Blue Boston Terrier – Is This Coat Color For Real?

What is a blue Boston Terrier?

In the language of canine coat colors, blue is simply another term for a grey Boston Terrier. It means a cool grey coat produced by color dilution of black fur. As opposed to a warm grey coat caused by color dilution of brown fur (usually known as silver or lilac).

Blue is not recognized as a standard coat color for Bostons. Which means that a blue and white Boston Terrier isn’t eligible to enter conformation shows. However, it’s widely accepted that blue coats are a possibility for the breed, and that one of the founding sires was blue. In fact, the first breed standard for the Boston said that all coat colors were equally acceptable. But since then, the physical template of an ‘ideal’ Boston has been refined and polished. Part of that was limiting which colors and patterns are desirable. In response to these decisions, most breeders have deliberately abandoned breeding litters of blue Boston Terrier puppies.

Types of blue Boston Terrier

An all blue Boston Terrier is pretty unusual – the vast majority of Boston Terriers also have white markings. But rather than a solid blue background, you might encounter these instead:

  • a blue brindle Boston Terrier, with narrow stripes of fawn and grey fur,
  • a blue fawn Boston Terrier, with a fawn-colored body, blue mask
  • and a blue splash Boston, with a mostly white body and blue patches, rather than a mostly blue body and white patches.

One coat pattern you’re not likely to find is a blue merle Boston Terrier. The merle pattern is popular in several breeds because it has a pretty dappled appearance. But, the merle gene does not occur in the Boston Terrier, and dogs advertised as blue merle Bostons must have a recent ancestor from another breed (such as a Chihuahua).

Can a blue Boston Terrier be AKC registered?

The American Kennel Club will register a blue Boston puppy, provided that their breeder can prove their purebred lineage. Since an official color category doesn’t exist for blue puppies, they have to be registered as one of the five standard colors:

  • black and white
  • black brindle and white
  • brindle and white
  • seal and white
  • seal brindle and white

There doesn’t seem to be much consensus about which is most appropriate however, with different breeders taking different approaches!

Blue Boston Terrier genetics

So, how could blue coats be introduced into the Boston breed at their very foundation, and then be so thoroughly erased? Part of the answer is because blue coats are caused by a recessive gene, called the color dilution gene. Recessive genes are only expressed when an individual inherits them from both parents. In contrast, non-dilute coats are a dominant trait – Boston puppies only need to inherit the gene for a non-dilute coat from one parent, and their coat will be black or seal rather than blue.

This masking of the dilute gene is part of how it manages to stay hidden in some family trees over many generations, until two carriers happen to be mated. Furthermore, when two Bostons silently carrying the dilution gene mate, statistically only one quarter of their puppies will receive the gene from both parents, and express it in their coat. Since Bostons frequently have fewer than four puppies in a litter, it’s easy for the gene to be passed through many generations without ever being expressed. And since blue coats are considered undesirable by many breeders, they are easily avoided too.

Temperament

Blue Boston Terrier puppies inherit the same temperament as Bostons in all other colors – there’s no evidence that the color dilution gene affects behavior. They were originally developed as companions and lap dogs. So when the breed was being established, breeders looked for dogs with entertaining and affectionate personalities, who consistently sought out human contact. These qualities are all true of Bostons today too: they are usually friendly, playful, and charming. They are reasonably smart and trainable, but since they never had to do much other than be themselves before, they’re not always fast learners!

In general, small size is associated with a higher frequency of undesirable behaviors in dogs. Researchers suspect this is because when dogs are small, ‘bad’ behavior doesn’t cause as much trouble, so we tend to let them get away with it. Also, since Bostons have been bred over many generations to provide humans with company, they don’t tend to cope well if they find themselves left on their own. Toy dogs including Bostons are vulnerable to separation anxiety, so you’ll need to build up gradually before leaving a full grown blue Boston Terrier on their own for any length of time.

