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CCBTR Frequently Asked Questions

About The Boston Terrier Breed

Q. Who is this dog called a Boston Terrier?

A. The Boston Terrier is truly an "All American" dog. He is often referred to as the "American Gentleman," and it has been said that "there is no better dog—no greater companion" than the Boston Terrier. Many adjectives have been used to describe this little dog. The Boston Terrier has been called lively, affectionate, delightful, intelligent, stylish, sturdy, handsome, elegant, loving, loyal, and most of all, an extraordinary companion dog. [From the Boston Terrier Club of America (BTCA) Boston Terrier breed flyer]

Q. Where did the Boston Terrier breed originate?

A. Following the Civil War, the Boston Terrier breed was developed in the stables of Boston, Massachusetts, as a fighting dog. He was bred from crosses between the English Bulldog and English White Terrier (and other dogs). These little dogs were very intelligent and showed the best features of both of these parent breeds. In 1893 the Boston Terrier breed received its first recognition when 75 Boston Terriers were approved for admission into the stud book of the American Kennel Club. Following recognition, the breed developed rapidly, and Bostons soon found a place in homes and hearts all across America. For the first half of the 20th century, the Boston Terrier was the leading choice of pet owners across the United States and accounted for the largest number of AKC registrations of any breed. AKC says, "Part of the breed's success was due to its American origins; unlike many breeds whose programs relied on imports from Europe, the Boston's population did not decrease during the World Wars, when shipping dogs was difficult. But mostly, the Boston was and is popular because it is, to put it simply, a great little dog and an easy keeper." (From the BTCA Boston Terrier breed flyer)

Q. Are Boston Terriers good family pets?

A. Bostons were bred to be companion dogs and they are just that. They can quickly become a part of the family and are most happy when they are in the company of family members. They generally do well around children, adults, and even other pets. Bostons are excellent house dogs, being a nice medium-size dog.

Q. Do RESCUE Boston Terriers make good pets?

A. It is a sad fact of life that there are so many homeless Boston Terriers in rescue. Most of these little Bostons are surrendered because their humans can no longer take care of them. In some cases their humans were abusive and they have started off life under less than happy circumstances. Therefore, rescue dogs can be a challenge to own. Ultimately they make wonderful pets, but quite often it takes time, love, and stability for them to build trust and bond with their new family. There is a network of Boston Terrier rescue groups all across the United States that makes sure that Bostons in need of new homes get a chance to be adopted by loving families like yours!

Q. Are Boston Terriers good dogs for older people?

A. Bostons can be wonderful companion dogs for senior citizens. As a rule, the Boston breed is active, but they do mellow with age. Mature dogs are recommended for those in their "golden years." Many Boston Terrier rescue agencies have excellent "seniors for seniors" programs.

Q. Do Boston Terriers get along with other dogs?

A. Like humans, that depends on the personalities of all the dogs involved. The success of living in harmony with multiple dogs also depends on the ability of the family to manage their pet's activities/behaviors. Some Bostons do very well at dog parks, others do not. Properly socializing your puppy has a positive effect on how he will do with other dogs when he is an adult.

Q. How much care do Boston Terriers require?

A. Owning a pet of any kind requires your love, time, and attention. Bostons require only a moderate amount of exercise and a minimum amount of grooming. They do well in relatively small spaces. They require protection from extreme heat and cold and are not physically or psychologically constituted to be outdoor dogs. With a high-quality diet, proper exercise, and good veterinary care, your Boston should maintain good health and live a long life. Selection of a good veterinarian is important, for vaccinations, preventive medicine against heartworms and other parasites, as well as regular checkups. (From the BTCA Boston Terrier breed flyer)

Q. What is that strange "honking" sound Boston Terriers make?

A. Bostons can be prone to snoring and a behavior commonly called the "reverse sneeze," a rapid and repeated forced inhalation through the nose. This is accompanied by snorting or gagging sounds used to clear the palate of mucus, but it does not harm the dog in any way.

Q. Do Boston Terriers shed?

A. Yes, Bostons do shed. But since they do not have an undercoat, the hairs are short and usually not a problem in most homes. Weekly brushing and your standard schedule of vacuuming and cleaning your home will keep the small amount of shed hair well under control.

Q. My Boston Terrier has a little circle of dark hair on top of his head in the middle of his white blaze. I see not all Bostons have this. What is it?

A. This spot is called a Haggerty spot. One of the old founding lines of Bostons in the early 1900s was owned by the Haggerty family. Many of their Bostons were born with this dot on the top of their heads, and the marking became associated with their breeding line. Hence, when you see it, it is often referred to as a "Haggerty dot," "Haggerty spot," or "Haggerty star." Most lines can be traced to Haggerty stock, and the dot pops out once in awhile in just about any of the present kennels. Vincent Perry, a very honored international all-breed judge and highly respected Boston breeder who wrote The Boston Terrier, a book that went to at least five editions, called it "the kiss of God," and considered it the icing on the cake for perfect markings.

