Boston Terrier

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Boston Terrier

HomeDog Breeds > Boston Terrier

terrier, companion, mastiff (bulldog)

Original Function: 

ratting, companion

Today's Function: 


Date of Origin: 


Other Name: 


Area of Origin: 

United States


While the exact origin of the Boston terrier is questionable, as more than one story abounds, it is true that it is an American breed. Some say that the dog is a result of crossing the English bulldog with a white English terrier.

Boston Terrier Breed Health

Average Size of Male: 

Height: 15 - 17 inches, Weight: 10 - 25 pounds

Average Size of Female: 

Height: 15 - 17 inches, Weight: 10 - 25 pounds

Life span: 

10 - 14 years

Minor concerns: 

cataract, PDA, patellar luxation, stenotic nares

Suggested tests: 


Major concerns: 



This breed does not tolerate the heat and is sensitive to anesthesia. It is prone to corneal abrasions. Caesarian deliveries are commonly needed.

Occasionally seen: 

deafness, hydrocephalus, esophageal achalasia, distichiasis, persistent right aortic arch

Boston Terrier Breed History

According to this account, it is said that around 1870, a Bostonian named William O'Brien sold "Judge" - an imported dog - to a fellow Bostonian named Robert C. Hooper. According to this story, "Hooper's Judge" is the original ancestor to the modern Boston terrier. Hooper's Judge was mated with a female dog, reportedly named either "Gyp" or "Kate," and the offspring was a dog named "Wells' Eph." Wells' Eph was mated with "Tobin's Kate" and the Boston terrier breed is said to have evolved from these four dogs. Another story is similar, and claims that at around 1865, coachmen who were working for wealthy families in Boston were the ones who started to interbreed some of their employers' dogs. It is said that one of these pairings, again between an English terrier and a bulldog, produced a dog that came to be known as "Hooper's Judge." In this account, Hooper's Judge was said to have weighed over 30 pounds. Allegedly he was mated with a smaller female, and the male offspring was later bred to another smaller female. Some believe that later generations were likely bred with French bulldogs. It was in 1889 that the breed gained popularity in Boston, and fanciers formed the American Bull Terrier Club. However, that name for the breed was not well received. Shortly thereafter, the breed was named after its birthplace, and the name Boston terrier was adopted. It is said that this breed was originally used for fighting, but today the breed does not generally show any type of aggressive behavior. The Boston terrier was recognized by the AKC in 1893.

Boston Terrier Breed Appearance

A clean-cut dog, the Boston terrier is considered to be squarely-proportioned and compactly-built. The shoulders of this dog are sloping, the front legs are straight, and the back legs have strong thighs. The small, round feet feature well-arched toes and short nails. The expression of the Boston terrier is best described as both alert and kind. The large, round eyes are set wide apart and appear dark in color. Small and erect, the ears can be cropped or left natural. The short, square muzzle has a wide, black nose. The broad, square jaw offers short, regular teeth that meet in an even or undershot bite. The slightly-arched neck carries the head gracefully, and the short back squares the body. The fine, tapering tail is straight or screwed, and it is set on low. The gait of the Boston terrier can be described as sure-footed, graceful, and powerful. The short, smooth coat of this breed is fine in texture, and the coat can be found in brindle, seal, or black with white markings.

Boston Terrier Breed Temperament

Devoted and sensitive, the Boston terrier can also be described as playful and saucy. It is considered to be very good with children and particularly good with the elderly. This dog is generally friendly toward strangers and will usually get along well with other non-canine pets. It has been known to be aggressive with strange dogs, and some males may be dominant. This breed likes to be part of the family, and it is a good companion dog. The Boston terrier can be very lovable, yet it can also be very independent. It can be stubborn, but it is a clever and quick learner. This breed is very sensitive to tone of voice. It likes to learn and is not difficult to train.

Boston Terrier Breed Maintenance

The smooth, short coat of the Boston terrier does not require much care. Occasional combing or brushing with a firm bristle will remove the dead hairs. This breed is considered to be an average shedder. The Boston terrier should be bathed only when necessary. The face should be wiped with a damp cloth on a daily basis, and it is important to clean the prominent eyes of this breed carefully. Be sure to regularly check the ears for ticks and grass seeds. Keep the nails clipped. Due to its short muzzle, the Boston terrier may wheeze or snore. Lively and active, this dog requires daily exercise and people interaction. It enjoys playing games, romping in the yard, and going for short walks on a leash. Some dogs do not tolerate heat well. The Boston terrier will adapt to apartment living if exercised sufficiently. Relatively light weight, this dog can be easily carried.

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