Breed Profile: Boston Terrier

Boston Terriers are fun, smart little dogs that love being around people and families. Find out more in our breed profile of “the American Gentleman.”

boston-terrier
Bostons are also called “the American Gentleman.” By: BL4d3RuNr

Breed

Boston Terrier, aka Boston

Group

Non-working

Physical Description

Bostons are small, muscular dogs with short, square appearances. The head is square and flat with erect ears and large, round eyes. The tail is low and either straight or curled. The short coat comes in seal, brindle or black with white markings. This small dog is very intelligent and has a great personality, often called “the American Gentleman” for appearance and disposition according to the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Bostons range in weight from 15 to 25 pounds with some variation. Height averages between 15 to 17 inches. The average life expectancy of a Boston is over 15 years.

Origin

The Boston Terrier is one of the few breeds developed in the United States. Some time between 1865 and 1870 an English Bulldog and a white English terrier were crossed. The offspring was mated with smaller dogs, and this continued until the breed reached the size and appearance we are familiar with today.

Bostons were included in the formation of a new breed club called the American Bull Terrier Club of America. There were objections from bull terrier and Bulldog breed groups because the club name was too similar to those of their own breeds. The Boston Terrier Club of America was formed in 1891 when the breed name was changed. The change involved adding the name of the city where the breed originated. The AKC added the breed to its register in 1893.

Purpose

Bostons are mainly companion pets, but their qualities make them excellent dogs in other areas. They compete in conformation, obedience, agility and other performance events. Their excellent disposition makes this breed an ideal therapy pet.

Temperament

Bostons are very intelligent, and this quality makes them easy to train. They can be difficult to housebreak, but regular and consistent training will help avoid dominance and fighting with other dogs. Bostons can be sensitive to a human’s tone of voice, so firm training without being too harsh should be kept in mind.They are generally good with other animals.

Bostons are friendly to strangers, great with children and the elderly and love staying near their owners. They are affectionate dogs that love to play and remain active.

They can also do tricks. Check out this video showing Boston Terrier “Rex” performing some tricks:

Exercise Needs

A daily walk and free play is sufficient for this smaller breed. They are not as active indoors as other breeds and do fine with a small yard. Apartment life is suitable for this breed considering the daily exercise is provided. Bostons are sensitive to weather extremes, so keep this in mind when heading outdoors with your dog.

Grooming Requirements

The short, smooth coat sheds on an average amount and is easy to groom with a weekly brushing. Bathing can be done as necessary. The face, eyes and ears should be checked daily and cleaned as needed. The nails and teeth should be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis.

Common Health Problems

There are several health problems to watch for in Bostons. While your dog may not experience every problem on this list, it is important to know which problems may arise over time.

  • Eye problems: juvenile and senior cataracts, glaucoma, cornea problems and cherry eye
  • Deafness
  • Patellar luxation
  • Tumors (heart and skin)
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Easily overheated
  • Snoring
  • Drooling
  • Excessive flatulence
  • Heart murmur
  • Epilepsy
  • Skin Allergies

Is the Boston Terrier the Right Dog for You?

This “American Gentleman” has an amazing personality and loves being part of a family. They are great with other animals, kids, the elderly and make great therapy dogs. They are a smaller breed, so they don’t need as much space or exercise as larger breeds and do well in apartments. They do need regular grooming and special attention paid to cleaning the face and checking the eyes and ears daily. Boston Terriers are considered a brachycephalic breed because of their breathing difficulties and may not be restricted from flying on certain airlines.

Bostons do need regular and consistent training that is not harsh in nature. They are very affectionate and will certainly be a joyous addition to any family. If you are prepared for the health problems and can commit to the grooming requirements, a Boston Terrier would love joining your family.

Adopt, Don’t Shop

Search for a Boston using our pet search or check local shelters and rescues. Purebred dogs can and do end up in many places, so it’s worth checking out these resources in case a Boston is already waiting for a home. If you do choose to go through a breeder, make sure they are reputable.

Additional Resources

Kristine Lacoste

View posts by Kristine Lacoste
Kristine Lacoste, editor in chief of Petful, is an author, poet and pet lover from Louisiana. She is the author of an award-nominated book, One Unforgettable Journey, and was host of a weekly pet news segment on the National K-9 Academy Radio Show. She was the New Orleans coordinator for Dogs on Deployment, a nonprofit that helps military members and their pets, for 3 years. She is also employed as chief operating officer for a large mental health practice in Louisiana. Kristine has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Business Administration degree.

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