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Do Boston Terriers Shed? (The Reasons Why and How To Manage It)

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Yes, Boston Terriers shed, but not a lot. On a scale from 1 to 5, Boston Terriers’ shedding score is two. They shed all year round, but due to their single-layer coat, they shed less than double-coated breeds.

Boston Terriers are small dogs which means they have less hair than large or medium-sized dogs. 

They are also single-coated with short silky smooth hair, meaning they shed less than double-coated dogs. 

Boston Terriers shed small amounts of hair all year round, with an insignificant increase during spring and fall.

This article explores why Boston Terriers shed, as well as how to manage it.

Why Do Boston Terriers Shed?

Boston Terriers shed to renew their hair, similar to humans. The hair of a Boston Terrier has a protective role. If the hair deteriorates and doesn’t grow back, their skin is not protected.

Boston Terriers’ Hair Growth Cycle

Knowing the hair growth cycle in dogs will help you better understand why Boston Terriers shed.

Dog’s hair grows from hair follicles. The hair follicles are small openings in a dog’s skin. Each follicle is capable of making one or more hairs. 

Single-coated dogs have one type of hair growing from each follicle. Double-coated dogs have two: hairs that make up the undercoat and hairs that make up the outer coat. 

Boston Terriers are single-coated. Their follicles produce one or multiple hairs of one type.

Why Do Boston Terriers Shed

Each hair follicle has four growth phases. These phases determine when the hair of a dog will fall out.

This table illustrates the growth phases of dog hair.

AnagenNew hair starts to grow at a normal rate.
CatagenHair growth slows down. It represents a transitional phase between the anagen and telogen phases. 
TelogenHair stops growing. At the end of this phase, the hair falls out. The falling of the hair is also called the exogen phase.

Causes for Abnormal Hair Loss in Boston Terriers

Boston Terriers can shed excessively and even have bald patches because of abnormal hair loss.

Certain diseases and parasites cause abnormal hair loss. Ringworm bites and flea bites can cause entire patches of hair to fall off. 

Here are the six main causes of abnormal hair loss in Boston Terriers:

  1. Poor nutrition
  2. Stress
  3. Exposure to artificial light
  4. Skin infections
  5. Parasites
  6. Health Issues

1. Poor Nutrition

Boston Terriers Poor Nutrition

Nutrition is a key factor when it comes to coat health and shedding. Boston Terriers shed excessively if you don’t feed them well. 

Poor nutrition also leads to poor skin health. As healthy skin keeps a dog’s hair healthy, poor skin health leads to more shedding. If their skin is too dry, Boston Terriers shed more. 

The main nutrients that keep Boston Terriers’ skin and hair healthy are:

  • Zinc
  • Copper 
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin A
  • Biotin

Biotin deficiency leads to alopecia[1] and other hair issues related to the roots of the coat. Biotin is found in eggs, meat, and organ meat. 

A diet low in copper and zinc[2] causes Boston Terriers to lose more hair than they would normally do.

2. Stress 

Long periods of elevated stress causes Boston Terriers to shed more. This happens because stress causes hair to enter the telogen phase sooner. 

When the stress is caused by a shock, this occurs all at once, resulting in immediate hair loss.

3. Exposure to Artificial Light

Boston Terriers Exposure to Artificial Light

Exposure to artificial light causes Boston Terriers to shed more frequently. This happens to dogs that spend most of their time indoors. 

When artificial light is present, the day-night cycle of dogs is affected. This leads to shedding all year round even in double-coated dogs.

4. Skin Infections

Skin infections caused by bacteria or fungi can cause Boston Terriers to shed large patches of hair all at once. 

Skin infections can be distinguished from insect bites because there is no sign of a bite on the skin. The most common fungal infection in dogs is canine Ringworm. [3]

5. Parasites

Boston Terriers Parasites

Boston Terriers develop allergic reactions to fleas[4][5]. These reactions include hair loss near the bite. Parasites can be kept away using repellent collars and deterrents. 

Not all Boston Terriers are allergic to flea bites. This means that their hair will not fall out when they are bitten.

6. Health Issues 

Certain health conditions cause Boston Terriers to shed more than usual. The most common issues are endocrine disruptions. 

Some of these disruptions occur when female Boston Terriers are pregnant or lactating. Once these periods stop, shedding returns to normal.

More severe conditions can cause Boston Terriers to shed. Regular vet check-ups are essential, especially if your dog is shedding more than usual. 

Picking up on the cues that indicate a potential health issue involves observing your Boston terrier’s shedding pattern. 

