The best way to relate to our beloved furry friends is to learn everything we can about them- from nutritional needs to temperament.
When it comes to sourcing reliable Boston Terrier dog breed info, it can be tricky to know where to start.
It is for this reason that we have scoured the internet for the most trustworthy doggy data.
Here we break down all the essentials about this breed so that you can put your focus where you most desire- into time with your terrier.
Boston Terrier Highlights
- Short snouted dog breed, prone to respiratory issues
- Breed best suited to indoor living
- Fine and short coat leaves them susceptible to cold
- Very vulnerable to heat stress (can’t cool air before it gets to their lungs)
- These good-natured dogs can be stubborn during training
- Not generally aggressive though males can be territorial
Boston Terrier Breed Bits
What is in a name?
When it comes to canines, there is actually a great deal to be learned from nomenclature.
Names typically retain a lot of information pertinent to the origins of the dog breed.
In the case of the Boston Terrier, it tells us of the Massachusetts genesis of these pups.
In addition, it tells us that there are genetic ties to terriers.
From the Latin Terra, or earth, Terriers are digging dogs.
- Boston Terrier
- Boston Bulldogs
- Boston Bull Terrier
- American Gentlemen
- Bullet Heads
- Round-headed bull-and-terriers
- American Terriers
Origins and History
In order to glean an apt assessment of this dog breed, we must look at their origins.
Historical accounts of these pups vary.
The most agreed upon origin story is that these friendly pups came to be in Boston, Massachusetts (in the USA) in the late 19th Century.
They hold the last traces of the extinct English White Terrier, where the cross was this breed and a bulldog.
They are originally a fighting breed; though, thankfully, the dark history quickly abated, and they now serve primarily as companions.
These sturdy pups fir into one of three weight categories.
In pounds, they measure either under 15, from 15 to 20, or from 20 to 25.
Regardless, they will fall into the class of a medium-size breed of dog.
The size needs represent specific demands for nutrition and exercise.
Though these dogs bode best indoors, they still require physical exertion to keep up their health.
Exercise and food should be proportionate to size and weight.
Male: 17 inches (43.2 cm)
With most dog breeds, the males will be taller than their female counterparts.
While there is still a size differential between the canine genders of this breed, it is relatively insignificant (ringing in at roughly one inch).
Female: 16 inches (40.6 cm)
Female mammals are typically shorter than their Y chromosome carrying gender foils.
This is largely due to hormonal input during development, where comparatively lower levels of testosterone in girl dogs causes reduced height.
Puppies: 8-12 inches (20.3-30.5 cm)
Puppies of medium sized breeds are born a great deal shorter than what will be their eventual height.
Their focus during the first few months is primarily on growing.
In order to foster this, find a food that suits the breed’s specific needs.
Male: 15–25 pounds (6.8-11.3 kg)
Due to the physiological layout of the canine form, males will generally be heavier than their female counterparts.
This is due in part to the distribution of mass, as well as to the overall predominance of muscle in the male form.
Female: 10-20 pounds (4.5-9.1 kg)
Since female mammals have the genetic predisposition to bear litters of pups, their weight distribution differs drastically to their male opposites.
The adipose tissue that surrounds reproductive organs is lighter than muscle.
Given this fact, though overall size will be similar, girl Boston Terriers will be much lighter than males.
Puppies: 4.4-10.4 pounds (2-4.7 kg)
Naturally, puppies will be born substantially lighter than they will end up.
The weight at birth will reflect the size of the litter.
On average, these pups will weigh in at 6 pounds by the time they reach 3 months of age.
Boston Terriers- Purebred or Mixed?
There are two different vantage points by which to view the values of pure or mixed breed dogs.
The first favors purebreds.
This is because, since the lineage is tracked, it is simpler to understand potential health and temperament issues (and to avoid them).
The other perspective favors mixed breed dogs, since there is more diversity to the gene pool, giving higher odds that favorable dominant genes will be present.
Ultimately, the goal is a happy and healthy dog- something that can occur whether purebred or mixed.
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Behavior and Temperament
In general, Boston Terriers will have relatively even tempers, and level-headed behavior.
Of course, part of the reason we adore these dogs is because; while being friendly, they are also prone to plucky attitudes.
