Boston Terrier Dog Breed Traits & Facts

Last Updated on September 20, 2023

Quick Summary: The Boston Terrier is a popular breed that consistently ranks among America’s top 20 and 30 breeds. They are clean and tidy dogs. They are also friendly and happy-go-lucky. The Boston Terrier is more susceptible to certain health conditions than other breeds of dogs. Still, you can expect a relatively healthy Boston to enjoy an average lifespan of 11 to 13 years. You can increase your dog’s years by keeping him active and giving him high-quality nutrition.

The Boston Terrier is a native American breed that is immediately recognizable. He is lively, intelligent, compact, and well-mannered. His impeccable manners and suit-like coat earned him the title of “American Gentleman.”

Boston Terriers are well-balanced dogs. They love to snuggle, but they also have terrier genes that give them a playful side. It can be difficult to find a better dog if you’re looking for a smaller dog. They can also be independent, so they are slightly more difficult to train than other breeds.

His small stature and energy make him a great pick for families with homes of all sizes and shapes. If you are a Boston Terrier fan and want to learn more about the handsome guy, you’ve come to the right place. Ready for Boston Terrier 101? Let’s go!

Boston Terrier Dog

Breed History and Background

The breed was started by a crossbreed, bred to fight in pit fighting and for ratting competitions in Liverpool in the United Kingdom. In the 1860s, a Bulldog and the now-extinct English Terrier gave birth to a muscular pup named ‘Judge.’ Judge was sold to an American man who brought him back to Boston, who then sold him to another man named Robert Hooper. Sometimes, people call the Boston breed ‘Hooper’s Judge.’

Mr. Hooper crossed the muscular Judge with a smaller, whiter female that was similar to Boston Terriers. Bostons grew smaller and became prettier over the course of two decades. The Boston Terrier Club of America was created in 1891, and as they say, the rest is history. The breed was developed in Boston, and he is 1 of 10 dog species with the label ‘Made In America.’

As a breed, Boston Terriers fluctuate between the top 20 and 30 breeds in America. He is a popular dog in Boston. Sergeant Stubby, the most decorated war dog in history, is one of Boston’s most famous Bostons. The Boston Terrier spell also influenced celebrities like Robin Williams, Hellen Keller, Joan Rivers, and others.

Appearance and Size

Firmly classified in the “non-sporting” class of dogs, Boston Terriers are small-sized puppies. Tipping the scales at just 25 pounds for a large male, he is no heavyweight fighter like his ancestors. Small females can be as little as 12 pounds, which some would classify as toy dogs. Couple that with a height of 15 to 17 inches, and you can see that these dogs are light and lean.

The breed standard states that these dogs should not be gangly or scrawny. They were designed to be strong and purposeful.

His naturally dipped tail and the tuxedo markings on his chest are two of the Boston Terriers’ most distinctive features. These two distinguish him from other similar-looking breeds, like the French Bulldog, which he often misunderstands for. His tail is naturally long and low to his rear. His neck is long, and he proudly carries his head. Overall he is a proportionately-sized pup.

This pup has what is known in the doggy world as Brachycephalic Syndrome. His muzzle is very short, and his face is wrinkled. He also has very prominent eyes, making him appear bug-like. His smile is charming and makes him look cheeky.

Coat and Colors

Boston Terriers have only three options for coat colors: seal, brindle, and black. All come complete with the white Tuxedo Markings. The Boston breed normal brindle determines which most desired color. Although it looks solid black, the color seal can appear warm and reddish in certain lighting conditions. Breeders trying to sell you another Boston color will most likely try to convince you that it is a Boston mix. You can also be certain that they are not a reputable breeder.

The tuxedo markings should include a white muzzle band, a white forechest, and a blaze between his eyes. He cannot participate in the conformation show rings without these. Another desired mark is a white collar and white legs. His front legs may be fully or partially white, while his hind legs must be below the hocks. This tuxedo is what gives him his nickname, the American Gentleman.

He has a double-layered, short, and smooth coat with a fine texture. He sheds moderately throughout the year but only slightly more during the shedding season. Many people love his fine hair and low shedding. We’ll talk more about his grooming habits later. His eyes will remain brown.

Temperament and Personality Traits

If you’re looking for a family dog who can play with and cuddle children young, this breed is the one for you. This breed is everything and more. He’s versatile and well-suited for most families.

His balanced nature makes him an excellent addition to families that have children. He is a very sturdy dog despite being small. He will entertain the children and give you some well-deserved rest. He enjoys being part of the family and considers himself to be an equal member of the group, not a pet. He is not a dominant dog, but he loves to be the center of attention.

This breed is very affectionate and needs to be able to touch its owners. He also enjoys attention and is friendly with strangers. He is a good watchdog. despite his friendly nature. He will announce everyone’s arrival, better than any alarm clock you have ever used.

