Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier looking forward

Quick Facts


10 to 25 pounds



Average Lifespan:

13-15 years

Known For:

Very active and energetic dogs. They get along very well with the other pets, kids and pretty much with everyone they meet.


The Boston Terrier, often referred to as the “American Gentleman,” is a breed that exudes charm, intelligence, and a touch of dapper with its tuxedo-like coat. Originating from the United States, this small yet sturdy dog has captured the hearts of many with its expressive eyes and endearing personality.Β 


As one of the few breeds native to the U.S., the Boston Terrier has a rich history and has steadily grown in popularity among pet lovers. Whether you’re drawn to its compact size, lively demeanor, or the way it seems to wear a perpetual smile, there’s no denying the allure of this delightful breed.

History and Origin

The story of the Boston Terrier begins in the late 19th century in the city of Boston, Massachusetts. The breed’s ancestry traces back to a cross between the White English Terrier and the English Bulldog. The resulting offspring, named “Judge,” is considered the patriarch of the Boston Terrier breed. Judge was later bred with a smaller female, and their descendants were further refined with French Bulldogs, leading to the breed we recognize today.


Initially bred for pit fighting, the Boston Terrier’s aggressive nature was soon bred out in favor of a more amiable disposition, better suited for companionship. By 1893, the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), and its popularity soared.


Throughout the 20th century, the Boston Terrier became a cultural icon in the U.S. They’ve been featured in numerous advertisements, movies, and even made appearances on television shows. One of the most famous Boston Terriers was “Sergeant Stubby,” a war hero during World War I, who was recognized for his bravery and even met three U.S. presidents!

Breed Characteristics


Barking Tendency

Dog Friendly

Health Issues

Shedding Level









Cat Friendly

Exercise Needs


Social Needs








App. Friendly

Child Friendly


Energy Level

Stranger Friendly

Watchdog Instincts







Appearance and Size

Boston Terriers are small dogs, but they pack a lot of personality into their compact frames. Typically weighing between 12 to 25 pounds, they stand about 15 to 17 inches tall at the shoulder.


One of the most distinctive features of the Boston Terrier is its short, sleek coat adorned with a pattern that resembles a tuxedo, leading to its “American Gentleman” nickname. The coat can come in a combination of colors, with the most common being black and white. However, you’ll also find Bostons in brindle, seal, or a mix of these colors with white.


Their heads are square with a short, broad muzzle. Their large, round eyes are dark and expressive, always giving the impression that they’re keenly aware of their surroundings. The ears stand erect and are small and pointed, adding to their alert appearance.

Boston Terriers have a sturdy build with a short tail and a smooth gait, making them appear both confident and lively when they move.

Personality and Temperament

Boston Terriers are often described as lively, affectionate, and intelligent. Their small size doesn’t deter them from having a big personality. These dogs are known for their friendly disposition and their love for human companionship. They thrive on interaction and are always eager to be part of family activities.


Despite their history as fighting dogs, modern Boston Terriers are gentle and can be quite sensitive. They’re known to be great with children, often playing the role of a patient and gentle playmate. Their expressive eyes often seem to convey a range of emotions, from curiosity to sheer joy.


One of the delightful quirks of the Boston Terrier is their “talking.” They make a range of amusing sounds, from grunts to chortles, especially when they’re excited or seeking attention. This vocal nature, combined with their playful antics, ensures there’s never a dull moment with a Boston Terrier around.

Health and Lifespan

Boston Terriers are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health conditions. Being aware of these can help in ensuring your Boston Terrier leads a long, healthy life.

  • Brachycephalic Syndrome: Due to their short noses, Boston Terriers can sometimes have difficulties breathing, especially in hot or humid weather. It’s essential to ensure they don’t overexert themselves and have a cool place to rest.
  • Eye Issues: Their prominent eyes can be prone to injuries and conditions like cataracts, corneal ulcers, and glaucoma. Regular check-ups and being cautious about their environment can help prevent these issues.
  • Patellar Luxation: This condition, where the kneecap gets dislocated, is common in small dogs. While it can be present at birth, it can also develop later in life.
  • Deafness: Some Boston Terriers can be born deaf in one or both ears. It’s essential to check puppies for hearing capabilities.

