Updated 17-08-2023

Boston Terrier Characteristics, Facts & Traits

As far back as the early 1900s, the Boston Terrier has been one of the most popular breeds in the United States. Dogs that were originally bred for fighting have been renamed "American Gentleman" because of their tuxedo-like markings and gentle demeanour.

It's not uncommon for Boston Terriers to get along well with members of the family in a variety of living situations, including apartments. As a result, these energetic pups require a lot of physical activity. You'll have a loving and devoted best friend if you're able to provide plenty of affection and physical activity for your dog. The following is a comprehensive overview of Boston Terrier characteristics and history.


  • Short-nosed breeds like Boston Terriers are more prone to heat stress because they can't chill the air entering their lungs as effectively as longer-nosed varieties. They are also unable to tolerate excessively cold temperatures due to the small coat they wear. The Boston Terrier should always be kept indoors, even in milder climes.
  • If you have a Boston Terrier, don't pull on his collar to get him to do what you want.
  • Due to the size and prominence of his eyes, your Boston Terrier is susceptible to corneal ulcers. When you're playing with him or taking him on a stroll, be mindful of his eyes.
  • Boston Terriers can be susceptible to flatulence depending in part on their diet. A Boston Terrier may not be the right dog for you if you have trouble with gassy dogs.
  • Snoring, drooling, and snorting are all common in Boston Terriers (sometimes loudly).
  • Boston Terrier mothers have a difficult time whelping because of their huge heads and short pelvises. Make sure you know that Boston Terrier litters are often small, and that whelping complications can necessitate a cesarean section (a litter consisting of only one puppy is not uncommon). To purchase a high-quality Boston Terrier puppy from a reputable breeder, you may have to wait several months.
  • Despite the fact that Boston Terriers are generally quiet, loving dogs, males can become aggressive when they perceive other dogs as violating their territory..
  • Keeping an eye on your Boston Terrier's weight is important, since they can be food gluttons.
  • Because of their tenacity, they require training approaches that are both persistent and consistent. Training should be low-key and motivating because they are very sensitive to your tone of voice and punishment can cause them to shut down. Your Boston Terrier should be house trained in a crate.
  • Never buy a puppy from a puppy mill, negligent breeder, or pet retailer if you want a healthy dog. To avoid passing on hereditary disorders to their offspring, a respectable breeder will do temperament and health testing on all of her breeding dogs.


Social Appearance 


It's a common misconception that a little dog is better suited to living in a limited space. Many tiny dogs have too much energy and are too yappy to live in an apartment building. An apartment dog's best attributes include being quiet, low energy, somewhat peaceful indoors, and respectful to the other inhabitants. Your dog's personal space in your apartment can be improved by purchasing one of these fantastic dog cages.

Sensitivity Level

Depending on the dog, a strong rebuke can be taken in stride by some, while others regard even the tiniest hint of disapproval as a personal attack. If you have a loud or pushy owner, a chaotic home, or a routine that is unpredictable or variable, your low-sensitivity dog, often known as "easy-going," "tolerant," "resilient," or even "thick-skinned," will be able to handle it better. Do you have young children, host a lot of parties, or have a hectic lifestyle? Choose a dog that isn't overly sensitive.


You can't tell from looking at them whether or not they're hyperactive, but when they do anything, they do it vigorously. They tug at their leashes (unless you teach them not to), they push their way through barriers, and they down their meals in huge, gobbling gulps. A home with young children or an elderly or feeble person may not be the best place for these dynamos to learn proper etiquette. On the other side, a dog with poor vitality adopts a more reserved demeanor.

Potential for Playfulness

The playful nature of certain dogs never fades away, and they're always ready for a game, whereas the reserved and serious tendencies of other dogs develop through time. Think about how many times a day you want to play fetch or tag with your dog, and whether or not you have children or other dogs who can act as substitutes.

Personality Appearance


In the same way as working dogs, such as those that herd sheep, are bred for intelligence and decision-making, working dogs like those who run all day need to exercise their bodies. The two most common activities that a bored pet engages in are digging and chewing, both of which require mental stimulation. There are several ways to keep a dog's brain active, including obedience training, interactive dog toys like tug of war, and dog sports like agility and search and rescue.

