The Boston Terrier is a popular dog breed that originated in the USA. Due to its gentle and friendly nature, it has even earned the nickname “The American Gentleman”. They are quite an intelligent breed, but they also have a high level of prey drive.
Although they are small in size and a non-sporting breed, they are still fairly energetic and agile. Further, with a decent amount of exercise, they can be easily accommodated as indoor dogs.
Boston Terriers are mainly characterized by their unique color combination which gives them the appearance of wearing a tuxedo. Another distinguishing feature of this breed is their short muzzle and big, round eyes.
They serve extremely well as family dogs or companion dogs, and a great choice of pet for people who live alone. Read on below for detailed breed information about Boston Terriers.
All Boston Terriers are believed to have descended from a dog named “Judge”. But there are different stories about the origin of Judge, and no concrete evidence to prove which one is true.
However, the most popular story is that Judge was a Bull and Terrier dog that belonged to a man named Robert Hooper residing in Boston during the 1870s.
Reportedly, Judge was bred with a dog named Gyp, belonging to Edward Burnett from Massachusetts. Though the details of Gyp’s breed are not known, she is believed to have been a bulldog-type breed.
The offspring of Judge and Kate was bred with a number of other dogs by Burnett, and those offsprings were further bred to refine a few characteristics. This eventually led to the rise of the Boston Terriers, which received their name after their place of origin. They were recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1893.
In earlier times, Boston Terriers, as well as their ancestors, were bred to be fighter dogs. However, this breed gradually evolved into friendly and family-loving dogs. As such, they are quite a popular breed and are ranked 21 out of 195 by the AKC.
Boston Terriers are certainly very unique in terms of appearance – partly due to their facial features and partly due to their color schemes. Their features and appearance are described in detail below.
Boston Terriers have a somewhat square-shaped head that is proportional to the size of their bodies. Further, they have wide eyes and pointed ears, with a very short muzzle.
Boston Terriers have a stout and compact body. Though small in size, they have a muscular build with a broad chest. Also, their neck is a little arched, and their tail is short and tapered. Further, their legs are small and short, but strong and muscular.
Moreover, the gait of Boston Terriers is straight and rhythmic, which surely looks very graceful. Furthermore, they weigh anywhere between 12 and 25 pounds.
Coat & Colors
The coat of Boston Terriers is short and smooth, which doesn’t shed much compared to dogs with longer fur. As per AKC standards, only three color combinations are accepted as pure Boston Terriers.
Those are white and black, white and brindle, or white and seal. Any other color of the coat is not accepted as a true Boston Terrier since they are half-breeds or mix-breeds.
Here are the different breed standards for Boston Terriers:
- AKC’s Boston Terrier standard
- KC’s Boston Terrier standard
- CKC’s Boston Terrier standard
- FCI’s Boston Terrier standard
The gentle nature of Boston Terriers gives them a mild temperament. At times, they may be clumsy, and other times they may be quiet. Although they are not very aggressive, sometimes they may behave a bit stubborn.
If socialized from an early age, they will develop a very domesticated and well-mannered personality. Further, they are not very vocal, and they only bark when they feel something suspicious or curious.
Behavior with strangers
Boston Terriers may be wary and suspicious of strangers when their owners are not around. But in the presence of their owners, they are not aggressive towards strangers.
Behavior with other pets
Boston Terriers get along quite well with other dogs and similar sized pets like cats. However, they tend to have a high level of prey drive towards smaller animals such as rodents, lizards, and insects.
When introduced to a new pet, Boston Terriers may sometimes act aggressively and protective over their territory. However, this is usually temporary and they can be quickly trained to get used to a new pet in the home.
Intelligence and Trainability
Terriers are fairly intelligent – meaning they’re not the smartest and fastest learners, but they can be trained well to learn commands and perform certain behaviors. Further, they respond very well to positive reinforcement training using their favorite treats.
Also, if they are trained from a small age, they can learn the most basic commands and even many complex ones. Even in terms of behavior training, they can be trained to be a well-mannered and disciplined family dog.
Boston Terriers have an average lifespan of about 11 to 13 years. However, they are prone to some health problems, that buyers and owners should be aware of. Some of the common health conditions that Boston Terriers are susceptible to are listed below.
Due to their big, wide eyes, Boston Terriers often suffer from eye conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma. As they grow older, they become more Thus, it is recommended for Boston Terriers to undergo occasional eye check-ups at regular intervals.
