The Boston Terrier is one of the first breeds to originate in the United States. They were originally used as fighting dogs, but they have since been bred to be playful and gentle canine companions. Bostons are mid-sized dogs, averaging around 20 pounds (9 kg), with short hair and, usually, bobbed tails. Properly trained, these energetic terriers get along well with children and other pets, though they can be rather territorial.
Boston Terrier Health Problems:
With a life expectancy of over 15 years, Bostons are relatively robust dogs, but they are known to have a number of health concerns:
Boston Terrier Respiratory Concerns
- Breathing problems: these dogs’ short snouts can restrict airflow, and if the condition is severe enough surgery may be required to reconstruct the airway.
- Brachycephalic Syndrome: because of their short, pushed-in snouts and narrow nostrils Boston Terriers suffer from labored breathing and other respiratory obstruction.
- Elongated soft palette: tissue in the back of the roof of the mouth responsible for the snorting and snoring sounds common in the breed. However, an elongated soft palette is one that’s too long for the Boston Terrier’s shortened head. This is a congenital issue present at birth and can block air from entering the dog’s windpipe.
Boston Terrier Cancer Risks
- Canine mast cell tumors: snub-faced breeds like the Boston Terrier are at a relatively higher risk than other dogs for developing cancer of the cells that mediate immune responses. The result is the formation of subcutaneous lesions that may spread to other parts of the body. The disease can be fatal, but if caught early it responds to a variety of treatments, including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
Boston Terrier Eye Diseases
- Eye problems: Boston Terriers suffer from over 20 diseases of the eye, according to an article by the Boston Terrier Club of America.
- Juvenile Cataracts: Can cause total blindness in puppies and young dogs. A Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) exam with a licensed veterinary Ophthalmologist is recommended as early as possible to check for hereditable eye diseases.
- Cataracts: A top problem for the breed, Cataracts form from damage to the outer surface of the eye. Boston Terriers are especially vulnerable to this disease due to the position of their bulging eyes. Cataracts can cause blindness but surgery may be able to restore the dog’s sight if the diagnosis is made early enough.
- Corneal ulcers: Boston Terriers have protruding eyes that catch particles which can cause ulcers on the eye’s surface.
Boston Terrier Orthopedic Issues
- Patellar luxation: the most common orthopedic issue in the breed, luxation of the patella occurs when the kneecap (patella) becomes dislodged, causing pain and restricted movement. In severe cases, surgery may be required to reposition the affected bone and connective tissue. Because up to 10% of Boston Terriers suffer from patellar luxation, experts recommend an orthopedic examination every two years. Signs of this disorder are limping, frequent stretching of the rear leg, visible pain, refraining from regular activities and favoring one leg when walking or standing.
Boston Terrier Pet Insurance
Good breeders do all they can to ensure that puppies do not inherit these conditions, but there is no way to be 100% certain. And with so much boundless energy, your Boston stands a good chance of getting into mischief. You can expect medical bills for your dog, and you can plan for them by purchasing a pet health insurance plan that offers the coverage you and your Boston Terrier need.
For other types of dogs, check out our full list of dog breeds.