Boston Terrier: Complete Breed Guide & Everything You Need To Know!

Are you in need of a companion or want to make a great addition to your family? The Boston Terrier is the perfect dog for you. No other dog exemplifies “man’s best friend” better than the Boston Terrier!

This lovable, easy-going dog is highly intelligent and perfect for families with small children and households with multiple pets. Even if you enjoy being alone in your apartment, the Boston Terrier dog breed will brighten up your life. They are a joy to have around.

This dog is amiable, and its big bright eyes glow, causing your heart to melt. Its coat resembles a tuxedo, earning its nickname as “the American Gentleman.” There is so much to love about this breed, but there is also a lot to learn about it as well!

Boston Terrier Characteristics (physical)

If there was a cuteness scale ranging from one to ten, this dog is easily a one hundred! Their recognizable characteristics make them easily recognizable and set them apart from other dog breeds.

The charming Boston Terrier has a square-ish appearance. They have a square-shaped head and muscular body. However, this breed does not have a square, boring personality.

The breed is also known for its wide smile in proportion to its head. Its bulging black eyes are bright and twinkly as they look at you. Combined with a broad muzzle, Boston Terriers appear like they are always smiling. Sometimes, when things are tough, the Boston Terrier can easily cheer us up with their lovely smiles.

If viewed from the side, you will notice that this dog has a squashed face. Dogs that share this feature are known as “brachycephalic.” It is not a defect in any way, and it is part of the reason why their eyes are more distinguishable.

Boston Terriers have a broad chest and a slightly arched neck. They also have short, erect ears, and it has a small black nose. This breed also has short-tails. It’s common for the tail to curl or tuck and can grow to about two inches long.



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boston terrier

Boston Terrier Size

The Boston Terrier is small and compact. You can take this cute dog anywhere, and they don’t take up a lot of space. Compared to bigger dogs, this breed fits perfectly in apartments and small homes.

Boston Terriers can stand between 10 to 17 inches tall at the shoulder. They can also weigh between 10 to 25 pounds. The Boston Terrier’s smaller sizes mean they can sit on your child’s lap and makes it petting and grooming so much easier.

Boston Terrier Personality

Do you like pets with unique personalities? Then the Boston Terrier has all that and more. Aside from being very lovable, this breed has outstanding personality traits that make it get along with people and other animals in the house.

The Boston Terrier dog breed is known to be gentle and well-mannered. Their polite behavior is a lot better than most people. Tired of dealing with toxic people? Then Boston Terriers are your best choice because they are very amusing and joyful.

Boston Terriers are also brilliant and alert. Dog or puppy training is way more achievable with Boston Terriers because they are quick learners!

These dogs are also very friendly and affectionate. You don’t need to worry about your Boston Terrier barking or trying to bite small children, older people, or strangers out in a park. In fact, Boston Terriers are typically very welcoming and will quickly get along well with anyone visiting.

It’s also their happy-go-lucky personality that makes playtime so much more fun. Their positive attitudes make them the ideal choice for a companion dog. Some dogs may be known for being aggressive, but that is not the case for Boston Terriers.

The Boston Terrier’s temperament is also dependent on how well its owner invests in its training. They can be stubborn at times, but this breed can become more sweet and gentle with socialization.

Because of the different positive personality traits, Boston Terriers have earned the nickname “American Gentleman.”

Boston Terrier Exercise

Whether you are a triathlete preparing for a Spartan run or a couch potato who enjoys movie marathons, exercise for Boston Terriers is easily manageable. This breed has a moderate energy level that matches yours. They aren’t super hyperactive but aren’t the laziest pet in the world either.

The exercise required for the Boston Terrier varies from dog to dog. Your Boston Terrier needs some sort of daily physical stimulation to stay fit and healthy. Some will be content with one or two walks a day, while others may require additional playtime or exercise.

Playing with Boston Terriers can be very entertaining. Their playful and friendly personalities match well with small children. Dog toys are another fantastic way for Boston Terriers to keep themselves busy and in shape.

Playing fetch, tug-o-war, or even just running around is more than enough for this breed to get its daily exercise. If you’re stuck inside on a rainy day or your apartment building doesn’t have a backyard, indoor exercise is more than enough for Boston Terriers. Because of their compact sizes, they can play and get plenty of exercise inside.

Boston Terrier Training

Nobody likes a rowdy, misbehaving dog. Being patient and persistent when training your pet will only improve the relationship and bond you have with them. Plus, who doesn’t like to show off a few awesome tricks to your friends or a date you’re trying to impress?

Like all dogs, Boston Terriers will benefit from early training and socialization. You can provide training at home or enroll your puppy in training classes to help them socialize and learn basic commands early on.

Socialization will help your Boston Terrier become exposed to different people, animals, and places. New experiences will make them a lot friendlier and less afraid of others. Unsocialized dogs may be more anxious or territorial in the long run.

