Dog Training

Are Boston Terriers Good With Kids? – Parent’s Guide to Raising Boston Terriers

An excited Boston Terrier ready to play with kids.
Written by Richard Jeng

The Boston Terrier is called the “American Gentleman” for a variety of reasons. Not only are they gentle and calm, but also look like they’re always wearing a tuxedo. However, if you’re planning on bringing one home to a home with kids, you may have concerns.

So, are Boston Terriers good with kids? Boston Terriers get along great with kids due to their gentle demeanors and friendly personalities. They’re not too small and fragile, but will have the liveliness to match a child’s energetic play. As long as they’re socialized and have been trained, they’re the best playmates for kids.

Not all dogs are suitable for kids, especially younger ones. Big dogs may be too aggressive, though small breeds may be too fragile. On the other hand, Boston Terriers are perfect with the right training. Read on to learn why.

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Boston Terriers Are Good For Kids

Are Boston Terriers smart dogs? How smart are these dogs?

Boston Terriers, without doubt, are great for children. Though these docile terriers are much better for older children, they tend to get along with all people. But why are Boston Terriers more ideal for families with children?

We’ve examined all the best reasons why you should bring a Boston Terrier into your home with children. Continue reading to learn more about how these dogs can develop a strong and loving bond with your kids.

The Gentleman’s Personality

Boston Terriers are the American Gentleman of the canine kingdom. And no, they didn’t get that name for no reason. They’re some of the most gentle and sweet-natured dogs, despite being called a “terrier.”

If socialized early on, Boston Terriers are remarkably good with handling small children. It’s unlikely they’ll jump or push over kids. Rather, they have a good understanding of the kid’s limit and often play with a sense of caution.

I pet sit for 2 Boston Terriers. They’re one of the better small dogs to have around kids. They’re crazy hyper, but I’ve never known one to be aggressive or even nippy towards people.

– Ribbit21 (Avian Avenue)

Sure, their ancestors were originally bred to be fighting dogs. However, those instincts have long since been bred out of them. Today, all Boston Terriers are bred for companionship, and as companions only! They would make the worst fighting-dogs ever.

In fact, The Active Times calls Boston Terriers the 4th best dog breed for children, primarily due to their favorable gentleman-like temperaments. They’re affectionate, friendly, tender and compassionate dogs. Truly, deserving of their nickname.

Entertaining Dogs

Part of the reason why Boston Terriers are so charming is because of the endless amount of entertainment they provide. Once you get to know one, you’ll realize they’re just a silly dog with great humor and charisma.

The Animal Planet calls them the “class clown” of dogs, and it’s easy to see why. Like with real class clowns, Boston Terriers love to make you laugh. With an energetic personality and cheerful vibe, they’re happiest when you’re happy.

Boston Terriers tend to be a little more ‘silly’ in personality. They are clownish, like most bulldog-type breeds, and to love to make their people laugh.

– Foxywench (City Data)

By now, you can see how this type of personality is so attractive for children. At the end of the day, kids just want to be entertained. On the other hand, these dogs love nothing more than to entertain – creating a match made in heaven for the two.

Because modern Boston Terriers are bred for companionship, they have high adaptive IQ, that is, they’re excellent at reading human emotions. They’re able to sense the mood of the children and try to make (and keep) them happy.

Durable Boston Terriers

Boston Terriers may not be the biggest dog breed. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t sturdy and durable dogs. These small-but-sturdy terriers won’t likely unintentionally hurt your child, but are able to withstand moderate rough play.

The Boston Terrier can range anywhere from 15 to 17 inches tall at the shoulder, making them borderline medium-sized dog breeds. In addition, they’ll weigh between 12 to 25 lbs, giving them the heft they need to deal with kids.

The more sturdy dog for children is the Boston Terrier, hands down, and they aren’t as yappy as the min pinscher.

– Luvabull.denver (City Data)

Small dogs tend to become snappy with children because, well, they’re just trying to protect themselves. They know how fragile they are, and when kids play rough, they won’t take the punches without defending themselves.

In contrast, even if you bring home the sweetest “nanny dog,” such as a Great Dane, their sheer size can put small children at risk. All it takes is for a Dane’s tail to slap the face of a child to bring out a loud cry. Fortunately, Boston Terriers are small, yet durable.