Boston Terriers are a mix of terrier ancestors. However, they have a very low prey drive when compared to other terrier breeds. He is a great choice for multi-pet homes with rodents and cats. You can trust him to be friendly with other dogs as long as he has been socialized well.

Overall, he is a happy-go-lucky dog. He is not happy being left alone too much. He needs someone who is available to him for the majority of the day. He does not like being left alone and can be anxious. He will be a destructive dog and will eat everything.

Exercise Requirements

Boston Terriers can be lively and energetic for their small size. He loves to snuggle, but don’t expect him to sleep all day. He needs between 30 to 45 minutes of exercise. While some of this can be considered play time at home, most of it must be outdoors walking and sniffing.

During summer, it is important to watch him when he exercises. Because of his flat face, he has to work harder to breathe and oxygenate the body. Boston Terriers may need to take a break from more intense exercise. It is best not to exercise your dog during the day in the summer. You should instead take him for walks in the mornings and exercise him in the evenings.

His intelligent and curious terrier genes require stimulation throughout the day. Playing with him is a great way for him to have fun and be the center of attention. You can think of ropes and tug-of-war toys. He will love to fetch. You can also get chew sticks and treat-dispensing puzzle toys to help you play alone when you cannot play for too much.

Space and Living Requirements

His small stature makes him ideal to live in any home. He can live in any home, whether it is a small apartment or a large country house. He is loved for his versatility. Although he doesn’t need a yard, he would be happy to have one. If you can give him access to an outdoor space, make sure it’s secure. If he’s not contained, this curious chap likely will wander by himself.

Most Boston Terriers can be quite chill, so they don’t get in the way of your personal style. They love to nap on the couch and are very lazy around the house. Make sure you exercise your Boston properly, as we have already mentioned. You’ll likely find a relaxed companion for your dog if you give him exercise.

Training and Socialization

The Boston Terrier is smart and eager to please. He does possess a stubborn streak, which he probably inherited from his Bulldog parents. Although he is suitable for new dog owners, don’t expect him fully to obey.

But his playful nature means that it makes learning enjoyable, and he will be open to trying new things. Positive reinforcement is the best training method. This basically means rewarding them for good behavior and making their training positive. Boston Terriers love toys and tasty treats! To accommodate your Boston’s unique size, leash train them early.

Early socialization is essential for Boston Terriers. If you teach him, he will be a balanced dog. His littermates and his parents will be the first step in socialization. He will be exposed to new environments and sounds every day by you. You can take him to places like the hoover, on the sidewalk, or with visitors.

Crate training is recommended for the Boston, as he hates being left alone for prolonged periods of time. Crates are not something many owners like, but canine professionals and vets worldwide recommend them. It gives him his own space to spend time away from other pets and lowers his anxiety when left alone. You can also rest assured that his ex-Bulldog jaws won’t be able to take over your best rug or shoes.

Grooming Requirements

The Boston Terrier is a clean and tidy breed. He is also a gentleman who takes great pride in his appearance. He only needs bathing once every 8 to 12 weeks, never more, because you risk damaging his natural coat oils. Because of his sensitive skin, you should choose a gentle shampoo. Oatmeal shampoos are a popular choice for Boston.

His double, short-haired coat means that he needs brushing once per week to avoid shedding. He sheds very little throughout the year. A soft-bristle toothbrush is the best for the Boston. It will gently remove dirt and hair. Don’t be too excited. What he lacks is messy hair, he makes up for wrinkles that require extra care. Sorry!

His flat muzzle is prone to wrinkles. Because they are a breeding ground for bacterial infections, his wrinkles require daily care. To remove moisture, wipe the skin folds with a damp cloth. You don’t need to do this daily if you aren’t wrinkled. But for those that are, it’s important to avoid skin fold dermatitis.

His nails should naturally wear down as he exercises and zooms about. If you hear his nails tapping on the ground as he walks, trim them. To prevent periodontal disease, his small mouth and compact teeth must be brushed several times per week using a special doggy toothpaste. Check his eyes regularly for redness, excess drainage, or any other changes in appearance. Your Boston will be grateful for the attention.

Nutritional Guide

The Boston Terrier is a small dog that only requires a small amount of food. He will require one cup of food each day. Of course, a 12-pound Boston will need less food than a Boston that weighs 25 pounds. It is important to always read all instructions.

A small-sized puppy, he also has a large mouth. You should feed your dog kibble that is suitable for small dogs to ensure that he can eat comfortably. A kibble that is size-specific also contains tailored nutrients. His nutritional needs will change as he grows older too, so it’s crucial that you learn about the Boston’s different life stages and which nutrients and dog food best suit each one. The most important stage of a dog’s life is puppyhood. It sets the foundation for a healthy lifestyle.

