Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
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Small and spunky with beautiful, big ‘bug’ eyes, the Bostinese is a cross between the confident Boston Terrier and the courageous Pekingese. With two full-on parents, it’s little wonder that the Bostinese has a mind of its own. Full of their own importance, many are tricky to train and they often don’t see too much point to being obedient!

The Bostinese, while petite, is strong and stocky with a muscular body. Unlike other similar-sized breeds, they can withstand a moderate amount of rough and tumble. Their coat is rather short and can look scruffy and unkempt if not trimmed short. Many are black and white or brindle and white, though a fawn coat is also possible.

About & History

The Bostinese is one of the newer hybrid additions and breed enthusiasts argue it likely originated in the United States. There has been a recent trend for overlooking Pedigrees recognised by the Kennel Club and mixing them to create new ‘designer dogs’, offering owners more versatility.

The Pekingese

The Pekingese is a dog that was bred by Chinese royalty (and, somehow, it seems to know it!). They are one of the ancient breeds and are thought to have existed for several thousand years. As has happened with other Pedigrees in the past, there used to be a law banning any non-Chinese citizens from owning a Pekingese, but luckily this didn’t last long.

Even within China, they were mainly kept by the higher classes and ‘the commoners’ had a one Pekingese limit enforced on them (presumably to minimise breeding attempts). It was in the 1860s that the Pekingese were first brought to the UK and the Kennel Club officially recognised them within their Toy Group in 1910. They have never been used for a purpose and have always been kept as pets.

The Boston Terrier

Boston Terriers are perhaps best known for their black and white short ‘tuxedo’ coat, as well as their spirited nature. They descend from a number of similar dogs, including the English Bulldog and French Bulldog, as well as the Boxer.

One of their real claims to fame is that they were the first ever all-American breed to be registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Boston Terriers are relatively popular nowadays and are kept as pets, as well as sporting dogs for events, such as agility and flyball. They have been owned by celebrities, including Joan Rivers and Denise Richards.


Bostinese dogs are toy sized, measuring from 25cm to 35cm and weighing between 5kg and 9kg. Overall, they are sturdy and well-built with a solid body. They have a dark, snub nose and round, brown eyes that tend to be quite bulbous. Some will have erect ears, while others have ears that are pendulous. They have flat foreheads and may have very mild skin wrinkling. Their limbs are rather short but certainly longer than those of their Pekingese parent. Tail lengths vary considerably due to the marked difference in length of the short-tailed Boston Terrier and the much longer-tailed Pekingese.

The coat of the Bostinese is straight or wavy and typically short to medium in length. Some will have longer fur on certain areas, such as their ears and tail. A number of individuals will retain the classic black and white colouring of their Boston Terrier parent, but others will have brown or brindle fur.

Character & Temperament

The Bostinese makes a good family pet, especially for those with older children who are looking for a play mate. They do well in small homes and apartments and can adapt to various living situations, taking it all in their stride. Most can be taught to get along with other pets, assuming they are adequately socialised from birth.

Despite their friendly appearance, Bostinese dogs can be wary around new people and may take a while to warm up to them. Some may even bark and snap if uncertain and feeling threatened around a new person or animal. Many are protective of their home and family so it can be sensible to introduce them to new people away from the home.

Bostinese dogs thoroughly enjoy being around their own family but some will become over reliant on them and will develop separation anxiety when older. This can be overcome with sensible training from the get go and many find that crate training is a good option for them.


Clever dogs, the Bostinese would make a good training partner if they weren’t so darn stubborn! They have good scope but rarely perform to their full ability unless in the hands of a very experienced trainer. They react poorly to criticism or punishment and trainers who are calm and fair will reap the rewards.


A number of health issues are present within the population of the Bostinese including:

Brachycephalic Upper Airway Syndrome (BUAS)

BUAS is a group of several conditions that affect the airway and a dog’s ability to breathe. Those dogs with smaller ‘squished’ faces are the ones that get the disease, rather than longer-nosed dogs like Greyhounds and German Shepherds. The extent of the conformational defects is usually indicative of how severe the breathing issues will be. For many, surgery can improve their quality of life.

Patellar Luxation

Knee caps that pop in and out of place are relatively common in small breeds and while some cope well with them, others can develop severe arthritis, which becomes debilitating. This is usually a condition which is easy to diagnose from physical exam alone, though x-rays should be taken to confirm the suspicion.

Corneal Ulceration

The fact that the Bostinese tends to have bulbous eyes and that they are prone to a condition colloquially known as ‘dry eye’ (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca) means that they may develop corneal ulcers.

A stain known as ‘fluorescein dye’ can be used to detect these and treatment typically consists of a topical antibiotic and pain relief. Those that are rubbing their face will usually benefit from a buster collar to protect the surface of the eye as it heals.

Exercise and Activity Levels

With moderate exercise requirements, most do well with a few short lead walks a day to go out and get some fresh air and a change of scene. Over-exercising them is not advised, particularly in the heat, as they may find it hard to catch their breath.


The coat of the Bostinese is not too long so tangles and mats are rare. Owners should brush them about twice a week. Those individuals with floppy ears may well need their ears cleaned out a couple of times a month. As the Bostinese is prone to periodontal disease, daily tooth brushing is recommended.

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