This is tricky because the extra amount of shedded hair is not always obvious.

Other health issues that affect Boston Terriers’ shedding are:

  • Allergies
  • Liver disease
  • Cancer
  • Immunity disorders

Boston Terrier Shedding Frequency

Boston Terriers shed all year round. They tend to shed more in the spring and fall but the difference is small. 

Most dogs tend to shed more during spring and fall because of temperature variations. 

The difference between Boston Terriers and double-coated dogs is that Boston Terriers shed way less. They don’t have undercoats. Undercoats are dense and leave behind a lot of hairs during spring and fall.

Related: Do Jack Russells Shed?

Boston Terrier Shedding Frequency

Are Boston Terriers Hypoallergenic?

No, Boston Terriers are not hypoallergenic. They are light shedders but they can still cause allergic reactions.

The misconception that hair is what causes dog allergy in humans is a myth. People can also develop allergies to dog dander, saliva, and urine[6]

Dander sticks to dogs’ hair. When they shed their hair, dogs spread around their dander. Dogs that don’t shed a lot are more hypoallergenic because the presence of dander in the environment is reduced.

No dog is 100% hypoallergenic. Hypoallergenic means that something has reduced levels of provoking allergic reactions. This does not mean that something will never cause allergies. 

Low shedder breeds, such as Poodles, can still provoke allergic reactions.

Related: Are Jack Russells Hypoallergenic?

How To Manage the Shedding of Boston Terriers

The best way to manage the shedding of Boston Terriers is to control the main causes of excessive shedding, such as high stress levels or parasites. Grooming and a healthy diet are essential.

Reduce Boston Terriers’ Stress Levels

Stress in Boston Terriers is caused by:

  • Lack of a daily routine
  • Not enough physical exercise
  • Lack of socialization with other dogs
  • Separation from the owner
  • An agitated environment
  • Changing living space

You can keep Boston Terriers stress-free by diminishing these factors one by one. 

Take your dog on daily walks and playdates. Physical exercise drastically diminished stress in dogs.[7]

Reduce Boston Terriers’ Stress Levels

Brush Boston Terriers Weekly

Boston Terriers don’t shed much. This makes it easy to control the amount of hair they leave around the house and on the furniture. 

Weekly brushing takes out the majority of hair Boston Terriers lose. Choose a gift brush to make sure you don’t hurt their skin. Keep in mind that Boston Terriers don’t have undercoats, which leaves their skin prone to scratches.

Reduce Bathing

Boston Terriers do not produce high amounts of skin oil. This means Boston Terriers don’t produce the heavy smell common to double-coated dogs. 

Reduced skin oil levels can lead to dry skin. This is not a problem for Boston Terriers as they produce just enough to keep their skin moist. Still, if you bathe them too often, their skin will dry. Frequent bathing leads to reduced skin oil levels. This causes heavy shedding.

Use shampoos and conditioners that don’t have high amounts of chemicals. Hypoallergenic products don’t lead to skin dryness as they are free of many chemicals used in the cosmetic industry.

Boston Terrier Reduce Bathing
Image Source

Can I Shave My Boston Terrier?

You can shave your Boston Terrier, but it is not recommended. Their coat protects their skin from UV rays and insect bites. By removing their hair, you predispose them to several health issues, including skin cancer.

The popular belief that shaving your dog leads to less shedding is a myth. So is the belief that shaving dogs keep them cooler during the warm season.

Dogs’ hair has the role of keeping damaging sun rays away from their skin. Boston Terriers’ skin is not used to direct sunlight.

Boston Terriers’ skin is similar to light-toned human skin. It’s delicate and needs protection. If their skin is left out in the open on sunny days, they can get sunburned. They will also be hotter without a coat than with one.

If you want to protect your Boston Terrier from heat, try the following:

  • Brush them weekly to eliminate dead hair which can keep them warm. 
  • Give them cool baths.
  • Provide access to a cool room.
  • Provide cool water.


Boston Terriers are minimal shedders. They shed low amounts of hair all year round. During spring and fall, Boston Terriers shed a bit more, but the difference is almost unnoticeable.

Boston Terriers’ shedding levels are easy to keep under control. Provide a balanced diet and keep them engaged in regular physical activity. Make sure their environment is calm and try to establish a daily routine. This helps dogs keep their stress levels in balance. 

About Dennis Stapleton

Dennis Stapleton has a passion for animals, especially dogs, and their relatives. He’s intrigued by their social structure and loves to write and teach about the world's most popular pet animal.

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