Lastly, vitamins and minerals. If you choose a more raw based diet, a lot of the protein, fat and carb sources I have mentioned contain a varied combination of what a Boston needs. But if you instead decide on looking for a ready made kibble or wet food. I’ll tell you the ones to look out for! The vitamins to include are D, E and B1, which can be found in good protein and carbohydrate sources. Don’t worry too much about vitamin C, whilst it’s good to include it, dogs are clever enough to manufacture it themselves! For minerals, you want to look for magnesium, selenium, phosphorous, manganese, sulphur and iodine. Again, these can be found in the forementioned protein, carb and essential fat sources. Now, this can sound over-whelming, we aim to educate and guide all types of dog owners here at Fenrir. So we recommend to always consult a vet or registered canine nutritionist if you have concerns or queries.