Boston Terriers

At a glance
boston terrier1The Boston Terrier was first developed in Boston, Massachusetts. Known as “The American Gentleman”, he is celebrated for his gentle, alert, and intelligent expression. The breed itself is the result of a cross between the English Bulldog and the extinct White English Terrier.


  • Names – Boston Bull, Boston Bulldog, Boston Bull Terrier, Roundheads, the American Gentleman.
  • Group – AKC: Non-Sporting Group; KC: Utility Group
  • Size – small
  • Life expectancy – average of 12; range of 10-14 years
  • Cost of ownership – low
  • Ease of ownership – high
  • Aggressive tendency – low
  • Amount of Exercise – low
  • Amount of Grooming – low
  • Ease of Training – high
  • Obedience level – high
  • Suitable for Children – high
  • Amount of Care Required – low
  • Susceptibility to Health Problems – medium

The Boston is a small, strong, determined happy dog. They have a short, square muzzle and a square skull. They are short coated and short tailed. They have at least two physical characteristics that help them to be relatively problem free: the chest that is not as deep as that of other related bull breeds, and the thin erect ears. The thighs of this dog are strong and well muscled. Their gait is easy and graceful. Finally, Bostons leave a lasting impression with their prominent and bulging eyes.


  • Bitch – 4.5kg – 11.5kg (10 – 25 lbs)
  • Dog – 4.5kg – 11.5kg (10 – 25 lbs)


  • Bitch – 38 cm – 43 cm (15 – 17 inches)
  • Dog – 38 cm – 43 cm (15 – 17 inches)


  • Color – brindle, seal or black with white markings on muzzle, between eyes and forechest, white collar and lower legs possible.
  • Coat – fine in texture, short, glossy, and smooth
  • Shedding – medium
  • Allergies – low
  • Causes Allergies – low

The Boston Terrier is compact, sturdy and small. Although he is not very demanding with exercise, he is still lively, high-spirited and playful. This breed has a kind and gentle nature and is often referred to as the American Gentleman. The Boston is a delightful combination of determination, strength, balance, and gracefulness.

  • Separation Anxiety – low
  • Barking tendency – medium
  • Aggressive tendency – low
  • Compatibility with other animals – medium
  • Suitable for children – high
  • Watchdog suitability – high

The Boston is loyal, sensitive and accommodating to his owner. He is well-mannered indoors but is ready and willing to join in the action when somebody hints of a game (I.E. fetch). Though he can be willful, he is, without a doubt, smart, and learns fast. Due to certain factors that may be the result of inadequate socialization, training or the individual dog’s unique personality, he can be reserved with strangers and some may be aggressive toward strange dogs. In addition, some bark too much while others only bark when really needed. Some Boston Terriers are very cuddly and others are more independent.

Having lost most of their fighter-dog heritage, Bostons are ideal companion dogs. They are happiest being with their owners and, if properly socialized, get along well with children, the elderly, other canines and non-canine pets.

They are not difficult dogs to train as they are quite intelligent and are eager to please. Males will benefit more from being socialized at an early age; otherwise, they will mature to be over territorial.

  • Obedience – high

Exercise required
Healthy Bostons do not require too much exercise but will appreciate walks and games of fetch. Puppies are high energy, while adult dogs are mellow and actually enjoy simply being on their owner’s lap.

  • Energy – low
  • Amount required – 20 – 40 minutes daily

Boston Terriers are extremely easy dogs to live with, wanting only the affection of their family members. Bostons are strictly house dogs, incapable of coping with extreme cold and hot temperatures. Boston owners need to be aware of the dog’s risk of overheating due to the short muzzle and a slightly elongated palate. Ear cleaning and nail clipping is a must.

One popular option – and alternative to quality dry kibble – is cooked dog food (not raw) that is grain-free and gluten-free. It includes meat protein (the main ingredient, which must never be fish meat), carbohydrates (e.g. potatoes) and vitamin/mineral and oil supplements.

The Boston Terrier is a short haired dog that sheds very little. Boston coats are easy to care for, since the dog does not shed much, does not need trimming and grooming is minimal. Examples of effective grooming tools are the rubber palm brush and grooming mitt. The palm brush lifts out dead hair and moves oil to the surface, while the grooming mitt collects the loose hair. A grooming session at least once a week is usually sufficient.

  • Ease of grooming – high
  • Amount of grooming – low

When it comes to breeding for color, potential Boston owners must be on the lookout for red, fawn, brown, all-white or other off-beat colors. Dogs of these colors typically come from backyard breeders who market the “rare” dogs to innocent buyers. Anyone interested in obtaining a Boston needs to know that these colors are simply not allowed in the official standard and are even highly undesirable.