Q. Can Boston Terriers do agility?

A. If you want to do something that is not only exciting but fun for the whole family, find an agility match that has Bostons in it. There you will see just how athletic Bostons can really be. They can jump with the best of breeds. They can weave, run, sit and stay, go up and down planks, go through tunnels, and anything else that is required. But best of all, they can steal your heart as you watch them compete with the heart of a true champion.

Q. What medical problems are common to the breed?

A. Bostons are generally healthy and robust dogs. As is the case with humans, however, Bostons can develop some medical conditions, including knee problems (luxating patella), cataracts, cancer, stomach/digestive issues, and anal gland problems.

Q. Are Boston Terriers lap dogs?

A. In general, Bostons are loving dogs. Some tend to be somewhat independent, especially when young, while others love to sit in your lap for hours. Bostons are a very devoted breed.

Q. Are Boston Terriers barkers?

A. Some Bostons bark, while others hardly bark at all. In general, they are loyal to their family and will often let you know when there are strangers (or squirrels) in the vicinity.

Q. Do Boston Terriers like to ride in cars?

Whether or not a Boston likes riding in cars depends on the individual dog. Bostons are not generally prone to motion sickness, but some do get car sick. Your dog should either be secured in a seat belt harness or in a crate when traveling in a vehicle. This will protect you and your Boston in the event of an accident.

About Adoption

Q. Why is Boston Terrier rescue necessary?

A. Animal rescues exist because there is an excess of animals in need of loving families. Without recue, millions more of these animals would die in shelters and on the roadways annually. CCBTR volunteers love the breed and want to help ensure that these homeless Bostons are moved to safe loving homes. People give up their Bostons for the same reasons any pet is surrendered. Some of the reasons we hear most often are death, illness, divorce, moving, allergies, and financial problems. It is not unusual to have even the most loving household experience health or personal problems that necessitates the placement of their pets. A common reason is that the owner doesn't have time for the dog. Fortunately Bostons are a very adaptable breed and rescue Bostons adapt well to new situations with the proper care and training.

Q. How does the CCBTR adoption process work?

A. The CCBTR adoption process begins when CCBTR receives your adoption application and contract. The application screening includes reference and veterinary checks and a home visit. Upon completion of these items, you will be contacted to discuss specific dogs for adoption that suit your family dynamic and home environment. Once that dog(s) is identified, you will be asked to talk to the dog's foster parent. This is your chance to ask questions about the dog and to learn as much as you can before we all move forward with the adoption.

Q. How long does the adoption process normally take?

A. The entire application screening process will likely take at least two weeks. More time may be required to schedule and conduct your home visit, since this is based on your availability and that of the CCBTR volunteer(s).

Q. How does dog transport work?

A. CCBTR strongly encourages you to make the drive to pick up your Boston and meet his/her foster family. If the distance is so great that this is not possible, CCBTR will arrange to transport the Boston to a point on the route where you can meet the volunteer. CCBTR is responsible for arranging the legs of this transport.

Q. Can I adopt a Boston Terrier from CCBTR if I live outside the Coastal Carolina geographical area?

A. Yes. Although CCBTRs primary area of focus and responsibility is the coastal region of North Carolina, we are able to work with responsible and loving families that live within a 1-day ground transport distance.

Q. How much does it cost to own a Boston?

A. The cost for routine care of a healthy adult Boston Terrier can run about $50.00–$85.00/month. If your dog is a puppy, a senior, or has chronic health or behavior issues, that cost will be more. If you travel and your Boston does not accompany you, costs for a pet-sitter or boarding should be factored in.

Q. Is there a charge to adopt a rescue Boston Terrier?

A. Yes. At the time you adopt a CCBTR foster dog, you will be asked to make a donation to CCBTR. This donation helps defray all the costs associated with rescuing, providing veterinary care, and rehabilitating CCBTR foster dogs. The cost of adoption donations for CCBTR foster dogs is as follows: $400.00 for dogs 9 months old and younger, $350.00 for dogs 10 months to 7 years, and $150.00 for dogs 7 years and older.

Q. How much grooming does a Boston Terrier require?

A. Overall, Bostons require less grooming than most other breeds. Routine grooming should include regular brushing, toenail clipping or filing, teeth brushing, and occasional baths.