With enough time and patience, you can teach your Boston Terrier fun tricks like how to:

  • Sit on command
  • Communicate that it is time for a bathroom break
  • Shake paws
  • Rollover
  • Stay and go
  • Come down from a couch
  • Play dead
  • Dance or stand up

All these tricks are possible through positive reinforcement training. Boston Terriers are highly intelligent and eager to learn. As long as you continue to praise them and give them treats, they will quickly learn everything you throw at them.

It is also vital to be patient with your Boston Terrier. Don’t get discouraged if they don’t learn right away, and never scold or yell at them. Each dog and breed learn differently, so be sure to take your time as you start their training.

Boston Terrier History

Compared to other dogs that have been around since the ancient Romans, the Boston Terrier was recently bred into existence a little over one hundred years ago.

In the late 1800s, many coachmen for wealthy families began breeding dogs for fighting (we condemn dog-on-dog violence!). Experts often trace the lineage of the Boston Terrier back to a mix of an English Bulldog and the now-extinct English terrier, a dog named Hooper’s Judge. This dog is often credited with creating the foundation for Boston Terriers.

Hooper’s Judge was eventually sold from England to a man living in Boston. The owners loved many of Hooper’s Judge’s characteristics and continued to breed him with other dogs. Eventually, those offsprings became the modern Boston Terriers we know and love today!

This breed was initially called American Bull Terriers, and about 30 owners formed a club amongst themselves. Although the group’s name was first called the American Bull Terrier Club, the owners eventually changed the breed name to Boston Terrier to recognize the city it originated from.

By 1891, these dog owners formed the official Boston Terrier Club of America. Just two years later, this breed was officially recognized by the AKC in 1893. Boston Terriers are one of the first non-sporting breeds in the AKC and one of the first breeds created in America.

Boston Terriers Today

Today, Boston Terriers are one of the most recognizable and popular breeds in the United States. The breed is often seen in pop culture on-screen or owned by celebrities. In 1976, Boston Terriers were officially named the state dog of Massachusetts. Many high schools and colleges also have Boston Terriers as their official school mascot too!

BT puppy

Boston Terrier Health Problems

The Boston Terrier has a life span of 11 to 15 years, but some possible health conditions may occur during that time. If you want to provide the best dog care, it is crucial to understand what health issues exist among Boston Terriers.

Eye Problems

There is no denying how adorable the heart-warming eyes of a Boston Terrier are. Unfortunately, these big and charming eyes are susceptible to a wide selection of problems.

  • Eye Redness and Irritation
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Corneal Ulcers
  • Entropian
  • Cherry Eyes

Be very observant of your dog during walks or outside playtime because it is very easy for them to hurt their eyes with foreign objects. Some owners carry eye drops to help with minor irritation. Seek out a veterinarian for further diagnosis.

Breathing Issues

The Boston Terrier’s flat face can lead to breathing problems. It is also common for the Boston Terrier to snore, drool, and sneeze. They can go through reverse sneezing when it is gasping for air or wheezing from being overly excited.

Boston Terriers have a small nose and narrow trachea, making it difficult for them to breathe in and stay cool in blazing hot weather or maintain themselves warm in freezing weather. Excessive exercise can also lead to breathing issues. Be mindful of giving your pet a break and letting them catch their breath.

Digestive Issues

The Boston Terrier’s short noses and breathing system make them take in air through their mouths. When air is constantly trying to escape, combined with a poor diet, it can contribute to flatulence and minor digestive issues.

Some dog foods can also contribute to digestive problems. Mainly if you are feeding your dog low-quality food made up of genetically modified ingredients and preservatives, it can cause upset stomachs and digestion problems. Some dogs may also get sick from consuming human foods they aren’t supposed to.

Always try to find higher quality food for your dog to help them live healthier and stronger. We should help them take care of their bodies just like we take care of ours!

Other Illnesses and Diseases

Would it not be amazing if there was an instant cure-all pill that can fully restore the health of a sick Boston Terrier? Although modern veterinary medicine has improved tremendously, Boston Terriers are prone to some cancers and diseases.

  • Heart Disease
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Skin and Brain Tumors
  • Dental and Gum Disease
  • Obesity
  • Heart Murmurs

One of the most common things to occur with Boston Terriers is a deafness in one ear or both. It is recommended to consult a veterinarian once a year to screen your dog for any potential health problems.

Patellar luxation is a common orthopedic issue with small dogs, and it is when the dog’s patella is not in place. It can cause your Boston Terrier to limp from one leg. If left ignored, it can become painful and may require surgery.

How to Care for a Boston Terrier

You are probably aware that your puppy requires a place to sleep and a dedicated food and water bowl. Those are important, but there are other things required for proper pet care as well.

  • Brush their Teeth: Get into the habit of brushing your Boston Terrier’s teeth either daily or a couple of times a week to prevent dental issues. Consistent brushing can prevent gum disease and bad breath so that you can keep giving them kisses!
  • Brush their Coats: Boston Terriers do not typically shed a lot and have short coats. They are okay with being brushed weekly with a short brush to remove dead hair. Since they are indoor dogs with short coats, they don’t require regular baths but can be bathed about once every few months.
  • Paw-dicure: Dogs with long, untrimmed nails can eventually develop mobility issues or injury. Regular activity should wear the nails down, but you can trim their nails if you hear them clicking or scraping against the floor. Start grooming and trimming your dog from a young age to allow them to become accustomed to the process.
  • Eye Care: Remember those enchanting eyes that make your heart melt? Keep those eyes twinkling by consistently checking their eyes for any dust or dirt. Some Boston Terrier owners carry veterinarian-approved eye drops to treat minor redness and irritation.
  • A Safe Home: Boston Terriers prefer the indoors and need protection from extreme weather. If you live in dry, hot regions, keep the fan or air conditioning on for them to cool off. And if you live somewhere with cold winters, a heater can help your pet stay warm.

Nutrition and Feeding for a Boston Terrier

Feeding your dog shouldn’t be too hard, but sometimes you might end up overfeeding them. It can be hard to resist giving in to those puppy dog eyes when they ask for food, but overfeeding can lead to obesity and many other health issues. So now you’re wondering, how much do I feed my dog?

The exact amount depends on the age, weight, and size of your Boston Terrier. On average, you can feed your Boston Terrier 0.5 to 2 cups of high-quality dog food about twice a day, depending on its size. Many dog food brands will also include a feeding chart to help you decide how much to feed them.

Look for dog food that promotes healthy digestion. Cheap dog food is made out of low-quality ingredients that can be bad for your dog’s health and digestion. Careful feeding and nutritious food can help maintain your Boston Terrier’s weight.

Your Boston Terrier can consume some human foods, like raw eggs and fish, but they should avoid foods like chocolate and coffee. Even a tiny amount of these foods can be toxic for your dog.

In general, it’s best to have your dog stick to its food. The American Kennel Club has a list of foods your dog can and should avoid at all costs.

Coat Color And Grooming

The fine coat of the Boston Terrier is easy to identify. The coat’s distinctive markings give off the appearance of them wearing a tuxedo.

All Boston Terrier dog breeds are either black, brown, or brindle with white markings or some combination of the colors. The Boston Terrier Club of America has guidelines on coat specifications of the breed standard.

Boston Terriers have a shiny and short coat. You should brush their coats weekly with a bristled brush or grooming glove. Brushing helps promote healthy coat growth and skin health by spreading natural skin oils.

Bathing is not necessary unless your little adventurer had playtime in the mud. Dry shampoos are fine and will have your Boston Terrier feeling fresh and clean.

BT eating

Children And Other Pets

Are you looking to add a small canine to the family but worried about how they will interact with your children or other pets? The Boston Terrier is the perfect companion dog for you and the family.

If you are a parent with a busy schedule, you can count on this dog to get its exercise by playing with your kids. As long as your puppy has experienced some socialization, they should get along just fine with your little ones and even other pets.

Rescue Groups

The Boston Terrier has rescue groups throughout the United States and abroad. Rescue groups are dedicated to saving homeless or abandoned dogs. These organizations are often volunteer-run and focused on rehoming these dogs in their new forever home.

  • Boston Buddies, Inc. (located in California)
  • American Boston Terrier Rescue (located in Texas)
  • New Mexico Boston Terrier Rescue

These are just a few rescue groups available. There are also dog organizations where you can register your Boston Terrier and chat with other canine owners. The American Kennel Club is the go-to organization in the United States.

Do you live abroad? Other internationally known registries include the Canadian Kennel Club, United Kennel Club, and the New Zealand Kennel Club. It does not matter where you are in the world because there is a registry or adaption center that may have a Boston Terrier.

Breed Organizations

Breed organizations are fantastic organizations that bring together breed enthusiasts and lovers together. The Boston Terrier Club of America (BTCA) hosts many events and competitions across the United States so that Boston Terrier lovers can share their love for the breed.

There are tons of great resources on the BTCA site to help you learn more about the breed standard and care tips! If you’re looking for a reputable breeder, the BTSA provides a breeder registry so that you can focus on finding your next Boston Terrier for your home.

More About This Dog Breed

Whether you are a lone wolf seeking to add one more addition to your pack, or a parent seeking to include a furry little friend, the Boston Terrier is the perfect match. With its lovable personality, appealing big eyes, pointy ears, and the color and markings of its short, smooth coat, the Boston Terrier is heaven-sent.

You can expect your Boston Terrier to fill your life with joy. Kids and the elderly love them, so what’s stopping you from going out and becoming the proud owner of a Boston Terrier?



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