Boston Terriers require a Cesarean Section in order for their puppies to be born alive and healthy. Another reason is because the contractions simply are not enough to deliver the puppies. Moreover, a puppy can get stuck inside the female. Aside from inevitable C-Sections it is almost impossible for Boston mothers to naturally whelp their puppies, since the heads of Boston Terrier pups are disproportionately larger than the pelvis of the mother. Thus, breeders need to realize that C-Sections are routine and there is really no sense in getting the bitch to give free-whelping a chance.

The following are the main costs to remember when it comes to breeding:

  • Stud fee for a top producing male is $400-$500
  • Ovulation testing is $45 each test (a breeder may need anything between 2 to 6 of these)
  • Shipping the bitch to be bred is $350 (health certificate & Brucellosis test is about $80)
  • C-Section operation is $800-$2000 (and it still depends on the area, with many vets charge depending on how many puppies there are)
  • Aftercare (e.g. dewclaw removal at $40 per puppy), and other supplies (milk formula in case the bitch has no milk, towels, vitamins, antibiotics etc. at a minimum of $100).
  • Vaccines are $40 (minimum) per puppy, with each puppy requiring a series of around 4 shots.

The more puppies in a litter the higher the expenses, which can mean very little profit will be returned. Aside from the above, the breeder must endure the full responsibility of raising the litter, such as the readiness to lose sleep for 3 weeks to ensure the mother is caring for the puppies properly (many times the breeder will have to intervene and tube feed the puppies every 3 hours around the clock). In short, breeding this canine can be a huge undertaking.

  • Litter size – average of 4; range of 3 to 5
  • Puppy cost – average of $600 and range in $500-$800

Bostons can live 15 years or more but are prone to certain ailments or injuries, which is often the results of their short muzzles and prominent eyes. However, they are also at risk for several genetic diseases and structural abnormalities. They wheeze and gulp air, and may also develop intestinal gas and respiratory problems, especially in hot weather. Their eyes will need to be checked on occasion for infection or injury.

Given the issue of respiratory problems, trainers should avoid methods that rely on collar tugs to force the dog into position. In place of tugging, employ praise, toys, and treats to guide the dog into obedience. In addition, this breed can be sensitive to anesthesia and Caesarian deliveries are commonly needed.

  • Life expectancy – average of 12; range of 10-14 years
  • Susceptibility to illness – medium
  • Common health problems – cataract, PDA, patellar luxation, stenotic nares, deafness, hydrocephalus, esophageal achalasia, distichiasis, persistent right aortic arch

Some Bostons enjoy having another of their kind for companionship; however one dog for a small household is often enough. This is a lively breed that will require a minimum amount of regular exercise and plenty of interaction with his people. He loves games and most of his exercise requirements can be met with a romp in the yard or a short walk on leash. He should not be kept outdoors or exercised in extreme hot or cold climates. Some Bostons wheeze and snore and may also develop gas problems. The coat is in need of only an occasional brushing to remove dead hairs that will otherwise litter the home.

  • Living conditions – He adjusts well to both city and country life and can live happily in an apartment or house as long as he receives sufficient exercise.
  • Good with Children – Bostons enjoy children that will entertain them with fetch and chase. Smaller children need to be supervised when interacting with the dog and should be taught how to deal with and handle the dog.

In Boston, Massachusetts USA, in the 1800’s, the first Boston Terriers were originally a cross between an English Bulldog and an English White Terrier. Over time, more crossbreeding took place to improve the breed. Dogs, such as the English Bull Terrier, Boxer and the Pit Bull Terrier along with other terriers were added to the mix. The original batch of Boston terriers weighed over 20kgs.

  • County or origin – USA
  • Group – Non-Sporting, Mastiff (AKC), Utility (KC)

Did you know…

  • Some famous Boston Terrier owners include:
    • Helen Keller – Phiz
    • Joan Rivers – Lulu
    • Denise Richards – Lucy
    • Actress Rose McGowan – Bug and Fester
    • United States President Warren G. Harding – Hub
  • Particularly popular in the United States in the 1920s, the breed still ranks among the more popular dog breeds in America.
  • In 1979, the Boston Terrier was recognized as the state dog of Massachusetts.
  • Boston University’s mascot is Rhett the Boston Terrier.
  • Helen Keller had a Boston Terrier named Phiz, which was given to her by some of her college classmates.
  • Because of their short noses, Boston Terriers have a hard time in hot weather nd need to be watched for signs of overheating. During the winter they may need a coat or a sweater due to their extremely short coats.
  • Winsor Pilates

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!