Small Dog Breeds > Boston Terrier

Click on photos to enlarge

Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier, the first non-sporting small dog breed in the United States, dates back to the 1870’s. Robert C. Hooper bought a dog named Judge from Edward Burnett. This dog is thought to have been related to Bull and Terrier breed or the result of crossbreeding of modern English Bulldogs with terriers.


The offspring of Judge subsequently interbred with at least one French Bulldog and led to the creation of what is now known as the Boston Terrier. Initially, little care was taken during the breeding process to ensure the color and markings omnipresent in today’s breed.

The initial Boston Terriers were much larger than today’s namesake. Some weighed in at up to 44 pounds owing in large part to their Bull and Terrier heritage. Today’s Boston Terrier ranges in weight between 10 and 25 pounds at the most and measure around 15 to 17 inches at the withers. Boston Terriers are noticeably compact with erect ears and short tails and muzzles.

In addition to the breed’s downsizing, this Terrier in name only, lost most of it’s aggressive personality and prefers the company humans. However, some Boston Terriers may challenge other dogs if they feel threatened.

Boston Terriers are generally have a friendly and happy-go-lucky personality. With patience they can be trained and are often eager to please their owner. Despite their diminutive size, they can be very protective of their owners to the point of being aggressive and territorial towards strangers and other dogs.

The dogs keep their barking to a minimum and are quiet creatures for the most part. They also require minimal grooming. These qualities make them ideal for apartment dwellers. When properly socialized they also thrive in environments with children and the elderly along with other pets.

Coat and Color

Boston Terriers are generally with white in proportion to black, seal or brindle or a combination thereof. When viewed from the front or side, they often appear to being a tuxedo. Accordingly, the breed is often characterized as the “American Gentleman.”

Boston Terriers should be hand brushed weekly with a rubber hound mitt. They don't need to be bathed more than once every few months. However, their nails should be clipped every few weeks.
Height 15-17" at the withers
Weight 10-25 lbs
Life Span 11-15 years
Temperament Friendly, happy-go-lucky
Hypoallergenic No
Due to their short snouts, Boston Terriers are prone to snoring and reverse sneezing. (Reverse sneezing occurs when the dog rapidly and repeatedly inhales through the nose. This is often accompanied by gagging or snorting sounds as the dog clears his palate of mucus.) Fortunately, this behavior is not harmful to the dog. However, you can often stop reverse sneezing by rubbing the dog’s neck. Their short snouts predispose them to sinus cavity blockage and discharge along with dry tears. Veterinarians recommend a daily eye drop for these situations. Either saline solution or an artificial tear solution will work. When not being fed a proper diet, the dogs may become flatulent. This is due to their sensitive digestive system. However, occasionally a proper diet may not reduce the flatulence. Some more serious health issues include: deafness, heart murmur, allergies, mast cell tumors, luxating patellas and both juvenile and adult cataracts.


Climate Warnings

Due to their shortened snout, many Boston Terriers cannot tolerate extreme hot and cold temperature extremes. Combining temperature extremes with demanding exercise may be harmful to the dogs.

Related Dogs