Friday, May 10, 2013

Pugs or Boston terriers: Which type of dog is best?

Liam the pug and Sinead the Boston terrier in one dog bed
How can you choose between them?
Living in a multi-dog household has some very real benefits, but it's not the right choice for everyone. In fact, there are some people who really need to stick with just one dog, due to space or financial constraints. People who love a dog with big, open eyes and a small body may be stuck with a pretty difficult dilemma, however, as they'll be forced to choose between a pug and a Boston terrier. As the owner of both, I have a few little tips and thoughts to share on that topic.

For my money, a pug is an ideal apartment dog. Liam doesn't bark at hardly anything at all, and his exercise and stimulation needs can easily be met with a few well-timed walks. He did incredibly well in a very small condo, for example, as long as he had the proper amount of walks and a few toys to shake and kill when he was at home.

Bostons, on the other hand, really seem to need room to roam. Both of the Bostons I've had love to sunbathe, and they've both loved to have a little private nap time in the grass. These dogs also have a large amount of energy, and they love to run and run and run. It's hard to meet those needs in a small space. While it's possible that Bostons could live in apartments, I think they do a little better in homes with backyards. A daily walk can't give them what they need.

In the brains department, Bostons win the day. While Liam is remarkably easy to train, mainly because he's obsessed with food, he just doesn't have a whole lot happening upstairs. Changing the furniture's location seems to confuse him, and more than once he's been unable to find a toy I've thrown because he didn't see it leave my hand.

Sinead, on the other hand, can figure things out very quickly, and she's a little harder to train because she seems to enjoy winning the upper hand more than she enjoys gobbling down treats. Owners who like a dog with a little bit of smarts may do well to get a Boston. These little guys can keep you guessing.

Households with multiple dog owners may enjoy Bostons just a little more than pugs. In my experience, pugs are one-person dogs and they really don't transfer that loyalty to other people in the pack. Liam will always be courteous and even loving with my husband, but if he has a choice of laps to sleep in, he always chooses mine. And, if I leave the room, he will always follow me. Someone is bound to feel left out, when a dog really loves one person best.

Bostons can be a little picky like this, and my first Boston was certainly a fan of choosing favorites, but Bostons also seem to have a little love to share with everyone in the family. Sinead, for example, is pretty evenly split between my husband and I, with no one person really stealing her heart. Both of us are important to her.

Both of these breeds have a significant amount of health problems, and it's worth mentioning that both breeds aren't good options for people with tight budgets. This is mainly a warning for the pug owners out there. Bostons are, in my part of the country, pretty rare, so people expect to pay big bucks for a puppy that comes from a good background. This high price tag can make people think twice before adding a puppy to their homes. Pugs, on the other hand, are really easy to find and a lot of backyard breeders sell them for very low prices. These "bargain" puppies might fit into a household budget, but all of the little health conditions that can crop up can quickly put a family in the poorhouse. It's best to invest in a quality breed line, or rescue an older dog that may already be robustly healthy. Otherwise, another breed might be a better choice.

So there you have it! 

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