Due to their big, wide eyes, Boston Terriers often suffer from eye conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma. As they grow older, they become more susceptible to such conditions. Such eye diseases are hard to detect or self-diagnose, and can only be detected by a veterinary doctor. Thus, it is recommended for Boston Terriers to undergo occasional eye check-ups at regular intervals.
Luxating patellas are a common condition in many small-sized breeds. It’s a condition where the kneecaps of the dog slip out of their place. Further, it is characterized by limping and abnormal gait. Sometimes, the dog may show signs of pain in the affected leg. Severe cases of luxating patella must be treated with surgery.
The short muzzle of Boston Terriers can often cause some type of breathing problem in the dogs. Many times, heat and high levels of humidity can also cause breathing problems in this breed. In most cases, the problem is temporary and often gets better on its own. But there is a possibility for Boston Terriers to develop fatal breathing problems. However, treatment for severe breath disorders may include surgical procedures.
Boston Terriers often suffer from partial or complete deafness. It is the responsibility of breeders to ensure that all Boston Terrier puppies undergo BAER testing, which determines if there is any incidence of deafness. As long as you get this breed from a reputed and reliable breeder, you will be informed beforehand if the puppy is suffering from deafness or not.
Boston Terriers are relatively easy to care for and can be considered as low maintenance dogs. Even first-time dog owners won’t find it very difficult to care for them.
It’s best to feed Boston Terriers with good quality dog food, two times a day. But keep track of the total calories your dog is receiving and regularly measure your dog’s weight to ensure that they don’t become obese or overweight.
If you’re using treats to train them, you must be careful with the number of treats you use. Further, too many treats can add a lot more calories than needed for the dog.
Having short fur, Boston Terriers do not shed a lot and require little grooming. Thus, it is best to brush their coats once a week and bathe them occasionally, about once or twice a month.
If they are spending more time indoors, then you won’t need to bathe them a lot. However, owners must take care to trim their nails often.
Boston Terriers require light exercise and taking them out on walks for two times a day should suffice. If they remain idle for a long time, they may get bored and show some unwanted behavior. Thus, it’s necessary to keep them occupied with some basic tricks and games at certain intervals.
If you want, you can train them to be athletic and agile as well. However, they can adjust well to both slow and fast-paced lifestyles.
Boston Terriers are suitable for first-time dog owners, people living in small apartments, and those looking for companion dogs or low-cost dogs. Further, they are a perfect choice for families who want a dog that is easy to maintain.
The average cost of a Boston Terrier is about $600 to $1,200. Reputed breeders may even charge $1,500, while certain Boston Terriers with superior lineage may even cost up to $4,000.
Here are some things you must keep in mind while buying a Boston Terrier:
- Scrutinize the credentials and reputation of the breeder from whom you are buying.
- Make sure that the breeder has performed BAER testing on the dog to check for deafness.
- Get all the required paperwork in place, which includes medical reports of the dog as well as its parents, and other documents such as proof of lineage.
When buying a Boston Terrier, do choose breeders over pet shops. Breeders are usually people who love dogs and care for them. They often provide for many health requirements of the dog before selling them.
The average litter size of Boston Terriers can be anywhere from 3 to 5 puppies. But there are cases where a minimum of 1 puppy and a maximum of 7 puppies are born. The mating process, as well as the pregnancy period of Boston Terriers, tend to go smoothly with no common complications.
However, the small size of this breed can cause problems in the natural delivery of puppies. In such cases, veterinarians perform C-section on the dog. But performing a C-section can also cause some complications that can even prove to be fatal for the mother or the new-born puppies.
It is a good idea to provide calcium supplements to Boston Terriers, as an adequate amount of calcium can promote natural delivery and avoid the need for C-section.
However, do not give them any supplements during the pregnancy period, only before or after. Owners must give special care to pregnant dogs in terms of quality food and sufficient nutrition.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have gathered the most common questions about Boston Terriers and tried to answer them as concisely as possible.
Boston Terriers need two medium-portion meals in a day. You can also give them a large portion in the breakfast, and then a small portion in late evenings. The quantity and portion of the food required for Boston Terriers may vary depending on their body weight and size.
Feeding them more than required will cause obesity in these dogs. So you’ll have to monitor their weight from time to time. Puppies or small-sized Boston Terriers may sometimes only need 1 meal per day.
