Dog Breeds /Boston Terrier
Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier

Boston Terriers are lively and clever dogs that make excellent pets and devoted companions. They are gentle and friendly to children, other pets, and strangers.


7–13 kg


36–41 cm


11–13 yr

Breed Group


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Boston Terrier Traits

General Appearance

Boston Terriers are small, sturdy, muscular little dogs—compactly built, short-tailed, and well-balanced. They have a broad, flat-nosed face without wrinkles and a slightly arched, prominent neckline with a full chest, similar to the Boxer.

Coat and Colouring

The Boston Terrier has a sleek, fine coat with markings that resemble a stylish tuxedo. The breed's white paws and chest are complemented by black, brindle, or seal (i.e., black with a red cast when viewed in the sun or bright light).

Distinctive Physical Traits

Boston Terriers have square heads, upright ears, short, broad muzzles, and large, round eyes.

Boston Terrier Temperament

The Boston Terrier gets along with just about everyone. In fact, the breed's nickname is "The American gentleman" because of its tender disposition.

Boston Terriers are also very affectionate and love receiving attention from their human family. Though they can be a bit stubborn, they're very friendly to other pets and people.

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Boston Terrier History

The Boston Terrier can trace its history back to 1865-era Boston, Massachusetts. Coachmen for the wealthy residents of Boston would crossbreed their employers' dogs for pit-fighting purposes. The cross of an English Bulldog with an English White Terrier (now extinct) resulted in the first iteration of what would become the Boston Terrier.

As dogfighting became illegal and unpopular, people began to consider the Boston Terrier as a companion animal because it exhibited a notable devotion to its master.

Nowadays, Boston Terriers make wonderful family dogs. They've grown popular in the United States and abroad. Because of their rather small size, they're particularly well-suited for smaller homes or apartments. Though the breed had been established and loved for quite some time, the American Kennel Club officially recognized the Boston Terrier in 1893.

Boston Terrier Care


Boston Terriers need a high-quality dog food that is age-appropriate. As you should with any dog, be sure to monitor the amount of food your Boston Terrier consumes and reduce the portions if your pup gains weight. Also, remember that giving too many treats in addition to regular meals can contribute to obesity.


The Boston Terrier sheds somewhat frequently. Weekly brushing with a soft-bristle brush, rubber grooming mitt/tool, or hound glove will remove loose hair while promoting new hair growth. Doing this also distributes skin oils throughout the coat to keep it healthy.

Baths are only needed occasionally unless your dog gets particularly dirty. But regular nail trimming is a must because overly long nails can cause the dog pain—as well as problems walking and running.


Active and playful to the point of rambunctious, Boston Terriers enjoy activities that test their agility, tracking, and obedience skills, such as flyball and rally.

Exercise needs vary from dog to dog. Some need only a brisk walk a couple of times per day, whereas others want time to run and play. But if left for long periods or deprived of the opportunity to let out some energy, all Boston Terriers have the potential to get flustered and develop unwanted behaviors.


The Boston Terrier is very intelligent and relatively easy to train. They love to learn and respond well to vocal instructions. As all breeds do, Boston Terriers benefit from early socialization and dedicated obedience training.

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Boston Terrier Genetic Health Conditions

Knowing if your Boston Terrier is a carrier or at-risk for these conditions can help you and your veterinarian plan for your pup's lifelong care. With Wisdom Panel™ Premium, you can get results for over 200 genetic health tests.


Reviewed 26 July 2020 by Cindy Elston, DVM, MPH

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