Good For Allergy-Sensitive Kids

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), roughly three out of 10 people will have allergic reactions to their pets. In addition, they estimate that seven out of 10 kids develop pet allergies if both parents are affected.

And just because both parents don’t ever develop allergies to their dogs, doesn’t mean that the children are safe. So as you can see, allergies can be a huge problem for both the kids and parents. But do you know what triggers these allergies?

Most pet allergies are triggered by exposure to dander, which is essentially dandruff on your Boston Terrier. As such, dander gets released into the air whenever your dog sheds their fur. So really, a low-shedding dog produces less dander.

Though Boston Terriers aren’t technically hypoallergenic dogs, they are low-shedding dog breeds. Not only does this mean grooming will be easier, but they may be better for children that are allergic to dogs.

Fortunately, Boston Terriers were bred with a single coat, as opposed to a double coat. It’s a single layer of fur that’s both thin and short. But whether you have a kid that suffers from allergies, they’re relatively easy to maintain – even kids can help out!

Protective and Loyal

Despite their small size, Boston Terriers make decent guard dogs. A huge reason why they do is because of their instincts. They are actually very protective of their families, including the children of the pack.

Boston Terriers are alert dogs that make good use of their big perky ears. At the sight or sound of an intruder, expect these dogs to let their owners know. They may not bark much, but when they do, it’s to tell you something’s off.

Believe it or not, there are many stories of Boston Terriers protecting children from danger. In 2015, a Boston Terrier named “General” bravely threw himself in front of an escaped Pit Bull to protect the owner’s grandchildren. He died, but saved the kids.

We’re not saying every Boston Terrier is as wonderful and brave as General, but most will make a great second pair of eyes for your children. Even in the face of danger, few Boston Terriers will back down to threats to their family.

Boston Terriers and Babies

Boston Terriers typically have a sweet dispositions and they’ll welcome new members into the family with open paws. However, we don’t recommend your baby playing with the dog, especially if unsupervised.

Boston Terrier attacks on babies is extremely rare, though, it does happen. No matter how well you know your dog, or how well they’re trained, they are still animals. You never know what they’re thinking, making them unpredictable at times.

This is a very difficult situation. Boston Terriers react to the baby as a minor and doesn’t recognize the him as a leader in the pack.

– Esther (Boston Terrier Forums)

Now we’re not saying your Boston Terrier and baby can never interact. Rather, there needs to be close parental supervision at all times. And you’ll have to understand that the terrier and baby won’t have any “real” play, such as catch or training.

Bringing Babies Home to Boston Terriers

When you bring your baby home to a Boston Terrier, it’s best that you prepare the dogs well ahead of time. Life will, without a doubt, be different with a newborn in the home. As such, the dog needs to get adjusted to a new schedule.

Like all dogs, Boston Terriers are creatures of habit. If they tend to eat their morning meals at a certain time, they’ll expect that every day. So for example, if your dog eats every day at 8AM sharp, consider feeding them at random hours between 7AM and 10AM.

Once your dog becomes more flexible with schedules, he or she will transition better into life with a baby around. Also, if you plan to keep your baby in a nursery room, it’s a great idea to teach your Boston Terrier that the room is “off-limits” beforehand.

For more information and tips on how to prepare your Boston Terrier for a baby, I definitely recommend checking out this guide by Zak George:

Boston Terriers Don’t Bark Much

For the most part, Boston Terriers are quiet dogs. They don’t really bark too often, at least compared to say, a Chihuahua. In addition, they don’t really howl like a Husky either. This makes them ideal dogs to have around babies.

Many owners describe them as “unusually quiet dogs,” not only because they rarely bark, but also because they have a low and quiet “woof.” However, this doesn’t mean that the dog can’t bark loudly. If an intruder appears, they very likely will.

Babies and loud noises don’t mix well. Having your dog wake up an infant in deep slumber can be a nightmare for most parents. With a Boston Terrier, you’ll have less to worry about. It’s very unusual for them to bark at everything and anything.

Training Boston Terriers & Kids

We measure a Boston Terriers intelligence by their obedience.

Most Boston Terriers are great with children right out of the (baby) gate. However, this isn’t the case for all dogs. Depending on the temperament of your individual dog, you may need to train the dog to be with children.

And even if you have the sweetest Boston Terrier, we still suggest obedience training as it can help you better control your dog during play time. So before you let them play, here are some training tips for your kids and dog.