These typically present during training.
Mostly there will a spunky attitude will rear itself.
This is easily mitigated with proper behavioral training, leaving these pups calm and friendly.
Though these dogs are generally aware of their surroundings, their level of alertness is comparably low to other terriers.
On the bright side, this reduces the tendency to bark or show mouthiness.
Since their drive to pursue prey is low, they have a limited requirement for alertness.
Extreme friendliness is one of the key causes for this breed’s ongoing popularity.
When it comes to amicability, these dogs are one of the best breeds.
They are great with children (provided the Boston has been properly trained and knows how to behave).
These terriers want to please and use affection as a primary method of communication.
One of this breed’s best-known nicknames is the ‘American Gentleman’.
Naturally, these dogs display gentle behavior.
The calm nature shows through their carriage and general attitudes.
A level-headed temperament makes these dogs great companions, especially in families with children.
Because of their calm nature, and low tendency to bark, these terriers suit apartment settings.
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Curiosity is a strong trait in Boston Terriers.
They tend to wander off, in pursuit of unknown adventure.
We adore these dogs because of their significant friendliness and overall outgoing nature.
So long as you properly train your Boston Terrier, the tendency to wander reduces.
That said, it never goes away fully. It is wise to stay aware of these inclinations, to make sure the pup’s outgoing nature does not get them into trouble.
The American Gentleman tends to be friendly and spirited.
If you are looking for a good-natured companion with a playful attitude, the Boston Terrier is a great choice.
One of the key causes of these dogs’ popularity in modern, urban culture, is the ability to get along with other creatures.
This ranges from children to other pets.
Provided you offer sufficient opportunity for exercise, these pups will keep an amicable and energetic personality.
Boston Terriers have a limited range of coat type.
In fact, the sort of coat found on these hounds is straight and short.
Since the fur itself is very fine, it is important for us pet-parents to limit the Boston’s exposure to the cold.
A benefit of the fine coat is that it is quite simple to groom.
These dogs do not shed an enormous amount.
Due to the fact that the coat is so thin, it risks getting brittle due to exposure.
You can mitigate this with diligent grooming practices.
There is a triad of color options when it comes to the Boston Terrier.
The most common option is jet black, with another skew being black that appears red when seen in the proper light.
Lastly, there is the fur color of brown and black intermingled.
Of course, the iconic tuxedo appearance is present throughout all these pups.
The white pattern takes over the chest, face, and muzzle, providing the iconic gentlemanly appearance.
These friendly pups have extremely expressive eyes.
The Boston’s ocular system is prone to infections.
Proper hygiene prevents these unpleasantries.
We love these pups for their deeply sensitive eyes which are large against their face shape.
The eyes will be dark and noticeably round.
Generally, the actual color of the iris will be deep brown, though in the right light it looks jet black.
Boston Terriers are prone to a number of health concerns that trace back to the nature of their muzzles.
Since the noses of these pups are short, there is little time to cool hot summer air before it reaches the lungs.
This can lead to issues if these pups are kept outside for too long.
The chiral issue presents in winter when air does not have adequate time to warm before reaching the lungs.
If you keep this pup mainly indoors, these risks are drastically reduced.
Appearance-wise, the muzzles are broad and boxy.
Depending on the pup itself, the tail shape is variable.
Across all dogs of this breed, this appendage will be short.
Tails evolved as a stabilizing agent; an extension of the spine that works to promote balance.
The other reason for this limb is that it facilitates sensory perception.
It can register vibrations that denote the state of the dog’s surroundings.
Boston Terriers will either have a tail that presents in a straight line or one that twists into an axiomatic corkscrew shape.
With all dogs, it is important that we remember the sensitive nature of their tails.
Litter Size: 3-4 Puppies
This breed has a litter sized anywhere from 3 to 4 puppies.
While generally a lower litter count will result in improved birthweight (and thus healthier puppies), in the case of this breed, the higher count is the ideal number of pups.
This is due to the large skulls of these dogs. It is very common for Boston Terriers to require caesareans to deliver.
In spite of being prone to a broad range of health issues, these pups have a hearty lifespan of over 15 years.
