Boston Terrier Information


Commonly referred to as the “American Gentleman” for its refined personality and dapper markings resembling a tuxedo, the Boston Terrier is an all-American, lively, and highly intelligent breed with an exceptional disposition. With the characteristic gentle yet playful temperament, the Boston Terrier is suitable as companion and house pet devoted to their owner’s wishes. Read on to find a full breed description to figure out whether this adorable, saucy pooch from the Mastiff family is the right fit for your own family life.

Boston Terrier
Basic Info
NameBoston Terrier
Other NameBoston Bull Terrier, American Gentlemen, Boston Bull, Boxwood
OriginUnited States
Size Type Small Dog Breeds
Breed Group Non-Sporting Breeds
Life Span11 to 13 years
TemperamentFriendly, Lively, Intelligent
Height15-17 inches
Weight10 to 25 pounds
ColorsBrown & White, Seal & White, Black & White, Brindle & White
Puppy PriceAverage $600 - $800 USD

Boston Terrier

Physical description

Body Type

Compact and muscular dogs, Boston Terriers have a short body that appears to have a slightly squared appearance with a square-looking flat head proportional to the rest of its frame. On the deep, white, and short muzzle, the nose is black and the stop is well-defined. Since the teeth are either even or have a slight underbite, the muzzle also has a square appearance. Along with the large, round, wide-set eyes that are normally dark in color, Boston Terriers have small erect ears that are either cropped or left natural for a bat-like look. With the legs set somewhat wide apart on a broad chest and arched neck, the dogs have a short tapered tail that is either straight or screw-shaped. According to the breed standard, the Boston Terrier must weigh between 10 and 25 pounds with a shoulder height from 15 to 17 inches.


The Boston Terrier is characteristically marked with white in proportion to an either black, brindle, and seal background. The breed commonly has white symmetrical markings that cover its chest, muzzle, band around the neck, halfway up the forelegs, up to the hocks on the hind legs, and between the eyes. Boston Terriers may also be liver, brown, cream, or bred with white markings; however, the American Kennel Club standards indicate that these colors are undesirable for the breed.


Annually on the best-dressed list with its seemingly formal wear attire, the Boston Terrier wears a smooth, fine coat with textured short hairs. Although the breed is known for being an average shedder, there is very little dog odor and shedding can be easily controlled with regular care.

Good with Kids
Cat Friendly
Dog Friendly
Hypoallergenic  No


Boston Terriers are relatively easy to groom with minimal requirements to keep their smooth coat in good condition. Owners are encouraged to brush their Boston Terrier on a weekly basis with a firm bristle brush and bathe them with a dry powered shampoo and damp cloth. Since their eyes are so large and prominent, the dogs’ faces should be washed on a daily basis and the eyes should be checked for any signs of redness and/or irritation. In order to prevent gum disease or bad doggie breath, it is essential that owners brush their Boston Terrier’s teeth at least two or three times each week to remove the buildup of tartar and bacteria. If the dog does not wear them down naturally with playtime or walks, Boston Terriers must have their nails trimmed once or twice every month to ensure they are not painful.


As one of the very few breeds with the pure distinction of “Made in America,” the Boston Terrier breed originated in 1870 when Robert C. Hooper of Boston purchased a dog named Judge who was of both Bull and Terrier breed lineage bred down in size from pit-fighting dogs. Originally a cross between the English Bulldog and the now extinct English White Terrier, the offspring of Judge interbred with one or more French Bulldogs to provide the foundations for the Boston Terrier we know today. Although the original Boston Terrier weighed up to 44 pounds, the breed continued to be bred down in size with smaller and smaller females. By 1889, the breed had become so popular throughout Boston that the dog lovers formed the American Bull Terrier Club and the breed’s nickname of “roundheads.” At the firm disapproval and suggestion of James Watson, the club shortly thereafter changed the name to the Boston Terrier Club to name the breed after its original birthplace. In 1893, the breed was admitted as a member of the American Kennel Club, thus becoming the first American dog breed to be recognized. Still one of a small number of breeds and non-sporting dogs to have originated in the United States, the Boston Terrier has considerably mellowed from the pit-fighting dogs of its ancestry to become a popular companion throughout the nation.


Typically having a friendly and hapy-go-lucky personality, the Boston Terrier is often described as being gentle, intelligent, creative, well-mannered, expressive, enthusiastic, and loving. Generally eager to please and protect their owners, Boston Terriers are also easily trained with a patient yet firm pack leader. Having been bred specifically as a companion dog, the breed enjoys being around people, children, elderly, other dogs, and non-canine pets when properly socialized as a pup. Since both females and males are generally quiet by barking only when necessary, the breed are a sensible option for apartment living. However, Boston Terriers do require a long daily walk and sessions of free play in a fenced-in yard to stay in shape and ward off rambunctious behavior problems. Overall, Boston Terriers are playful, devoted, affectionate, confident, and love to be part of a loyal family.

Interesting Boston Terrier Facts

  • While the handsome little Boston Terrier ranked as one of the most popular breeds in the early 1900s, the dogs have retained their great popularity to this day by being currently ranked as the 23rd most popular dog breed by the American Kennel Club.
  • However, the American favorite has yet to impress judges at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show to win the coveted “Best in Show.”
  • Due to their large rounded heads, over 90 percent of Boston Terrier litters must be delivered through a caesarean section to protect both mother and pups.
  • Some Boston Terriers boat a circle of dark hair smack dab in the middle on the top of their heads that is known as the Haggerty spot, or the “kiss of God.” If a dog has this unique marking, it is evidence that they are direct descendents of one of the original lines owned by the Haggerty family in the early 1900s.