BOSTON TERRIER 101! Everything You Need To Know


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Where does the Boston Terrier come from?

This lovable breed was developed in the 1900’s in England – in a time when blood sports were extremely popular, which motivated people to create a dog who would perform well in ratting-contests and pit-fights. In Liverpool of the 1860s, someone crossed an Old English Bulldog with a White English Terrier. And whilst both these breeds are now extinct, it was this breeding effort that gave birth to the Boston Terrier: “Judge”, a male dog from this litter, was sold to an American who took him to Boston. Over the following decades, selective breeding refined the “Judge”’s offspring both in appearance and in character: The bulky fighting dog eventually turned into the smaller, gentler and more elegant companion whom we love today.

In 1893, the AKC registered the first of these dogs under their new name “Boston Terrier”. Boston Terriers have been the official mascots of the University of Boston for almost 100 years. And in 1979, the “American Gentleman” was declared the official dog of Massachusetts.

In its outer appearance, the Boston Terrier resembles the French Bulldog – to the point where it is often mistaken as a Frenchie. However, the Boston Terrier can be recognized by his bi-coloured coat that comes in black and white, brindle and white, or seal and white. This particular colouring makes the dog appear to wear a tight tuxedo jacket. Also, its body is more elegantly built and less compact than that of the Frenchie. The Boston Terrier has large, round eyes, a flat, snub-nosed face and small, erect ears. Its tail, even though not cropped, is naturally very short and bun shaped.

Adult Boston Terriers measure between 15 and 17 inches, and weigh between 12 and 25 pounds. That is between 38 and 43 cms in height and between 5 and 11 kilos in weight. As with any breed, the females are slightly smaller and lighter than the males.

What is their temperament like?

In terms of temperament, Boston Terriers are lively during walks and playtimes, but nicely laid-back and calm in the house. And whilst they are not prone to excessive barking, they absolutely will alert their owners when necessary. This combination of calm poise and keen senses makes the Boston Terrier an excellent watchdog – and also a perfect canine companion for people living in apartments.

Boston Terriers are sweet and entertaining dogs who often make their owners smile and laugh. For example, when trying to figure out what their humans want them to do, they often tilt their little heads to the side and stare at people with their large, soulful eyes. Which of course is adorable. These dogs are immensely charming and endearing canine companions with a big heart for entire family – and their family’s entire circle of friends, as the little Terrier’s heart is big enough to encompass a great number of people.

However, they form the strongest bond with the one person in the household whom they regard as their primary leader – usually, this will be the person feeding and walking the dog.

How intelligent and trainable are Boston Terriers?

Boston Terriers are very intelligent and quite eager to please their owners. However, a certain stubborn streak does run in the breed. This tends to make educating young Boston Terriers in obedience and house manners more challenging than other, more cooperative breeds. However, by no means should this tendency for independent thinking put you off from getting one of these lovable companions. You simply have to outsmart your smart Boston Terrier – and the best way to do this is to work predominantly with positive reinforcement: Obedience training is far more fun for your dog when accompanied by lots of praise and play.

Obedience training is also an excellent way to make sure your little Terrier gets sufficient mental stimulation: Making your dog have to think and figure out what you want them to does tire them out more than just plain physical exercise. The same applies for teaching your Boston Terrier tricks. To keep the little fellow motivated during such training sessions, you want to make sure to have some tasty treats ready as rewards for a job well done.

Are Boston Terriers healthy dogs?

Unfortunately, Boston Terriers are not an overly healthy breed. Many of them suffer from cherry eye, corneal ulcers and cataracts due to the large, round shape of their eyes. Other health problems the breed is prone to due to being brachycephalic (which means: short-headed) include reverse sneezing and shortness of breath. Boston Terriers also can suffer from Petellar Luxations and digestive problems. And whilst these chronic problems can be managed with medication, there are more serious issues that can occur, such as heart murmurs and brain tumours.

To maximize the chances for your puppy being as healthy as possible, you want to choose a Boston Terrier breeder who tests their breeding stock for heart, eye and hearing conditions. You basically want your breeder to provide you with written documentation that your puppy’s parents have been cleared of the common health issues known to affect the breed. Also, feeding your dog a high-quality diet can go a long way to preventing the digestive problems the breed is prone to.

The average life span of the Boston Terrier is between 11 and 15 years.

How much exercise does the Boston Terrier need?

The Boston Terrier belongs to the non-sporting group and does not require lots of exercise.

Even though playful and always up to a nice outing, this sweet-natured dog loves relaxing on the couch as much as it loves to play with its owners. To satisfy their need for entertainment and play, one hour of activity per day is quite sufficient. However, due to their tendency to put on weight, the Boston’s daily low-key workouts should not be neglected.

It is worth noting that a bored Boston Terrier might resort to chewing. As a proactive owner, you want to prevent that. There are a number of ways to keep your dog entertained, even if it has to spend a few hours a day alone in an apartment. For example, you could invest in a selection of toys that include smart toys, specifically designed to keep dogs occupied. Such devices include licking mats that can be covered with peanut butter, treat-dispensing balls or Kongs or puzzle toys.

What are their grooming requirements?

Because of their very short coat, Boston Terriers hardly requires any grooming. Even when they spend a lot of time outside, they usually stay clean, because short, tight coats do not easily accumulate dust or dirt. However, if your Boston Terrier gets really dirty on a walk or during playtimes, you should rinse it down in the shower or give it a short bath, using a mild dog shampoo.

To keep your house clean of dog hairs, brushing your Boston Terrier two to three times a week is sufficient. The best tools for your Terrier’s very short coat are mitts and soft natural bristle brushes. Of course, as for every dog except for the hairless breeds, spring and autumn bring about shedding season for the Boston Terrier. In these times, you might want to brush your dog at least once per day in order to keep its short hairs from getting onto your floors, on your furniture, and on your clothes.


The amazing Boston Terrier is one of the most easy-going, friendly and charming breeds among the Terriers. And yet, these compact canine companions come with keen senses that alert them to any unusual sights, smells or sounds. Which is why, despite their kind-hearted nature, Boston Terriers make excellent watchdogs. In summary, we can say that Boston Terriers are quite amazing house companions who are a pure pleasure to live with.

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