Boston Terrier – Full Dog Breed Information

boston terrier

The following information is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not constitute pet medical advice. Clever Fur is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Reading Time: 13 minutes

The Boston Terriers are very amazing little creatures that make wonderful friends. Donned the nickname, The American Gentleman since the 19th Century, these little canine friends have evolved from being a ferocious pit-fighter to a fun-loving and intelligent companion. Although signs of their Terrier Ancestry shows from time to time in their posturing whenever they feel their territory is threatened and invaded by another dog.


The Boston Terrier originates from a mixed heritage that can be traced back to 1865, originally bred to be used for the horrific dog-fighting activities back then. As the name suggests, their location of origin is Boston Massachusetts and there are multiple stories about how these furry friends came to be.

According to one storyline, the coachmen of wealthy families developed this breed by cross-breeding Bulldogs with the English White Terrier, which are now extinct. This cross-breeding process occurred solely to create a new dog-fighting breed.

According to another story, a Bostonian by the name, Robert C Hooper, imported a Bulldog/English Terrier cross named Judge from English in the year 1865 because he reminded Robert of a dog he had when he was but a young boy. Another similar story is that Robert C Hooper bought Judge off another Bostonian named William O’Brian in the year 1870.

Though we may never know the exact origin story or which of it is true, what we know for sure is that there was a dog named Judge, and from this very dog, the breed known as the Boston Terrier was originated.

According to ‘The Complete Dog Book’ Judge was described as a “Well-built, high stationed dog”. He was said to have a dark brindle colored coat with a white blaze on his face and he had a square, blocky head. He weighed about 32 pounds.

Judge went on to be the ancestral father of today’s Boston Terriers as his offspring were bred widely.
Astonishingly, Judge was bred only once, with a 20-pound white dog, Burnett’s Gyp (or Kate), a dog belonging to Edward Burnett, of Southboro, Massachusetts. Their offspring was named Well’s Eph. Though their spawn was on any account an attractive dog, he had other characteristics that were admired by Hooper and his friends.

He was bred with a female named Tobin’s Kate, a god that weighed only 20 pounds and had a fairly short head. She had a golden brindle color and a straight three-quarter tail. Stories have it that their offspring were bred with one or a couple of French Bulldogs to create the foundation of the breed now known as the Boston Terrier.

Back then, they were yet to be called Boston Terriers. The many offspring of Eph was known by various names, some of which were Bullet heads, round-headed bull-and-terriers, American Terriers, and Boston Bulldogs.

In the year 1889, a group of Boston Bull Terrier owners came together and formed the American Bull Terrier Club and then called them Roundheads or Bull Terriers. Fans of Bulldogs and Bull Terriers didn’t fancy the name. As the Bulldog Contingency had a lot of influence in the American Kennel Club (AKC) then, the Boston Bull Terrier fanciers decided that it was a better part of valor to be discrete and as such, they changed the name of their club the Boston Terrier Club as a tribute to the place of origin of the breed. Henceforth, they were known as the Boston Bulls.

The Boston Terrier was not recognized by the AKC until the year 1893. It was one of the first non-sporting dogs that was bred in the United States of America and it became the first of the ten Made-In-America dog breeds that are currently recognized by the AKC.

In the earlier days of this breed’s existence, their color and markings were not regarded as important features. Also, even though the dogs being bred me the standard that was provided by the club, there were lots of inconsistencies in this dog breed. The Boston Terrier of today was not developed until after years of cautious inbreeding to set the desired type. In the 1900s, the dog’s distinctive markings and color became an essential feature of the breed as they were enforced and written into the required standard for this breed.

By the year 1915, the Boston Terriers had become very popular in the United States of America. They were the most popular dog breed in the US, staying among the ten most popular breeds until the 1960s and becoming number one in 1920 and 1930. About 60 Boston Terriers were entered in a single all-breed show in the year 1918.

The Boston Terriers were adored by their owners, Hollywood actors, and actresses. It was reported that Silent film star Pola Negri, Rudolph Valentino’s lover took her Boston Terrier with her everywhere she went, including restaurants and nightclubs. They were so inseparable to the extent that when one of the restaurants refused to let her enter with her dog, she stormed out screaming “No Patsy, no Pola, Goodbye forever”. Patsy was also the name of a Boston Terrier owned by a gossip columnist, Louella Parsons.

