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Boston Terrier: The Ultimate Guide

By Kerry
Updated on

Known as the American Gentleman is it really any surprise that these Boston Terriers are a beloved family dog throughout the U.S?

The Boston Terrier’s small size and lively, affectionate nature make him a great family pet and beloved companion to people of all ages.

Boston terrier the ultimate guide

Although gentle and even-tempered, they can have the spunky attitude of their terrier ancestors which is often shown through their antics and unique, appealing expression.

With a small stature and big heart, these little dogs pack a lot of punch so if you want to know more about these cheeky clowns then read on below!

Key facts

Are you thinking about getting a Boston Terrier? Or do you just want to know more about your favourite breed? Read below for some of the key features about this handsome little breed.

Average lifespan

It’s a well known fact that smaller dogs on average live longer than bigger breeds. And with the Boston Terriers petite size you can feel good knowing they live on average for 11-15 years. This is great news for Boston owners as it means you get to spend many wonderful years with your four legged companion.

Minimum exercise (per day)

Despite it’s petite frame the Boston Terrier is a lively and active dog and will require up to an hour of exercise per day! Just make sure not to over exercise them in warm weather as with having a flat face, these pups can overheat very easily.

Remember that exercising your dog doesn’t always have to just be going for walks and that play is a great way to tire your pup out too! Also trips to the dog park can be a fun and good way to get your dog moving, whilst also allowing them to socialize.

Coat length

Boston terriers have a smooth, fine and short coat that comes in three main colors as standard. Bostons do not come in solid colors so be wary of anyone trying to sell you one of these puppies as a ‘rare’ color. This is often a sign of a low quality breeder and should be avoided.

Minimum coast (per month)

On average owning and caring for a Boston terrier will likely cost you around $160 – $350 per month, however as to how much you decide to spend is completely up to you.

The above price is made up of many different monthly costs which includes: dog food, flea and worming treatments, insurance, toys, accessories, doggy day care and even poop bags!

The prices will vary depending on what quality item you choose such as a more expensive but higher quality dog food, vs a cheaper but lower quality one.

And remember just because dog food is less expensive this does not mean it will work out cheaper in the long run. Low quality dog foods can lead to your pooch not getting the correct nutrition and could lead to some costly trips to the vets.


The Boston Terrier is undeniably a dapper dog. With a handsome tuxedo coat that comes in black, brindle or seal (a red undertone when your Boston is sunbathing) that’s evenly marked with white.

They also have white markings that run between the eyes and down the chest. Whilst Bostons are usually found in black, red, brown and blue colors are also possible too.


Considered a small breed (0-25 pounds) with an arched and proud neckline, broad chest and sturdy appearance, the Boston Terrier is definitely a little dog with a large personality!

Average height

Whether you have a male or a female Boston Terrier the average height works out roughly the same at 15 -17 inches at the shoulder.

Average weight

Similarly to the height there is not much difference between the male and female of the breed and the average weight for a Boston Terrier is between 10 and 25 pounds.


The Boston Terrier is a breed that is affectionate and fun-loving. Known to get on well with everyone, the Boston makes an ideal family dog especially as they get on great with children!

Apartment living

With Boston in their name is it any wonder that these terriers can flourish in a city environment. A Boston Terrier will have no trouble calling your apartment block home quite suited to life in an apartment, as long as your space is not too cramped and you remember to take them out to burn off that energy.

Good for novice owners

Boston Terriers make a great choice for first time dog owners, so much so that they often rate very highly on lists of good dogs for novice owners!

Boston terrier the ultimate

From their intelligence to their affection, here are some of the reasons why Bostons are a great first time dog:

  • They’re well adapted to city life
  • They don’t need an enormous amount of exercise
  • They are smart and easy train
  • They are a low maintenance breed
  • They don’t cost much to maintain
  • They are loving and affectionate members of your family

Sensitivity level

The Boston Terrier is a high spirited and highly sensitive little dog. They do not do well with raised voices and much prefer calmer and more encouraging forms of guidance especially when it comes to training.

Tolerates being alone

All dogs are pack animals and don’t like to be left alone and the Boston Terrier is no different. Being a dog that bonds strongly with their family, Boston Terriers can experience separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time.

If you do need to leave your Boston alone for an extended period of time consider putting them in doggy day care or have a friend or family member come round to dogsit for you.

Tolerates cold weather

If you own a Boston Terrier you will have to learn to be mindful of the weather. Due to their short fur coat, they certainly feel the cold and are prone to getting shivers!

Make sure to get your Boston a cosy coat or sweater to keep them warm against the winter chill.

Tolerates hot weather

Being a flat faced breed these dogs are very susceptible to overheating when it’s hot outside and for that reason you should shy away from taking them out on a hot summer’s day.

Make sure to provide plenty of water and cool shaded areas for your pup to relax in when the weather gets too hot or consider investing a cooling mat or vest.

Affectionate with family

The Boston is a breed that loves companionship and often seeks out the company of their family. Their large expressive eyes and snuffling sounds often bring out the parental nature in owners and with a clownish personality, they can keep the family entertained for hours.

Kid friendly

Boston Terriers love kids and get on great in the family environment. Being a non aggressive and high energy breed they can tire out even the most energetic of children when it comes to play time!

Just make sure to supervise any dog and children interaction as due to the Bostons small size they could easily get stepped on under clumsy children’s feet.

Dog friendly

In general Boston Terriers are gentle and love other dogs, so you shouldn’t typically have any trouble.

However some males have been known to get scrappy around other dogs that they feel are invading their territory. The best way to stop this from happening is socializing with your puppy at a young age.

Friendly towards strangers

A people friendly and happy go lucky breed, the Boston Terrier should not have any problems meeting strangers for the first time. As long as your puppy was well sized at an early age and exposed to lots of new situations you shouldn’t encounter any trouble with these pint sized pups!

Health and grooming


Boston Terriers are not known to be shedders. If they do shed it’s very minimal and can easily be controlled by regular grooming. Perfect if you don’t want all your nice whit shirts covered in black dog hair!


The Boston Terrier is not a breed that is particularly drooly. They may be slightly more prone to drooling due to having a shorter face or if they’ve just seen some food, are teething or have done some exercise!

If none of these apply however and you notice your Boston is drooling it may be a good idea to get them checked out at the local veterinarian.


By having a short and sleek coat, Bostons do not require much grooming and won’t cost you expensive trips to the doggy salon. Just a weekly brushing with a soft bristle brush should keep them in great condition.

Do make sure to keep their nails regularly trimmed especially as with being a smaller and lighter dog it can be difficult for the nails to wear down naturally.

General health

Like all dogs, the Boston Terrier is a generally healthy breed but can be prone to some health problems. In order to minimize the chance of your Boston having these health concerns it is advised that you find a good, reputable breeder who will be able to provide you with health clearances for both of your puppy’s parents.

Common health problems:

  • Cataracts – Boston Terriers are prone to having a cloudy film develop over their eye – this is called a cataract. They are prone to developing both juvenile and adult cataracts so it’s always important to ask the breeder if your puppy has been tested for this.
  • Cherry eye – Any dog can get cherry eye but it is much more common in certain breeds (often flat faced breeds, or ones with lots of saggy skin). Cherry eye is when a gland in the third eyelid prolapses and will need to be recifited via surgery or removed altogether.
  • Deafness – BostonTerriers have a high number of cases of deafness within the breed. Any good breeder should have the puppies BARE tested to determine the status of the puppies hearing before they are allowed to go to new homes. As is common with a lot of white dogs, Bostons who are white over one or more third of their heads or bodies are more likely to produce deaf puppies.
  • Reverse sneezing – Though not technically a ‘health problem’ reverse sneezing can be uncomfortable and unsettling for both you and your Boston Terrier. Caused when your Boston gets too excited or eats their food too quickly, nasal secretions can drip into the windpipe and cause your pup to start wheezing. By placing the palm of your hand over their nose it can force them to breathe through their mouth which should stop the reverse sneezes, you should also try to talk soothingly to your Boston to calm them down.

Potential for weight gain

Bostons love their food so it is important that you monitor what they eat or they may become overweight. Not only this but the Boston Terrier is a breed that is prone to flatulence so feeding your dog a well balanced and high quality dog food should reduce the chances of both of these.


Easy to train

Due to the Boston Terrier’s high intelligence this makes them a fairly easy breed to train. However they are known to be stubborn at times so consistency and persistence are must haves in your training methods.

Boston terrier guide

Being a breed that loves food however there shouldn’t be too much trouble in winning them round.


The Boston Terrier is a highly intelligent breed (with some owners saying they’re too smart for their own good!). These dogs will require a good amount of mental stimulation to keep their brains exercised and to avoid unwanted behaviours such as destructive tendencies.

Potential to bite

All dogs, regardless of breed can show aggression or have a potential to bite. A lot of it comes down to the individual dog itself and also the training and socialization your dog received as puppy.

That said however, the Boston Terrier is not typically prone to aggression so this shouldn’t really be a Bostons owners first concern.

Tendency to bark or howl

The Boston Terrier is a typically quiet and gentle dog that is not prone to yappiness. However each dog is an individual and you may find that your Botson will speak up if someone comes to the front door.


There are varying accounts as to how the Boston Terrier came to be however everyone can agree that the breed was established in Boston in the 1800s.

Some believe that the Boston Terrier actually originated in England, believing that in the 1860s a bulldog was bred with the now extinct English white terrier, creating what would be the grandfather of Boston Terriers as we know them today.

This dog, named Judge, was then exported to Boston and from there the terrier that we know and love.

Others believe that Judge was simply purchased from another Bostonuin in 1870. Whilst we will never be sure how this breed came to be we do know that we have Judge to thank for it. After only being bred once Judge sired a son named Well’s Eph.

After breeding Well’s Eph with a French Bulldog the Boston Terrier that we know today was created! With the breed officially being established in 1893 it became one of the first 10 american breeds to be recognized by the AKC!

Boston Terriers quickly became a popular breed and remain so to this day, being a favourite breed of celebrities and presidents alike.


A pure-bred Boston Terrier will cost you anywhere between $1000 and $2000 with the cost for a Boston with superior lineage reaching costs as high as $4500!

However despite being a purebred dog, make sure to check your local animal shelters and free sites to see if there are any Bostons looking for a loving home.

Fun facts

  • Boston Terriers were the first dog from the non-sporting breed group bred in the U.S.
  • The Boston Terrier is the office mascot of Boston University!
  • A black and white Boston Terrier named Bruschi was a world record holder for being the dog with the world’s largest eyes! His eyes measured 28.8mm in diameter.

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About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.