Health

Unfortunately, the Boston breed is beset by health problems, most of which are a result of their distinctive shape. Bostons have very short, flat muzzles. This has numerous consequences, including:

  • Difficulty breathing. Whilst breeders have managed to dramatically decrease the size of the bones in a Boston’s skull, the soft tissues have not kept up. Bostons are one of the three dog breeds most likely to need surgical treatment for excess soft palate tissue blocking their airways or nostrils.
  • Inability to regulate internal temperature. The structure of a dog’s muzzle is important for cooling their blood, and thus regulating their internal body temperature. Since Bostons don’t have a muzzle to speak of, they are very vulnerable to heatstroke.
  • Eye injuries. Flat faced dogs have shallow eye sockets and protruding eyes. This makes them prone to scratches and damage – especially since their nose isn’t long enough to act as a buffer.

Boston Terriers also have short, screw tails. This is linked to an increased likelihood of irritation, inflammation and skin infection where the tail sits against their butt. It also increases the risk of spinal diseases similar to spina bifida in humans. Finally, Boston Terriers’ large head and narrow waist mean that many females have difficulty giving birth, and need Cesarean sections.

Blue Boston Terrier health

On top of these concerns, dogs with color dilution are also more prone to color dilution alopecia. Color dilution alopecia causes the hair follicles to fail and leave bald patches in their coat. It doesn’t always affect their well being, but the bald skin can be prone to itchiness, scaliness, and bacterial infection.

Blue Boston Terrier puppies

Due to the health problems facing Bostons, we recommend that you think twice if you see a blue Boston Terrier for sale. We believe that the consequences of breeding for such flat faces has caused severe welfare issues for the breed, and it is unethical to keep perpetuating them. Furthermore, rescue shelters are seeing increasing numbers of flat faced dogs being surrendered for adoption, because their owners discovered they couldn’t afford the veterinary costs of looking after them. If your heart is set on a Boston, we advocate for rescuing one instead.

How much is a blue Boston Terrier?

Here at Dogsnet, we would rather people stopped buying Boston Terriers altogether. However, if you do go down this route, bear in mind that blue puppies should not be advertised as rare, or sold for premium prices. Whilst unusual, because they aren’t eligible for show, blue is a recognized coat color gene in the Boston Terrier. Advertising them as rare, more desirable, or more valuable, makes them more appealing to puppy farmers, who can replicate the color cheaply, treat their breeding dogs badly, and then sell the puppies for a bumper profit. Ethical breeders don’t play into puppy farmers’ hands by making this possible, and sell blue puppies for the same price as standard colors.

Your Blue Boston Terrier

A blue Boston Terrier has a grey coat. Blue grey coats are an acknowledged possibility for the breed, but the modern breed standard disqualifies them from conformation shows. Unfortunately, due to the health problems blue Bostons share with their rest of their breed, we’re unable to recommend these little dogs as a pet. But we have some healthier suggestions instead!

Alternative small dog breeds that come with blue coats

  • Italian Greyhound – A Speedy Little Dog Breed
  • Chihuahua Dog Breed Information: A Guide To The World’s Smallest Dog
  • Toy Poodle Dog Breed- All About The World’s Cutest, Curliest Puppy
  • Yorkie – Yorkshire Terrier Dog Breed Guide

And don’t miss Blue Dog Breeds – 20 Beautiful Blue Breeds That You’ll Love.

References

Brancalion et al. Canine coat pigmentation genetics: a review. Animal Genetics. 2021.

Conte et al. Thoracic Vertebral Canal Stenosis Associated with Vertebral Arch Anomalies in Small Brachycephalic Screw-Tail Dog Breeds. Veterinary Comparative Orthopedics and Traumatology. 2021.

Davis et al. Effect of brachycephaly and body condition score on respiratory thermoregulation of healthy dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 2017.

Riecks et al. Surgical correction of brachycephalic syndrome in dogs: 62 cases. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 2007.

Santos et al. Identification of SNP c.-22G>A in the melanophilin gene from a dog with color dilution alopecia: case report. Brazilian Journal of Veterinary and Animal Science. 2017.

Vasiadou & Papazoglou. Surgical management of screw tail and tail fold pyoderma in dogs. Journal of the Hellenic Veterinary Medical Society. 2018.

Through this article, we hope to help you have a better understanding about Akc blue boston terrier best