The Boston Terrier was chosen as the bicentennial dog of the United States of America in 1976. Three years later, the Boston Terrier was named the official state dog of Massachusetts. The Boston Terrier also became official mascots of schools. Rhett is the name of a Boston Terrier that is the official mascot of Boston University. Redlands High School in California and Wofford College in South Carolina also claim the Boston Terrier as their mascots too.


The Boston Terrier is a cute and adorable dog breed that comes in three distinct weight classes; under 15 pounds, 15 to 19 pounds and finally, 20 to 25 pounds. They stand at a 12 to 17 inches’ shoulder height and they look sturdy regardless of their weight. They never look skinny or spindly.


The Grooming of a Boston Terrier is so perfect for novice pet owners and families with children due to the fact their grooming demands are not much. If you are in search of a high maintenance fur that needs hours of brushing and combing and clipping, the Boston Terrier is not the right choice for you.

The coat of the Boston Terrier is of a short, fine-textured nature that does not attract much dirt except if your dog decides to roll around and play in it. Even if they do, most times, the dirt can easily be wiped away with a wet cloth.

Dead hairs can be removed with regular brushing and shedding is kept at a bare minimum. An overall body check can be done by gliding your hands over the torso, legs, chest, and feet. You are the best choice for your dog when it comes to finding lumps, pests, cuts, and other issues that require veterinary attention.

Although the coat of your Boston Terrier requires very little attention, it still gains from a good brushing with a natural bristle brush but make sure to be gentle because the coat of your Boston is thin and if too aggressive, you could tear your dog’s skin. A hound glove can be used if you want to polish your dog’s outer coat while removing the dead undercoat at the same time.

The hound glove has rubber bumps that are set into the palm of the glove. It is advisable to brush along the direction of the hair growth from the head of the dog to its tail. You can get rid of dirt and mud easily by brushing without having to resort to giving your dog a bath.

Baths should only be given to your dog at required times. It can be just once or twice in a year, or more if your dog gets really dirty or muddy outside. If you continuously bathe your dog, you end up removing the natural oils from your dog’s coat.

So try not to bathe for the dog all the time. Only use mild shampoo that is formulated for smooth-coated dogs and make sure to rinse well. Never use harsh household detergent on your dog except the dog has gotten into grease or oil because it can irritate your dog’s skin.

Filing a Boston Terrier’s nails can be such a difficult task and as such, many dog owners choose to leave it to a groomer to do for them. If, however, you choose to do it on your own, at a slow pace, file down your dog’s nails with a rotary-type sander, tapping at the tips gently so as to remove small sections at a time.

These tools present a much safer and less traumatic way to take care of your dog’s nails especially if you have little to no experience. Be very careful if you decide to use guillotine-type dog clippers. The nails of a Boston Terrier are very delicate and small and you can injure the dog if you cut too close or you might end up crushing the tip of the nail. You can stop bleeding with a styptic pencil or cornstarch if the need ever arises.

Never neglect your dog’s teeth when grooming. Make sure to check the mouth in order to make sure tartar is not building up on the surface of the teeth. Make an effort to brush the teeth regularly. You can use a baby toothbrush with a special dog toothpaste, or you could wrap a washcloth around your finger and use it. Your dog’s ears should also be given attention. Using a moist washcloth, cleanse the inner ear flaps and make sure not to let water get into the ear canal.

The Boston Terrier have prominent eyes and as such, they’re prone to eye discharge and this can cause a fur discoloration in the fur under the dog’s eyes. With a wet, warm cloth, gently wipe below the eyes, making sure not to get dirt or bacteria into the eye by wiping in a downward motion from the eyelid towards the cheek.


Known as the American Gentleman, the Boston Terrier is active, intelligent, and loving with a delicate, even temperament. They can, in any case, be difficult, so it is advisable to consistently and persistently make efforts when training them.

Like every other dog, it is advisable to socialize your Boston Terrier at an early stage in life; introducing them to a range of people, sounds, sights, and what have you; at a very young age. Socialization ensures that your little Boston Terrier grows up to become a well-balanced dog and fits well into various social conditions.


