Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier
A small dog with a short, square muzzle and erect ears, the Boston Terrier is strong and well-muscled with eyes which are fairly large, round and wide apart. Originally bred as fighting dogs, this unusual looking breed soon found its place in the hearts and homes of people across the world.
  • Dog suitable for non-experienced owners
  • Basic training required
  • Enjoys gentle walks
  • Enjoys walking an hour a day
  • Small dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Non Hypoallergenic breed
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Guard dog. Barks and alerts
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Boston Terrier Key Facts:

Lifespan: 13 – 15 years

Weight: 4.5 – 11.5kg

Height: 38 – 43cms

Colours: Short-coated, the Boston Terrier comes in various colours, including brindle and white, and black with white markings.

Size: Small

Kennel Club Group: Utility


Family-friendly: 4/5

Exercise needs: 4/5

Easy to train: 4/5

Tolerates being alone: 3/5

Likes other pets: 5/5

Energy level: 4/5

Grooming needs: 3/5

Shedding: 2/5

History and Origins

Country of Origin: United States

Despite their name, the very first Boston Terrier was bred in Liverpool in the 1870s as a cross between an English Bulldog and an English White Terrier. This dog, named Judge, was then shipped to the US where he became the founding father of the breed. Once in Boston, several different breeds were added, including it is thought some French Bulldog to reduce the size of the breed to the small dog we know today. The Boston Terrier won so many fans that in only 20 years, the Boston Terrier Club was formed and the breed was officially recognised in the United States. While they were originally bred as a small dog fighting breed, their personalities and friendly natures meant they have easily made the transition to much-loved family companions.


The Boston Terrier is a lively, happy dog that can be quite determined and strong willed. They are usually good with children and love to play, but they can be boisterous and care must be taken that games are not too rough, as they can be prone to injury, especially their eyes. They love human company and make affectionate pets and are outgoing and social to all. While they are called a ‘terrier’ they are not in the terrier group and neither do they behave like one, being far happier at home with their owner than getting into the usual mischief!

The Boston Terrier would suit an owner who enjoys their unconventional appearance and who wants a fun, affectionate companion that doesn’t need much exercise but does want to join in with everything that is going on.

Health and Common Issues

The flat face of the Boston Terrier, if extreme, can result in obstruction of their airways and a difficulty in breathing. Like many other breeds, there are a variety of hereditary eye problems that can occur and they can suffer from kneecaps that may temporarily slip out of place, this condition is known as patella luxation.

Exercise Needs

The exercise requirements of this dog are quite undemanding; about an hour's daily exercise will be needed. They do not yearn for long walks, but they do like to go everywhere with their owners.

Space Requirements

The Boston Terrier makes a great urban companion and can live in a small space as long as they have access to the outdoors for exercise and toileting.

Nutrition and Feeding

Small dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.

Grooming Boston Terriers

The Boston Terrier breed is easily groomed. A grooming mitt used on the coat once a week should be adequate enough to remove any dead hairs from the coat. This is a clean breed with no doggie odours.

Training Boston Terriers

The Boston Terrier will enjoy basic training and should be taught to walk on a harness and lead and also to come back when called

Best Family Dog Breeds

Boston Terriers make good family dogs as they will join in with family games and are friendly and social. They do better with sensible, older children though as they can be prone to eye injuries.

While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children, all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with and respect each other, and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them.

Did you know?

  • The Boston Terrier is also known by the nickname ‘the American Gentleman’ due to their tuxedo like markings
  • The most successful and unexplained dog clairvoyant was a Boston Terrier called Missie from Denver in the United States. Missie stunned her owner and experts alike by predicting the results of sports events, the next US president, the sex and weight of babies, and even the date and time of her own death. She could also tell people’s phone numbers.  She did this either by barking or by touching cards
  • Helen Keller had a Boston Terrier called ‘Phiz’
  • This breed is great at tricks and a Border Terrier called Dexter has even mastered the skateboard
  • These dogs are big snorers because of the size and shape of their muzzles!

Similar Breeds:

French Bulldog


Miniature Bull Terrier


Is this the right breed for you?

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What to consider next


It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption. Click here for more information.

Finding a good breeder

If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed. Click here for more information.

Welcoming your dog home

Whether you’re bringing home a tiny puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone. While you’re waiting for the big day you might need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort out before you welcome your new arrival. Click here for more information.