Boston Terrier dog breed characteristics, origin and care

Boston Terrier breed characteristics

  • Size: Small
  • Traits: Boisterous, Lovable, Lively, Friendly, Strong-Willed
  • Maintenance: Low maintenance, weekly brush, no/minimal hair clipping required
  • Best Suited To: Families With Children, Older Owners
  • Lifespan: 13 to 15 years

Originally bred as a fighting dog, the Boston Terrier is a loyal, happy and sometimes boisterous companion. But not to worry, proper training will correct any aggressive traits. Their distinctive tuxedo colouring has earned them the title "Little American Gentleman".

Where I'm From

The Boston Terrier was originally bred in the United States in the late 19th Century as the result of cross breeding the English Bulldog and English Terrier. These little guys owe their name to the city they originated from – Boston, Massachusetts.

Boston Terriers are not actually terriers and, at first, the breed was known as “Round Heads”. In 1891 the name was changed after the Boston Terrier Club of America was founded.

It was in 1893 that the breed was officially admitted by the American Kennel Club where it’s popularity grew. Throughout the 20th Century the breed kept being perfected, until it was finally standardized into the dog we know today.

Nowadays, the breed is extremely popular all over the world. Especially in America where it is considered one of the country’s trademark dogs.

What I Look Like

Boston Terriers are small, but sturdy dogs. They are characterized by their round head, flat face and compact size. Despite their petite appearance, they are not as fragile as other “lap dogs”.

These little guys have a soft and short coat that varies in colour. Hair shades include brindle, black and seal. Their most recognizable trait, however, is the white markings alongside they chest, muzzle and blaze. This peculiar pattern gives them the tux-like appearance that many people enjoy.

A Boston usually weighs between 7-11kg. They have big, expressive eyes, short, stubby tails and naturally pointy ears.

How I Act

A Boston Terrier is always full of personality. Known for their feisty character, these dogs can be quite lively and alert. They are perfectly suited for families of all kinds. Children of all ages can enjoy the playful personality of the Boston Terrier, while older pet owners can appreciate their affectionate nature.

This charming breed is always eager to spend a lot of time around their owners. In fact, they can become so attached, that they even become sensitive to their master’s mood. A Boston can tell when you are sad, angry, or happy. For this reason, keeping a positive attitude around your pet is very important.

Their loyalty can become problematic on occasion. Boston Terriers are known to become jealous of other people and dogs their owners interact with. They are known to bark and become agitated in order to gain your attention. Proper obedience training will help avoid this disruptive behavior.

Boston Terriers don’t let their size get in the way of their confidence. Don’t be surprised to find these determined and feisty guys barking at dogs three times their size. This alert personality makes them a good watch-dog.

Looking After Me

Due to their compact size, Boston Terriers are ideal for people living in flats and small houses.

Their short coats need minimal grooming. A quick brush will help remove any loose hairs, and a bath every month or so will keep them nice and clean.

Boston Terriers require small amounts of exercise. A 15-20min walk and play will do it for these guys. They are quite playful, so activities such as throwing a ball is perfect for them. Be sure not to over-exercise them though. Bostons can easily overheat and are vulnerable to suffer from heatstroke. Keeping them cool is key to maintaining good health.

Training can be a challenge. Getting these guys to behave takes time and patience. It takes them a bit longer to learn obedience than some other breeds; not because they are dull, but because they are quite stubborn creatures.

With enough time and repetition, your Boston will ultimately learn to follow simple commands. It is important that owners state their authority. If a Boston Terrier doesn’t learn to respect their owner early on, it can lead to behavioral issues in the future. A quick tip to help the process is that these cheeky dogs respond well to rewards – especially food.

Boston Terriers can develop separation anxiety. To prevent this from happening, owners should avoid leaving them by themselves for extended periods of time.

Like other flat-faced breeds, it is common for Boston’s to snore, have difficulty breathing, and will sometimes need surgery to correct this.

They are also vulnerable to eye complications such as cataracts, distichia and glaucoma. Their loose skin can also prove to be problematic. Bacteria can accumulate between the creases of their coat, resulting in various skin diseases.

Other conditions that affect Boston Terriers are luxelating patellas (slipping kneecaps), arthritis, flatulence and ingrown tails.


  • Great watch-dogs as they often alert their owners of any danger
  • Loyal and affectionate companions
  • Require minimal looking after


  • Their jealous tendencies causes them to misbehave
  • Slow to learn obedience training
  • Can be quite noisy

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