Getting to know your boston terrier

Getting to know your dog starts by getting to know its breed, and that includes getting a better idea about its appearance, personality, and health requirements. Here’s what you need to know about the Boston terrier:

Nicknamed the “American Gentleman,” the Boston terrier is a cross between an English White Terrier and an English bulldog, first originating sometime during the late 19th century. During that era, the breed was called Hooper’s Judge, weighing around 30 pounds. Over the years, the Boston terrier’s name changed and it was bred down in size. Although the early breed was classified as lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight, today they are usually between 10 and 25 pounds.

The interesting thing about the Boston terrier is that it was the first American breed to be recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1893. During the late 1870s, these dogs were used for pit fighting but today, they are known as being the first non-sporting dog bred in the United States, a docile breed. Hitting a peak in popularity during the 1920s, the Boston terrier remains a nice choice for families although males tend to challenge other dogs for turf.

Physical Appearance

Again, the Boston terrier is not a large breed, being very compact but well proportioned. The dog has a short tail, short muzzle, and alert, erect ears. Height can vary but most dogs in this breed are between 15 and 17 inches at the withers. As with other terrier breeds, you will find the Boston terrier marked with various colors and color combinations, as indicated below.

* Black with White Markings * Brindle * Seal * Combination of black, brindle, and seal

Regardless of the color of the terrier, the chest, band around the neck, muzzle, and partially up on the forelegs, along with the hocks and rear legs should be white. Then, for American Kennel Club standards, the Boston terrier should also present a white blaze that goes between the eyes but without touching.

Temperament and Personality

The most noticeable characteristics of the Boston terrier are alertness, gentleness, and excellent manners. Because of the sweet disposition of this breed, it makes an excellent companion dog. Typically, the breed loves being around people, specifically adults. However, if socialized young, they also do quite well around children and other animals. Interestingly, the Boston terrier is not a big barker. While they will alert when necessary, barking is seldom, making them a great choice for apartment-dwellers.


For the most part, the Boston terrier is a strong, healthy breed. However, the breed does not handle heat and humidity well, which is because of the short muzzle. In fact, too much heat could lead to heat exhaustion. Although the average age of the Boston terrier is around 13, some will live to 15 or 16.

Due to the short muzzles, the Boston terrier does have a few considerations. For one thing, they can “reverse sneeze,” which is simply a gasp and snort. While it sounds horrible to the owner, this does not hurt the dog. If you find your Boston terrier becoming overly excited with an episode of reverse sneezing followed, just calm the dog down and the episode will stop.

Another non-dangerous tendency is to snort and snore, again because of the short muzzle. Depending on the dog, he or she may actually need minor surgery to help, making breathing easier. Therefore, if you feel your Boston terrier is not getting adequate air, we recommend you talk to your veterinarian. Finally, some Boston terriers will have eye problems such as ulcers. With a prominent eye structure, you would want to watch for any signs of injury or redness.