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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
  • Need to be aware of potential health issues
  • Enjoys gentle walks
  • Needs under an hour of walking a day
  • Small dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Quiet dog
  • Barks and alerts to visitors/anything unusual
  • Generally friendly with other dogs
  • Gets along with other pets with training
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Needs a small garden
  • Can happily live in the city
  • Can be left occasionally with training

Key Facts

Lifespan: 13–15 years
Weight: 4.5–11.5kg
Height: 38–43cm
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
boston terrier sitting in the center of the room


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.

boston terrier looking up

History and Origins

In the 1800s, the Boston Terrier dog breed was originally a cross between an English Bulldog and an English White Terrier. Then around 1893, more crossbreeding was carried out, seeing the breed crossed with the English Bull Terrier, Boxer and the Pit Bull Terrier, along with other terriers. Originally the Boston Terrier weighed over 20kg, but was bred smaller and smaller until they became the size we know them as today.

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
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?

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!

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