Boston Terriers, also called the Boston bull, are compact and well-muscled dogs. Their bodies are short with a square appearance; The Boston's limbs are straight, muscular, are set somewhat wide apart. Their necks are slightly arched and they have broad chests, adding to their square and muscular appearance. Their heads are flat on the top and are in proportion to the rest of their bodies, with a deep, wide, short muzzle and a characteristically black nose for which the stop is well defined. The Boston Terrier has a bite either even or slightly undershot, which gives their muzzle its noticeably square look.

Boston's are famous for their expressive eyes, which are large, round, and wide-set. Their erect ears are small and either cropped or left natural. They have low-set, tapering tails, which are short and either straight or screw shaped. The Boston's tail is never docked. Boston's are easily recognizable by their "tuxedo" coat; Their short, fine textured fur comes in seal, brindle and white, black and white. In some cases, Boston's are born with straight brown and white markings.


The Boston Terrier is gentle, alert, very intelligent, well-mannered and enthusiastic breed. They are very sensitive to the tone of their owner's voice and love to learn, making them very easy to train. Their intelligence ensures they pick things up quickly. The Boston Terrier is playful, very affectionate and likes to be part of the family. They are most reliable with children, are especially good with elderly people, and are very friendly with strangers. In addition, they generally get along well with non-canine pets, making them an excellent addition to almost any household. Boston's are very popular in the United States, due above all else to its excellent character.

Boston's have been championed as strong and silent types; Some owners have reported that their dogs are good watchdogs barking only when necessary, while others have reported their female Boston Terriers do not bark at the door at all.

Without the proper amount of mental and physical exercise Boston's can become rambunctious and a bit high strung. This is a breed that needs a gentle, but firm, confident, consistent pack leader who knows how to display authority over them. Do not allow the Boston Terrier to developed Small Dog Syndrome: If the humans around the dog do not display the leadership that all dogs need, they will become willful as they begin to believe they are running the show and need to tell YOU what to do.

Remember: it is a canine instinct to have a strong leader and this little guy is no exception to the rule. Either the human will be that leader, or the dog will. Without proper leadership from humans communicating to the dog what is acceptable behavior and what is not, they can become dominant and may fight with other dogs. These little dogs may be difficult to housebreak.

Health Problems:

Prone to eye problems such as juvenile cataracts, late-onset cataracts, entropion, distichiasis, glaucoma, corneal dystrophy, corneal ulcers, cherry eye, dry eyes (Keratitis Sicca) The prominent eyes are prone to injury.

Also, deafness, patellar luxation, heart and skin tumors. These short-faced dogs may have breathing difficulties when stressed by exertion in hot or cold weather and can overheat if they are pushed too hard. They may also snore or drool.

Whelping is often difficult as the pelvis is narrow and the large headed pups are often delivered by cesarean section.


Living Conditions:

Boston Terriers are good for apartment as well as country living. They are relatively inactive indoors and do okay without a yard. This breed is sensitive to weather extremes.


A long daily walk and sessions of free play in a fenced-in yard are all the Boston Terrier needs to stay in shape. They are fairly light weight and can easily be carried.


The smooth, short-haired coat is easy to groom. Comb and brush with a firm bristle brush and bathe only when necessary. Wipe the face with a damp cloth every day and clean the prominent eyes carefully. Check both the ears and eyes for grass seeds. Ticks may also lurk in the ears. The nails should be clipped from time to time. This breed is an average shedder and does not have a strong doggie odor.

Life Expectancy:

About 15 or more years.


Bred down in size from pit-fighting dogs of the bull and terrier types, the Boston Terrier originally weighed up to 44 pounds (20 kg.) (Olde Boston Bulldogge). It is difficult to believe that these stylish, little dogs were once tough pit-fighters. In fact, their weight classifications were once divided as lightweight, middle and heavyweight.

Originating in the city of Boston, Massachusetts, the Boston Terrier is one of the few breeds that was developed in the USA.

The original Boston Terriers were a cross between the English Bulldog and now extinct English White Terrier. Around 1865, the coachmen employed by the wealthy people of Boston began to interbreed some of the dogs owned by their employers. One of these crosses, between an English White Terrier and an English Bulldog resulted in a dog named Hooper's Judge. Judge weighed over 30 pounds (13.5 kg.). He was bred down in size with a smaller female and one of those male pups was bred to yet a smaller female. Their offspring interbred with one or more French Bulldogs, providing the foundation for the Boston Terrier.

By 1889 the breed had become sufficiently popular in Boston that fanciers formed the American Bull Terrier Club, but this proposed name was not well liked by Bull Terrier lovers. Nor did they like the breeds nickname, "roundheads". Shortly after, the breed was named the Boston Terrier after its birthplace.

The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1893. It was first shown in Boston in 1870. In the early years the color and markings were not very important but by the 1900's the breeds distinctive markings and color were written into the standard. Terrier only in name, the Boston Terrier has mellowed from the pit fighting dogs of the past.


Height, Weight:

Height: 15-17 inches (38.1-43cm.) Weight: 10-25 pounds (4.5-11.3kg.)

Litter Size:

Average 3 - 4 puppies - Because of this breeds large head, Caesarean births are very common.


Mastiff, AKC Non-Sporting



More Resources

We've provided a collection of useful information for those looking to adopt a Boston Terrier. For a quick review, watch the Boston Terrier segment from the Animal Planet show Dogs 101. We encourage prospective owners to do as much research as possible in order to make sure this breed is right for your lifestyle: