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Boston Terrier Breed Information

A black and white Boston Terrier running in a field of flowers

Boston Terriers are spunky, fun, and comedic dogs who love to play, entertain, and snuggle from dusk to dawn. They adapt easily to any type of lifestyle whether active or relaxed, and are great for families, singles, seniors, and novice owners. These perfect pups love to ‘chase’ sprinklers, run in the snow, swim, and fetch. They are also very fond of belly rubs and cuddles. As dogs of impressive intelligence, they are easy to train and care for. When it comes to their human family, these pups are highly affectionate and loyal. They are quick to form lifelong bonds and they get along great with kids.  

BREED TYPE / MIX Purebred ENERGY Moderate SHEDDING Moderate TRAINING Determined TEMPERAMENT Affectionate, Friendly, Lively, Playful ADULT WEIGHT 10-25 lbs ADULT HEIGHT 15-17 in LIFE SPAN 10-14 yrs

Characteristics

  • The Boston Terrier is also known as the American Gentleman
  • A dog like no other, the Boston Terrier has a unique wide-eyed expression and a tuxedo-like coat
  • These dogs are sociable and very friendly. They are quick to make best buddies with other dogs, cats, and even strangers
  • Gentle, patient, and kind, this Terrier loves kids and is an excellent babysitter
  • These puppies adapt easily to both active and relaxed lifestyles  
  • Highly trainable and easy to groom, the Boston Terrier makes a wonderful companion pet for first-time pet owners
  • Boston Terriers are very fond of people and attention. They are perfect family dogs as well as amazing companion dogs for seniors, couples, and singles
  • Although generally quiet, Boston Terriers will sound-alert approaching visitors. They make great watchdogs
  • The breed holds 20th place in the AKC popularity chart and is the mascot of Boston University  
Black and white Boston Terrier on a red bench

Appearance

The Boston Terrier is a flat faced, unique-looking dog with large bat-like ears, big beautiful eyes, and a tuxedo-like, short smooth coat. This gorgeous dog appears determined and sporty and has a graceful gait and a kind sweet expression. His demeanor appears warm and friendly, and his disposition is playful.

Boston Terriers are medium to small dogs. They weigh between 20 to 25 pounds and stand at 15 to 17 inches tall. They have a compact, muscular, and well-proportioned body, a short muzzle that is square-shaped, a naturally short tail, dark and large round eyes that are set wide apart, and erect ears that are slightly rounded at the tip.  

Their coat is short, smooth, and fine with the breed standard colors black, seal, and brindle, each with white markings.  

Temperament

Boston Terriers are great family dogs. They are calm and patient around children and they are very loyal and loving of their pet parents. One feature that sets Boston Terriers apart from other dogs is that they are just as happy and comfortable in an active lifestyle as they are in a relaxed one. Although attached to their owners, they are more on the independent side and can be left alone for up to eight hours a day. They are neither overly vocal nor aggressive and they make excellent watchdogs.  

They are very friendly dogs when it comes to other canines, pets, and even strangers. They get along great with everyone they come in contact with and they are more likely to cuddle an intruder than to act in any aggressive manner. They enjoy socializing with other dogs at dog parks and greeting strangers with openness and affection.  

As fun-loving dogs, Boston Terriers have a long list of favorite activities. They love playing with bungee ball toys, canine puzzles, and chew toys. They adore jumping high, running in the snow, fetching their ball in both water and on land. And they are very fond and great at dog sports such as agility, flyball, rally, and obedience. They are also very fond of cuddle-time, belly rubs, and pampering of any kind. Although they enjoy splashing into water, swimming, and jumping in pools, it is always recommended to supervise them near water.  

When it comes to their family, Boston Terriers want to take part in every activity. They don’t mind spending an entire day on the couch or going on week-long trips as long as they are near their humans.  

Boston Terrier puppies are amusing, playful, and mischievous. They test their speed limits many times a day and are very fond of attention.  

