Grooming

Boston Terrier Shedding: How Much & Ways To Manage The Hair

MJ Shaffer

Last Updated: January 23, 2024 | 9 min read | Leave a Comment

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The Boston Terrier’s distinctive black, seal, or brindle and white coat makes him instantly recognizable. You love his formally attired look, but you’re worried about how much he will shed. Luckily, his medium size fits beautifully in most homes, and he sheds moderately. Unless you need to limit the dog hair to a bare minimum, weekly brushing can keep a Boston Terrier sleek and his shedding under control for most of the year.

Boston Terriers are intelligent and quick to learn but require their family’s attention to be happy. Your Boston will spend most of his time trying to be by your side, no matter where you are. His hair is short, but there’s a good chance some of it will end up wherever you are with him. The jaunty Boston sheds seasonally, so the time of year dictates how much time you’ll spend caring for his coat.

Whether there’s a member of your household with a dog allergy or you are trying to keep two-tone hairs off your beige sofa, how you manage your Boston Terrier’s coat makes a difference. Here are some things to consider as you keep him healthy and minimize his shedding.

Boston Terrier Coats

Sleeping Boston Terrier puppy
You’ll need to brush him daily to manage the hair during shedding season.

Boston Terriers have a single coat with no insulating layer, even in winter. If they go outside in the cold, they may need a jacket or blanket when in harsh weather. They will need indoor space to protect them from temperature extremes in cool climates. Bostons aren’t suited for outdoor only living, physically or temperamentally.

The Boston’s smooth coat requires only minimal grooming. Brush him with a flexible rubber curry or hound mitt, followed by a soft bristle brush, which will handle most of the dirt and excess hair. Boston Terriers shed seasonally and have a summer and winter coat depending on the lengthening or shortening of the days. They shed most heavily when they lose their winter coat to prepare for summer’s longer, hotter days.

Boston Terrier Colors

Boston Terriers are not only striking for their whimsical expressions but also for their beautiful coloration. Brindle, seal, or black mixed with even white markings, the stylish Boston makes an impression as he enters the room. A proportionate ratio of color to white body markings is a hallmark of the breed.

Bostons are seasonal shedders who shed most heavily when the days begin to shorten and again when they start to lengthen. Change your grooming routine if your pup sheds more than you’d like during this transition. Curry him daily and bathe him to remove his old coat more quickly and minimize what falls in your home.

Hypoallergenic Dogs

You may have heard some breeds are hypoallergenic, but any dog with hair can trigger an allergy. The proteins in your pet’s urine, saliva, or dead skin cells (dander), may cause people with pet allergies to have itchy, watery eyes or a stuffy nose. People with more severe allergies can become short of breath within fifteen to thirty minutes of inhaling these allergens. Sensitive people may also develop a rash on their face, neck, and upper chest.

If you have a family member allergic to pet dander, you want to find a breed with hair that won’t create health problems for your human family or a situation where you must rehome your pup. Boston Terriers are not hypoallergenic. They shed hair, and they shed dander. Any breed, unless hairless, will shed and produce dander.

Other Reasons For Losing Hair

Shedding is normal, but abnormal shedding can indicate a health problem. Sometimes excessive shedding originates in the skin, also known as the dermis. Inflammation of the skin is called dermatitis (dermis=skin itis=inflammation) and can have an internal or external root cause.

Genetic Causes Of Hair Loss

Boston Terriers may be affected by hereditary skin problems that can cause baldness. Some female Bostons develop spreading baldness when they are around six months old. The pattern begins around the ears and extends down the front of the neck and along the belly to the back legs. The skin itself remains healthy and has no signs of infection.

Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s Disease often strikes elderly Bostons, causing excessive thirst, increased urination, and panting. They’ll develop a pot belly and suffer from hair loss and skin infections from the excessive hormones in their system. While the tumor that causes Cushing’s may be either on the pituitary or adrenal glands, the excessive adrenal hormones produced are responsible for the array of symptoms.

