Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier

The Boston terrier is a type of non-sporting dog originating in Boston. These dogs are known for their large eyes, muscular bodies, and outgoing personalities.

These dogs weigh between 10 and 25 pounds and reach up to 15 inches tall at the shoulder.

Boston terriers are small but feisty. This breed is friendly and loving but can be stubborn, making it occasionally difficult to train.

The Boston terrier’s small size means the dog is well-adapted to apartment living. The breed is perfect for families because of its sweet and nurturing nature. These small dogs are intelligent, lively, and playful, so there will never be a dull moment with a Boston terrier around.

Boston terriers typically cost $1,000 to $2,000.

Boston Terrier Quick Summary

Boston terrier sitting in a bench

Common Names:Boston Terrier
Breed GroupNon-sporting dog
Height12–15 inches
Weight10–25 pounds
ColorsBlack & white, brindle & white, seal & white
CoatShort, single coat
Life Expectancy13–15 years
TemperamentLively, playful, outgoing, loving
SheddingLight to moderate
Barking TendencyModerate
Suitable forFamilies, small spaces

Boston Terrier Appearance

Example of Boston Terrier Appearance

Boston terriers are small, with sturdy, muscular bodies. These dogs are known for their flat noses, large perky ears, and big eyes. Boston terriers’ coats come in various colors, but are always a combination of two colors: white and a darker color.

The terriers’ colored coats resemble a tuxedo, which has given them the nickname “American gentleman.”

Height and Weight

Boston terriers grow up to 15 inches tall and weigh up to 25 pounds. This breed can appear larger than its small size because of the dog’s broad chest and muscular physique.


Boston terriers have a short, single coat that appears in various colors including black and white, seal and white, and brindle and white. Black and white is the most common type of Boston terrier coat.

The coat typically consists of two darker patches over each eye, with a white stripe down the middle of the forehead and mouth. Boston terriers don’t ever appear in solid colors, so be wary of any breeder that tells you otherwise.

Boston Terrier Origins

Boston terrier origin image

As its name suggests, the Boston terrier originated in Boston, Massachusetts. There are varying accounts of how this breed came into existence.

Some reports claim the Boston terrier was created by the coachmen of wealthy families. Other reports say it was imported by Robert C. Hooper. While the origin of this breed is unclear, the breed first came into existence in the 1800s.

Boston Terrier Personality and Temperament

A Boston terrier smiling

Boston terriers are friendly and outgoing. The dogs’ fun-loving nature means they love to play and typically get along well with children and other dogs. These terriers are great family dogs.

Boston terriers are prone to stubbornness, so patience and consistency are required when training this breed. Boston terriers are best suited to households with enough time and resources to train them properly.

Taking Care of a Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier bathing

Boston terriers are lively, but these dogs’ exercise needs are easily manageable for most owners. The Boston terrier can live in apartments or houses without a yard. This breed also has relatively easy grooming needs.

Food Needs

Boston terriers need two nutritious meals a day, consisting of lots of protein and whole foods. As puppies, Boston terriers will need to eat three to four times a day.

This breed is prone to overeating, so monitor your terrier’s caloric intake to avoid excessive weight gain.

Grooming Needs

Boston terriers have low grooming needs and shed minimally. To keep your terrier’s coat in top condition, brush it weekly.

This breed’s large eyes can be easily irritated, so wash your dog’s face regularly and watch out for signs of redness or irritation of the eyes. If you spot signs of an eye issue, take your Boston terrier to the veterinarian immediately.

Exercise Needs

Boston terriers have lots of energy, so they need more exercise than other small breeds. This dog needs around one hour of exercise per day, in the form of walking, running, or playing outside.

Boston terriers are suitable for apartment living without a yard as long as the owner can commit to giving the dog enough outdoor exercise.

Mental Needs

Boston terriers are extremely lively and intelligent, requiring lots of mental stimulation. If these dogs don’t receive enough attention or stimulation, they may become hyperactive or destructive.

Use puzzle toys or engage in outdoor play to keep your Boston terrier’s brain occupied.

Common Health Concerns

Boston terriers are typically healthy dogs, but like any breed, are prone to particular health issues.

Boston terriers are known for their trademark protruding eyes, which can leave them vulnerable to eye injuries. If your dog’s eye appears red, irritated, or tears up excessively, take the dog to a veterinarian.

Boston terriers are also prone to patellar luxation — a health problem common to small dogs.

This health issue occurs when the patellar is not properly lined up, and causes joint problems or arthritis. Severe cases of patellar luxation may require surgery.

How to Train a Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier giving a high 5

Although Boston terriers are eager to please, these dogs are also headstrong and stubborn, making them difficult to train sometimes.

Train your terrier using positive reinforcement by rewarding your dog with food or affection for good behavior or tricks.

Because of the Boston terrier’s stubborn nature, consistency is key. Tricks and behaviors will likely have to be repeated many times before the terrier permanently picks up the behavior. Luckily, these dogs are highly food-driven, making them very trainable with the right treats and some hard work.

For puppy Boston terriers, early socialization is key. Introduce your puppy to a range of humans and other dogs to raise a well-rounded adult dog.

Boston Terrier Price

Boston Terrier puppies

Boston terriers are relatively expensive, although they’re cheaper if you adopt them from a rescue center.

How Much is a Boston Terrier?

A Boston terrier is $1,000 to $2,000, on average. Prices are typically higher if the breeder is well-known and respectable, and if you’re buying a puppy. Adopted Boston terriers at rescue centers will cost less — typically $200 to $500.

How Much Does it Cost to Raise a Boston Terrier?

On average, owning a Boston terrier costs between $1,000 to $2,000 per year for food, grooming, and healthcare. If you require regular services such as dog-walking or dog-sitting, you’ll have to spend more.

First-year costs will be more expensive because you’ll need to buy equipment and toys.

Should You Get a Boston Terrier?

Boston Terrier jumping with a funny face

Boston terriers are lively, outgoing, loveable dogs. This breed is suitable for many types of households, including families with children. However, a Boston terrier needs moderate exercise, plenty of mental stimulation, and lots of training, so this breed isn’t suitable for owners with little free time.

Boston Terriers are Suitable for:

Boston terriers’ small size makes them suitable for smaller living spaces like apartments and houses without yards. This breed is suitable for families with young children, but early socialization between the dog and the child is crucial. Children should also be taught to handle Boston terriers gently, especially during the puppy stage.

Boston terriers are suited to active families with lots of energy and free time who can give the dog the affection and play it needs.

Unlike other breeds, Boston terriers can tolerate periods of time alone, so the dogs are suitable for households that spend a few hours out of the house every day. However, if a Boston terrier isn’t sufficiently physically and mentally stimulated during the hours you spend with it, the dog may become destructive and badly behaved.

Boston Terriers are NOT Suitable for:

Despite their small size, Boston terriers do need at least one hour of exercise per day, so their owner must be relatively active. These dogs’ stubborn nature means they can be tricky to train, so they may not be the ideal dog for a first-time owner.

About John Woods 299 Articles
John Woods is the founder of All Things Dogs, member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, graduate in Animal Behavior & Welfare and recognized author by the Dog Writers Association of America.

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