Q. Do Boston Terriers need to be on a leash?

A. Boston Terriers are terriers, and as such they like to seek out things that catch their attention, whether that is another dog, a butterfly, a squirrel, or anything else that looks interesting. This means that they are prone to running off! CCBTR requires that all owners provide positive control of their adopted Boston, be it through physical fencing or a leash. Many Bostons are excellent fence climbers and fence jumpers. Close supervision and secure containment (fencing or leash) at all times is paramount to their safety.

Q. How long do Boston Terriers live?

A. Bostons can live well into their teens, and most are still very active and alert at 10 years of age and older.

Q. Are rescue Boston Terriers house trained?

A. Upon receipt into the foster program, some are and some are not. CCBTR foster homes make every effort to house train their foster dogs. In some rare cases where an adult dog has been used as a breeder dog in a puppy mill/backyard breeder situation, been forced to live outdoors, or has never been trained, house training is very difficult, but not impossible. It takes perseverance and patience.

Q. Are Boston Terriers easy to crate train?

A. Generally, yes they are. CCBTR requires foster homes to crate train their foster dogs and we encourage adoptive families to continue this practice. A crate provides a safe place for the dog to go to relax. It is his/her castle and he/she will populate it with toys and chews. If your Boston is going to be crated for an extended period, please ensure that you affix a water bowl to the side of the crate. Dogs should always have a supply of clean water. Crates should not be used for punishment, but can be used to assist in house training.

Q. Does CCBTR adopt to families with children?

A. Yes. However, often the rescue dog's history and prior exposure/experience with children is not known. CCBTR does not guarantee or certify the health or behavior of any dog. Animals are unpredictable and every precaution must be taken by the adults in the home to safeguard the child(ren) and animals from harm. It is not uncommon for rescue dogs to have emotional issues that do not present in the experienced foster home. Behavior triggers can exist that CCBTR has not encountered but which surface when the dog is placed in a new environment. It is important to note that small dogs in general, and terriers specifically, can become overstimulated around small children who run; scream; cry; pat them on the head; pull their fur, ears, tails; or make sudden movements. Bostons who have not been raised in a household with children can become agitated or overprotective when they hear children's high-pitched, excited voices or hear them crying. 
Virtually all rescues come into rescue with at least some emotional "baggage," and dogs will often attempt to assert their place in the family "pack" shortly after being adopted. Loving and gentle children, who have been raised to treat animals with respect and care, can help the dog establish his/her place in the hierarchy of the family. The interaction of child and dog is one that mandates diligent oversight by the adults in the home.

Q. How often does CCBTR have puppies for adoption?

A. Puppies and dogs under the age of two don't come into the foster program very often. But many people are pleasantly surprised to learn that rescue dogs just a bit older are often already crate and house trained, so please don't dismiss dogs that are young adults until you learn more about them. If you feel you must have a puppy, the Boston Terrier Club of America maintains a page on their website that will guide you through the process of finding a reputable breeder.

Q. How can I visit the dog I want to adopt?

A. All of our foster dogs are cared for in volunteer homes with families, jobs, and dogs of their own. Out of respect for their privacy, CCBTR does not permit interaction with interested families until after the application process is complete. Once your application process is complete, you and the CCBTR placement team will discuss the foster dogs that are suited for your family. You will then be contacted by the foster moms/dads to discuss those specific dogs.

Q. What if I see more than one dog that I am interested in adopting?

A. By all means, if you see more than one CCBTR dog that you might like to adopt or learn more about, please note that on your adoption application and mention it to a member of the CCBTR placement team.

Q. I want to apply to adopt a Boston Terrier, but I don't see one on your website at the moment that I am interested in adopting. What do I do?

A. The number of foster dogs in the program can change daily. You may not see one today that speaks to you, but one may come into the program tomorrow. If you are sincere in your desire to adopt, complete your application and let's get working. By the time your screening process is complete, your pup may have arrived!

Q. I am in the process of doing my application and see a dog I want to adopt. Can you hold that Boston Terrier for my family until our adoption screening is complete or until we are ready to adopt?

A. No, CCBTR does not hold dogs for future adoption.

Q. Can someone in CCBTR help select the right dog for me?

A. Yes, this is a necessary part of the adoption process. When you are approved to adopt a dog from CCBTR, you and a member of the placement team will work together to ensure that a Boston is selected that best suits your family dynamic and home environment.

Q. Why can't I adopt a Boston Rescue if I have invisible fencing? My other dogs have been trained with it.

A. Boston Terriers are NOT suited for invisible fencing because they will take a "hit" in order to chase something through the fence. However, they won't take the hit to get back home. In addition, invisible fencing does not prevent attacks and encounters with intruders, be it a domestic or wild animal. Many rescue Bostons are crafty and are in rescue because they have run off or escaped from their last home. Electric fencing is NOT recommended for anyone with a Boston Terrier.