Naturally, this assumes we care for the dog to the best of our ability.
This includes a healthy diet, regular exercise, and routine visits to the vet.
These dogs bode best when they spend the majority of their time indoors.
Of course, there is a psychological component to lifespan- and dogs that feel affection will typically be healthier and live longer.
Proper treatment of Boston Terriers relies on us pet-parents knowing the nuances of the breed.
Environment is a large factor of care, meaning the dog will fare best when surrounded with love and allowed to spend their time indoors.
Since the snout is short, air quality is a concern.
Consider a humidifier/dehumidifier depending on the conditions. Proper diet is another major consideration.
A quality feeding schedule and nutritious kibble go a long way to providing adequate care.
Of course, exercise is another consideration.
These dogs benefit from play-focussed workouts (fetch is a great option).
In terms of grooming requirements, the Boston Terrier is actually very low maintenance.
Provided you brush, or use another coat-cleaning tool, on the dog at least once a week, you will be able to reduce the prevalence of shedding and keep the pup’s skin healthy.
Shampooing (often pup parents prefer to use dry shampoo), if done frequently, will work to keep away any other potential irritants.
Professional grooming services can also help.
They ensure we cover all the bases, from nails to ears, noses to teeth.
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Exertion requirements vary from breed to breed.
They also differ based on the life stage of the pup (obviously, a senior dog needs less exercise than a full-energy adult).
These dogs are playful by nature, so the best workouts for them play into this tendency.
When you are out with your terrier, try ‘fetch’ type exercises.
This encourages them to move, and also provides solid opportunity for positive reinforcement.
For pups with hip issues, swimming is a great option.
- Boston Terriers require moderate levels of exercise
- Regular exercise reduces the likelihood of many disorders which are common among ‘American Gentlemen’
- A frequent issue with this breed of terrier a condition that results in kneecap slippage- consider low impact exercise regiments
- Respiratory issues are common with these pups. Regular, low exertion aerobics will improve breathing health
- Indoor exercise, when possible is beneficial due to environmental sensitivities
- Consider swimming as an exercise to both combat heat and reduce joint damage
- Boston Terriers can dart off in a direction of their own- fetch is a great exercise, but it is best done in an enclosed area
Health Care Requirements
This American originating dog breed has many health care specifics.
In order to promote longevity and improve quality of life, keep an eye out for these issues (along with routinely visiting your vet).
Musculoskeletal problems deal primarily with the knees and tail.
Kneecaps on many Boston Terriers are prone to slippage.
The corkscrew tail (very prevalent) can lead to stunted development of spinal bones.
Facially related issues include breathing problems.
Other concerns relate to ocular damage with these pups.
Partial deafness is not uncommon with these dogs.
In general, these pups are very susceptible to weather-related illnesses.
As with all dogs, many terriers are prone to allergies and food sensitivities.
- Even though they are good humored, this breed can be very stubborn during training
- Once training is complete, the behaviour will dissipate (for the most part)
- Positive reinforcement is a good method with these dogs due to their eagerness to please
- A loving but firm hand will help the pup learn to understand boundaries
- It is important to remain consistent during training. This way, the dog understand expectations
- If your pup proves to be particularly obstinate, there are many training resources available (up to, and including, professional trainers)
- Ensure that issues with training are not due to heath concerns (like partial blindness or deafness)
- Starting training as early as possible is always a best practice
Training Care Requirements
Training this breed of terrier is not always straightforward.
Even though these dogs tend to be extremely well-tempered, they are also prone to behavioral issues during training.
They are trainable (all dogs are), though the process generally involves more effort than with other breeds.
Stubborn attitudes present during training times.
These pups are prone to assertiveness (though not aggression).
Consistency improves this behavior- it should not go rewarded, and the result of the stubborn behaviour should stay steady over time.
Using clear communication with the dog speeds up the process.
As long as the training is done with love, issues typically resolve quickly, and the dog will adapt to the expectations.
Physical Traits of the Boston Terrier Dog
The adorable dog is on the smaller side, though heavy set and muscular.
They have a short muzzle, meaning their nose is very close to the rest of the face.
Eyes are dark and beady, set widely apart on the face.
Large ears that come to a point perk up at the back of these dogs’ skulls.
