Boston Bulldog

Ana Oliveira
Dr Ana Oliveira (DVM, University of Lisbon)
 
Photo of adult Boston Bulldog
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The Boston Bulldog, or English Boston Bulldog, is a hybrid dog that results from crossing an English Bulldog and a Boston Terrier. This small to medium-sized dog is a loving companion, adaptable to different lifestyles and living conditions, and great with children. They seem always happy, remaining loyal and devoted to their owners throughout their lives.

Intelligent, fast at picking up cues, and people-oriented, Boston Bulldogs make great pets. They do not require lots of exercise, although they do have a playful nature and a naturally athletic build, and love getting involved in all family’s activities, actively engaging in different games. This is a generally healthy crossbreed, without the common breathing problems often associated with Bulldogs.

About & History

Some believe the Boston Bulldog and the Olde Boston Bulldogge are the same dog, from whom the Boston Terrier was originally bred. Those who share this version of the story consider the Olde Boston Bulldogge as the original Boston Bulldog, a dog resulting from the cross between Bulldogs and Terriers in the 1800s and bred for pest control, guarding, but also for companionship.

The most accepted version of the facts considers the Boston Bulldog as a crossbreed, a hybrid dog that is half Boston Terrier, half English Bulldog. While the origin of this crossbreed is unknown, it probably originated in the Boston area, in Massachusetts (USA) in the early 1900s for fighting and hunting purposes.

The English Bulldog

Hailing from the United Kingdom, English Bulldogs were originally bred as fighting dogs for bullbaiting and bull-holding. When these cruel activities were banned in the early 19th century, the breed was developed to create a more affectionate and non-aggressive dog that turned into a popular pet and mascot among the British.

The Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier is an American dog breed resulting from the interbreeding of Bulldogs (the English and the French varieties), Terriers (the American Pit Bull Terrier and the Bull Terrier), and Boxers.

The breed has been recognised in the end of the 19th century by the American Kennel Club and the first dogs being mixed were from Boston, thus the breed designation. Once bred to be pit fighter dogs, Boston Terriers are now considered friendly and gentle pets. They make great therapy dogs and excel in sports, such as agility and obedience.

Appearance

The Boston Bulldog resembles an odd-looking, larger version of the Boston Terrier. Proportionate and compact, his body is muscular and solid with a broad chest, and his head is large and round, more like the English Bulldog’s, with a square jaw. His ears are small and tend to be floppy, as compared to the Boston Terrier’s.

Boston Bulldogs have short, fine, and soft hair that comes in a variety of colors, including brown, black, white, red, fawn, and tuxedo (a color pattern occurring when dogs are one color, with a white patch on the chest, chin, and feet). Being a small to medium-sized dog, the Boston Bulldog weighs between 9 and 16 kg (20-35 lbs) and are 38 to 46 cm (15-18 inches) tall. Females are smaller and lighter than the males.

Character & Temperament

This happy-go-lucky hybrid dog, of clownish and almost comical appearance, turns out to be a great addition to any family, given his friendly and fun personality. Boston Bulldogs are really nice to be around, being affectionate, calm, and lovable dogs, quite intelligent and adaptable too. They are very good with children, having a stable character and playful attitude, without the yappy tendencies of their smaller Terrier relatives.

As puppies, they are quite energetic, demanding a lot of attention, but their liveliness tends to decrease with age. They are devoted to their owners and while active, they easily adapt to different lifestyles. Boston Bulldogs are loyal dogs, with a curious and interesting personality, that combine the best of their parent breeds in terms of temperament. They also make good watchdogs, as they are alert to their environment. Always happy, the Boston Bulldog comes as a great choice as a pet, one to be included in all family activities.

Trainability

People-oriented, loyal, and intelligent, Boston Bulldogs gather all the traits that make a dog easy to train. In fact, they learn very quickly, obeying cues easily and responding well to training. They can be somewhat sensitive, so the best training method includes a kind, but firm and consistent approach. Boston Bulldogs are eager to please and will happily follow their owners’ orientation and leadership, without too much trouble or without needing a lot of repetition.

Sticking to rules is important, as these dogs like to know what is expected of them, as to comply and get the desired praise and attention they crave. Likewise, socialisation is important. Because his ancestors were bred to be fighting dogs, the Boston Bulldog needs to be exposed to positive interactions with other animals from an early age in order to end up as the best version of himself – a sociable and friendly dog towards others.

Health

Boston Bulldogs are generally healthy with a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. Unlike his Bulldog relatives, the Boston Bulldog does not suffer from breathing issues and enjoy better health than both his parent breeds. Due to a sensitive skin and the presence of skin folds (which may recreate a favourable habitat for bacterial proliferation), they may develop skin problems, including infections.

This crossbreed is also sensitive to extreme weather conditions, being susceptible to suffer from heatstroke in hot climates. They are also prone to flatulence, which, while not a major health concern, may come as a nuisance. The major health concerns linked to this crossbreed are:

Eye Issues

Cataracts, which cloud the lens of the eye, causing impaired vision, and glaucoma, an eye condition caused by abnormally high pressure in the eye and optic nerve damage, are among the most common.

Heart Problems

Congestive heart failure due to mitral valve insufficiency translates into the inability of the heart to pump blood adequately and is a health issue that may be inherited from the Boston Terrier parent.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Boston Bulldogs are quite adaptable and do not need a lot of exercise, nor do they have high activity levels. Daily, medium to long length walks will suffice to keep up with the Boston Bulldog’s daily exercise requirements. Of course, being playful dogs, Boston Bulldogs will be the happiest in homes where their owners actively interact and play with them, regardless of the type of game or activity. As long as their owners engage with them, they will be content.

Just remember that as puppies, Boston Bulldogs require a lot more attention and exercise to burn off all their energy. As they grow old, however, they will gladly curl up on the couch and ditch the exercise, being mostly inactive indoors. They do well in different settings – apartment or house, urban or rural – given they are protected from extreme weather conditions.

Grooming

Boston Bulldogs tend to shed quite a bit, so weekly brushing is recommended. Regardless, they are very low-maintenance and their coat is easy to groom. Because they have skin folds on their faces and body that are prone to develop irritation if not aired and kept dry, it is important to ensure these folds are clean, free from dirt or dead skin cells, and dry at all times. The same applies to their ears, which are also folded and may accumulate debris, creating a hot and humid environment that may lead to ear infections. Keeping their ears clean and dry, checking them regularly, is therefore a must.

Frequent baths are not recommended. Boston Bulldogs should only take a bath when really necessary and using a hypoallergenic shampoo, as they have a sensitive skin. When in need of cleaning, using a soft damp cloth or towel is a good option, which can also be used for cleaning the folds and ears, making sure they are left dry afterwards. Boston Bulldogs will generally be happy to be groomed, especially when they have a consistent routine. Teeth brushing and nail clipping should also be part of their cleaning habits.

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