Energy Level

Energy-draining dogs are always on the lookout for a new activity. There are several jobs that require a lot of stamina from dogs, such as herding livestock or recovering prey for hunters. Children are more likely to engage in activities such as jumping, playing and exploring new sights and smells as a result of this change in their environment

A low-energy dog is more like a couch potato than a dog that needs a lot of exercise. Think about your level of physical activity and whether or not you find a hyperactive dog irritating before making your final choice.

Easy To Train

Easy to train dogs can more easily form associations between a cue (like "sit"), an action (like sitting), and a reward than dogs that are more difficult to train. Dogs that require more time, patience, and repetition are more difficult to train.

Getting your dog interested in training will require incentives and games because many breeds are intelligent but have a "What's in it for me?" mentality when it comes to learning new things.

Family Affection Level

Affectionate With Family

Since puppyhood, some breeds remain aloof and independent; others form deep bonds with one individual but are uninterested in the rest of the family; still other types shower their entire family with affection. Canines raised in homes with people tend to be more open to human interaction and develop stronger ties, regardless of their breed or upbringing.


Kids-friendly dogs are calm, strong enough to bear the hefty hugs and pets kids can dish out, and have an unfazed attitude about rushing, scream-inducing children. There are several names you may not expect to see on the list: Fierce-looking Both Boxers and American Staffordshire Terriers are regarded as family dogs (which are considered Pit Bulls). Chihuahuas, which are small, sensitive, and potentially sharp, are not always family-friendly.

Dog Friendly

Dog friendship and human friendship are two entirely different things. The fact that a dog is friendly with humans doesn't mean it's immune to aggression or aggression from other dogs; some canines choose to play rather than fight; others will just run away. The type of animal isn't the only consideration. Dogs who have spent a lot of time playing with their littermates and their mother at the age of six to eight weeks are more likely to be socially competent.

Physical Appearance

Amount of Shedding

Having a dog in the house means that you'll have to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothing and in the home. It's worth noting, however, that shedding varies widely among breeds. Some dogs shed all year long, while others ``blow" just during specific times of the year, and still others don't shed at all. If you're a stickler for cleanliness, you'll need to choose a breed that sheds less or lower your expectations. You can use a deshedding tool to keep your house a little cleaner.

Drooling Potential

While greeting you, some dogs may cover their arms with ropes of drool and create large, wet patches on your clothing. If you don't mind a little drool, go for it; but if you're a stickler for cleanliness, you may want to look for a dog with a low drool rating.

Easy To Groom

Some breeds of dogs can simply be brushed and left alone, while others require frequent washing, trimming, and other grooming in order to maintain their health and appearance. If you don't have the time or money to take care of a dog that requires a lot of grooming, you may want to look into hiring a professional.

Exercise Needs

Evening walks around the neighbourhood are perfectly acceptable for some breeds. Others, particularly those trained for physically demanding vocations like herding or hunting, require regular, rigorous exercise.

They can gain weight and release their pent-up energy in ways you don't like, including barking, chewing, and digging, if not given enough exercise. Those looking to train their dog for an energetic canine activity, such as agility, should consider getting a dog that needs a lot of exercise.

Average sizes and life expectancy of the breed


10 to 25 pounds


13 to 15 years


12 to 15 inches tall at the shoulder


For a breed, the Boston Terrier has a well-known history. The wealthy individuals of Boston's elite began to crossbreed some of their canines around 1865. Hooper's Judge, a dog created from a cross between an English Terrier and a Bulldog, is the outcome of one such hybrid. Because of him and his descendants, the Boston Terrier got its start.

It was in Boston in 1889 that the American Bull Terrier Club was created, but the proposed name for the breed was not well embraced by Bull Terrier lovers. Similarly, the breed's moniker, "roundheads," was a misnomer. The Boston Terrier was renamed in honour of the city where it was born.

When compared to other dog breeds, the Boston's rise from obscurity to AKC registration was lightning fast. The breed was first recognised by the AKC in 1893, less than two decades after it was created. Consistency was a priority for breeders. When this breed was first developed, colour and markings didn't matter all that much. But as time went on, they became increasingly vital. One of the most popular dog breeds in the early to mid-1900s, the Boston Terrier has maintained its popularity throughout the decades afterwards.