If you want to go for readymade dog food, then you can pick any reputed dog food brand that produces high-quality products. But if you mostly give home-cooked meals to your dog, then you need to choose the ingredients carefully to provide all the necessary nutrition.
Try to mix in different types of meat, by preparing dishes such as beef stew or meatloaves. Vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, and broccoli, as well as potatoes and brown rice will provide a good deal of carbs and vitamins to your dog.
On hot days, keep them well hydrated and give them foods such as popsicle treats and yogurt.
Boston Terriers vary in size and weight. A fully grown Boston Terrier will usually be about 15 to 17 inches tall. Males are mostly taller and bigger than females. Further, they can weigh as less as 10 pounds, and should not weigh more than a maximum of 25 pounds.
Boston Terriers can reach full size by as early as 12 to 14 months. Some dogs may grow up to the age of 2 years.
Boston Terriers are friendly family dogs that love and enjoy human companionship. So they can suffer from separation anxiety when detached from their owners for a long time.
When they experience separation anxiety, they can demonstrate a variety of behaviors. Some may feel sad and isolated, while others may get frustrated.
Additionally, they may even indulge in destructive activities, though it’s not very likely due to their gentle personality.
Terriers are mildly protective, and it’s unlikely that they may behave aggressively with strangers to try and protect their owners. However, the intensity of their protective behavior depends mostly on their social skills. If they are socialized well from a young age, they will not act overprotective.
It may not be a good idea to keep Boston Terriers off-leash, mainly due to their prey drive for small creatures. Their instincts may cause them to chase after rodents such as squirrels if they are off-leash in a park or other outdoor locations.
Of course, you can train them to walk off-leash from an early stage. But their prey drive is unpredictable, so it’s not recommended to let them loose without a leash unless you know your locality very well inside-out.
Boston Terriers are not particularly difficult to train. You can’t compare them with extremely intelligent breeds like a Border Collie. But it should be easy to teach them most commands such as sit, paw, stay, fetch, etc.
As in the case of most dogs, the key is to consistently use positive reinforcement for training and have lots of patience.
Boston Terriers don’t show much aggression, so they can adjust well with other animals. If you already have a pet at home and plan to bring a new Terrier, it won’t be a problem provided your current pet can also adjust well.
If you already have a Boston Terrier, it can sometimes behave a little aggressive and territorial when you bring a new pet. When that happens, you should keep the two animals separate, allowing them to interact slowly under your supervision.
After a few days at most, your Boston Terrier should get used to a new pet. However, if you have smaller pets such as a hamster or a guinea pig, it may be best to keep them away from Boston Terriers due to their prey instinct for small creatures.
Boston Terriers are not hypoallergenic because they do shed some hair. However, their fur is short and they only shed small quantities of hair. If you have a mild or severe allergy to dog fur and dander, it may be best not to get a Boston Terrier.
After all, there are other completely shedding-free hypoallergenic dogs you can choose from. However, if a lot of dog hair annoys you but you can handle a little bit of fur, then a Boston Terrier will be suitable for you.
The occurrence of blue eyes is often seen in Terriers. But this is merely a random occurrence and not any health condition. The cause behind this is also unknown, and it is not hereditary either.
In any case, blue eyes in Boston Terriers do not pose any risk to their health. But some dog competitions may disqualify or forbid the participation of blue-eyed Boston Terriers.
In conclusion, the Boston Terrier is one of the best breeds for new and experienced dog owners alike. They can fit in perfectly in any type of household, be it a spacious house or a small apartment.
Since they don’t require excessive care, grooming, and exercise, they make perfect pets for busy working people as well as those who live alone. Due to their friendly nature, they also make for great companion dogs.
The two main things that Boston Terrier owners should care for is a balanced and nutritious diet and regular check-ups for some common health problems. That said, they are an excellent all-rounder breed with many positive features and very few negative ones.
- Adult male weight5-12 kg
- Adult female weight3-10 kg
- Adult male height25-40 cm
- Adult female height23-38 cm
Fur & Coat
- Coat lengthVery short
- Coat colorsBrindle & White, Seal & White, Black & White
- Registered puppyUS$900-1500
- Unregistered puppyUS$600-900
- Litter size1-6 whelps
- Gestation period58-68 days
- AKC GroupNon-working Group
- KC GroupUtility Group
- FCI GroupCompanion and Toy Dogs (Group 9)