Boston Terrier Owner’s nightmare

We were strung along by a breeder named Ernie Mustafa from Abstn Kennels and paid $3000 in deposits before giving up after 12 months and multiple texts stating pups were on the way. We travelled for 36 hours to purchase a lovely adult Boston Terrier girl, only to have to sell her months later due to the Boston “Terrier” drive and safety concerns that Boston owners only talk about privately.

Boston Terrier Owner’s nightmare

A Personal Journey from Breeders to a loss of life.

By David Robinson – Tasmania

Short Version:

We were strung along by a breeder named Ernie Mustafa from Abstn Kennels and paid $3000 in deposits before giving up after 12 months and multiple texts stating pups were on the way. We travelled for 36 hours to purchase a lovely adult Boston Terrier girl, only to have to sell her months later due to the Boston “Terrier” drive and safety concerns that Boston owners only talk about privately.

Long Version:

So, you’ve decided that a Boston Terrier is right dog for you, you’ve looked at all the social media pages and you’ve looked at peoples videos. You’ve seen a lot of cool dogs do a lot of cool things and you’ve decided that you’d like a Boston Terrier for your family. We did the same.

We have a medium-size backyard, which is a perfect size for a Boston Terrier to run around and play with the kids. They don’t shed hair and are easy to wash. The right size to be able to pick up and carry, you can put them in the car and take them on trips and they’re easy to get along with.

They are intelligent! They know their way around and can use their looks to get what they want. They are also easy to train with food as they really love a snack.

Our Breeder Experience

So, after making our decision for Boston Terrier, we did the next search for a breeder of Boston Terriers. The issue here is that Boston Terriers are a designed dog, meaning we humans we have bred this dog to act and be what it is, due to this, certain genetic conditions have come up due to the small population size. You need to be very careful that the breeder is doing the right checks, and to be very careful to look at the dogs’ eyes and head to make sure that everything is going to be correct as they get older.

It would be awful to have a happy dog for the first 12 months, and then lots of medical expenses down the road. So be very careful with choosing the breeder. My partner spent many hours looking through breeder profiles before picking one that was very selective on how they bred their Boston Terriers. What we didn’t know was that this breeder was a very small home breeder, with a limited number of puppies available each year.

The problem always is the initial decision to move forward, in our case, we paid a deposit for the next litter of a currently pregnant Boston Terrier and waited. Sadly, the dog was not pregnant in the end, and so we had to wait for the Next litter from another dog. We also wanted a female instead of a male, the breeder said that if we paid an additional deposit, we could have the female Boston pup we wanted from the next litter.

In for a penny, in for a pound, the next litter of pups had a genetic defect, and had to be put down. So, no go again. We had been waiting for many months and my partner had already started planning how to deliver the pup from South Australia to Tasmania. Due to needing to Fly, this was a complex exercise.

As we had already paid two deposits, and we’re well and truly sucked in to this process. We agreed to wait again for the next batch of pups. Hoping again for a female Boston Terrier pup. And as the date got closer, the breeder asked additional deposits to help with the costs of the delivery, and VET fees, as we really wanted this female Boston Terrier pup, we agreed to pay additional money to help due to the breeder’s low finances due to missing out on selling the last puppies for income.

By now it’s almost 12 months since we started talking to the breeder, we are up to $3000 in deposits and counting down for the next batch of pups born. The breeder was asking for more money, and we were getting concerned about this arrangement and started saying no. No money until the pup is born and ready.

Finally, the pups are born and the breeder sends us a message saying that the promised female is not going to be sold to us, he is keeping the females. This was the last straw, after months of being strung along then after saying we have pups, but you can’t have the one you want.

Bringing Our Boston Terrier Home

My partner went onto Gumtree and found a mature female Boston Terrier for sale, we spoke with the owners and decided to arrange a pickup ourselves. We wanted her before January school holidays so that the kids had plenty of time to play and bond before heading back to school.

I booked an overnight Spirit of Tasmania trip, hired a Car in Victoria, drove to SA, picked up our Boston, quickly drove back to Victoria to hand the car back in before they closed, Uber to Geelong Terminal and overnight Spirit of Tasmania back to Devonport. Far too many Kms for 36 hours. But we finally had our own Boston Terrier to play, enjoy and be part of the family.

Challenges and Realizations

And life was perfect…. Until… The licking, the constant desire to lick your legs and face and any part of your body when in close range. We tried our best to train this out, but it was persistent. Next the jumping, Bostons have an amazing ability to jump very high, we had to upgrade the back yard fencing to stop her jumping out and into the neighbours. We were getting calls and knocks at the door with people saying they had our dog.

The energy and jumping became a little too much for our 4 year old and our neighbours youngest, so they stayed away and never bonded. This meant the back yard was only safe for our oldest 8-year-old, who didn’t really want to spend time outside unless forced too. The bonding with our family wasn’t working well.

Over time, we were slowly integrating, but then the Terrier genes kicked in. When we were walking, she was always looking in the bushes for something. We never let her off the lead for fear she would take off into the bushes along the beach and never come back. Any noise and her ears would prick up and a strong desire to take off.

Boston Terriers are STRONG for their size. They can pull you along easily and the kids must be careful if holding the lead, to not have her get away. We had no idea just how strong they were from the videos.

These Terrier genes finally kicked in, it started with a bird here and there, then when local wildlife came into the back yard, she went nuts and, in an instant, had them down to the ground and with no life left. The shear speed and skill in taking them down gave us chills.

Suddenly we no longer felt safe with anyone young in the back yard. The fear of “What if” she thinks of them as prey or something unexpected happens when the kids are playing, and her Terrier genes switch on. She was always put on the lead in the back yard when people came over and a watchful eye with our kids.

With the kids in School again, and the safety risk, we decided that a Boston Terrier is not worth the risk with any young kids. We placed an advert and a local couple with another Boston Terrier invited us to a play date.

This is when our eyes opened, after long discussions, we discovered that their male Boston Terrier was the same in attitude, Licks, jumps, everything. And they also wouldn’t have young kids with their Boston without close supervision.

Regarding the $3000 deposit, Ernie says he will pay us back, but he also tells us he has no job or income and pushes back with stories of woe when we try to talk. I expect we will need to take other steps to get the funds and spend far too much time dealing with him.

Our lessons are:

  1. Boston Terriers look friendly and fun, but they can kill in an instant. This is part of their historical breeding.
  2. Always lock the doggy door up at night. Don’t give them access outside without supervision. They will protect their yard from everything.
  3. They Lick and Jump, they will race around the home and always want your attention.
  4. Due to the Terrier nature, they are not safe with small kids. Like many dogs, its simply not worth the risk. Look up stats on dog injuries per breed type.
  5. They are STRONG and can easily pull their owner over if they take off.
  6. They FART! Like many dogs do. Windows will need to be opened as the Meat stinks out the other end.
  7. Don’t pay more than a small deposit and don’t get sucked into the breeders drama until the pups have arrived with photos.
  8. Make sure you have the breeder address and get a Deposit Receipt for the first amount. Should anything go wrong, and you need legal advice.

We have learned a LOT from this experience and will be much more careful next time.