Their coat is the key source of their fondest nickname, since the typical Boston Terrier pattern looks just like a tuxedo.
These friendly dogs may be stocky, but they are remarkably high energy.
These dogs are readily adaptable in most ways when it comes to behavior.
Since they were bred to be companions, these friendly furballs aim mainly to please.
Despite a few tendencies towards stubbornness during training, Boston Terriers are quite socially adaptable.
Environmentally and physically they are weak in terms of adapting to their surroundings.
For the most part these pups will be friendly with other canines.
There are, of course, exceptions to every rule (especially if another dog catches them during a stubborn bout).
Still, Boston Terriers are friendly in social situations and rarely show aggression.
These dogs are amenable to households with other canine companions and are able to meet new furry friends without much expected hassle.
Since their hair is so fine, these dogs do not tend to shed much at all.
One of the best ways to work towards a shedding-free situation is to keep up with regular brushing.
This works to improve blood flow to the skin, as well as prevent hair flying about.
Because these dogs are primarily indoor-oriented, they do not see as much of a seasonal impact on shedding habits.
Bostons are highly affectionate and extremely loving.
These American dogs were, unlike many other terriers, quickly became companions.
This is due to their levels of affection and love towards their human caretakers.
Boston Terriers do best in households with a fair amount of time to allocate to their pup due to the high demand for love.
The exercise requirements of the Boston Terrier are the definition of moderate.
This means that the dog needs a mid-range level of aerobics.
To do so, walking is better than running (since running is an intensive activity).
Exercise should be daily, though does not require a significant amount of time.
All breeds of dog have slightly different social needs.
Some pups prefer time to themselves while many others cannot cope with being alone.
Boston Terriers tend to be fine, provided they have the time and attention of their human caretakers.
These pups aim to please and receive a great deal of social fulfillment from quality time with their pup-parents.
So long as these dogs receive adequate exercise, urban living situations are perfectly fine.
Especially since Boston Terriers do not bode well in outdoor situations, they are great candidates for apartment settings.
Their generally small stature allows them to fit nicely into homier areas, and a lack of territorialism makes the communal nature of smaller spaces suited to their personality.
Grooming needs for this breed are fairly standard, even low maintenance.
Provided you brush the Boston at least once a week, shedding will be minimal.
Teeth are a major concern for all creatures.
Routine brushing helps, though we like to supplement with a food that is good for dental health.
Nail clipping needs to be regular.
Tools for this are available, though many prefer to outsource the task to professional groomers.
All dogs bark and you can train them to bark at unknown passersby.
That said, the Boston Terrier is generally friendly towards others.
Provided the dog is properly trained, you should expect no issues when it comes to meeting new people.
These dogs are minimally territorially and tend to bark only when it is situationally appropriate.
Since these are largely indoor dogs, their barking tendencies are quite moderate.
Puppies are exceptions to this rule, since the stubbornness of these dogs during training comes out as barks.
Adult dogs of this breed do not generally bark at their surroundings and use the tool more as a means of communication than to get attention.
Eye problems are significant in this dog, since blindness is prevalent in the breed.
Additionally, partial deafness is common for these dogs.
Due to their small snouts, these dogs tend towards breathing problems.
The nature of the respiratory issues range from snoring, to bronchial concerns.
Making sure the pup is indoors as much as possible protects from these issues.
All living creatures are territorial to a certain degree- it is a basic survival instinct.
Nonetheless, because this breed evolved under the care of people, the actual need for territorialism is quite little.
Due to these circumstances, and a general good nature, Boston Terriers tend not to be possessive of their space.
Typically, there are no issues with cats (or other pets) being in the household.
Especially when the Boston is a part of the family from a young age, bonds will be readily established with other animals.
Cats tend to stay away from these high energy canines, and these Terriers aren’t bothered by the feline presence.
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These dogs tend to be quite witty and infamous for the use of stubbornness for humor’s sake- a true sign of wit.
The emotional intelligence of Boston Terriers is worth noting.
Pups of this breed tend to be perceptive to the emotional state of their human companions and react to those circumstances (usually with cuddles or humor).
All dogs are trainable, though the Boston Terrier poses a unique set of issues.