Training Boston Terriers With Kids

First, you’ll want to teach your Boston Terrier all the basic commands: come, stay, leave it, sit and down. If you’re not sure where to stay, I recommend checking out this guide by none other than Cesar Millan.

Make sure your Boston Terrier has a good grasp on these commands. Though they’re very eager and willing to please, obedience training takes some patience and consistency with these dogs. At times, they can be stubborn with you.

Teaching your Boston Terrier basic commands before child-dog interaction is important for two reasons. Firstly, obedience builds a better relationship and trust between a dog and owner. Also, it helps you control your dog should they become aggressive.

If you see that your Boston Terrier is suddenly becoming overly aggressive with the kids, we recommend using the leave it, sit or come command. This will instantly keep them in check, that is, if they’re well trained.

As we mentioned, Boston Terriers are great entertainers that love to please their owners. It isn’t a bad idea to get your kids involved with obedience training after you’ve taught the first few basic commands.

Letting the kids practice obedience training with the dog will help the dog learn that the kids are, or should be, in control. Dogs are pack animals, and this helps them better understand the hierarchy of the pack. Plus, it’ll develop stronger bonds between dog and child.

Training the Children

Like with the Boston Terrier, kids need to be trained. In fact, it may be just as important. The child needs to understand how to treat and respect the dog. And if you want to prevent any mishaps, this step is crucial.

The first step is to set boundaries or rules for the kid. While we understand that every kid is different, we’ve compiled a fairly good list to start off with. Feel free to take out, adjust or add rules as you see fit:

  1. Never pull on the Boston Terrier’s tail, fur or ears.
  2. Don’t try to ride on the back of the dog.
  3. Respect the dog’s boundaries. Give them space when eating meals and treats.
  4. Don’t yell or make loud noises around the dog.
  5. If the dog jumps on you, turn your backs and ignore the dog.
  6. Never hit, hug or pinch the dog. He may feel threatened.
  7. Never sneak up on, or run towards the dog. Approach slowly and calmly.

The children must understand and follow the rules you set. If they’re not old enough to learn how to respect your Boston Terrier, you may want to wait until they are. As sturdy as these dogs may be, rough play may evoke an aggressive response.

One of the best ways in the beginning is by showing your children how to interact with the dog. After all, children are great visual learners. If they see you following all the rules you’ve set in place, they’re likely to do so too.

Socializing Boston Terriers

Socialization training is a great way to “child-proof” your dog. That is, by exposing your dog to as many children as possible, and as early on. When your Boston Terrier is still young, it is best to introduce him to all types of kids from different age groups.

In fact, the golden period for socialization is from weeks 12 to 18. In this crucial time period, your Boston can easily accept all people, including kids. With socialization, they’re able to meet different personalities and thus, become less scared of children as an adult.

Some good places to socialize your Boston Terrier includes:

  • The dog park with kids and adults
  • A dog-friendly beach
  • Neighbors or friends house
  • Obedience school with other humans and dogs
  • The backyard with the kids of the family

Socializing your Boston Terrier puppy frequently with your own children is a good idea. But you also want them to be friendly around other kids. If they only meet your children, they will get along with them, but may be possessive of them too.

Boston Terriers For My Family

Boston Terriers are low shedding dogs, but still require maintenance and grooming.

So, now that you understand what makes the Boston Terrier ideal for kids, you’re probably wondering if they’re a good fit for your family. The truth is, Boston Terriers are great dogs for just about everyone. They were, after all, bred to be companions.

There are few dog breeds as well-mannered and balanced as the Boston Terrier. In fact, these dogs are consistently among the top 25 most popular breeds in America – and for a good reason! Among small dogs, they’re top 10 in popularity.

In the home, they’re docile and gentle with the children. But when playing, they know how to have a lot of fun. However, kids are not the only people they thrive with. Boston Terriers are also excellent pets for adults!

So whether you have a child (or multiple), are expecting a child or plan to have some in the future, Boston Terriers will be the perfect choice. Bring one home and you’ll instantly fall in love with the charm that made them “America’s Gentleman.”

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About the author

Richard Jeng

Richard has been raising dogs his whole life, including a Poodle, Pomeranian, Corgi and Australian Shepherd. He's always working with animal shelters and dog rescues because of his passion for all dogs. Fun fact: his all time favorite breed is the German Shepherd. Read More.

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