Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
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Crossing the lively Boston Terrier with the loving and intelligent Poodle has resulted in a fantastic cross-breed that would make a welcome addition to many households. The good nature of the Bossi-Poo makes them a hit with kids, while their easy to manage coat and moderate exercise requirements mean that they are a relatively low maintenance choice of pet.

Tending to look like a good mix of each parent breed, the Bossi-Poo should have a medium-sized muzzle, dark brown eyes and a wiry coat. While fur colour is often the same ‘tuxedo’ black and white of the Boston Terrier, it is also possible for the fur to be other shades, such as grey or brown.

About & History

The Bossi-Poo is a dog of many names and may also be referred to as the Bossi Doodle, BostonPoo or the Boston Doodle. Though technically any Poodle can be included in the cross, it is most often the Miniature Poodle that is bred. Poodles are probably the most used breed when it comes to designer dogs and this is no coincidence. The Poodle is such a popular choice because not only do they come in several sizes and colours, they are also quick to learn, obedient and affectionate.

One real draw of the Poodle when it comes to canine hybridisation is that they can often contribute a hypoallergenic coat to the mix. The Boston Terrier is a relative newcomer to the world of designer dogs, but certainly brings a lot to the table. The Bossi-Poo was probably created within the last couple of decades and is yet to make a real name for itself. By looking at the histories of both parents, we can get a better understanding of this new cross-breed.

The Poodle

The Poodle is now a much-loved companion animal and is known to excel in activities, such as obedience and agility. Before this, they were commonly used to retrieve fowl from water when on the hunt and have also traditionally helped to sniff out truffles and to even perform in circus acts.

Both Germany and France are thought to have played a role in the development of the Poodle and, while their name derives from a German word, the breed truly flourished once it arrived in France in the 1700s. The Kennel Club currently recognises three variations of the breed: Standard, Miniature and Toy.

The Boston Terrier

Boston Terriers are closely related to a number of well-known breeds, including the French Bulldog and Bull Terrier. They get their name from the city in which they originated: Boston, Massachusetts. While first established sometime in the late 1800s, it was not until 1914 that they were recognised by the Kennel Club and were classified within their Utility Group.


Though the Miniature Poodle and Boston Terrier are similar heights and weights, their facial features and coat types are quite different, meaning that their progeny are varied in their appearance, even within the same litter. With successive matings, this variation will lessen, but, for now, each Bossi-Poo pup will have a somewhat distinctive look.

The skull of the Bossi-Poo is relatively small in size and they tend to have a longer muzzle and less facial skin folds than their Boston Terrier parent. While their ears may stand erect, most will have ears that flop endearingly forward. Their dark brown eyes are almond shaped and lend them a sweet and curious expression. Their body is lean and compact, while their limbs should be straight and symmetrical. The tail of the Bossi-Poo may be short and curled like the Boston Terrier or may be long and straight like that of the Poodle.

While some individuals will have a short coat, others have a medium-length wiry, wavy or curled coat. Many will be black and white, but fur can just as easily be brown or grey. Facial fur tends to be somewhat longer than that on the body and ‘moustaches’ are not uncommon. White patches on places, such as the chest and paws, are a frequent feature.

Adult Bossi-Poos measure from 28cm to 38cm and will weigh from 6.8kg to 11kg, keeping in mind that these are the figures for the Miniature Poodle cross and that if a Standard Poodle were used, the offspring would be significantly larger.

Character & Temperament

As both the Poodle and the Boston Terrier are wonderful companion animals with sparkling personalities and a real eagerness to please, it is no surprise that the Bossi-Poo makes an affectionate and biddable pet. Most will be independent and daring, happy in their own company and not over-reliant on their masters. While they will form close attachments with their family, they will rarely do so to the extent that it becomes an issue and separation anxiety is not a frequent feature of this cross-breed.

Very sociable and always keen to meet new people and animals, the Bossi-Poo will be friendly and outgoing both inside and outside of the home. This means that they should have plenty of opportunity to mingle with other dogs, especially in local doggy day-cares or dog parks where they are at their happiest. Their trusting nature and love of all things two and four-legged means that the Bossi-Poo makes a fairly awful guard dog and is more likely to try to make friends with an intruder than to scare them away.


The canine equivalent to Einstein, Bossi-Poos are renowned for their intelligence and can learn most tasks quickly and easily. The only thing that may get in their way is their own stubbornness, which can rear its head if they tire of their training sessions or decide there is something else they would rather be doing. As some Bossi-Poos can have a mischievous streak, it is important to teach them basic obedience training and house rules from the get-go.


Though cross-breeding pedigrees does not guarantee better health, breeding unrelated animals can improve genetic diversity and reduce the incidence of genetic diseases within a population. Health can be improved further by ensuring that breeders perform the recommended genetic health tests. Most Bossi-Poos enjoy good health and will live into their early teens.

Mitral Valve Disease (MVD)

For most, the first-time mitral valve disease is detected is at a routine check-up, such as during their annual booster vaccination. A vet may detect a low-grade heart murmur and further tests, such as an x-ray of the thorax and a scan of the heart, might diagnose MVD. There are medications that can be prescribed to not only limit symptoms but to also slow down the progression of this cardiac condition.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation can be graded from one to four, with grades three and four having a more significant health impact on affected animals. In about a quarter of dogs, the defect will be bilateral. For most small dogs, the luxation occurs medially, meaning the knee cap dislocates inwards.

Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s is also known as ‘Hyperadrenocorticism’ and is a condition whereby there is too much cortisol (stress hormone) being made by the body. Affected dogs may drink more, urinate more, eat more, pant excessively and have a pendulous abdomen. Blood tests and other investigations are usually needed to diagnose the condition and, for most cases, daily medicine can control the disease adequately.

Addison’s Disease

Addison’s may be called ‘Hypoadrenocorticism’ and is a result of the adrenal glands not producing the cortisol and aldosterone that they should be. Signs are subtle and can wax and wane, making diagnosis a challenge. Affected dogs do not respond well to stress and may have frequent gastrointestinal upsets. As with Cushing’s disease, medicine can be prescribed to effectively manage this condition.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Small but active, the Bossi-Poo not only enjoys a few 30-minute walks a day but also relishes any opportunity to be doing something fun, such as participating in a Flyball event or playing fetch with the kids. Never one to say no to a game, this dog can keep you on your toes. As long as their exercise needs are met on a daily basis they do very well in small homes and are well-suited to urban living.


As most Bossi-Poos have quite short coats, they should only need brushing once a week or so, as well as a professional groom a handful of times a year. They are classed as a low or non-shedding dog, but there is no guarantee with a hybrid that they will indeed be hypoallergenic, so owners should not rely on this being true in every case.

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