The Boston terrier originated in the United States from an English bulldog and a white English terrier. The bulldog’s owner lived in Boston, which would eventually become part of the breed’s name. The American Kennel Club officially recognized this likable little dog in 1893. With its lively, friendly disposition, the Boston terrier (the “American gentleman”) soon became a favorite companion dog. But what many prospective owners want to know is: do Boston terriers shed? And are they suitable for people with allergies? Keep reading to find out!
Do Boston Terriers Shed?
Boston terriers shed minimally throughout the year. They may experience slightly heavier seasonal shedding. Though their hair loss isn’t excessive, experts do not consider this breed hypoallergenic.
Why aren’t Boston terriers hypoallergenic? All dogs release allergens to some degree through their dander, saliva, and urine. These allergens (glycoproteins) are present in higher concentrations in some breeds than others, with dander being the worst offender. The more a dog sheds, the more dander it releases. Boston terriers shed enough that their dander is an issue for susceptible people.
How Much Do Boston Terriers Shed?
Boston terriers are not heavy shedders, though owners will likely still notice dog hair around the house and on the furniture. Shedding is likely to increase slightly in the spring and fall in response to changes in sunlight and temperature.
Despite this seasonal shedding, however, Boston terriers do not “blow their coats” like many other dog breeds with fur. Blowing the coat is the process of shedding the undercoat within a short period of time in order to make room for a summer layer in the spring or a heavier winter layer in the fall. This results in clumps of fur scattered throughout the house and yard for a period of two to four weeks. Boston terriers do not have an undercoat and so do not have to make these adjustments.
Do Boston Terriers Have Hair or Fur?
Boston terriers have fur, not hair. Though both are made of keratin, dog fur and dog hair behave differently. Be aware of the following factors with this type of coat.
Fur-bearing dogs shed significantly more than dogs with hair. This happens because of the growth cycle of the hair follicles. Hair takes more time to get from the anagen stage (growth) to the exogen stage (shedding), which means it typically grows to greater lengths and takes longer to fall out. Fur has a shorter growth cycle and falls out more quickly. Fur is also denser, meaning fur-bearing breeds lose more follicles per square inch than breeds with hair.
The Boston terrier only has a single coat, which is an exception to the usual rule. Most dogs with a single coat have hair while dogs with double coats have fur. Double coats consist of a fine undercoat (ground hairs) and a coarse outer coat (guard hairs). The guard hairs protect the insulating ground hairs from moisture and dirt. Though the Boston terrier has fur, it comes in a single layer without an undercoat. Because shedding mostly involves the softer ground hairs, Boston terriers shed much less than most fur-bearing breeds.
Boston terrier fur is short, shiny, and smooth. Because the coat lies so close to the skin in a single layer, it lacks the fluffiness of many other fur-bearing breeds. The individual strands are fine and closely packed.
Grooming a Boston Terrier
For best results, brush your Boston terrier weekly. This will distribute natural skin oils to keep its coat moisturized and shiny. It also helps remove dirt and loose hair. The best brush for a Boston terrier is a soft bristle brush, which will effectively remove dead hair and give the coat a nice shine. You can also use a rubber brush if you prefer. A grooming glove, which is a type of brush worn like a glove over the hand, may also be effective.
Boston terriers need a bath every six weeks. This is usually sufficient to keep them clean and smelling good. Though some dog owners prefer to bathe their dogs more often, be careful not to exceed one bath a week. Overly frequent bathing reduces skin oils, which can cause dry skin and a lifeless coat.
Because of their short coats, Boston terriers never need a shave or a trim. Shaving them reduces their ability to regulate their body temperature since they already have so little fur to work with. It also isn’t an effective way to reduce shedding as the fur will only grow back thicker than before.
How to Reduce Shedding
Though Boston terriers are not heavy shedders, some owners may still want to cut down on the amount of dog fur around the house. Below are a few ways to naturally and safely reduce your dog’s shedding as well as review articles to help you select the best pet products.
- Brushing: Brushing is the best way to get rid of loose and dead hair before it ends up on the floor or in the air. Commit to regularly grooming your Boston terrier to get ahead of the mess.
- De-shedding brush: A specific kind of brush can make the grooming process more efficient and effective. Take a look at this review article on the best de-shedding brushes for your dog.
- De-shedding shampoo: Though most Boston terriers don’t need it, some owners find a de-shedding shampoo helpful. See this article for the most effective de-shedding shampoos on the market. You can even try massaging your dog in the bath to loosen hair or invest in a good-quality blow-dryer to blow away even more fur.
- A special type of food: Some shedders benefit from a unique formula. You may want to try one of these dog foods for shedders to see if it makes a difference.
Boston terriers make excellent pets for urban dwellers looking for a friendly, sociable companion dog. Though they shed minimally, it’s wise to spend some time with your potential new best friend before bringing them home to make sure they won’t trigger any allergies.
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