The general cleverness gives them an edge when learning but tending towards obstinance adds a challenge.
Training can take slightly longer than with other breeds, though is readily achievable (even still in the puppy phase).
Assuming we have trained the pup correctly, there should be no issues with children.
Boston Terriers are not aggressive and are clever enough to recognize when a child is in a situation.
They make great companions for homes with kids, and their friendliness and loyalty lets them be great pets.
Playfulness is a major part of these dogs’ charm.
These pups are companions- and the ability to engage in play is a huge part of human-canine companionship.
Bostons are incredibly energetic and aim to please.
Because of their size, they suit a range of games.
When spending time with your Boston Terrier, focus on high energy, low impact games and activities.
Since these pups are companions with the ability to get along swimmingly with strangers, they are not the best watchdogs.
Though they will bark at someone new, the desire to become friends overrides any security feature these dogs may offer.
In addition, the small stature does not function as a deterrent against potential intruders.
While the Boston may alert you to a change of circumstance, their lack of aggression leaves their watchdog skills wanting.
One of the key reasons these pups are so suited to urban living is that they are amenable to cohabiting with other pets.
Whether the other animal is a canine, feline, or other, Boston Terriers are generally friendly.
Of course, this assumes that the pup was properly trained and is well-informed of his behavioral expectations.
When communication and expectations are clear, these Terriers are great with other pets.
Boston Terrier Nutritional Requirements
This breed of dog requires a high protein diet.
When sourcing food for your pup, check that high-quality meat protein is the first ingredient.
Additional needs include a good amount of fiber, as well as sufficient vitamins and minerals.
Since these dogs are so vulnerable to health issues, it is best to provide kibble that features fruits and vegetables.
Dietary access to vitamins and minerals make uptake drastically easier.
Boston Terrier Puppies
Puppies have similar nutritional requirements to their adult counterparts.
That said, there are several ingredients from which they benefit that will not be found in adult food.
Firstly, including DHA and Taurine in their meals will facilitate cognitive development.
Probiotics also work to keep the intestinal tract healthy and let you set up your dog with a healthy immune system.
Boston Terrier Adults
Once these dogs reach adult years, their nutritive requirements level out.
Focus on high protein from diverse sources.
When possible, include red meat as it features more iron than white meat counterparts.
As your dog grows, remember to include unsaturated fats which will keep the coat healthy and improve cognition.
Seniors of this breed benefit from glucosamine and chondroitin.
These supplements help prevent joint damage.
Famous ‘American Gentlemen’
#1 Princess Peia- The Boston from Pennsylvania
This adorable pup shot into the limelight post-mortem (as many stars do).
Originating in Pittsburgh, this pup was a therapy dog that dedicated her life to helping others.
Most of this pup’s focus was spent helping seniors- working as a helper at an old folks home.
Her namesake is the constellation, Cassiopeia (since she was such a shining star).
This dog’s life ended too soon, as at August 13, 2014.
#2 Sergeant Stubby- The War Hero
American in origin, Stubby worked hard to gain his stardom and respect.
He is the most decorated dog in the military and was officially promoted to the rank of Sergeant.
Stubby was found in 1918, meandering about in the Yale campus.
He has been the thesis topic of several books and his preserved body is in the Smithsonian to this day.
#3 Chopper- The Motorcycle Maniac
Chopper is a friendly dog who was thrust into fame by being one of the first known dogs to actually ride a motorcycle (thanks to some clever rigging by his pup-parent, Mark Shaffer).
Chopper has been riding bikes since the ripe old age of three months, and now does so to raise awareness and spirits at the Children’s Hospital in Orange County, California.
This American dog brings smiles to countless people when he isn’t keeping his eyes on the road.
#4 Owen- The Compassionate Canine
This friendly and loving dog grew famous largely due to his kindness.
This pup is born and bred in Knoxville, Tennessee and has worked for his whole life as a therapy dog.
He was so deeply impacted by his client’s death that Owen retired from work three years ago.
Now 11 years old, this pup lives with owner Janet Johnson (and still brings smiles to people’s faces).
#5 Robin Williams’ Terrier
Many pups get their claim to fame through their own work, though numerous others come to the public eye as a result of their owners.
