Boston Terriers are small dogs, weighing between 10 and 25 pounds and measuring 12 to 15 inches in height at the shoulder. They are bred for companionship and really enjoy being with their people. With their short hair and low tendency to shed, you might wonder if they make good apartment dogs.
It is important to choose the right breed for apartment living. Some breeds need more exercise than an apartment dweller can provide. Others are too vocal for neighbors to withstand or too easily stressed by strange noises. If you want to get your security deposit back and avoid damage from inappropriate dog behavior, you’ll want a pet that can handle a small home.
Pros of Boston Terriers as Apartment Dogs
As mentioned, Boston Terriers are small dogs so their size suits living in a limited space. They don’t have large tails that will be thumping on walls and knocking items off tables. They also tend to bark less than a lot of breeds which your neighbors will surely appreciate.
Because they love their family members so much, they are happy to spend time on the couch with them instead of roaming the neighborhood. In fact, I think my own Boston would happily live with me in a garden shed as long as I was there and there were blankets to snuggle into.
Boston Terriers require very little grooming. Especially as an indoor dog, there is little opportunity for rolling in mud or tracking in wet pawprints. They shed less than most breeds, so their hair won’t be reason to vacuum more often. I’ve also found that they very rarely have a “doggy” smell, so you won’t be spending a bunch of money on air fresheners.
While some breeds need to be walked or run for miles every day or stimulated with something like farm work, Bostons are mostly content to be couch potatoes with you.
Your buddy will enjoy short walks with you for potty breaks or trips to the corner store. If you’re someone who does run in the park regularly, you will find the perfect running companion in a Boston as long as the weather isn’t too warm.
It’s pretty easy to adapt their exercise level to one that works for you and you can supplement their activity with indoor games.
Cons of Boston Terriers as Apartment Dogs
If you are bringing home a Boston puppy, potty training may prove a little challenging in an apartment. One of the few drawbacks of this adorable little breed is that they can be stubborn when it comes to potty training. Two of my own refused to get into any sort of routine until at least six months of age.
You will be going out several times a day to establish the expectation that they need to do their business outside. If you live in an area with harsher weather, this might make you think twice.
Potty pads can help while you’re working with small bladders that are learning to hold it. They can be used to reduce accidents and ruined carpets and give your puppy the idea that there is a regular, proper place to potty. They are also useful for older dogs who have trouble with bladder control or various health issues.
Crate training is also a good method to use in an apartment. Because dogs don’t like to mess in their sleeping area, they’re encouraged to wait until they are let out to go potty and you can then walk them to an appropriate place.
Whatever system you opt to use, remember that you will need patience, consistency, and reinforcement.
Wait, didn’t we already cover this? Yes, but while Boston Terriers don’t need a lot of exercise, this doesn’t mean they need no exercise. Your little friend will appreciate fresh air and exploring longer than it takes to go potty. If you live near a park, they will enjoy sniffing leaves and watching squirrels.
Behavior training can be done indoors and is a wonderful way to stimulate your dog’s mind and use up energy. Bostons are quick to learn and love to please their people which makes training an opportunity to bond with your pup as well. There really isn’t anything much cuter than a Boston who greets visitors with a high five or shows off with some spins or rolling over.
There are other indoor games you can play to get in a little exercise and fun. My own little girl loves when we play hide and seek. You can teach the “stay” command and then call them to you when you’ve found a good hiding spot. Just finding you is enough of a reward to keep them interested in doing it again.
You can also hide treats under boxes or containers and encourage your dog to find them. These can be hidden around the apartment, or you can set out several boxes but place treats under just two of them and watch them work for it a little more.
Tips for Raising a Boston Terrier in an Apartment
Dogs thrive on routines. This is why regular walks and potty breaks train them to go outside. Having a regular goodbye routine when you leave your apartment teaches your dog that they can expect you to return. Keeping food in water in the same place helps them feel secure in getting their needs met. Regular play times ensure that they get quality time with you. All the small routines you do throughout the day contribute to a happy, well-adjusted Boston.
Providing a safe environment for your best friend is one of the best ways to show you care for them. A comfortable dog bed or a favorite blanket in a cozy spot will help them feel secure. Be sure to leave a couple of toys in a convenient location so they’re occupied if they get bored.
Sometimes too much space is just too much for a little dog. Closing off a small area or room with dog gates can give a sense of security and comfort.
Crates are another good choice when you’re away from home. Crates prevent dogs from getting into anything that can hurt them or even scare them. If I’m very busy, mine will go take a nap in her crate on her own.
Boston Terriers, just like other breeds, should be properly socialized. Socialization teaches them what to expect from other dogs and other humans. It can also reduce stress caused by hearing people walk by their door or other noises.
If your apartment has shared areas for dogs, this is a great way to introduce them to your neighbors. You may meet friends who enjoy going on dog walks with you or who you can set up doggy play dates with. Make sure these interactions are fun and positive for your pup so they feel safe and look forward to interacting with others.
A brief note on dog parks – while many people have good experiences at dog parks, they aren’t for everyone. Not all dogs will be as well-behaved as yours and you most likely don’t want to expose them to something that will cause a lifelong behavioral issue.
Like most things, there is a potential for injuries at the dog park, but if your local dog park feels safe for you and your friend, feel free! Always pay attention to the cues your pup gives you and don’t feel pressured to participate in something that doesn’t feel safe for the two of you.
If you’re away from home for significant periods of time during the day, you might find a dog walker useful. A good dog walker will provide your dog with the stimulation they need during the day and aid in socializing.
If your budget allows, doggy daycare can be an excellent way to provide both exercise and socialization for your Boston. Look for one that has a good balance of indoor and outdoor time as well as separated areas for big and small dogs. Some even provide grooming so they can come home clean and with trimmed nails.
Because of their small size and companionable personalities, Boston Terriers are well suited to apartment living. They require little grooming so you can keep your place clean and comfortable.
Remember that they will still need exercise and potty training might be a challenge so you will have to decide if you’re willing to take them for walks in all kinds of weather.
Cohabiting with anyone comes with its pros and cons and that isn’t any different when your roommate has four legs. Carefully weighing the benefits of living with a Boston Terrier in an apartment versus the challenges that it brings is a personal decision and one that should be taken with care.
You will, hopefully, have your friend with you for many years and planning for different situations will ensure that you are both happy.