Boston Terriers are known to be a generally healthy dog breed, but like all dogs, they susceptible to certain health issues. Not all Boston Terriers will contract any or all of these diseases, but it is imperative to learn about them when considering this dog breed.

If you want to get yourself a puppy, make sure to get a good breeder who will show your health clearances for both parents of your puppy. Health clearances show that a dog has been tested for a particular health issue.

For Boston Terriers, it is expected to see clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for the following; hip dysplasia hypothyroidism, elbow dysplasia, and von Willebrand’s disease; from Auburn University for thrombopathia; and a certification that the eyes are normal from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF). The health clearances can be confirmed by checking the OFA website.

Examples of diseases that your Boston Terriers can contract are;
Cherry Eye, Heart murmurs, deafness, Cataracts, Patellar Luxation, brain tumors, allergies, megaesophagus, reverse sneezing.


Boston Terriers are known to have high energy levels and are a very playful breed. Their exercise rate is dependent on their age and health.

A healthy Boston Terrier would averagely need one hour of exercise daily, due to their massive energy levels. For Boston Terrier puppies, five minutes of exercise per month of age is sufficient. For Senior Boston Terriers, they do not require as much as the average adult Boston Terrier.

As mentioned before, age and health conditions play a key role in the activeness of your dog. A ten-year-old Boston Terrier can be as active as a five-year-old.

Whenever exercising your Boston Terrier, they have certain needs and require safety measures as well.

Since they are a brachycephalic (flat-faced) dog breed, it is advisable not to overheat them due to their physical features. They are unable to easily regulate their body heat, so you should not exercise them for long sessions or in hot weather conditions. Apart from being easily overheated, Boston Terriers are also easily cold.

It is also advisable to use a harness instead of a dog collar because of their respiratory issues. Some Boston Terriers suffer from certain physical conditions like kneecaps that move in and out of place and luxating patellas. Running when exercising should be avoided if your dog suffers from any of these conditions.
Over-exercising your dog should be avoided because it can lead to overheating and stroke, muscle, tendon, and joint injury and even collapsing.

Boston Terrier puppies have different exercise requirements as opposed to the adult dog. High impact activities should be avoided because the puppies are still growing and have developing bones, muscles, and joints.

Despite their enormous amounts of energy, they lack stamina unlike their adult counterparts and need to take more breaks when exercising. Short exercise sessions are advised when exercising your puppies. Alternating between walking on the leash, socializing, training, or playtime with your dog can help stimulate them both physically and mentally.

Adult Boston Terriers are more energetic and more playful than the puppies. They require up to an hour of exercise daily even though some would not mind going for longer.

Engaging them in an ideal exercise routine such as a short training session, a highly energetic game of tug or fetch, a daily walk of about thirty minutes, or even a mentally stimulating game with an interactive toy.

The older your dog gets, the less active they get and the lower their energy levels. Though you should make sure your dog is relatively active to ensure his joints and muscles remain mobile.

Your routine walks should be shorter and slower as they age to and exercising helps to keep a healthy weight. Many dogs are affected with arthritis the older they get and the Boston Terrier is not exempted. You could also engage your dog in swimming as it is good for the joints.


There are a number of reasons you should get a Boston Terrier as a pet. Pets in general are a great addition to any human’s life, they have the ability to aid you forget your problems, bring smiles to your face and make all your worries disappear, even if for a short time.

Although, when it comes to the variety of dog breeds available, it can be quite strenuous to pick one because every single breed has its own unique traits, skills and gifts. However, Boston Terrier in general are one of the best dog breeds, even though their birth is through selective breeding. This fact makes people question having them as pets and in case you are wondering if this unique breed is good with kids, below are a few reasons Boston Terrier are good with kids.


Boston Terrier always get along with the personalities of their owners and the people around them daily. If one of your main concerns in getting a pet is their reaction around children, then the Boston Terrier would fit perfectly well into your home. Not only do they love to jump and play around, they are also very protective of their people, especially if it is children that need someone to guide them.

