Boston Terrier – Facts, Characteristics, Health, Grooming and Care

Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier is often called the American gentleman due to its super affectionate and family-oriented nature. Since they feature compact bodies, not-so-vigorous exercise needs, and are not that high-energy dogs, they can stay happy even in small apartments.

Generally, they are cheerful, which makes them excellent house dogs – especially for households with children.

Boston Terrier dog breed makes untradeable bonds with all the family members, but they also have tendencies to choose one favorite, being categorized as one-person dogs.

And no, they don’t admire playing subordinates since they consider themselves equal. This Boston Terrier dog breed comprises one of the most sensitive dogs that take direct influence from their owners’ actions and tones.

Thus, to know this dog breed better, let’s go through their history, appearance, temperament, health, grooming, and training requirements. If you are confused about adopting a Boston Terrier, this article will help you cross the fence. So, let’s begin!

Boston Terrier

About the Breed

These Terriers are incredible cuddle machines. A Boston Terrier dog won’t mind lying beside you all day long, showering you with warm cuddles and wet kisses.

Considering these aspects of Boston Terrier’s personalities, one may think of them as lazy, gentle canines, but you must be surprised to know that these dogs were initially bred as fighter dogs – Strange, Isn’t it?

Boston Terrier dog breed was originally developed as fighter dogs, but the Terriers we have today make the perfect description of what they named it; American Gentleman. This purebred dog is a real softie from the inside out, sharing almost little resemblance with its Terrier ancestors.

The main reason it’s called a Gentleman is not its good manners but the tuxedo coat, which makes them look like an actual gentleman. Considering this, the black and white Boston Terrier is regarded as the standard, but Terriers are further divided into several types based on their coat colors.

These include brindle Boston, Seal Boston, Red Boston, dark brown or Chocolate Boston, and blue bull and terrier types. Whatever the coat color they have, almost all Boston Terriers are equally intelligent and willing to learn newer and better things from a very young age.

Due to their incomparable intelligence, these dogs perform exceptionally well in dog sports, including flyball, fetching, and agility. However, since they feel their owner’s behavior too deeply, they might show a stubborn streak.

The good thing is that all of their anguish and stubbornness dissolve in a second after getting a few sincere pats and a long, warm hug – cute, right?

Although their small size makes them suitable for apartment-style living conditions, they still come with some needs. For example, you’d need to fence your property completely if you’re living in a small house with a fence-less yard.

Boston Terrier dogs are great escape artists and excellent runners, so you better shut down all the possible ways of breaking out. And here’s the strangest, or in fact, the most hilarious, part of this Boston Terrier dog breed; these dogs are real gas bombs when it comes to farting.

Regardless of how funny it sounds, this habit may prove quite embarrassing when you have guests at your place or, worst, your new girlfriend. These farts could either be super loud & smelly or silent & smelly but in both cases; there’s no way to let it go without notice.

Thankfully, experts believe this habit can be suppressed by paying more attention to diet, portion size, and exercise needs.

History of the Boston Terrier

white boston terrier

No one knows the exact origin date or story of the Boston Terrier’s origin. Still, it is commonly believed that this breed was developed by crossbreeding a white English Terrier with Bulldog. As a result of this Bull Terrier crossbreeding, a new fighting dog was developed.

It was a Bostonian, Robert C. Hooper, who originally bred this new fighting dog named Judge. However, others believe Hooper didn’t breed Judge but purchased it from Willian O brian, another Bostonian, in 1870.

Whatever happened back then, soon, this dog began to be called Hooper’s judge, and according to its description, Judge was a well-built dog with a square head and brindle coat that weighed 32 pounds.

Judge was then bred with a white English bulldog-type female named Kate, who weighed 20 pounds. This cross developed a new type of puppy called Well’s Eph.

The same dogs were bred on a wider scale, resulting in the production of so many different sorts of canines. One of these offspring was then coupled with French Bulldogs, which closely resembled the Boston Terrier dogs we know today.

In those times, these dogs were known by names like American Terriers, Bullet head, and Bull Terriers. This breed is believed to appear in Boston in 1870 for the first time in America. However, it began to rank in Boston’s most popular breeds list in 1889.

Later, the fanciers formed the first American Bull Terrier Club in the same year. At that time, the breed’s nickname was roundheads, but the breeders and fanciers strongly rejected this name.

