A small black and white short-haired dog wears a blue harness in a field of daffodils.

Boston Terrier

15 September 2023

Let’s talk about… Boston Terriers: what are they?

  • Boston Terriers, often referred to as the "American Gentleman," are a small and compact breed that originated in the United States.
  • They are one of the few dog breeds that are truly "made in the USA," as they were first bred in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • They were developed in the late 19th century by crossing English Bulldogs with English Terriers.
  • Boston Terriers have a distinctive tuxedo-like coat pattern, with a sleek and muscular body.
  • They have a height of around 38-43 cm and weigh between 5-11 kg.
  • The average life expectancy of Boston Terriers is between 11-13 years.
Boston Terrier  Exercise Needs 2/5 Grooming Ease 4/5 Trainability 4/5

What is the temperament of Boston Terriers like?

  • Boston Terriers are known for their friendly and affectionate nature.
  • They are highly social dogs that thrive on human companionship.
  • They make excellent family pets and are generally good with children.
  • Boston Terriers are also known for being intelligent and eager to please, which makes them relatively easy to train.
  • They have a playful and lively personality, and their expressive faces and gentle nature make them popular companions.
  • It's important to note that Boston Terriers may have a strong prey drive, so they should be supervised around small animals, such as cats or rodents, to prevent any chasing behaviour.
  • Early socialisation is crucial to help them develop good manners and interact positively with other animals and people.
Betty, the Boston Terrier

How much exercise do Boston Terriers need?

  • Boston Terriers have moderate exercise needs and typically require around 30 minutes to 1 hour of exercise per day.
  • Despite their small size, they have a fair amount of energy and enjoy physical activities.
  • Regular walks, interactive play sessions, and mental stimulation through training or puzzle toys are beneficial for their overall well-being.
  • When it comes to Boston Terrier puppies, their exercise needs are different from adults. Puppies have developing bones and joints, and excessive exercise can be harmful.
  • Puppies should have shorter and more frequent play sessions throughout the day to avoid overexertion.
  • As a very general guideline, a Boston Terrier puppy should have about 5 minutes of exercise per month of age, up to twice a day. Your vet is the best to advise on your individual pooch.
  • As they grow and develop, their exercise time can gradually increase. Boston Terriers reach their full adult exercise levels at around 12-18 months of age.
Patsy, the Boston Terrier

Do Boston Terriers need a lot of grooming?

  • Boston Terriers have a short and smooth coat that requires minimal grooming compared to breeds with longer or more complex coats.
  • They are average shedders and generally only require regular brushing once or twice a week to remove any loose hair and keep their coat in good condition.
  • Additionally, they may benefit from occasional bathing to keep them clean and fresh.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Tormund, the Boston Terrier

Are Boston Terriers easy to train?

  • Boston Terriers are intelligent dogs and generally eager to please their owners, which makes them relatively easy to train.
  • They respond well to positive reinforcement techniques, such as rewards, praise, and treats.
  • Consistency, patience, and gentle guidance are key to their training success.
  • Early socialisation is important for Boston Terriers to expose them to different people, animals, and environments.
  • This helps them develop into well-rounded dogs and reduces the chances of developing fear issues.
  • Enrolling them in puppy training classes or working with a professional dog trainer can be beneficial to ensure they receive proper guidance and socialisation.
Zeus, the Boston Terrier

What do Boston Terriers eat?

  • A balanced and high-quality dog food that meets the nutritional needs of Boston Terriers is essential for their overall health and well-being.
  • The amount and frequency of feeding may vary depending on their age, size, activity level, and metabolism.
  • Consult with your vet for specific feeding recommendations for your Boston Terrier.
  • When it comes to Boston Terrier puppies, they have specific dietary needs to support their growth and development. Most puppies should be fed 3-4 times a day until they are 6 months old, then reduced to twice daily.
  • They should be fed a puppy-specific diet until they reach around 12 months of age.
  • Monitor their weight and body condition regularly, adjusting their portion sizes as needed to prevent underfeeding or overfeeding.

Are Boston Terriers healthy?

Boston Terriers can be prone to certain health issues. Some of the health concerns that may affect Boston Terriers include:

Bones and Joints

  • Hemivertebra -  one or more deformed vertebrae which can cause spinal cord compression which can lead to pain, weakness or an inability to walk
  • Luxating patella - this is when a dog’s kneecap moves out of where it should normally be


  • Cataracts - a common cause of blindness due to a clouding of the lens of the eye
  • Cherry eye - this is when there is popping out of the third eyelid gland
  • Corneal Ulcers - open sores on the cornea of the eye
  • Dry eye - an ongoing condition where the tear glands in the eyes don’t produce enough protective tear film, which can lead to discomfort, infections and damage of the eye


  • Cushing’s Disease (hyperadrenocorticism) - when the adrenal gland produces too steroid hormone


  • Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) - narrow airways which can make breathing and temperature regulation difficult.


  • Atopy - when the immune system overreacts to an allergen and results in skin irritation.

This list is by no means comprehensive. If you have any concerns about the health of your dog or want to discuss further if a Boston Terrier is right for you, consult with your vet.

BorrowMyDoggy loves Boston Terriers

BorrowMyDoggy has 1662 Boston Terrier members

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian. Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health, contact your local vet.

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