A Boston Terrier would never allow harm come to the children under their care, neither would they be the cause of harm to your toddlers, so if you have any doubts about this breed being good with children, you can put it to rest as this dog breed is 100% good with children.

While they may be a little shy or nervous at first around your toddlers if they are jumping around, once they get comfortable, you’ll find them playing until they can no longer keep their eyes open. These are reasons why a Boston Terrier would be an amazing adding to the family.

Another reason is;

Boston Terrier are very intuitive
As mentioned before, Boston Terrier are family pets and are also very good guard dogs. While they may not be violent and aggressive, they can sense the presence of an intruder from miles away. It is best not to ignore the signs when your Boston Terrier is acting suspicious of a stranger.

This breed of dog makes great pets because of their intuition, not limited to strangers but of your own emotional state. They can sense when you are in trouble and they instantly feel remorseful as if channeling your moods. If you are ever sad or crying, expect wet and sloppy kisses from your Boston Terrier. This is another reason Boston Terrier make great pets and the main reason people get attached to this breed. Their intuition creates a special bond between them and their owners.

Another reason is;

They are great with the elderly.

The Boston Terrier are generally great with every age, they are also great companions, not just for young people or children but for the elderly as well. Boston Terrier are known to be hyper dogs but they also exhibit a gentle and caring side that allows them get along with anyone, regardless of the ages.

Their gentle nature also makes them the perfect breed of dogs to talk with you on walks and have a quiet and peaceful time. Which is something elderly people are fond of.
The Boston Terrier is a family kind of dog breed.

Are Boston Terrier easy to train?

While there a number of reasons why Boston Terrier make great pets, they also exhibit a very sassy side. Boston Terrier are often set in their own ways, so training them can be a very challenging task. They however will most likely do what is asked of them if a treat is waved at them while orders are being given. But having them do what is asked without a treat being waved over their heads is a difficult task.

This doesn’t mean they are completely untrainable, with the right amount of patience and right approach, you can succeed in teaching them a thing or two. The bonus to this is that this breed of dogs is quite fast and smart, so they learn quicker. The problem however is getting them to listen if they are not in the mood to be obedient.

Their goofy personality.
They have a very fun and active personality, which is another reason they make amazing pets. Their small size may be deceiving but they are a ball of energy, they are very playful and silly which is why they make great companions for kids, the kids would love their energy. Owning a Boston Terrier is like having a little human that is a tad bit clumsy. They can be proving to be very needy at times which may be annoying, but almost always super cute.

Overly, having the Boston Terrier as a pet doesn’t have a lot of disadvantages as they are amazing dogs.


It is important to know just how much the Boston Terrier costs before setting out to get one. On an average, the Boston Terrier prices ranges from $600-$1200 and according to the NextDayPets, the median price for a Boston Terrier is $800.

The numbers however increase with the birth lineage of a dog, some dogs have superior lineages and cost more. A top quality dog with an excellent lineage could cost about $1,500-$4,500.

When you decide to purchase a Boston Terrier, make sure you do a full research on where exactly it is coming from, never get a dog when you suspect it is coming from a dog mill.

The option of adoption is also always open, the cost of adoption ranges from $350-$550 which includes registration and vaccinations. You’ll save money and you would also get a great puppy while providing a warm home for a dog that really needs one.

The cost of feeding a Boston Terrier
When planning to get any dog, it is advisable that you look into how much it’ll cost to feed them since their feeding is an expense you’ll deal with every month.

At a weight of 12-25 pounds, the Boston Terrier generally eats between 1-2 cups of food daily but this depends on their size and how active they are. It’d be wise to consult with a vet to know more and be better informed on what’s better for your pet.

On an average, dog food of quality, is about $2-$3 per pound, if perhaps you get a 30- pound bag for $55, it’ll be approximately 120 cups of food for your pet. If by estimate your dog eats 1 1/2 cups daily, that would be 80 days of food from a 30-pound bag. Which totals to close to three months of food for just $55.

It is safe to say that food cost may not be so much of a problem when looking to get a Boston Terrier. Don’t also forget to budget for treats. A bag of quality treats is between the range of $5-$10 and will have a reign of some few months for the Boston Terrier.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top