Boston Terrier


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Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:

11 to 13 years



Maintenance Level:


Shed Level:



Life Of The PartyCarefree AttitudeFun-loving

Coat Color:

Blue Ribbon

Best For

Boston Terriers are best for families or first-time pet parents. A good match for those who like to be active (but not overly so), Boston Terriers do well at dog sports, like obedience and agility work, but also love to chill at home at the end of the day.

Boston Terrier Traits

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 11-13 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 juvenile 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, they can be treated with an antibiotic and/or ointment or surgery. If you notice squinting, red eyes, cloudy eyes or swelling of the eyesor your pets’ eyes seem uncomfortable and they’re rubbing or pawing at their eyesplease see your vet immediately.  
  • Glaucoma: Glaucoma is a potentially painful increase in ocular pressure that can result in vision loss and even blindness. Glaucoma can be genetic in Boston Terriers and there is a genetic screening test. Treatment may include eye drops or surgery.  
  • Patellar Luxation: Patellar luxation is when a dog’s kneecap slips out of the joint. This condition is common in toy breeds and small breeds and can cause pain and arthritis. Patellar luxation can be managed by keeping your dog at a healthy weight and talking to your vet about joint supplements and pain medication.  If it is severe, surgery may be recommended. 
  • Brachycephalic Syndrome: Boston terriers have a smooshed face (brachycephalic), and their anatomy can lead to noisy breathing, snoring or more severe signs such as trouble breathing, exercise intolerance and overheating easily. Lifestyle changes (such as weight management and not playing outside when it is hot and humid) and medications may be useful.  But if severe, surgery may be needed. 

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, too: 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-$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. Or, search Chewy’s database of adoptable dogs in your area.


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 11-13 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 15-17 inches at the withers (the highest spot on the shoulder blades) and will weigh between 12-25 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 common Boston Terrier mixes?

Note: These are not purebred dogs but mixed breeds.


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, Colorado; and Mindy Jarvis, ABC-CPDT, CGC Evaluator, owner of Noble Beast Dog Training in Denver, Colorado.

Breed characteristic ratings provided by veterinarian Dr. Sarah J. Wooten, DVM, CVJ, a veterinarian at Sheep Draw Veterinary Hospital in Greeley, Colorado; dog trainer and behavior consultant Irith Bloom, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA, CDBC, owner of The Sophisticated Dog, LLC, in Los Angeles; and certified animal behavior consultant Amy Shojai, CABC, in Sherman, Texas.

The health content was medically reviewed by Chewy vets.

Search for Adoptable Boston Terriers Near You

Top Boston Terrier Names

These are the top Boston Terrier names as chosen by Chewy's pet parents!

Female Names

  • Luna
  • Bella
  • Lucy
  • Daisy
  • Lola
  • Stella
  • Ruby
  • Rosie
  • Penny
  • Maggie

Male Names

  • Milo
  • Winston
  • Rocky
  • Oliver
  • Charlie
  • Max
  • Cooper
  • Louie
  • Buddy
  • Gus