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Do Boston Terriers Like to Cuddle and Be Held? (Owners Tell all!)

Boston Terriers are known as the American Gentleman, and with their gentle and affectionate temperament rightfully so. I was curious how much does this cute little tuxedo breed like to cuddle. I asked other Boston Terrier owners and I was amazed at the results I got.

Boston Terriers are very affectionate and love to cuddle and be held. They will sleep on, near, and around their owners and generally enjoy being pet, cuddled, and held. Out of 584 people surveyed 81% of owners said that their Boston Terriers loved to cuddle with them. Less than 7% liked little to no cuddles.

Why do Boston Terriers love cuddling so much, who do they love to cuddle with, do they like to be held, and what about that small percentage that don’t like to cuddle? Is it something their owners have done or is it their personalities? Is there anything you can do to encourage your dog to cuddle with you?

Keep reading to learn all the secrets!

Thank you Bruce B. for sharing this picture of Mr. Rufus!

Are Boston Terriers Affectionate?

Boston Terriers have a very interesting history that might make us confused at why they are so affectionate. They were originally bred to be fighting dogs, but with such a loving nature that didn’t last long. They were also bred to chase and hunt down small rodents, but it was soon realized that these dogs made great little companions and friends for anyone that had room in their heart.

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So now a Boston Terrier’s sole purpose in modern-day breeding is to be a companion dog, and often breeders will choose which dogs to mate based on their affectionate characteristics.

Even Boston Terriers that don’t necessarily love cuddling or being held still love to be near their owners. They like to follow their owners around and be near to them whenever they are sitting or resting.

The all-around American dog named after its origins in Boston Mass. they are very loving and affectionate dogs. I asked a group of Boston Terriers owners how much their dogs liked to cuddle with them on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the most cuddly to 1 being not at all and was amazed at the number of responses I got!

Chess Dog 300 x 600

Over 550 owners replied and gave us some great insight into the loving nature of this cuddly little dog breed.

195 people said that their Boston Terriers were a 10 on the cuddle scale and another 264 didn’t think 10 was high enough. They gave answers such as 100%, 1000+++, and if 1 million is an option then I choose that! It was clear that there are a lot of owners that have very cuddly and affectionate dogs.

Over 91% rated their Boston Terriers 5-10 on the cuddle scale.

With that being said, those who said their Boston Terriers didn’t care to cuddle were relatively few! Only 9 people said their Boston Terrier’s never want to cuddle with them and gave them a 0. Of those 0’s two people said that their Boston Terrier liked to cuddle with other people in their household.  A low 7% of owners rated their Boston Terrier a 3 or lower on the cuddle scale.

As with most dog breeds cuddling with one person to the next can be relative. There were a couple of dozen owners that specified that their Boston Terrier preferred cuddling with one person over another in their household giving different responses for cuddling with them versus their spouse. Such as with me a 2 with my husband a 10.

At least nine people said that it completely depended on their dog’s mood and quite a few more said that their Boston Terrier had a bit of an attitude and would only cuddle with them when their dog felt like it.

Why Boston Terriers Like to Cuddle

Because of the Bond and Trust you Have

When a Boston Terrier has established a bond and trusts its owner then it is likely to show that trust and affection by wanting to be with and around its owner at all times.

Owners who care for their Boston Terriers by feeding them, grooming them playing with them, and just spending time with them will gain their trust and can build a bond with them fairly easily. This helps your Boston Terrier understand who takes care of them and in a way presents you as their pack leader creating an instinctual trust with you.

This is one of the reasons that the Boston Terrier breed is so cuddly and affectionate. This is also the reason that you may notice that your Boston Terrier favors one person in your household more than others. If there is one person who is consistently spending more time caring for and playing with the dog it’s likely that will be their preferred person to be with.

To Show Love and Affection

Boston Terriers like to cuddle with their owners to show them love and affection and receive that love in return.

Science has proven (link to US National Library of Medicine Study) that when owners and their dogs are engaged in activities like cuddling and showing each other affection both of them receive a surge of Oxytocin, the hormone dubbed as the LOVE hormone. It makes both our little pooch and us feel happier, calmer and loved.

This increase in Oxytocin has a lot of positive effects for both you and your Boston Terriers. It’s proven to reduce stress levels, help owners who may suffer from anxiety or depression, lower blood pressure, and helps us stay present in the moment. Your dog will also benefit from this surge in the love hormone.

Boston Terriers cuddle for warmth

Since Boston Terriers are on average only around 10-25 lbs, because of their small size and short hair they can easily get too cold fairly quickly. It’s an instinct for any dog to find its pack and huddle up together for warmth when feeling too chilly, but especially so for the short-haired Boston Terriers.

You may notice that your Boston Terriers burrow under the blankets and hides for the same reason. They do this to create for themselves a small warm den. If your Boston Terrier can be close to you sharing your body heat, in his mind, that is a great place to be!

Boston Terrier’s Cuddle for Protection.

Boston Terriers love to play and will have short spurts of energy throughout the day, they are also very friendly and love meeting new people. Even though they can be curious and playful they also are very reliant on their owners and can be prone to separation anxiety. They also will want to stay close to their owners for safety and protection. Being a smaller breed they rely on their alpha (you) for protection.