On a positive note, with proper care and regular veterinary check-ups, Boston Terriers have a good lifespan, typically ranging from 11 to 15 years. Their years are often filled with energy and enthusiasm, making them delightful companions throughout their lives.

Care and Maintenance

Boston Terrier grooming

Taking care of a Boston Terrier is a rewarding experience, as these dogs give back so much love and joy in return.

  • Exercise: While they have bursts of energy, Boston Terriers don’t require extensive exercise. A few short walks and some playtime daily are usually sufficient. They love playing fetch and can be quite agile.
  • Grooming: Their short coat is relatively low-maintenance. A weekly brush to remove loose hairs and a monthly bath will keep them looking dapper. Due to their brachycephalic nature, it’s essential to clean the folds of their face regularly to prevent infections.
  • Diet: A balanced diet is crucial for their health. It’s advisable to feed them high-quality dog food, keeping in mind their age, size, and activity level. Always ensure they have access to fresh water.

Training and Behavior

Boston Terriers are intelligent and eager to please, making them relatively easy to train. However, like all dogs, they benefit from early socialization and consistent, positive reinforcement-based training methods.


  • Intelligence: These dogs are quick learners. They can pick up commands and tricks with ease, especially when motivated by treats or praise.
  • Trainability: While they’re generally eager to please, Boston Terriers can sometimes display a stubborn streak. It’s essential to be patient and consistent. Using positive reinforcement methods, like treats and praise, works wonders with this breed.
  • Behavioral Quirks: One of the charming aspects of the Boston Terrier is its playful nature. They can sometimes get overly excited and indulge in behaviors like jumping up or zooming around the house. Early training can help manage these behaviors.
  • Socialization: Introducing your Boston Terrier to various people, places, and experiences when they’re young can help them grow into well-rounded adults. They’re naturally sociable, so this often becomes a fun activity rather than a chore.

Boston Terrier and Families

Boston Terrier with people

Boston Terriers are known as excellent family dogs. Their affectionate nature and moderate energy levels make them suitable for households of all types.

  • Children: Boston Terriers are gentle and patient with children. Their playful nature makes them great playmates for kids. However, as with all breeds, it’s essential to teach children how to approach and touch dogs to ensure both the child and the dog are safe.
  • Other Pets: They generally get along well with other dogs and can even coexist peacefully with cats, especially if introduced at a young age.
  • Companionship: Boston Terriers thrive on human interaction. They love being involved in family activities and often form strong bonds with their human family members. Their size and temperament make them excellent companions for both active individuals and those living in apartments.

Adopting a Boston Terrier

If you’re considering bringing a Boston Terrier into your home, you’re in for a treat! These dogs bring joy, laughter, and endless affection.


  • Where to Adopt: Consider checking local shelters or rescue groups specializing in Boston Terriers. Many dogs are looking for their forever homes and adopting can be a rewarding experience.
  • Considerations: Before adopting, ensure you can provide the necessary time, care, and attention that a Boston Terrier requires. Think about your living situation, work schedule, and activity level.
  • Preparation: Before bringing your new friend home, make sure you have all the essentials: a comfortable bed, toys, food and water bowls, and grooming supplies.
  • Post-Adoption: Spend quality time with your new pet, helping them adjust to their new environment. Early training and socialization will ensure you have a well-behaved and happy companion.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Boston Terriers known for?

Boston Terriers are known for their distinctive tuxedo-like markings, compact size, and friendly disposition. They’re often called the “American Gentleman” due to their polite manner and smart appearance.

How are Boston Terriers with kids and other pets?

They are excellent with children, showing patience and gentleness. They also generally get along well with other pets, especially if raised with them.

What is the Boston Terrier's exercise requirement?

Despite their energetic appearance, their exercise needs are moderate. Daily walks and playtime are sufficient to keep them happy and healthy.

What health issues do Boston Terriers face?

Due to their brachycephalic (short-nosed) facial structure, they can have breathing difficulties. They’re also prone to eye issues and obesity if not properly cared for.

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