Country of Origin: United States
  • Activity Level: moderate
  • Grooming Level: low
  • Trainability: high
  • Adaptability: moderate
  • Kid/Pet Friendly: often
  • Average Size: Small
  • Average Lifespan: 11-13 years
  • Prey Drive: low
  • Watchdog: aware
  • Registered?: aca, akc
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Boston Terrier Breed Profile

Overview
Temperament
Adaptability
Health
Owner Experience
Grooming
Activity Level
Size
Life Span
Did You Know?

The Boston Terrier, sometimes affectionately referred to as the “American Gentleman” due to their classic tuxedo appearance, is a non-sporting breed. They originated in the United States around 1870 and was the first non-sporting dog breed to originate in the US. The Boston Terrier was recognized by the AKC in 1893.

Boston Terriers, or Bostons, are small, compact dogs that have erect ears and a short tail. In addition to being a great companion, Boston Terriers also excel in dog sports, often training in agility, tracking, flyball, and more. Due to their outgoing personality, they are also a popular choice for therapy dogs.

The Boston Terrier is an intelligent, enthusiastic, affectionate, and playful dog breed. They have a gentle nature with a friendly personality. They get along well with other pets, dogs, and children, if properly socialized, which makes them a great addition to any family. Boston Terriers can be mouthy if left untrained, but with early training, they tend to be quiet and only bark when necessary.

This dog is highly adaptable when it comes to space and less so when it comes to temperature. The Boston Terrier is happy in apartments or in larger houses and will do well in moderate climates. They have a short coat, so will need to bundle up during the winter.

As with all dog breeds, it’s important to be cautious with the extreme hot or cold. Because the Boston Terrier has a short muzzle, they are less able to tolerate the heat, so exposure should be kept to a minimum and they should be monitored closely when outdoors to avoid overheating.

Some breed-specific health issues to be aware of include patellar luxation, cataracts, allergies, and deafness. Checking the genetic history of the parents and testing puppies for deafness can help cut down on these health concerns. Bostons also tend to have a sensitive digestive system, which makes them a gassy dog when their diet is not closely monitored.

Because they are a brachycephalic breed, meaning they have a small head and short muzzle or snub-nose, Boston Terriers are prone to snoring and reverse sneezing. Although reverse sneezing sounds horrible, as the dog is making snorting/gagging sounds to clear the mucus from their palate, it does not harm the dog in any way.

These dogs tend to be easily trained and are eager to please their owners, which makes them a good fit for dog owners of any experience level. Because Boston Terriers are an intelligent dog breed, they tend to pick up on things quickly and learn fast. They can be stubborn at times, so obedience classes may be a good choice for novice dog owners.

They are also very sensitive to the sound of your voice as well as tone, so verbal cues tend to be a good addition to training. Due to their high sensitivity, they will take any negative feedback personally and can shut down, so keep training reward-based and focused on positive reinforcement. It’s also important to keep training persistent and consistent with your Boston Terrier.

This dog breed has a short, smooth coat and should be black, seal, or brindle with white markings. They are low to moderate shedders and do not require much grooming. Occasional brushing should be sufficient to maintain a healthy coat.

Regular bathing is a necessity, but frequency can vary based on lifestyle. Depending on what your Boston Terrier gets up to, they may only need a bath every six weeks or they may need one every week. It’s also important to check your dog’s ear regularly, trim their nails monthly as needed, and brush their teeth at least once a week.

These dogs love to play! They are smaller dogs, so their exercise needs are moderate. They will, however, have bouts of hyperactivity, so make sure they have toys to play with and things to keep them busy when these energy bursts occur. Long walks aren’t necessary, but your pup may still appreciate them every now and then as long as they don’t overdo it.

Boston Terriers grow to be 15 to 17 inches at the shoulder and range between 10 to 25 pounds. The largest should not weigh more than 25 pounds.

A Boston Terrier lives 11 to 13 years, on average, and can sometimes live well into their teens.

The Boston Terrier is a noted college mascot. Rhett the Boston Terrier is the mascot for Boston University. Wofford College, located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, also features a Boston Terrier as its mascot.