The Boston Terrier: A Classic American Breed

Boston Terrier

Meet the Boston Terrier, a true American dog breed.

Friendly and sometimes stubborn, the Boston Terrier is a charming dog, making them one of the most popular breeds in the U.S.

Other names for this insatiable breed include the Boston Bull, Boston Bull Terrier, Boxwood, and the American Gentleman. 


Boston Terrier


Today, we are talking about all-things Boston Terrier, from their origins to what kind of person this breed best suited for. Boston Terriers are some of the happiest go-lucky dogs you can meet and are a perfect fit for many different households. So is there a Boston Terrier puppy in your future?

Let’s find out!



Accepted into the AKC, not even 20 years after their creation — 1893 & 1875 respectively — the Boston Terrier is a relatively younger breed. Descendants of the Bulldog and Terrier, in the early days, the Boston Terrier was a bit of an aggressive breed.

This is because they were originally bred to be fighting dogs. However, that quickly changed, and today this breed is renowned for their lovable nature that has solidified their place as one of the best companion breeds around.  

As you can guess by the name, the Boston Terrier’s origins hail from Boston, Massachusetts. And we owe our thanks for this breed to Mr. Rober C. Hooper and his famous friends Judge and Gyp. 


Boston Terrier


Mr. Robert C. Hooper, of Boston came into possession of a dog named Judge. This dog, which he purchased of Mr. William O’Brien of the same city, was undoubtedly imported from England.

Judge, commonly known as Hooper’s Judge, was destined to be the ancestor of almost all the true modern Boston Terriers. He was a cross between an English Bulldog and a white English Terrier. He was a strongly built, high stationed dog of about thirty-two pounds weight.

In color, he was a dark brindle, with a white stripe on the face. His head was square and blocky, and he resembled the present Boston Terrier in that he had a nearly even mouth. Judge was bred to Burnett’s Gyp (or Kate). Gyp was a white bitch, owned by Mr. Edward Burnett, of Southboro, MA.

She was of about twenty pounds weight, had a fine three-quarter tail, and was quite low stationed. She was of stocky build, showing considerable strength in her make-up. Her head was good, being short and blocky.”



Quiet, gentle, and easily pleased, the Boston Terrier is a wonderful small dog who has more of a big dog’s personality. They are undisturbed by much, though they can at times become territorial over their owner.

Other than that, they are generally goofballs and love bugs that enjoy being around everyone from children to non-canine pets. The earlier you socialize them, the greater chance this occurs and that they stay on their best behavior


Size & Appearance 

With a small but sturdy body and a smooth & short coat, the Boston Terrier is considered a small dog breed. On average, they weigh anywhere between 10 to 25 pounds and stand no taller than 16 inches.

Boston Terriers have a well-proportioned body with a large head that houses erect ears. And while their ears are fairly short, they are notably longer than their tails, which is usually no more than a stub.  


Boston Terrier Colors

While the Boston Terrier breed sees many different colors and coat combinations pop up, only three are recognized. In the early history of this breed, the color markings weren’t considered a factor when breeding, leading to many variations.

However, this has certainly changed where non-traditional coats like red are greatly discouraged by many in the Boston Terrier community.  


Boston Terrier


Boston Terrier Colors Black & White

The black and white color combination is perhaps the most common of the three official color markings. In fact, the black and white coat is so common, it earned the Boston Terrier the nickname, the American Gentleman — thanks to its resemblance to a tuxedo.

However, we can’t forget about their loving nature, which also certainly contributed to them earning the nickname. 


Boston Terrier Colors Seal & White

Seal & white is one of the three recognized color combinations of the Boston Terrier, but it’s not as common as the other two.

While it can appear red, the seal color is actually black that appears reddish in the sunlight. This is an important distinction, as there are true red Boston Terriers whose coat color isn’t recognized. 


Boston Terrier Colors Brindle & White

Unlike the solid coats above, Brindle is a pattern of usually black stripes mixed into a solid color whose shade can range from a deep red to light gold. Black streaks mixed into a coffee brown base coat is the most common brindle variation. 



Grooming! What grooming? There’s no time for that when you got a Boston Terrier! 

OK, we’ll be honest, like pretty much every dog in existence, some grooming is required, but with the Boston Terrier’s amazingly smooth and sleek short coat, it’s very, very minimal. This is a great breed when you don’t want to deal with all the woes of dog hair but still want a dog.

Since their coat is smooth and short, bathing is infrequent and quick. A quick wipe down with a damp cloth is usually the better option. With this breed, just make sure you’re keeping their nails trimmed and their dental health in check.  


Boston Terrier



Emotionally sensitive breeds like the Boston Terrier are considered highly trainable, despite the random stubbornness that often comes from this personality type.

Consistency, patience, motivation, and never words of discouragement are the keys to training this incredible breed. