Updated: November 10, 2021

A truly American breed, the Boston Terrier was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1893. The breed started with a dog imported from England called Judge; a cross between an English Bulldog and a white English Terrier.

They’ve been called the American Gentleman due to their kind and gentle nature. They make excellent companion dogs for active families and older owners alike. They were bred to be the perfect companion, and that’s just what they are. They’re just as happy in an apartment or a rural home just as long as they’re with their people, and they love kids! They’re not as feisty and confrontational as other terriers but have the energy and intelligence to make a great pet. Their comic antics keep everyone entertained!

This lively and intelligent, well-proportioned, smooth coated breed has a compact build and a short tail with an intelligent looking face and large, upright ears. They look as if they are wearing a tuxedo with dark head, shoulders and body and a white neck, chest and face!

Pet Profile

A friendly, intelligent, lively, people-pleasing breed with tuxedo coloring!

  • Medium sized 38cm – 43cm 
  • Weight between 4.5kg and 11.3kg (10 – 25lbs)
  • 13-15 years lifespan


Exercise and Nutrition

They are lively dogs and love to play. They need about 30 mins walking a day but they are more into playing than walking. They can suffer from heat exhaustion in hot weather due to breathing difficulties cause by their short muzzles so skip the walks in hot weather.

They love to chase a ball so can get enough exercise playing fetch inside or out if need be. You’ll need to be able to give them quite a bit of play time to keep them happy and stop them being bored! A bored Boston can get up to all kinds of no-good!

They are prone to gastritis, flatulence and obesity and have big appetites so it’s important to control their diet carefully. Their nutritional needs will vary depending on how old they are, their current weight and their activity levels. Obesity in dogs can cause huge health issues so feed your terrier according to your veterinarian’s advice and get their weight checked regularly.

Common health problems and illnesses

The breed is quite new and has largely been carefully bred so doesn’t have a lot of health problems. However, their short muzzle can cause breathing problems (they are brachycephalic). It can cause everything from snoring to poor breathing in the heat and cause them to over-heat, to more serious problems needing surgery.

It’s always best to buy your puppy from a reputable breeder who screens their breeding dogs and puppies for hereditary problems to help avoid health issues. Buying dog insurance when your puppy is young is also a good idea so he’s covered should the worst happen and he needs expensive veterinarian care.

This condition results in the bones of the spine failing to form properly. Some dogs may not show any symptoms when young but some puppies with the condition can have impaired movement and have poor coordination in their hind legs. Surgery is often the only treatment and dogs can end up being paralyzed.

Unfortunately, there is no genetic test for this condition as it’s thought to be a complex hereditary disorder.

The Boston Terriers face shape and prominent eyes can mean they can easily injure their eyes. They are prone to suffering from cataracts, lens-induced uveitis, corneal ulcers and glaucoma.

Lens-induced uveitis is often seen in dogs with cataracts and is an inflammation of the middle layer of the eye causing discomfort and in severe cases, pain. It is difficult to treat. Overtime dogs with cataracts can develop Glaucoma or lens luxation (where the lens is displaced in the eye). Glaucoma is caused by increased fluid pressure in the eyeball and it can damage the nerve fibers of the eye. Lens luxation and glaucoma can cause blindness over time.

Breeding dogs can be screened for the gene that causes juvenile cataracts so ask your breeder if they have tested their breeding dogs for this condition before buying a puppy from them.

Other conditions cannot be screened for genetically so it’s important to get your dogs eyes checked regularly for potential problems.

Four to six percent of all Boston Terriers are deaf in one ear. They suffer from a type of deafness that starts in the inner ear called sensorineural deafness. The whiter they have on their bodies the more likely they are to be deaf in one or both ears. They make great pets but shouldn’t be allowed to breed, so make sure your puppies parents and your puppy have had BAER hearing tests and were unaffected. 

Fun facts 

  1. Boston Terriers are made for toilet humor as they tend to fart a lot! Their face shape causes them to swallow air which causes the problem. Maybe they’re named after Boston, or Beantown, for gas reasons!   
  2. They were originally called Round Heads but luckily the ‘Boston Terrier’ name is the one that stuck. 
  3. This plucky breed has been the state dog of Massachusetts since 1979.
  4. They don’t shed much so are low maintenance and virtually hypo allergenic. 
  5. They make great therapy dogs as everyone is a potential new friend, and they excel in dog sports. 

Boston Terrier