Personality and Temperament 

The Boston Terrier is a vivacious, energetic dog with a strong sense of self-control. In general, they get along well with children and like playing, although they may be rambunctious, so exercise caution when playing with them if you don't want to risk injuring them, particularly in the eyes. They like the company of other people, make loving pets, and are gregarious and friendly with people of all backgrounds. Even though they go by the name "terrier," these dogs don't belong to the terrier breed and don't act like one either. They are much happier at home with their owner than they are out causing trouble.

Anyone who loves the Boston terrier’s unique appearance and wants a playful companion that doesn't require much activity but still wants to participate in the family's activities might consider this breed.

As a family man, Boston cares deeply about what his loved ones want and how they feel. This dog is obedient indoors, but when given the opportunity to be cheeky and playful (he particularly enjoys chasing balls), he breaks out into a run. In spite of their reputation as a hard-headed bunch, Bostonians are actually quite intelligent and eager to learn. These dogs should be introduced gently to new people because they are reserved around strangers and some may be aggressive with unusual dogs. Barking can be a problem for certain people.


Boston terriers are easy to care for and just require a small bit of daily exercise. Additionally, they should be exposed to a variety of experiences and environments from an early age.


Like any other breed, Boston Terriers are susceptible to a variety of health issues. If you're considering getting a Boston Terrier, you should be informed of the ailments that might affect this breed.


In the eye, a cloudy film known as a cataract forms. There is a genetic predisposition to both juvenile and adult cataracts in Boston Terriers. Between the ages of eight weeks and 12 months, children are at risk for developing cataracts. While it is possible to see juvenile cataracts in dogs, a veterinary ophthalmologist can perform a CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation) test to confirm the diagnosis. The breeder should be questioned about whether or not the puppy has been tested for juvenile cataracts before obtaining a Boston Terrier pup.

Cherry eyes

Cherry eye, a protrusion of the third eyelid gland thought to be hereditary, is known as a cherry eye. It's more common in puppies under a year old. Some veterinarians surgically restore the gland to its original location at the base of the third eyelid, while others completely remove the prolapsed gland.

Patellar Luxation

Stifle slips, also called "slipped stifles," occur frequently in tiny dogs. An improperly aligned patella (knee cap) can lead to this condition. The femur, patella, and tibia (calf) are all three components of the patella. This results in a dog with a limp or an irregular gait. At birth, it is an illness, although the actual misalignment or luxation may not develop until much later in the life span. Arthritis, a degenerative joint disease, can be brought on by the rubbing that patellar luxation causes. It is possible to have four stages of patella luxation, starting with grade I, which is an infrequent luxation that causes transient lameness and progresses to grade IV, in which the patella cannot be manually realigned. They look like they have bowlegged legs. Surgery may be necessary to correct severe patellar luxation.


Regurgitant sounds in the heart, especially at the mitral valve where a defect causes blood to flow back into the left atrium, might be gentle or loud, sharp, or severe. Because of this, the heart's ability to supply blood to the body is impaired. A low-sodium diet, exercise restriction, diuretics, and medicines are common treatments.


One or both ears might become deaf in Boston Terriers. Before a puppy is placed in a new home, breeders should conduct a BAER test to verify the health of the puppy's ears. If a dog has more than one-third of its head or body covered in white, it is more likely to birth deaf puppies.


There are a number of allergies that Boston Terriers are susceptible to, from contact allergies to food allergies. It's possible that your Boston is suffering from an allergic reaction to something he eats or touches. Your veterinarian can make the diagnosis of allergies.


When dogs regurgitate their undigested food, it's because of an oesophageal problem. There is usually no advance notice that regurgitation may occur, but there is a visible effort involved in vomiting.

Reverse sneezing

A condition known as reverse sneezing can occur at any moment in the life of your Boston Terrier. Overexcitement, eating too rapidly, or pollen in the air are all causes of gagging in dogs. Because of the accumulation of nasal secretions on the soft palate, the windpipe is closed. A wheezing sound is made by the dog, which may cause it to feel concerned. The episode will be shorter if he relaxes and you talk to him calmly. Reverse sneezing can be stopped by clamping the dog's nostrils shut or placing the palm of your hand over the dog's nose, forcing him to breathe through his mouth. You can also try caressing his throat.