Robin Williams, a famous American comedian said, “Been through depression myself and my Boston Terrier helped me through.”
His companion the friendly, tuxedo-patterned pup came to the limelight more fully after the passing of this important comedic figure.
#6 Sandra Dee’s Boston Terrier
This example of a much-loved Boston shows just how long these dogs have been popular.
Though the breed is little over a century old, their fame has remained steady throughout.
Sandra Dee was a much-loved Hollywood star during the early to mid 1900’s. Photographed on many occasions with her beloved terrier, this American dog got a great deal of camera time and a place in the hearts of millions.
#7 Machete’s Terrier
The actor commonly known as Machete has appeared on countless cinematic productions- everything from ‘Spy Kids’ to ‘Dusk till Dawn’.
Though the actor is famous for his edgy persona, he is also known for expressing affection towards his beloved Boston Terrier.
His American pup shows his smile to the camera and captivates countless movie and television fans.
#8 Anna Pavlova- The Ballerina’s Dog named Poupee
Even though this breed originated in the USA, it did not stop them from gaining global popularity.
Poupee, the pup of famed prima ballerina Anna Pavlova, is a Russian pup of this breed.
His proper demeanor is in many pictures, always paired with Pavlova.
Since these dogs are such good companions, it is no wonder that workers of demanding jobs (like ballerinas) keep their pups close by.
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How to Bring Home a Boston
When you make the decision to obtain a Boston Terrier, there are a few important things to consider first.
A major component to parenting these pups is indoor space.
These dogs cannot sustain with too much outdoor time.
Ensure that you have enough time to spend with your canine companion and are able to accommodate any potential health issues.
Once you are equipped, the next step is to find a reputable breeder.
This is often a preferred option when sourcing a purebred pup.
That said, adopting is a great way to go so long as genetics are not a primary concern.
How Much Does a Boston Terrier Dog Cost?
- Adopting is the lowest cost option– they can be found for as little as a few hundred dollars
- The average price of a Boston Terrier is $800 USD
- Overall price range tends towards $600 to $1200 (when getting from a breeder or pet store)
- When dealing with a respectable breeder, prices can increase
- Boston Terriers with known, high-quality lineage can cost anywhere from $1500 to $4500
- When health is a concern, it is always best to deal with a well-respected breeding professional
Non-sporting dogs refer to those pups who are not for competition and are not geared towards hunting or gaming.
In general, these pups will serve as companions.
Depending on temperament, they will often be companion dogs.
Companion Dog Group
One of the reasons dogs are so popular is that they work symbiotically with people.
Companion dogs are a great example of this (with Boston Terriers being at the top of the list).
The pup benefits from affection- and food/shelter.
Humans benefit from the comfort and love given by the dogs.
Together, we make a great team and Boston Terriers are a great member of this group.
National Breed Clubs
- Alabama Boston Terrier Rescue
- Wonderdog Rescue (Northern California)
- Boston Buddies (Southern California)
- Boston Terrier Club of CT Rescue
- Boston Terrier Rescue of Florida
- Midwest Boston Terrier Rescue
- Kentucky Tennessee Boston Terrier Rescue
- MidAmerica Boston Terrier Rescue
- Boston Terrier Club of Maryland Rescue
- Nebraska Boston Terrier Rescue
- Boston Terrier Club Rescue of Southern Nevada
- Boston Terrier Rescue of North Carolina
- Northeast Boston Terrier Rescue
- Boston Terrier Club of Western Pennsylvania Rescue
- Boston Terrier Rescue of North Texas
- Boston Terrier Rescue of West Virginia
Which Bit About Boston’s Bolstered Your Interest?
Now that we have learned all of the reasons these pups are so popular- was there anything that surprised you?
I loved learning about how friendly these dogs are (especially with children).
It is great to know that these pups can be stubborn and still not be aggressive.
Which part helped you out the most?
Were there some things you already knew about the ‘American Gentleman’?
What are you going to keep in mind when adopting your Boston?
Give us a shout in the comments and let us know- we would love to learn from your experience.
Learning about these loving pups helped my family a lot.
If this piece helped you, share it along so that more Boston Terriers can bring smiles to the world.