The Boston Terrier

by Janice Jones     |Last Updated 04-13-2021

Is the Boston Terrier the right dog for you? Well, if you’re looking for a lively, energetic and highly entertaining bundle of energy, then this may be perfect small dog breed for you.

They are highly intelligent and love to learn therefor training is easy breezy. They also do not require any special exercise, only excessive love.

Bostons can entertain anyone for hours on end because of his or her sweet-nature, clown-like personality.

Boston Terrier

They can be the center of attention and the spotlight of the room, but they are also known to have the ability to clear the room. That’s right, they’re very gassy.

Due to the Boston’s short, flat, deep muzzle, they tend to inhale an excess amount of air while they are eating. In return, they can be extremely gassy at times.

They also are quite noisy in the sense that they have quite the sound dictionary because of their muzzle, which include: snorting, grunting, and snoring. However, if those simple flaws don’t bother you, then this could be the match made in heaven.

Quick Facts

Other names used: Boston Bull, and American Gentleman; because of their “perfect” coat, which is said to look like they are wearing a tuxedo

Affiliation: AKC, non sporting group


            Height: 15 - 17 in (23- 38 cm)

            Weight: 6 – 25 lbs (3-11 kg)

Coat Type: smooth and fine with average amount of shedding

Colors: brindle, black, or seal (appears black with reddish tint when observed in the sunlight)

Country of Origin: United States of America

Activity Level: no excessive exercise requirements, routine walks

Life Expectancy: 15+ years

Good with Children: excellent with children and families

Good with other Pets: yes


Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier was originated in “ Beantown” or our very own Boston, Massachusetts, hence the name. 

Back in the 1800’s when dog fights were very popular, they were bred to fight.

A cross between the English Bulldog and the now extinct White English Terrier. Bred to be vicious, some Boston’s weighed over 45 pounds and were called Ole Boston Bulldogge.

Over the years, they were shrunk down to the adorable size that you see now.

When the Boston was first bred and discovered, the markings and color was neither prominent nor important at all.

Over the years the markings and color helped get the breed's nickname of “American Gentleman” because of the resemblance to wearing a tuxedo.

The Boston Terrier was one of the very first breeds developed in America and the first bred recognized by the American Kennel Club ( AKC).


Affection Level
Friendliness Towards Strangers
Good with Children
Good with Other Dogs
Good for First Time Owners
Exercise Needed
Ease of Training
Watch Dog Ability
Grooming Requirements
Cold Tolerant
Heat Tolerant

Dog Breed Ratings Got You a Little Confused?
Here's a little help in understanding them

  • Playfulness:   Most Playful = 5    Least Playful = 1
  • Affection:  Most Affectionate = 5   Least Affectionate = 1
  • Friendliness Towards Strangers: Most Friendly = 5  Least = 1
  • Good With Children:  Great= 5    Not Good with Children = 1
  • Good With Dogs:  Great = 5   Not Good Around Dogs = 1
  • Good With First Time Owners:  Fine=5  Not Appropriate = 1
  • Exercise Required:  Extensive Daily Exercise = 1  Minimal = 1
  • Ease of Training:  Very Easy = 5     Difficult = 1
  • Watch Dog:  Excellent Watch Dog = 5  Minimal = 1
  • Grooming:  Time Consuming = 5   Minimal = 1
  • Shedding:  Heavy Shedder = 5     Minimal = 1
  • Cold Tolerance:  Well Tolerated = 5   Poor Tolerance = 1
  • Heat Tolerance:  Well Tolerated = 5  Poor Tolerance = 1

The breed is an extremely outgoing, cheerful, and entertaining dog. Some say that their personality is almost clown-like in the sense that they are always making a fool of themselves.

They are very friendly to other animals, and only bark when they feel is necessary such as if they are being riled up, or someone is at the door because Boston’s love to be watch dogs. 

They are extraordinarily sweet natured and loves people, especially children.

They always love to please and be around their owner; however they are also very protective of their owner due to their roots. They are in no means violent whatsoever. Both male and female are gentle and kind.

Once fighting dogs, and then bred down to friendly companions. Due to the sensibility they have about barking, they make great pets for apartment dwellers.

Excess exercise is not required however your Boston will probably run around and wear themselves out if given an open yard or a large space to do so in.

Bostons tend to overwork them and they will run and play until someone stops them which don’t help their respiratory problems.

They will become overheated very quickly, if you do not watch them and stop them when you think that they have had enough. Although they might not want to stop playing, it is up to you to use your best judgment.

With that being said, they do not do well in climates with extreme heat or cold.

They are not outdoor dogs at all and should not be left outside unsupervised even during the day with mild temperatures.

Many people assume that dogs will be fine left outside for a couple of hours, but not the Boston.


These little guys have very short, smooth hair that does not require much grooming at all.

Shedding is the average amount for dogs but may need to be brushed to remove excess hair.

Other than that, run a brush through their hair once and week and they will be the happiest dogs alive.

Any other grooming tasks are those typical of all dogs including clipping nails, brushing their teeth, bathing and the once over that includes checking ears, eyes and skin. 

More information on grooming a short haired dog.

Health Concerns of the Breed

This is a relatively healthy breed but like all small dogs are prone to certain conditions.  Do not get alarmed by the list below.  Chances are good your Boston won't have any of these issues, but it is good to know just in case.

The main concerns relate to respiratory issues since they are considered a brachycephalic breed, cataracts, luxating patella and heart murmurs.  These dogs are also prone to allergies.

Luxating Patella

Heart Murmurs

Respiratory Difficulties/Brachycephalic Syndrome

Hip Dysplasia

Pros and Cons of This Breed


  • Friendly with children and other animals
  • Good watch dog
  • Entertaining and friendly
  • Requires minimal grooming
  • Can live in apartments
  • Highly intelligent and easy to train
  • Minimal barking


  • Does poorly in excessive heat or cold
  • Can be overprotective of owners
  • Can be prone to gas
  • Potential breathing problems
  • They can tend to chew a lot, but with the many chew toys provided, it shouldn’t be a problem
  • Tendency to be over-hyper at times

Did You Know?

The Boston Terrier, Playful, Friendly and Affectionate.  Learn more about the breed at Small Dog Place

Helen Keller had a Boston terrier named Phiz, given to her by some classmates at Radcliffe College?

Boston Terriers are one of the few truly American Breeds?

The State Dog of Massachusetts is the Boston Terrier


Parent Club

Breed Club: Boston terrier Club of America, Inc.

Need More Info on the Boston Terrier?

If you are thinking about choosing a Boston Terrier to be your new best friend, why not pick a good read to bone up on the breed's specific training and care requirements. Here are a couple of highly rated books on the breed, available on Amazon.

 ~Your fellow small dog lover, Janice

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