Boston Terrier

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Learn about the Boston Terrier, their traits, history and grooming needs in our guide.

Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:
11 to 13 years
Size:

Small

Maintenance Level:

Medium

Shed Level:

Low

Temperament:
Life Of The PartyCarefree AttitudeFun-loving
Coat Color:
BrindleSealBlack

Best For

Boston Terriers are best for families or first-time pet parents, and they thrive when someone's with them most of the time. The Boston Terrier breed is a good match for those who like to be active (but not overly so), and they do well at dog sports like obedience and agility work. But make sure you include chill time, too; they are happy to hang out with you at the end of the day.

Boston Terrier Traits

What makes the Boston Terrier a Boston Terrier? Let's find out how they stack up.

Boston Terrier Temperament

Boston Terriers are like big dogs stuck in a little dog body—full of personality and spunk. They are very connected to their people and wholeheartedly believe that life should be enjoyed (two qualities pet parents love the most). Known for being friendly and happy-go-lucky, they are highly affectionate. But be warned—these dogs are meant to be companions, and they take it seriously. They do not like to be left alone!

Their personality is so exuberant that it can be overwhelming for shy or sensitive dogs, so it’s important to socialize your Boston Terrier puppy and teach them how to appropriately greet and play with other dogs. Luckily, they are intelligent and love to learn, so they’re easy to train.

A well-socialized Boston Terrier loves everyone and everything, including other dogs, cats and kids. They are happy to spread the love while still having confidence and a self-assured nature. These characteristics make them such a popular pet that they are in the top 25 of the AKC’s breed popularity list and have been a beloved family dog since the late 1800s.

How to Care for a Boston Terrier

Keep your Boston Terrier puppy healthy with annual visits to the veterinarian, by feeding them high-quality dog food and giving them plenty of exercise. This short-haired breed is the definition of low-maintenance grooming, which is great—you can spend all that extra time playing and snuggling with your pup.

Boston Terrier Health

Boston Terriers have a life expectancy of 11 to 13 years, but they are prone to some health problems. It’s important potential pup parents be aware of these health issues so they can help their pet live the fullest life possible. If you’re adopting your pup from a local rescue, be sure to get a copy of the vet wellness check.

  • Cataracts: Boston Terriers can get cataracts as they age or cataracts can show up as early as 8- to 12-weeks-old. Cataracts aren’t usually painful but can cause vision loss, which can lead to them bumping into things and getting injured. An annual eye test is recommended to catch cataracts early. Depending on the severity and the age of the dog, surgery may be performed to correct them.
  • Corneal Ulcers: Corneal ulcers are one of the most common eye problems Boston Terriers can have. Because of their protruding eyes, Boston Terriers are more susceptible to scratching their cornea or getting a bacterial infection in their eyes. Corneal ulcers are very painful for dogs, and depending on the severity, it can be treated with an antibiotic and/or ointment or surgery.
  • Cherry Eye: Cherry eye develops when the third eyelid gland gets inflamed and swollen. It’s usually red or pink and looks like a cherry. The third eyelid is important for tear production, so if it’s out of place, your dog could develop dry eye and vision impairment. Surgery is the only way to fix it.
  • Patellar Luxation: Patellar luxation is when a dog’s kneecap slips out of the joint. This condition is common in toy and small breeds and can cause arthritis or joint problems in the hips and other legs. It can be managed by keeping your dog at a healthy weight and curtailing strenuous exercise if it’s not severe. If it is severe, surgery may be required.
  • Allergies: Boston Terriers tend to be more likely to have food or environmental allergies. If your dog licks incessantly, is constantly rubbing their face or getting ear infections, it could be allergies. The good news is that allergies are usually manageable. Your vet can help you discover what your pup is allergic to, and depending on the type and severity, your vet may recommend changing their food or medications.

Boston Terrier History

The Boston Terrier history starts in England in the late 1860s. In Liverpool, England, a cross between a Bulldog and the now-extinct English Terrier was bred for pit fighting and ratting contests.

One of these dogs, named Judge, was sold to an American. This American came back to the States and sold the dog to Robert C. Hooper in Boston, and the pup became known as Hooper’s Judge and is the ancestor of all modern Boston Terriers. The breed became officially known as the “Boston Terrier” when the Boston Terrier Club of America was formed in 1891. In 1893, it became a recognized breed with the American Kennel Club in the Non-Sporting group. (The group of dogs who don’t fit neatly into one of the other AKC groups.) This dog is a hometown favorite; they are the mascot of Boston University (since 1922) and the state dog of Massachusetts.

The original Bostons were much larger than the compact dogs we know today. Over time, they developed their recognizable traits and smaller size we know and love. The Boston Terrier breed is one of 12 breeds that originated in the United States. If you’re looking to add a Boston Terrier to your family, the price of a Boston Terrier from a reputable breeder ranges from $600 to $1,200. But for that, you’re usually getting a puppy who’s been screened for health issues and temperament. You can also look for the breed at your local animal shelter or Boston Terrier rescue organization if you prefer to adopt.

FAQs

Are Boston Terriers hypoallergenic?

No, Boston Terriers are not hypoallergenic. While they’re not heavy shedders, they do shed a little, which produces dander, and that can trigger an allergic reaction.

How long do Boston Terriers live?

You can expect your Boston Terrier to live for 11 to 13 years, giving you a long time to enjoy life with this delightful pup.

How big do Boston Terriers get?

Boston Terriers do not get very big. This small-sized dog will grow to about 15 to 17 inches at the withers (the highest spot on the shoulder blades) and will weigh between 12 and 25 pounds.

Are Boston Terriers good with kids?

Yes, Boston Terriers are good with kids and babies. Their super friendly nature, high energy and small body means they are a great playmate for kids. In fact, your Boston Terrier and your kids may help burn off each other’s extra energy!

What are the most popular Boston Terrier names?

Boston Terrier names often reflect their fun personality. The most popular Boston Terrier names include Bella, Rocky, Luna, Roxy, Lucy, Max, Zoe, Charlie, Daisy and Lola. If you’re looking for a more unique name, check out this list.

What are the most common Boston Terrier mixes?

The most common Boston Terrier types are:

  • Boston Terrier-Chihuahua mix (Chibo, Bhochi or Bohuahua)
  • Boston Terrier-French Bulldog mix (Frenchton)
  • Boston Terrier-Pug mix (Bugg)
  • Boston Terrier-Boxer Mix (Boston Boxer)
  • Boston Terrier-Beagle Mix (Boglen Terrier)
  • Boston Terrier-English Bulldog mix (Boston Bulldog)
  • Boston Terrier-Pitbull mix (Boston Pit)

Top Takeaways

Raising a Boston Terrier is fun for the whole family. These dogs are happy-go-lucky and loyal to their pet parents. They love to run and play but also snuggle at the end of the day. Their intelligence makes them fun to train and work with.

Expert input provided by Dr. Mandy Boos, DVM at Laurel Veterinary Clinic in Broomfield, Colo., and Mindy Jarvis, ABC-CPDT, CGC Evaluator, owner of Noble Beast Dog Training in Denver, Colo.

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