When wanting to relax and get some shut-eye they feel a lot more comfortable about drifting off if they feel safe and secure while doing so. This is why they turn to you to cuddle while sleeping because they know you will protect them. Again instinct kicks in and they have the desire to turn to their pack for safety and protection.

Boston Terrier’s cuddle because of instinct

Newborn puppies need to cuddle closely with their mothers as a way to survive. They need the life-giving milk that they provide as well as the protection and warmth. They instinctively know they are helpless until they get older open their eyes and become more curious.

This survival instinct goes back to the beginning of time even before dogs were domesticated. as well as protection for themselves, they can also be somewhat territorial and protective of others in their family. You may notice this if your Boston Terrier has attached to one person in your family. He may cuddle with that person more and show an instinct to protect this family member from others. This can lead your Boston Terrier to bark or snarl when feeling threatened by any outside source.

It’s important that your Boston Terrier is well trained and well socialized when they are young in order to avoid this trait in this breed.

Why Boston Terrier’s Don’t Like to Cuddle or be Held

There are many things to figure when trying to figure out why your Boston Terrier’s may not like to cuddle with you.

It could be too hot. Unlike us our dogs can not sweat through their skin. The only way they can cool themselves off is through their nose and the pads of their feet, as well as panting. Because of this they are much more sensitive to temperature changes. If it’s very warm your dog my be avoiding your snuggles because it doesn’t want that extra body heat.

They have been abused or had bad experiences in the past. For Boston Terrier’s that really don’t enjoy cuddling at all this is usually the most likely scenario! If you have a rescue or your dog has had negative experiences with cuddling others in the past then this normally loyal trusting breed could be struggling with trust issues.

It’s possible to regain its trust and have a strong bond with your dog, but it will take a lot of time and patience and they may not ever warm up to the idea of super close snuggle time.

Their personality will have a lot to do with whether or not they want to cuddle up to you. Some dogs are naturally more energetic and inquisitive and don’t want to slow down enough to relax and snuggle. Some dogs just prefer to have their space.

You’re not their person. A lot of owners admit that their Boston Terrier may like to cuddle with another member of the household a little more than others. Boston Terrier can choose a favorite person and may prefer to be with them when possible. You may even find that they become jealous (see this article I wrote about Boston Terrier Jealousy) when they see their favorite person showing affection to someone else. Their favorite person is often the one who plays with, feeds, gives affection and attention to the most.

Your lifestyle and home dynamics can play a big part in whether or not your dog is super cuddly and affectionate. If as a puppy you spend a lot of time snuggling on the couch and holding your dog in your lap then it will naturally lead them to be more snuggly. If you are a very active family and are on the go exploring and moving around a lot your dog will tend to follow your lead.

They are still a puppy and full of energy. Puppies tend to be a bit more rambunctious and may not slow down for cuddles very often in their first year of life. They are so busy exploring and trying to figure things out they will tell you they don’t have time for those cuddles. It’s usually very easy to steal some cuddles from them, however, once they nod off to sleep. It can even be a great way to train your puppy to cuddle (Link to my article can I train my dog to cuddle) and get them used to it.

Can I Teach My Boston Terrier to Cuddle and Enjoy Being Held

You can train a dog to do many things including learning how to lay down and sit still, whether that be in your lap on next to you it’s possible to help your dog learn to be closer to you and share some of the same space. However, you should never force your dog to cuddle with you or be more affectionate than it’s comfortable with. Here are some ways you can encourage your Boston Terrier to enjoy giving cuddles and being held.

  • Understand a Baseline: Notice where your Boston Terrier is at with their desire to cuddle. When do they like to do it, when don’t they? Do they shy away from petting? Is there a particular way they like to be pet and held? Can you recognize their body language and what they are trying to tell you?
  • Take advantage of their natural cuddle times: Once you know when, where and how they like to cuddle take advantage of those times and work it into your schedule so you can get maximum cuddle time and your pup will get used to the routine of it. Some owners really like to cuddle with their Boston Terrier in bed at night and in the morning, but before you decide to let your Boston Terrier sleep in bed with you check out this article I wrote about the pros and cons of your pup sleeping with you.
  • Wear Them Out: A tired dog is a well-behaved and happy dog and a lot of times a cuddly dog! Never try and force your Boston Terrier to cuddle with you especially when they are full of energy and want to play.
  • Bond with your Boston Terrier and Build Trust: The more your Boston Terrier trusts you the more affection and love they will naturally want to give you. Doing things with your Boston Terrier you know they will enjoy will help you become closer not only emotionally, but physically as well. This can include playing with toys or hand-feeding them.
  • Encourage your Boston Terrier and reward Behavior you Like: When your dog is cuddling calmly with you in your lap or by your side make it a pleasant experience with a high-value reward attached.
  • Get Good at Basic Commands: When your Boston Terrier gets good at commands like sit, stay, and settle, you can use those to your advantage to help them learn to be calm when it’s cuddle time.
  • Name the Cue: As with training your Boston Terrier most things you’ll want them to understand the word associated with what they are doing. When they know what a cuddle is called then as you get better at communicating with each other you’ll be able to ask for a cuddle and receive on-demand.
  • Respect Boundaries: It’s important to remember that most dogs do not like hugs in the traditional sense. Being held too tightly can make them feel agitated and stressed. Kisses and getting into your dog’s face can also be upsetting to them and possibly dangerous for you.

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