A well-balanced diet is the key to good nutrition. All of these are provided by high-quality meats, vegetables, fruits, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. High-quality kibbles offer all this. Flatulence is a hallmark of the Boston. If you think he is a top-trumper then foods high in fiber, added probiotics, and yucca extract might be his best option.

These dogs can be gluttonous, and you should monitor the amount of treats you give them. If you find that he is putting on more weight than he should, switch him to kibble with fewer calories, and reduce the number of treats he gets. This will help reduce his flatulence. You can also eat healthy treats like bell peppers and carrots.

Health Issues and Lifespan

You can expect a relatively healthy dog to enjoy an average lifespan of 11 to 13 years. You can increase your dog’s years by keeping him active and giving him high-quality nutrition. It is important to keep him up-to-date with his health checks and work with breeders that screen their dogs.

The Boston breed is more susceptible to certain health conditions than other breeds. Below are the most likely conditions that could affect the breed.

Brachycephalic syndrome: Bostons are flat-faced dogs, and this squashed anatomy can cause several health concerns. Their short muzzles and flat noses can cause their throats to be misshapen and elongate. They snuffle a lot. This is why exercise should be done with extra caution. They are also more susceptible to heatstroke because they have a harder time controlling their body temperature.

Deafness: Bostons have a high rate of deafness in their gene pool. Before a puppy is adopted, all reputable breeders will conduct a BAER test to determine if the puppies are deaf. Deaf puppies are more likely to be raised by Bostonians whose heads are less than one-third of the total.

Eye conditions: Both adult and junior cataracts are the most common. Also, consider the possibility of developing cherry eye or corneal ulcers. Because of his large, bulging eyes, he’s also more vulnerable to eye injuries.

Allergies: The Boston, like many other Terriers, is also at a higher risk of suffering from allergies. These allergies can be food allergies or contact allergies like grass or pollen. They can be corrected with better nutrition or medications, even though they may affect the dog’s day-to-day life.

Boston Terriers as Family Pets

  • Boston Terriers are versatile and happy-go-lucky.
  • This breed is adaptable and can live with most families.
  • He is happy to chill with his family on the sofa but equally happy to play.
  • He needs 30 to 45 minutes of exercise every day to stay healthy and happy.
  • They hate to be left alone for long periods.
  • He is friendly with his visitors and complete strangers and makes a terrible guard dog.
  • He can be a very vocal dog.
  • The Boston can live with all other family pets if he is socialized well as a pup.
  • He is intelligent and trainable, great for first-time dog owners.
  • Bostons are well suited for apartment living or any other type of living situation.
  • He is easy to care for, just take extra care of his wrinkles and flat-faced concerns.

Reputable Breeders and Puppy Prices

The Boston Terrier is a popular breed. This is good news, but not great. It means that there will be many high-quality breeders. The bad news is that some breeders are untrustworthy and will make quick money. Your detective skills are crucial. It is important to distinguish the good from the ugly and choose a suitable breeder.

Talk to other Boston-loving people who may be able to refer you to a breeder. But, it is important to do your research. You can also search online for breeders with years of experience or professional websites. Before any money is exchanged, only work with breeders open to meeting the puppies and inviting you to visit them. A reputable breeder will sell a Boston puppy at around $1,000 and up.

A poor-quality breeder may list their puppies on ad websites and refuse to let you see their homes. They will instead meet you in parking lots and pressure you to pay the money. They often breed sick dogs and take no interest in their puppies’ well-being. Please avoid poor-quality breeders and puppy mills.

When budgeting for Boston, it is important to consider all other costs. From setting up your house, and purchasing things such as beds, bowls, and crates, to his first vaccines. You will also need to account for ongoing costs like insurance, food, etc. A puppy isn’t just for Christmas, and the Boston is for 11 to 13 of them.

Adopting From Rescue Centers and Shelters

Rescue is an option if you don’t want to have puppies but still want to be a Bostonian. It is cheaper to rescue than to buy a puppy. Talk to your local rescue shelter staff to learn more about the adoption process.

If you have difficulty finding a Boston Terrier at your local shelters, then don’t worry. There are many rescue groups that are dedicated to this breed. The Boston Terrier Society lists all of the Boston Terrier rescues in every state, along with lots of other useful information too. This site is a great starting point for your Boston rescue. If you are open to adopting a mixed breed, there are plenty of Boston Terrier crossbreeds you can consider.


The Boston Terrier is the best-dressed dog in town. He is smart and charming, with a playful personality that will make anyone smile. Even cat people!

He is suitable for all family members, from the little ones to the grandmas. As long as you match the needs of this guide, you will be able to live in harmony.

The only thing that makes him different from other canines is his dislike of being left alone. Please ensure that you have a lifestyle that allows you to be at home most of the day. Or, you could consider bringing him along. We think you will never be without this breed again once you have welcomed it into your home.

Related Posts

Scroll to Top