Thus, the name of the club was changed to Boston Terrier Club, shortly after which locals began calling this breed the Boston bulls.

what were boston terriers bred for

Finally, in 1893, the Boston Terrier dog breed was recognized by the National Breed Club of America.

Boston Terrier breed is the very first American breed to be ever recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Not only this, but Boston Terrier dogs were also the first US canines registered under the non-sporting group of breed clubs.

However, it was not before the 20th century that breed standards were formulated, depending upon this breed’s distinctive markings. Before this, little attention was paid to color, marking, and patterns on dogs’ coats.

In 1915, the Boston Terrier was the most popular dog breed among breeds registered by the American Kennel Club, and it managed to maintain the same title until 1960. Furthermore, since 1979, the Boston dog has been the official state dog of Massachusetts.

Boston Terrier Facts

boston terrier images
  1. The average life expectancy of a Boston Terrier is 12-14 years; however, some Boston Terriers live for up to 15 years. How long a Boston bull terrier lives depends on factors like diet, size, health, and exercise.
  2. Boston Terriers appear in some rarest coat colors, such as lilac, lavender, merle, and platinum.
  3. Since Boston Terriers tend to have a small litter, they only deliver 3-4 puppies at once. However, in some rare cases, Boston dogs have been seen to deliver seven puppies in a single litter.
  4. Boston Terriers are sometimes called unusually quiet canines since they don’t bark a lot. Even when vocal, these dogs emit soft woofing sounds instead of those high-pitched sharp barks.
  5. Like other dogs, Boston Terriers may also show aggression in several ways, like nipping, growling, biting, and lunging. However, this aggressive behavior is mainly exhibited in nerve-wracking circumstances only.
  6. Boston Terrier breed has insane sleeping needs as they can sleep for more than two-thirds of a day. In other words, Boston Terriers typically sleep for 12-14 hours a day.
  7. Since this dog has a short coat and a relatively shorter nose, they struggle to withstand extreme weather conditions. They can neither stand too hot nor too cold temperatures.
  8. A Boston puppy may bite you to show interaction and affection. Even though the biting force of these dogs is not too high, it still could be as dangerous as the bites of other dogs.
  9. Contrary to the famous myth, Boston Terriers don’t lock up their jaws.
  10. Boston dogs have low tendencies to drool, so if you notice your Boston canine drooling way too much, you better take them to the vet as soon as possible.

Boston Terrier Appearance

grey boston terrier

Boston Terriers are Brachycephalic dogs (special flat-faced breeds) due to an extraordinarily squashed face. Despite their short stature, these little dogs have well-proportioned bodies that make them look eternally gorgeous.

Other distinctive features of Boston Terriers include their square heads, short & square muzzles, broad & deep chests, short & straight tails, and upright ears. Even though their ears are not too large, they are pointed, which makes them look like bat ears.

On the other hand, some variants of Boston Terriers also feature floppy and cropped ears. On setting your eyes on a Boston Terrier, the first thing that catches your attention is its bright, big eyes, further enhanced by its goofy grins.


Like other dog breeds, the Boston Terrier breed also comprises slightly taller males. A fully grown-up male might stand 17 inches tall, whereas a female might grow up to sixteen inches.

black and white boston terrier


A fully grown-up Boston Terrier originally weighs 15-25 lbs (for males), whereas the healthy weight range for a grown-up female is 10-20lbs. Any Boston Terrier that weighs below or above 15 and 30 pounds, respectively, is not approved by the breeders.

Do you know the older pit-fighting Boston Terrier originally weighed up to 44 lbs and has bred down in size since?


Boston Terrier features a smooth coat of short length. Contrary to the common myth, Bostons don’t have double coats, which is another reason they can’t stand extreme temperatures. Also, its fine coat doesn’t block the windy chills nor keeps the heat entrapped.


The most common coat colors in the Boston breed, which are also considered standard, are black & white, brindle & white, and seal & white.

In addition to this primary base color, almost all Bostons feature white markings on the muzzle, chest, and face. On the other hand, this breed doesn’t have coats in solid colors.

Boston Terrier Temperament and Personality

Boston Terrier

Boston Terriers share a gentle, playful, and even temper, which makes them relatively easier to handle than other dogs – even for novice dog owners. The best part of this dog’s personality is that despite being the clingiest canine, it can be left alone for several hours.

Since they are super bright, they find sources of entertainment for themselves. Ensure easy access to the bathroom, water, food, and bed before leaving your house. Also, get a chewing toy for them since it will be enough to keep them busy for some hours.