Bostons must be on a leash or contained by secure fencing at all times. Therefore CCBTR does not adopt to homes that employ invisible fencing as their primary means of containment.

Q. Why are you so cautious about adopting Boston Terriers to homes with pools?

A. Pools are inherently high risk and must be managed to ensure safety. Boston Terriers are not normally good swimmers. The danger of falling into a pool and drowning increases with age. CCBTR requires that the adoptive family utilize the same safety precautions as required for children.

Q. Can I adopt a CCBTR dog if my own pets are not altered?

A. All companion animals in your home must be altered. If you have documentation from a veterinarian stating that altering your pet would be too high risk due to a health condition or age, please contact CCBTR before completing an adoption application.

Q. I purchased my Boston Terrier from a breeder with a "breed-back" clause in the contract. I cannot alter my pet until I have fulfilled that agreement. Can I still adopt a rescue from CCBTR?

A. Please email CCCBTR to discuss the conditions of your contract. We feel strongly about promoting responsible breeding and reducing the number of homeless animals; however, we will entertain the idea of adoption depending on the clause conditions in the contract.

Q. My adopted Boston Terrier is an adult. Why should we enroll in obedience or training classes?

A. Obedience or training classes allow you to bond with your dog, increasing the dog's confidence in you and him/herself. Obedience training also decreases anxiety and disruptive or destructive behaviors. There are different types of classes available, including traditional obedience, Canine Good Citizen (CGC), rally, agility, pet therapy, and owner/dog dance. These classes emphasize socialization and are a positive experience for you and your dog.

Q. How should I prepare if I'm a first-time dog owner?

A. If adopting from CCBTR, we encourage you to read the CCBTR Volunteer and Adoptive Home/Family Handbook. Of course, there are many good resources online and at the book store that will assist you in learning about choosing a veterinarian, finding a pet-sitter or boarding facility, pet-proofing your home, finding a trainer, picking the right food, making a doggie first aid kit, and learning doggie CPR. CCBTR volunteers are standing by to help you, all you need to do is ask us!

Q. My current dog just lies around. Should I adopt a Boston for him so he'll have someone to play with?

A. No. Dogs cannot take care of other dogs. Like people, dogs have different energy levels. It's possible that your pet's lack of energy is due to a medical condition or lack of exercise. If you have a lower-energy dog, adding a high-energy Boston to the family could cause more problems than it solves. Adding another dog always changes the dynamics of the household, very much like adding another child. Each requires time and energy from the whole family if all are to thrive and be happy. The question you should ask is "Am I ready for twice the responsibility?"

Q. My child needs to learn responsibility, should I adopt a Boston Terrier for my child?

A. No. CCBTR does not endorse teaching a child responsibility by testing their capabilities on any living creature. The care of a pet, just like the care of a child, is ultimately the responsibility of the adults in the home. However, owning a pet is a family affair, so your children should certainly be asked to assist YOU in caring for the pet. The question is, "Is my child responsible enough to take care of a dog?"

About Fostering

Q. How long a foster period must my family commit for?

A. There is no predetermined time limit associated with fostering. Some foster dogs are adopted very quickly while others remain in the program for months. In some rare cases, a foster dog may never get adopted. CCBTR will work with each foster family on a case-by-case basis if the family becomes unable to keep their foster dog.

Q. What if our foster dog is lost or stolen?

A. Sadly, this does happen. As a foster home, you are required to immediately contact CCBTR so we may begin networking the situation on social media sites. The sooner the notification is out on the Web, the better chance of recovering the dog. Your immediate response to discovering the dog's absence is most important. Often the dog remains in the neighborhood long enough for you to find him IF you move fast and start searching!

Q. What happens if the foster dog and our home do not fit well together?

A. CCBTR will not leave a foster dog in an environment that is high risk for the dog or your family members. Foster families must advise the CCBTR placement team if they are having difficulty integrating the foster dog into your home.

Q. Are CCBTR foster families responsible for vet bills?

A. CCBTR pays for flea/tick and heartworm preventive and all vet bills for the foster dog. However, if a vet bill is incurred as a result of noncompliance with the foster contract or gross negligence, CCBTR may require the foster family pay all or assist in the payment of expenses.

Q. What are CCBTR foster families financially responsible for?

A. Foster families are responsible for daily life expenses and creature comforts, such as food, bedding, accessories, and toys. CCBTR considers these items a donation to the rescue.

Q. Can my family adopt our foster dog?

A. Yes. CCBTR knows that foster families fall in love with their foster dogs. Adopting your foster dog is fine as long as you notify the placement team, as it states in the foster home contract, and comply with the terms of the adoption contract.