How to Groom Boston Terriers

How to Groom Boston Terriers

If you're not looking for a high maintenance dog that needs constant brushing and clipping, the Boston Terrier might be the right breed for you. Learn how to groom your terrier here.

The jaunty Boston Terrier's rough-and-tumble demeanor belies the toy dog group classification bestowed on this breed by the American Kennel Club. This sturdy little companion is built like a small tank, with incredible speed and a highly intelligent, gentle disposition. If you're looking for a dog with a high maintenance coat that requires hours of brushing, clipping, and combing, then the Boston is not for you. On the contrary, this clean-cut dog's grooming demands are few, which is another reason this breed is perfect for novice pet owners or busy families with children.


The Boston Terrier has a short, fine-textured coat that doesn't attract much dirt - unless of course, your pooch likes to roll in it. Even still, most surface dirt can be wiped away with a damp towel. Regular brushing will remove the Boston's dead hairs to keep shedding at a minimum. Check your dog's body by gliding your hands over the torso, chest, legs, and feet. You are your dog's best advocate when it comes to finding lumps, cuts, pests, or other issues that require veterinary care.


Although the Boston Terrier's coat needs very little attention, it will still benefit from a good brushing with a natural bristle brush, but be gentle - the Boston's coat is thin and you could tear the dog's skin. If you want to add polish to the dog's outer coat while removing the dead undercoat, use a hound glove. This glove has rubber bumps set into the palm of the glove. Brush in the direction of the hair's growth from the dog's head to tail. Dirt and dry mud can easily be brushed out of the coat without having to bathe the dog.


Baths should be given only when needed. This may be as infrequently as one to two times each year; more if your Boston gets dirty or muddy outdoors. Over-bathing strips the natural waterproofing oils from the dog's coat, so keep baths to a minimum. Use a mild shampoo formulated for a smooth-coated dog and rinse well. Unless your dog has gotten into grease or oil, never use harsh household detergents, which can irritate your dog's skin.


It is difficult to file down a Boston terrier's nails, so many dog owners choose to let a groomer do it for them. However, if you do choose to do it yourself, file down your Boston Terrier's nails with a rotary-type sander set on a very slow speed, tapping gently at the tips to remove very small sections at a time. These tools are a much safer and less traumatic way to groom your dog's nails, especially for inexperienced owners. If you must use guillotine-type dog clippers, be extremely careful. Your Boston's nails are very small and delicate, and you can injure the dog if you cut too close to the quick or crush the tip of the nail. Keep a styptic pencil or cornstarch on hand to stop bleeding if necessary.

Ears, Teeth and Eyes

Anytime you groom your dog, take the time to look into the dog's mouth to make sure tartar isn't building up on the surface of the teeth. Get into the habit of brushing the teeth regularly, either by using a baby toothbrush with a specialized dog toothpaste, or with a washcloth wrapped around your finger. Another area that needs minor attention is the Boston's ears. Gently cleanse the inner ear flaps with a moist washcloth, taking care not to get water down into the ear canal.

The Boston Terrier's eyes are prominent, so they may be prone to eye discharge, which can discolor the fur under the dog's eyes. Use a damp, warm cloth to gently wipe below the eyes, taking care not to get dirt or bacteria in the dog's eye by wiping from the eyelid in a downward motion toward the cheek.

About Boston Terrier Dogs

The Boston Terrier is an American breed with ancestry traced back to a single dog, a white English Terrier and English Bulldog mix named Hooper's Judge. Developed following the Civil War, the breed is known for its kind and gentle behavior. Boston terriers make excellent companions, thrive as house pets and like to stay close to their owners. They consistently rank among the most popular breeds in the United States.


Boston Terriers are outgoing dogs, known for their sunny, cheerful dispositions. They are generally well-behaved, lively, alert and curious. Originally bred to be fighting dogs, they were later bred as companion dogs instead and are eager to please their owners. Despite their origins as fighters, the modern version of the Boston terrier is not a fighter and is not inherently aggressive. Boston terriers rarely bark, making them good apartment pets. Theyโ€™re often used as therapy dogs, working with patients in hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities.

Exercise and Training

Boston terriers are active, like to play, and need daily walks. They enjoy playing outdoors as much as possible, as long as they are not left alone outside without human interaction. Highly intelligent, they are easy to train and have historically performed well in the show ring, in obedience trials, and in such performance events as weight-pulling, flyball and agility. Their enthusiasm for people may cause them to be overzealous when greeting people or playing, and they need basic training to ensure they donโ€™t jump up on people or nip during play.


Bred to live side-by-side with humans, Boston Terriers need plenty of interaction with people. They do well with people of all ages, making excellent playmates for active children and devoted, calm companions for senior citizens. They require a significant time and attention commitment in return, and do not do well left on their own with minimal contact, particularly outside. Boston Terriers need to be around their human families and involved in their daily lives. They are as friendly and gentle with other animals as they are with humans, and do well in households with other pets, including other dogs and other species. However, some Boston Terrier males may assert dominance around other male dogs.


Owning a Boston Terrier requires dedication and the willingness to monitor the dog for inherent health and safety concerns. They are not a good breed for someone needing a low-maintenance dog. Because of their shortened muzzles, Boston Terriers do not handle extreme temperatures well, especially when combined with exercise. They fare best in moderate climates, and should never be left outdoors in either hot or cold weather. They must be vigilantly monitored to ensure they do not overexert themselves. Because they are prone to several hereditary health concerns, including vision problems, breathing problems and problems giving birth, they require frequent preventive veterinary care.

More on Grooming Your Dog

How To Brush Your Dog's Teeth
Cat And Dog Grooming Supplies
Dog Grooming Tips To Keep Your Pup Healthy And Clean

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by,your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.

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