Boston Terrier Dog Breed Information and Personality Traits

A playful, fun breed, the Boston terrier is a great choice for people who want a cheerful and energetic companion.

Boston Terrier At a glance
The Boston Terrier Dog Breed

Boston terriers can move very fast and should never be let outside unless they are in a secure, fenced-in yard or on a leash.


Weight Range:

Male: 15-25 lbs.
Female: 10-20 lbs.

Height at Withers:

Male: 17 in.

Female: 16 in.


Brachycephalic (squashed face), upright ears (naturally)


Exercise Requirements: <20-40 minutes/day
Energy Level: Average
Longevity Range: 10-14 yrs
Tendency to Drool: Low Tendency to Snore: high
Tendency to Bark: Moderate
Tendency to Dig: Low Social/Attention Needs: Moderate

Bred For:

Ratting, companion


Length: Short
Characteristics: Flat
Colors: Brindle with white, seal with white, black with white.
Overall Grooming Needs: Yes

Club Recognition:

AKC Classification: Non-sporting
UKC Classification: Companion Dog
Prevalence: Common

Boston terriers have three weight categories: under 15 pounds (7 kilograms), 15 to under 20 pounds (seven to nine kilograms) and 20 to 25 pounds (nine to 11 kilograms).

Males are usually about 17 inches tall and females, about 16 inches tall.

Bostons are compact, well-proportioned, handsome little dogs. They have broad chests. Their heads are square and rather flat on top; the muzzle is short, square and broad. The Boston's appealing eyes are round, large and dark. The ears generally stand small and erect, like "bat" ears, although some Bostons are born with floppy ears that are cropped to stand. The tail is short and straight or a "corkscrew."

Bostons have a short, smooth coat. They are either brindle with white markings, black with white markings, or "seal" (black with a red cast) and white markings.


Bostons tend to be good-natured, playful dogs. For people who want a cheerful companion, the Boston can be great choice.

Bostons generally get along well with other pets, even cats, especially if they are raised together. Because they have a sturdy build, Bostons are probably more tolerant of children compared with other small dogs. If children treat them well, the Boston really enjoys romping with kids. Most Bostons enjoy burying a bone under the pillow or in the flowerbed, but their favorite game is fetch.

Living With:

Bostons certainly require exercise, but a few short sessions of fetch daily or walks that are moderate in length are better than long, vigorous exercise sessions. Bostons are considered intelligent and can be well trained, but they can be stubborn. In other words, they may know "sit" and "stay," but they may not always obey when you want them to. They can also move very fast, so it is best never to let them outside unless they are in a secure, fenced-in yard or they are on a leash. Although they are likely to bark if there's an unexpected knock at the door, Bostons are not great protectors. Most of them are so congenial they will welcome anyone into the house, whether friend or foe.

Because of the short face, care must be taken that the Boston does not get overheated. Bostons also chill easily and, in general, should be protected from extreme cold, too. They are definitely house dogs, not outdoor dogs. Bostons do snort and some may snore, but these are usually endearing rather than irritating qualities.

Bostons also can be picky eaters. Some have a delicate digestive system, and are prone to gas. But once you figure out what commercial foods they like and what agrees with them, feeding them is easy. When bred, Bostons have small litters of only three or four puppies; delivery may be difficult, and cesarean sections are often performed. Bostons have good longevity ranging from 10 to 13 years.

An occasional bath, supplemented by brushing or rubbing with a grooming mitt, is all that's needed to keep the coat looking good and to control shedding, which occurs but is minimal in this breed.


Boston Terriers were developed in Boston in the late 1800s by crossing bulldogs and white English terriers. They are one of the few truly all-American breeds and are often referred to as the national dog of the United States.

Bostons have been called other names. Some people still call them Boston bulls. They were also once called American bull terriers, but owners of bulldogs and bull terriers objected and, in 1891, the Boston's official name became the boston terrier. The breed was accepted by the American Kennel Club in 1893.

The dogs have long been considered amiable and affectionate house pets and are known as the "American gentleman" of dogs.

Bostons were a common breed prior to 1960 but since then, their popularity seems to have declined. Recently, however, Bostons have emerged in several television commercials, perhaps signaling a renewed interest in the breed.

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