Recommended Health Tests 

  1. Patella Evaluation
  2. Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  3. BAER Testing


Dogs need access to fresh water at all times, so be sure to provide it. And make sure to feed it a well-balanced, high-quality canine diet. As a rule of thumb, most dog owners feed their pets two measured meals a day. To be sure you're providing your dog with exactly what he or she needs, talk to your veterinarian about the amount and type of food you're feeding him.

Also, keep an eye out for extras like sweets and salty snacks. Many Boston terriers may beg for food from strangers because they are so fond of it. But if you give your dog too many extras, he may become overweight, as even a slight weight gain can be too much for this small canine.


The short coat of Boston terriers means that they don't require much in the way of grooming. Use a grooming mitt or soft-bristle brush once a week to remove loose fur and to evenly distribute the oils on their skin. Depending on how dirty your dog gets, you should plan to bathe him or her around once a month.

Additionally, you should inspect your dog's nails around once a month to see if they need to be trimmed. Be sure to check its ears at least once a week for any irregularities like wax buildup, debris, and so on. And don't forget to brush its teeth daily.


It is recommended that Boston terriers have one hour of exercise every day. Playing with puzzle toys and running about in a safe location are all that is required. There are a variety of dog sports that will allow your pet to use up some of their mental and physical energy. As a rule of thumb, Bostons prefer to engage in physical activity with their owners. If you let them be, they could get bored and start behaving badly, like chewing on things they shouldn't.

This breed's flat-faced nature also makes them prone to breathing problems. Discuss this with your veterinarian, and be aware of the telltale indications of exercise-induced difficult breathing.


As soon as possible, begin training and socialising your Boston terrier. In order for your dog to learn basic commands and etiquette, enrolling in a puppy obedience class is a great option. Furthermore, it will benefit if it is exposed to a wide range of humans as well as other canines and other environments.

Because this breed is particularly sensitive to severe reprimand, it only employs techniques of positive reinforcement, such as praise and treats. And don't be inconsistent with your orders. In general, Boston terriers are eager to please their owners and will do well in training.

They can suffer from separation anxiety when left alone because of their fondness of human companionship. Dog trainers and behaviourists can offer advice on how to deal with this problem. For this breed, a home where someone is there for the majority of the day is ideal.

Children and Other Pets

It's no secret that the Boston Terrier enjoys spending time with children. In spite of his diminutive stature, he is strong enough to withstand even the most brutal attacks. To be fair, he gets along well when he's socialised to other dogs and cats at a young age.


Puppies a litter of three to five Boston Terriers is typical. Getting ready for a Boston Terrier puppy is a lot easier if you know what to expect.

First and foremost, make sure you have a vet you can take your puppy to as soon as you bring them home who is knowledgeable and trustworthy. Additionally, it's a good idea to ask your breeder if there are any health issues you should be aware of with the Boston Terrier puppy. Look into the parents' medical history to see if there is anything to worry about.

Your home should be puppy-proofed next. The best way to keep your shoes from getting chewed on by a puppy is to put them up high so they don't get ruined. The puppy should not be able to access any harmful plants or chemicals, and you should also examine for any other potential dangers.

Before you bring your new puppy home, make sure you have all of the supplies you'll need. All of these things should be included in the initial purchase of a puppy. When your new puppy arrives, plan to take at least a few days off work to stay at home. As a parent, you must give your puppy all the attention and care that you would give a child.

Dog breeds similar to Boston Terriers

Other dog breeds like the Boston Terrier include French Bulldogs, Pugs, and Mastiffs.

French Bulldog

Both Boston Terriers and French Bulldogs share a similar appearance. They are both descended from English Bulldogs, which explains their smaller stature and wrinkled faces. In comparison to Boston Terriers, French Bulldogs have rounded ears and a squared-off head. Boston Terriers and French Bulldogs are both excellent family pets.


Like Boston Terriers, Pug Pugs are extremely affectionate and gregarious. Both of these canines are suitable for owners who are unable to take their pets out for long walks on a regular basis because of their lack of physical activity. Pugs are Brachycephalic dogs, just as Boston Terriers.


In spite of their size, Mastiffs and Boston Terriers are both clever, trainable, and devoted to their owners. Mastiffs and Boston Terriers have very different litter sizes. Mastiffs have an average litter size of eight puppies, but Boston Terriers normally have litters of three to five puppies.