The Boston Terrier Break Dance

By Chris Mooney | May 31, 2009 12:27 pm

As it’s Sunday and there’s no need to be serious, I thought I’d share some pictures of our puppy Sydney. She’s a one year old Boston terrier, insanely cute, and a massive amount of fun. However, one downside: She tends to roll in, er, smelly things (compulsory scientific question: Why do dogs do this?)

Anyways, we call this the Boston terrier break dance, and have caught the moves in slo-mo:

Any questions?


Comments (13)

Links to this Post

  1. The Sunday Snog | The Intersection | Discover Magazine | August 30, 2009
  1. Erasmussimo

    I’ve always understood that the fecal-coating behavior is a scheme for masking their scent. After all, if you’re prey, and you smell cow feces, you’re not going to run for cover. I suppose that some dogs might be dumb enough to roll in lion feces, were there some available, but the odds are low. There’s a lot more herbivore feces in the environment than carnivore feces. Besides, carnivore feces isn’t for rolling in, it’s for eating (because the lousy digestive tracts in carnivores leave a lot of nutrients in the feces.)

  2. “Any questions?”

    No video? If you can’t show it on Youtube, it never happened. Dem’s the rules.

  3. Noni Mausa

    Being a Boston aficionado myself, I congratulate you on acquiring a breed which was expressly bred to be hysterically funny when awake. (When asleep, they switch to Awwww mode.)

    With the addition of more Bostons, the funniness is not a linear function, but a rising curve within the range of 1 to 6 Bostons, after which point they still become funnier (though at a slower pace), but the human eye can no longer capture it.

    Wait till you see the “Boston 500.”


  4. Susan

    Not just feces, my beagle-shepherd was quite fond of of rolling in dead animals. I have also heard that it is to cover up their own scent. There are other reasons too. Possibly to advertise what they have found to the rest of the pack. Anyway be careful if you are near water. Removing the odor of dead fish is quite a chore.

  5. JakeR

    Some animal behaviorists have suggested that dogs roll in odoriferous substances because they are oriented toward smells; i.e., they enjoy the stimulation of unusual or strong odors. Others suggest it is to let other “pack members” know about something interesting or to cover the smell of something they don’t like, such as dog shampoo. See, e.g., .

  6. Awe, Sydney is so cute! On a walk with our BT, Esther, we were also wondering about the rolling. She rolls in grass, not particularly smelly (to us). We assumed she was trying to mask her puppy shampoo scent or something. Thanks for the link, JakeR!

  7. Loretta

    Just like a Boston. They spend their waking moments trying to devise new ways to make you laugh! And yes, their idea of perfume is vastly different to ours! I remember driving all the way from Ignace Ont. to Thunder Bay with the car windows wide open, gagging all the way after my Boston had rolled in bear do…even scrubbing her in the lake didn’t fix the job…took days of scrubbibg before I could cuddle up to her again!!


  8. doug

    Susan, my first dog felt the same way about dead animals. When she found a dead mole in someone’s yard, it was the greatest day of her life. I still laugh thinking about our ridiculous spaniel trying to rub every inch of her body on this little dead rodent.

    I assumed she did it for the same reason she would dig in the yard, eat grass and throw up, and chewed things in the house: pissing us off amused her. I’m sure there’s some more serious reason, though.

  9. Brian


    Yeah, I’ve always wondered about the “mechanistic” explanations. You know the ones, it’s biologically adaptive to the selfish gene allowing greater dissemination of the gamete blah blah blah…

    Doesn’t it strike anyone the sheer joy dogs take in this activity? I liken it to people who like a really stinky cheese, or garlic. Maybe your pack (family) hates the smell and forces you to sleep outside the den for a few days. It’s still worth it though because the sensory experience was SOOOOO GOOD!

    If that’s too anthropomorphic for you, just remember that we are evolutionarily related to the canines. To me it’s not such a stretch.

  10. MaryAnn

    I have owned a total of 5 Bostons! Each one with their own unique personality. The one that hit my heart fast was our Brown/White Pebbles.
    She was our talker,wiggle butt etc. Sadly we lost her to cancer at age 9.

  11. I’m with Romeo…would love to see the video đŸ˜‰
    She’s a cutie…but then they (Boston Terriers) all are aren’t they?


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs. For a longer bio and contact information, see here.


See More

Collapse bottom bar