Cushing’s usually strikes between the ages of nine and eleven years, and females are at greater risk. Veterinary tests can confirm the presence of Cushing’s if symptoms arise. Other conditions that produce similar symptoms can be ruled out, and treatment started to increase your Boston’s quality of life. If treated, dogs with Cushing’s may live another two to four years and, more importantly, enjoy those years with fewer symptoms.

Hypothyroidism

Another potential cause of hair loss is hypothyroidism, when your dog does not produce sufficient thyroid hormone for his body to function as it should. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include hair loss, lethargy, eye problems, fertility problems, and obesity. Increased aggression may precede other physical symptoms. Bostons, one of the most common symptoms is a hairless “rat tail.” Your veterinarian may prescribe a hormone supplement to balance your Boston’s deficiency.

External Causes Of Hair Loss

If your dog seems to be shedding more than usual and shows patches of severe hair loss (alopecia), examine the skin beneath the hair. Several external causes of hair loss strike all dogs, regardless of breed. Parasitic causes of hair loss include demodectic mange, to which Bostons may be more susceptible than other breeds. Pet owners may notice a few dry, irritated, hairless lesions in mild cases. These often occur on the face or feet and may or may not be itchy. Secondary skin infections may occur. Both fungal and bacterial infections of the skin can cause excessive shedding.

Flea bite dermatitis is the most common allergic skin disease in dogs. Creating an effective flea management regimen is the first line of defense if you see visible fleas. If your Boston is still itchy after the fleas are gone, a visit with your vet is in order. They may perform a “skin scrape” and examine the sample under a microscope to decide the proper course of treatment.

The second most common allergic skin disease in dogs is more general and called “atopy.” Bostons may have it. The feet, belly, and skin folds tend to be red and itchy, and ear infections become more common. These types of allergies typically appear when dogs are in early adulthood and can get worse every year. Licking the paws, rubbing the face, and frequent ear infections are the most common signs.

The root of skin allergies is typically either environmental allergens or food sensitivity. If you suspect your kibble is the source of your dog’s excessive itching and shedding, ask your veterinarian about special diets with ingredients formulated not to trigger allergic reactions. They can recommend one at a price point you find comfortable.

Managing Boston Terrier’s Shedding

Black and White Dog Laying on Ground
Good health begins with good nutrition, contributing to a healthy coat and bright eyes.

Even though Bostons are a moderately shedding breed, twice weekly to weekly grooming makes a big difference in managing how much shed hair is in the home. Here are the best ways to manage their coat and reduce shedding.

Brushing

When seasons change, your Boston will shed more than usual and benefit from increased brushing. He could go days between brushings for the rest of the year but give him a once-over daily during spring and fall with a hound mitt or grooming glove to minimize shed hairs. Bostons love attention, and he will feel like you’re just giving him the love he deserves. You’ll know you’re improving the health of his skin by stimulating the production of natural oils and distributing them through his coat.

Types Of Brushes

Choose your grooming tools with care. A Boston Terrier’s short, slick hair is relatively thin. A flexible, short-nubbed hound mitt or grooming glove stimulates the production of oils in his skin. After the initial curry loosens the hair and distributes the oils through his coat, brush him with a soft bristle brush in short, quick strokes toward the hair’s growth. Not only will you bring his coat to a mirror shine, but you’ll remove loose hairs to minimize shedding.

Shampoo

Boston Terriers stay relatively clean but may need shampoo if they get dirty. Because Bostons tend to have allergies, choose a shampoo specifically formulated for sensitive skin. Even with a gentle shampoo, bathing your Boston Terrier too frequently can strip the natural oils from his coat and dry his skin, so limit baths to once every few months or when he’s filthy.

Diet

Feeding dog food that does not contain known allergens is the first step to minimizing the risk of skin problems. Many dogs are allergic to chicken in commercial dog foods, and Bostons are prone to food allergies. If you’re worried your pup may have food sensitivities, try a chicken-free formula.