However, despite enjoying their own company, these dogs may develop separation anxiety if left alone for more than 12 hours daily. Remember that the maximum time you should leave your Boston Bull Terrier at home alone is 4-8 hours.

These cute little doggos also possess some guarding instincts (especially the males), which make them protective of their owners. Generally, they tend to stay reserved and calm around strangers but may show signs of aggression and anger on suspecting threats.

And don’t be surprised if the Boston Terrier silently joins you on your bed, under the sheets. Doing so gives them a sense of relaxation, and they feel secure and safe like they do in small, burrowed dens.

All in all, Boston Terriers are indoor dogs that love staying inside the house. Although they can join you on short strolls and love playing tug of war and fetch games, they feel more relaxed inside the house, close to their owners.

Boston Terrier Health and Care

Now let’s learn about their health issues.


Being a purebred dog, the Boston Terrier is generally healthy. However, in the past few years, it has been seen that this breed is developing life-threatening health problems at an alarming rate. Some of these health issues are as follows:

Boston Terrier dog breed

Patellar Luxation

This condition affects the dog’s gait by misaligning the knee cap, calf, and thigh bone. Your pup might be born with this condition, which may worsen as the dog matures. If not treated on time, this problem may lead to other degenerative bone diseases like arthritis.

Juvenile Cataracts

Juvenile cataracts are an eye problem in which a clouded film is formed over the eyeball between 8 weeks-12 months. Resultantly, your dog’s vision is poorly affected; if not treated, it may cause complete blindness.

Cherry Eye

boston terrier pitbull mix

Cherry eye is also an innate disease in which a dog is born with a third eyelid. The only treatment is to remove this third eyelid via surgery.

Unfortunately, there’s no proven solution to prevent this sort of disease from arising. The only thing you can do is check for the clearance certificates issued by the canine eye registry foundation.

Heart Diseases

Heart diseases, especially heart attacks, are considered the leading reason for Boston’s death. The root cause of most heart diseases in Bostons is valve deterioration, leading to a heart murmur.

Grooming and Care

boston terrier poodle mix

The overall grooming and care needs of Boston Terriers are low. Despite being a lively dog, this canine knows how to enjoy life from the comfort of home.

Since they are not high-energy pups, they won’t mind if you won’t take them for jogging or long strolls. Just play with them for a few minutes, which would be more than enough.

As their short coats are not dense enough, many Boston Terriers tend to catch a cold easily. Therefore, before taking your dog out to see Christmas lights, don’t forget to make sure your Boston Terrier wears jackets and mufflers.

Another good thing about Boston Terrier is that it doesn’t need to bathe frequently. To make them look neat, weekly brushing with a grooming mitt or soft bristle brush will be sufficient.

Regular brushing keeps your dog’s coat looking glossy and smooth and encourages new hair growth. However, during the shedding season, you might need to brush your dog more often with a firm bristle brush, to remove loose hair.

Lastly, in addition to providing enough exercise, make sure you’re feeding only high-quality dog food to your Boston Terrier. Since they don’t undergo heavy activities or long play sessions, you better keep the portion size small, so these small dogs don’t get obese.

Boston Terrier Training

boston bulldog

It must be clear by now that Bostons are super smart, which makes them one of the easiest canines to train. Training them for obedience and agility won’t take more than a month if trained consistently, using the correct, positive reinforcement methods.

As mentioned before, these dogs are super sensitive to owners’ behavior. Your voice tone will make them understand whether you approve or disapprove of a behavior. Early socialization with other pets is essential to suppress the fighting instincts of these Boston Terriers.

Whether you have canine or non-canine pets at your home, you better raise your Boston with them so he can identify them as family. Otherwise, housetraining a strong-headed adult dog could be extremely difficult.

Boston Terrier dog


Based on your location, a purebred, healthy Boston Terrier puppy may cost anywhere between $350-$3500. However, you may also find Bostons from the rescue groups at a much lower price, so it’s better to check availability.

If you want a low-maintenance cuddle partner, these Boston bulldogs will be perfect for you, bringing color to your life.

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Cody Mitchell
Cody Mitchell is a pet lover and a passionate pet writer. He has worked as a professional writer for over 6 years, with a focus on creating compelling content for pet-related brands. His work has been featured in major publications. When he's not writing, Cody can be found playing with his two dogs (a labradoodle and a cocker spaniel) or cuddling his cat.

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