Care

Grooming

The Boston Terrier breed is somewhat low maintenance when it comes to grooming. Because they have a short fine coat, it is recommended to brush them once every week with a grooming glove brush to manage the shedding hair. They shed very little and because they have a short coat, the shedding is easily manageable. These stunning dogs should be bathed only as needed and not too often. Their nails should be clipped frequently to avoid discomfort and their ears checked and cleaned regularly. They are sometimes prone to dental issues and it is required to brush their teeth a few times every week.  

Exercise Needs

The Boston Terrier, although energetic and playful, doesn’t have high exercise needs. As lovers of canine games and sports, they will enjoy a romp around the yard, games of fetch, swims, and short hikes, as they are not built to withstand very intense activities. Generally, it is recommended to walk them once or twice every day and supply them with plenty of dog toys and games indoors to keep their minds and bodies active. 20 to 40 minutes of walks and fun activities per day will suffice to keep Boston Terriers fit and happy.  

Boston Terriers love their dog kibble and treats, and because they are so fond of food, they are prone to gain weight. It is beneficial to put them on a feeding schedule that is made in consideration of their size and activity levels.  

Health

Boston Terriers are a healthy breed that isn't known to have common health issues that can be life-threatening. They occasionally suffer from the same problems that are common in all small breeds of dogs. These include deafness and cataracts especially during their senior years, patellar luxation, Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome BAOS, eye problems, and allergies. Because they have a short snout, these dogs are unable to handle exercise during very hot weather. Short muzzles prevent them from being able to regulate their body temperature as easily as dogs with longer muzzles do.  

Lifespan

The average life span of a Boston Terrier is between 10 and 14 years. With a calm living environment, high quality dog food, and the proper amount of daily exercise, this dog can live up to 15 years. Regular vet checkups are recommended to keep their health in check.  

Training

Boston Terriers are very intelligent dogs that train easily. They have a remarkable capacity to learn quickly, and they love a good challenge. As with all dogs, it is best to use a soft and gentle approach during training sessions. These puppies tend to be a bit sensitive and will not respond well to a harsh tone of voice, yelling, or any type of punishment. They do best when their trainer is consistent and firm, and when rewards and praise are plentiful. 

Boston Terriers love to impress and will pick up on complex tricks and commands faster than other dogs. They can be trained to participate in dog sports of obedience, rally, and agility.  

Socialization and house training should start as early as possible with Boston Terrier puppies. They should experience new sounds and places and meeting new people and other pets as soon as their vaccinations are up-to-date. House-training can be a bit difficult at first, but with proper motivation and patience, any effort will be rewarded with an obedient adult dog.  

History

A remarkable dog in both appearance and temperament, the Boston Terrier has enchanted dog lovers for over a century. The breed was originally developed during the 1800s in the United States for dogfighting pits/sports that were highly popular at the time. Although great little warriors in their fighting days, by the 1900s the Boston Terriers had evolved into gentle, loving companion pets that lacked any trace of aggression.

These amazing pups were widely known as bull-terriers, American Terriers, round-heads, and even Boston Bulldogs, but because there were already several breeds with similar names, the breed was eventually named The Boston Terrier.

There are many claims as to how the dogs came to the United States and how they were developed as a breed. The most common belief is that they have English Bulldog and White English Terrier ancestors and that most Boston Terriers can be traced back to a Boston Terrier named Judge.  

These dogs are famously known today as lovable family dogs, excellent playmates for children of all ages, and fantastic entertainers. They are featured in movies, TV shows, and art and they have been the official mascot of Boston University for over 100 years.  

The Boston Terrier Club of America was founded in 1891 and the breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1983. They are part of the Non-Sporting Group and the 20th most popular dog of 2021. The Boston Terrier was the most popular breed of dog in 1915 in the United States and most refer to the breed as the Official (and favorite) Dog of Massachusetts today.  

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