Nutritional imbalances from low-quality dog foods can also cause dermatitis and excessive shedding. Ask your veterinarian for suggestions, and consider a formula designed for your pup’s life stage and that meets the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards. The initial cost may be higher, but it will save you money on additional supplements. More importantly, it will keep your best friend from unnecessary discomfort.

The brand you choose should include omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties considered beneficial for dogs’ skin and coats. Research has shown omega-3s have health benefits for dogs beyond just making their coats shine. They reduce inflammation in the body, keeping your buddy more comfortable and keeping itchy skin at bay.

Supplements

Omega-3 enriched treats make adding more healthy fats into your Boston’s diet easy, and fish oils add omega-3s to promote a healthy coat and reduce shedding. Some supplements contain a blend of fish and plant-based oils to provide a balanced ratio of the three main types of omega-3 fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). If your Boston has food allergies, check the label on the treats to be sure you don’t introduce proteins to which he is sensitive.

Air Purification

While you can minimize how much your Boston Terrier sheds, he’s still going to shed twice a year. Adding an air purifier to your home has benefits is one more way to reduce the amount of hair in your home and the allergens in the air. The most significant allergen dogs introduce is dander, the dead skin cells constantly sloughing and falling along with shed hairs. Depending on the size of your home, you may need to see if one high-capacity unit or multiple smaller units most efficiently and thoroughly cleans the air.

An air purifier that effectively eliminates airborne particulates smaller than 2.5 microns, the size of a dog dander, can significantly reduce particulates that trigger allergic symptoms. The Filtrete Air Purifier FAP-C03BA-G2 claims to capture 99.97% of airborne particles (as small as 0.3 microns), including dust, lint, dust mite debris, mold spores, pollen, pet dander, smoke, smog, bacteria, viruses, exhaust particles, and ultrafine particles.

Vacuuming

Vacuuming is an effective tool in the arsenal against pet hair. If your air purifier eliminates the airborne particulates that trigger your allergies, a mechanical vacuum can take care of anything that lands on surfaces in your home or car. The best vacuum is light enough that you’ll use it frequently and versatile enough to tackle multiple surfaces in and around your home.

While it is a traditional handheld stick vacuum, the Bissell Featherweight Cordless XRT also includes specialized pet tools. It converts to a handheld vacuum with a crevice tool and upholstery brush to get pet hair wherever it settles. This lightweight vacuum handles hard surfaces and area rugs but may not have the power for a home with wall-to-wall carpets. Carpet is a significant factor in how much hair and dander stay trapped in a room. You may consider the more powerful Bissell ICONPet Edge for fully carpeted homes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Boston Terrier on Table outside in a park
Depending on the season, you’ll notice a difference in how much hair he loses.

Do Boston Terriers Shed A Lot?

Compared to other breeds of dogs, Boston Terriers are low to moderate shedders. Their hair may seem more obvious than a single-color breed because there are both dark and white hairs to shed, so his hair is visible on many surfaces. Brush him daily in spring and fall to help his coat shed more quickly.

When Is It Time To Take My Boston Terrier To The Vet?

If your dog is shedding more than expected, inspect the skin beneath his coat. If you notice that his skin seems thick, greasy, scaly, red, or foul-smelling, schedule a consultation with your veterinarian. Your pup may need medication to calm and heal his skin.

Final Thoughts

Bringing a Boston into your life is like bringing in a mix of mischief and sunshine. You’ve bought the supplies, have the space, the fenced yard, the time for walks, and room in the car to transport him to and from the vet. Caring for your Boston’s coat and minimizing shedding should be a relative breeze.

Care for your Boston’s distinctively dark and white patterned coat with gentle brushing and the occasional bath with a hypoallergenic shampoo. Choose a diet without typical allergens but with omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation and keep his skin healthy from the inside out. Boston Terriers shed moderately, but their coat is easy to manage. With a bit of weekly grooming, you’ll be able to spend the majority of your time enjoying his affectionate personality.

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The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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