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Boston Terrier

About the Breed: Boston Terrier


Friendly, attentive, amusing, the dapper Boston Terrier is an excellent all-around family dog.


Originally bred for fighting, today’s Boston has settled into the role of companion and is now a devoted little dog who is eager to be with its people. This “All American Gentleman” was born and bred in Beantown in the 1870s from an English Bulldog and a white English Terrier and has been recognized by the AKC since 1893.


Boston Terriers are very individualistic: some can be energetic and display a playful sense of humor, while others are quiet, calm, and dignified. Some Bostons can be quite determined personalities, while others are more easy-going and gentle. All in all, a Boston Terrier is typically a friendly, versatile, adaptable personality that fits well into most homes.

Best With

  • Anyone who has the time and love to give.

Not For

  • Children unfamiliar with responsibility, providing safe space, and proper handling of small animals.

  • Outdoor living situations, due to sensitivity to temperatures both hot and cold.


Bostons are loyal companions who enjoy snuggling as much as they do playing. Give this little dog a spot on your bed or your lap and you’ll be rewarded with Boston cuddles and kisses. These dogs are equally great for families of one or many. They are wonderful, loyal companions, alternately full of energy or  laid back lap dogs when the situation requires it.


Bostons often have what may be considered a “reverse sneeze.” It’s not harmful, but it may be scary the first time it’s heard by humans. Flatulence may also be a problem, but may be managed with a daily spoonful of yogurt.




There are no significant differences in the size of male and female Boston. The ideal Boston is 12-14 inches tall but can be lightweight (under 15 pounds); middleweight (15 – 20 pounds); or heavyweight (over 20 pounds).



While other colors do exist, AKC recognizes only the colors of black, brindle, or seal with white markings, a white muzzle band, face blaze and white fore chest are required; a white collar and white markings on the legs are also desirable.

Energy Level:


Some experts contend that while healthy Bostons don’t need lots of exercise they do enjoy walks and games of fetch. However, most will find them to be usually active and playful and require daily exercise. Puppies, especially, are very high energy. Their friendly character makes them a favorite companion dog for elderly owners and apartment dwellers who can offer outdoor access regularly. However, since they love games and children, they are a fine family pet as well.

Life Expectancy:

On average, 12-16 years.



Boston Terriers make a good family pet. As with any animal, young children need to be taught responsibility and should not be allowed to tease or harass.  Pets should have a safe space to retreat when needed.

Other Animals:


Unlike many other Terriers, the Boston is not quarrelsome, bold, or domineering.



The intelligence of a Boston makes them ideal in obedience or agility competition but they may exhibit a stubborn streak so be patient. While they make great competitors an owner should be aware that since Bostons have respiratory problems caused by their shortened muzzles, trainers should avoid methods that rely on collar tugs to force the dog into position and instead use praise, toys and treats to guide the dog into position.



Bostons are indoor dogs. They do need an occasional bath, and as with all dogs their nails should be kept trimmed. The Boston coat, with its low dander, requires minimal care, and shedding is at a minimum.


While the Boston doesn’t have any major health issues, an owner should be aware that they are susceptible to some ailments or injuries common to dogs with short muzzles and prominent eyes, and may have a genetic predisposition to several diseases and structural abnormalities. They wheeze and gulp air, and thus can develop intestinal gas and respiratory problems, especially in hot weather. Their eyes are easily infected or injured.

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