Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier is one of America’s favorite breeds, and with their winning personalities, it isn’t difficult to see why. They seem tailored to be family pets, even though their background is a bit more colorful than their current domestic status would suggest. In this article, we’ll explore the basics of the breed and offer some interesting background about these loving and intelligent dogs.


These mighty pups come in a compact package, standing no more than 12 to 17 inches at the shoulder. However, the breed falls into three distinct weight classes—under 15 pounds, 15-19 pounds, and 20 to 25 pounds.

While they are always ready for a good romp, they are equally happy to play the couch potato, which makes them great dogs for those who live in apartments or homes with no outdoor space. Regular exercise, while always the best policy, can take the form of a walk around the block and vigorous play several times daily.


The coloration considered distinctive to the breed wasn’t always considered de rigueur for AKC recognition. Boston Terriers now sport three specified appearances. The first and, perhaps most iconic, is the black and white variant. With black mask, ears, and body and white chest and paws, these terriers resemble their moniker—The American Gentleman—in formal evening wear. The other two traditional colors are called Seal, which looks black but bears a rusty cast in direct light, and brindle.


These petite Bostonians are sweet and loving. They get along with children of all ages. This is something of a feat if you’ve ever seen a toddler play with a dog. Because they’re classified as companion dogs, attention and affection are vital features of a healthy lifestyle. They need your love and approval, and if it isn’t forthcoming, they tend to misbehave. However, when showered with love, they are happy to play or snooze, take walks in a variety of contexts, and just generally go wherever you do.

When properly socialized and exposed to consistent training routines, pups of this breed are happy, gentle, and not typically obstreperous. Experts offer a couple of slight warnings for those considering bringing one into their homes. First, they’re terriers, a breed group known and prized for its stubborn tenacity. Keep this in mind during training and don’t give too much ground, no matter how adorable their antics. Second, while not aggressive, males can wax scrappy if they feel other dogs are encroaching on their turf. Keep an eye on your pup to ensure they don’t invite conflict.


Although Boston Terrier is generally an obscenely healthy breed, there are certain maladies to which they are more typically prone. Their prominent eyes can suffer ulcerations, cataracts, and a condition known as cherry eye, which may require surgery. Many can develop deafness in one or both ears, and breeders should have all litters BAER tested. Brain tumors, while rare, can shorten their healthy lifespan. Other considerations are allergies, megaesophagus—a condition that causes spontaneous regurgitation of undigested food—heart murmurs, reverse sneezing, and patellar subluxation. However, many individual pups experience none of these genetically based health conditions.

Boston Terrier History

They’re one of only ten breeds recognized by the AKC that were bred originally in America. While looking into those adoring eyes you feel confident that their originators had snuggles in mind. However, the truth is a bit rough around the edges. That deeply companionable streak is common in many terrier breeds intended for the blood sport of dog fighting because they are bred to be ultimately responsive to their handlers.

When the Boston Terrier was created in the mid-19th century, such pastimes were considered appropriate for gentlemen of all stations and could prove lucrative. Other hallmarks of that shadowed past include the accepted style of docked tails and cropped ears. This also factored in to breed’s standard smooth coat that never needs grooming. But true to their spirit, these terriers emerged from the backrooms and pit arenas to become the cherished companions of families everywhere.

Boston Terrier Training

Experts remind prospective owners that this breed is highly sensitive to vocal tonality. Harsh critiques may emotionally shut down these dogs, which can spell disaster for a happy home dynamic. The good news is that they are motivated both by treats and positive emotional response. This makes training this breed easier than some more independent types.

If you’re considering bringing a Boston Terrier into your home, make sure you have the time and attention to devote to these small wonders. They’re relatively easy to take care of regarding medical and grooming care, but it’s also important to buy from a reputable breeder. Issues multiply with irresponsible breeding practices and can wind up costing you and your beloved friend dearly.

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