Boston Terrier

Lifestyle Needs

Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier is a small, short nosed dog with upright ears.  He belongs to the Toy group of dogs and is a suitable companion dog or family pet.  He is generally even tempered but can be a bit boisterous.  His short coat is easy to care for.  Like most dogs needs regular exercise and mental stimulation.

Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)

The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 11.3% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'

Effective Population Size - EPS


EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.

Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)

  • Brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome (BAOS)  including stenotic nares, elongated soft palate, and everted laryngeal saccules (the Boston’s short nose and skull abnormalities cause breathing difficulties and associated chronic discomfort and exercise intolerance)
  • Hypoplasia of the trachea (abnormal trachea causing difficulty breathing and other problems – often occurs in combination with BOAS)
  • Dystocia (difficulty giving birth – due to abnormal body shape and mismatch in size between puppies’ heads and mothers’ birth canal – caesarean necessary in 80% of dogs)
  • Hemevertebrae (deformities of bones of the spine causing pressure on spinal cord, weakness, loss of hindlimb function and incontinence)  Consequence of selection for the curly tail
  • Hydrocephalus (water on the brain) – short skull increases the risk for this developmental disorder)

BVA/KC Health Schemes:

  • Eye Disease:  Hereditary cataract (HC) juvenile onset affecting both eyes, progressing to blindness; late onset type more variable in progression and severity (annual testing)
  • Hip dysplasia: (abnormality of the hip joints causing pain and disability) breed mean score 9.5 (parents should be lower)

Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:

DNA Tests Available

Hereditary Cataract  (HC-HSF4)

Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes

None known

Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.

Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)

  • Atopy (hypersensitivity to pollen and other protein particles, causes intense itching and skin trauma)
  • Generalised demodicosis (mange)
  • Cushings syndrome (over production of corticosteroids, causes lethargy, thirst, increased appetite)
  • Cleft palate
  • Patellar luxation (dislocated kneecap)
  • Cancer: Brain tumor; histiocytoma, mast cell tumors
  • Congenital deafness
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye)
  • Cherry eye
  • Secondary glaucoma (related to cataract)
  • Corneal dystrophy
  • Uveal cysts

Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents.  Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.

Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.

You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP):

You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding:

Or the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders Scheme Standard and Guidance:
Standard PDF | Guidance PDF

List of Dog Breeds