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Boston Terrier

BostonTerrier

An Entertaining & Perky Pet

Devoted, playful, stubborn

Boston Terriers are intelligent, adoring, and sturdy, small dogs. This terrier loves people and does well with children. If properly socialized at an early age, they will get along with other dogs. They have short snouts and do best in moderate temperatures so they don’t overheat. Bostons are easy to train and make great family companions. They love games and activities, but don’t require a lot of exercise.

Understanding their unique needs will help keep them healthy and create a strong bond between the two of you. Explore this page to learn more about the breed’s history, health concerns, characteristics, and care needs.

Breed Details

Height:15-17 in. Weight:10-25 lb Lifespan:13-14 years

Size
2

1=small 5=large

Grooming requirements
1

1 = little grooming - 5 = much grooming

Energy level
3

1 = low energy - 5 = high energy

Ease of training
3

1 = difficult - 5 = easy

Affection toward owners
3

1 = independent - 5 = very affectionate

Friendliness toward strangers
3

1 = shy - 5 = very friendly

Routine Care: The Boston Terrier is well suited for apartment living; they will need a daily walk and regular inside play. They are sensitive dogs and don't do well with harsh training methods or punishment; always end training on a positive note. They can be sensitive to temperature extremes; avoid prolonged weather exposure and be very alert to the signs of heat stress. 

Grooming: Brush their coat as needed, at least weekly. Their facial and tail-base folds should be kept clean and dry to prevent infections.

Dental: Boston Terriers generally have good teeth, and you can keep them  perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!  

Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!  

The Boston Terrier is a gentle, enthusiastic, and clownish family companion that has never met a stranger. They can adapt to most living situations provided they are given adequate exercise and early socialization. 

Positive Traits: 

  • Intelligent, friendly, and easily won over 

  • Loves to play games, especially fetch 

  • Good with kids and other pets 

  • Quiet—not much of a barker 

  • Small, but sturdy 

  • Protective of family: good watch dog 

     

Negative Traits: 

  • Can be rambunctious and rowdy, especially as a puppy 

  • Can be gassy and drool a lot 

  • Makes a lot of snorting, snuffling, and wheezing noises, and may snore 

  • Can be possessive of toys and food, tending to show dominance 

  • Exhibits signs of separation anxiety if left alone too much 

  • Can be difficult to house-train 

Whether you are considering adding a new Boston Terrier to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Boston Terrier will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

By exploring the health concerns specific to the Boston Terrier you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be her health expert. 

Some health issues a Boston Terrier could encounter:


The Boston Terrier originated in Massachusetts from crosses between the white English Terrier and the English Bulldog. Bred as a companion dog in 1870, they were the first American breed recognized by the American Kennel Club. The American Gentleman is recognized by their short coat of black, brindle, or seal with white markings, short tail, and erect ears. Boston Terriers are social butterflies; they love people, activity, and attention. The Boston Terrier can be stubborn at times but is generally well-mannered and eager to please. The Boston is active and charming and wants nothing more than to be your best friend. The Boston Terrier is a generally healthy breed with an average lifespan of 13-14 years. 

Consult with a veterinarian if your Boston Terrier shows signs of the following:

  • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes 

  • Cloudiness to eye lens 

  • Squinting, watery eyes, bluing cornea, redness, enlarged eye 

  • Redness, squinting or greenish eye discharge 

  • Increasing hip pain at less than a year old

  • Leg stiffness, reluctance to rise, sit, use stairs, run, jump, or “bunny hopping” 

  • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing 

  • Dry, scaly, sometimes itchy hairless patches on face or paws 

  • Drinks and urinates more, eats more, potbelly, poor haircoat

  • Loud breathing, tires easily at exercise 

  • Coughing, especially at night or upon rising after sleeping, rapid breathing at rest 

  • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors 

  • Unplanned pregnancy can be dangerous 

  • Easily startled, no reaction to unseen sounds 

  • Care

    Routine Care: The Boston Terrier is well suited for apartment living; they will need a daily walk and regular inside play. They are sensitive dogs and don't do well with harsh training methods or punishment; always end training on a positive note. They can be sensitive to temperature extremes; avoid prolonged weather exposure and be very alert to the signs of heat stress. 

    Grooming: Brush their coat as needed, at least weekly. Their facial and tail-base folds should be kept clean and dry to prevent infections.

    Dental: Boston Terriers generally have good teeth, and you can keep them  perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!  

    Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!  

  • Characteristics

    The Boston Terrier is a gentle, enthusiastic, and clownish family companion that has never met a stranger. They can adapt to most living situations provided they are given adequate exercise and early socialization. 

    Positive Traits: 

    • Intelligent, friendly, and easily won over 

    • Loves to play games, especially fetch 

    • Good with kids and other pets 

    • Quiet—not much of a barker 

    • Small, but sturdy 

    • Protective of family: good watch dog 

       

    Negative Traits: 

    • Can be rambunctious and rowdy, especially as a puppy 

    • Can be gassy and drool a lot 

    • Makes a lot of snorting, snuffling, and wheezing noises, and may snore 

    • Can be possessive of toys and food, tending to show dominance 

    • Exhibits signs of separation anxiety if left alone too much 

    • Can be difficult to house-train 

  • Health Concerns

    Whether you are considering adding a new Boston Terrier to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Boston Terrier will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

    By exploring the health concerns specific to the Boston Terrier you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be her health expert. 

    Some health issues a Boston Terrier could encounter:


  • History

    The Boston Terrier originated in Massachusetts from crosses between the white English Terrier and the English Bulldog. Bred as a companion dog in 1870, they were the first American breed recognized by the American Kennel Club. The American Gentleman is recognized by their short coat of black, brindle, or seal with white markings, short tail, and erect ears. Boston Terriers are social butterflies; they love people, activity, and attention. The Boston Terrier can be stubborn at times but is generally well-mannered and eager to please. The Boston is active and charming and wants nothing more than to be your best friend. The Boston Terrier is a generally healthy breed with an average lifespan of 13-14 years. 

  • Watch Out For

    Consult with a veterinarian if your Boston Terrier shows signs of the following:

    • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes 

    • Cloudiness to eye lens 

    • Squinting, watery eyes, bluing cornea, redness, enlarged eye 

    • Redness, squinting or greenish eye discharge 

    • Increasing hip pain at less than a year old

    • Leg stiffness, reluctance to rise, sit, use stairs, run, jump, or “bunny hopping” 

    • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing 

    • Dry, scaly, sometimes itchy hairless patches on face or paws 

    • Drinks and urinates more, eats more, potbelly, poor haircoat

    • Loud breathing, tires easily at exercise 

    • Coughing, especially at night or upon rising after sleeping, rapid breathing at rest 

    • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors 

    • Unplanned pregnancy can be dangerous 

    • Easily startled, no reaction to unseen sounds 

Boston Terrier Discussions

Share your thoughts and experiences, ask questions, or just show your love for the Boston Terrier breed here!

Select Another Breed

To view the sources for the information listed on this page, see our Dog Breed Guide Reference page.

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