Why a Boston Terrier Has Bug Eyes?

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In 2012, Bruschi, a Boston Terrier, held the Guinness Book of World Record with the largest dog eyes. It has a measurement of 28mm in diameter. In general, the large and expressive eyes are the most prominent feature of a Boston Terrier. Let’s talk about why a Boston Terrier has bug eyes.

Why a Boston Terrier Has Bug Eyes?

A Boston Terrier has bug eyes because of its shallow orbit, making its eyes protrude. Due to the natural condition of its eyes, a Boston Terrier is very prone to eye conditions and eye hazards that can lead to serious eye problems like blindness.

In this article, I will discuss the potential eye problems of a Boston Terrier due to its round and large eyes.

Boston Terrier

Why Are a Boston Terrier’s Bug Eyes Prone to Problems?

A Boston Terrier belongs to brachycephalic breeds like Shih Tzu and French Bulldog with eyes prone to various eye problems than other breeds with longer snouts. Most Brachycephalic dogs have shallow eye sockets, which doesn’t allow them to blink fully. Due to this issue, their eyes dry easily, especially in the center area.

It results in ulceration of the cornea. 

Another reason for the problem is a Boston Terrier’s imperfect eyelids. The opening of the eyelids is very wide that it turns in or out. It leads to the same problem mentioned above with the drying of the cornea. It can damage the cornea because of the contact made with the eyelashes. 

Aside from being painful, a corneal ulcer may get worse and scar the surface of the eyes. It results in impairment of vision and might lead to the removal of the damaged eye. It can also result in corneal pigmentation where black or brown pigments deposit over the surface of the eye and can block the vision. 

Ocular Proptosis

Ocular proptosis is an eye emergency that occurs in dogs caused by blunt trauma. However, some breeds like the brachycephalic ones are prone to proptosis due to their shallow orbits. This condition looks like an eyeball has popped out from its eye socket. Symptoms of eye proptosis include: 

  • Bloody eye
  • The cornea is cloudy
  • Your dog can’t blink
  • Bulging eyes or hanging out
  • Eye pupils are constricted
  • Torn eye muscles and ligaments

On the other hand, the following events cause eye proptosis: 

  • Accidents such as being hit by a blunt object or hit by a vehicle
  • Head injuries caused by fall
  • Dogfight
  • Choking by the collar

Due to the protruding eyes, the eyelids won’t be able to close nor cover the eyeballs. It dries the cornea out and can also rupture if taken for granted. A vet will need to perform surgery to reposition the displaced globe, so there’s still a chance your dog can restore its visions.

Hand holding the face of a Boston Terrier

However, in some extreme cases, the vets wouldn’t be able to restore the vision. The damaged eye will be removed instead.

Signs Your Dog has Eye Problem

You will notice some signs that indicate your dog is suffering from eye problems. These signs include:

  • rubbing his eyes using his paw
  • squinting or closed eyes
  • he becomes sensitive to light
  • he blinks a lot

You will also see physical signs such as: 

  • redness of the eyes
  • discharge is coming from the eyes
  • the eyes are watering excessively or becoming teary
  • your dog’s eyes are getting cloudy

Corneal ulceration in brachycephalic breeds like Boston Terriers is very serious. Usually, the cornea is composed of four layers and the level of damage depends on how many layers of the cornea are affected. Always seek the vet right away once a corneal ulcer is detected. 

How Do You Protect Your Dog with Bug Eyes?

Since a Boston Terrier has large and round eyes, you can do several things to keep your dog’s eyes protected. 

  • Always carry a dog eyewash with you. It’s a good idea so when sand, dust or plant particles get in the eyes of your dog, you can wash them before they can rub their eyes and cause scratches.
  • Buy an eye protector for your dog. Eye protective gear like dog visors can help protect their eyes from the sunlight. 
  • Avoid hiking during windy and sunny seasons. The dust particles accumulating in the air during this season might be excessive, so save your dog from this condition.
  • Place thorny plants in such a way your dog won’t reach them. Since the Boston Terrier has protruding eyes and short muzzles, the possibility of them accidentally hitting plant thorns is high. 
Boston Terrier with prominent bug eyes
  • Avoid toys with sharp edges. When playing with your Boston Terrier, don’t use dog toys with sharp edges to avoid unpleasant eye accidents. 
  • Don’t let your dog go outside, especially on the road. Make sure you close the gate when you leave. Your dog may run away and encounter a vehicular accident that can cause serious eye injury like proptosis. It also limits serious accidents to humans.

Related Questions

How Can I Test My Dog’s Eyesight?

To test your dog’s vision, position your hand 18 inches away from your dog’s face. Move your hand toward your dog’s face fast and stop until your hand is three inches away. If your dog doesn’t respond, it means it has a vision problem. He should blink and move his head as a response.

Is Eye Discharge Normal in Dogs? 

A small amount of eye discharge is fine. It should be clear with a brownish color and crusty texture when dry. It’s normal and common for some pets because the eyes are producing tears constantly. However, a frequent large amount of eye discharge may mean something not normal.

Will Conjunctivitis Go Away by Itself in Dogs?

Conjunctivitis, or also known as pinkeye, is common to dogs. Non-infectious conjunctivitis can heal on its own. Otherwise, it won’t go away on its own without treatment if it’s an infectious one.

It may also mean an underlying condition that needs medical attention. A serious case of conjunctivitis leads to eye injury and even loss of eyesight if left untreated.

Dogs 101 - BOSTON TERRIER - Top Dog Facts About the BOSTON TERRIER


Boston Terriers have bug eyes due to their facial structure as brachycephalic breeds. Due to this, their eyes are more prone to eye problems than dogs with longer snouts. Always remove any hazards that could possibly hurt your dog and his eyes.

You can help your dog live a happy and healthy life by taking care of its eyes.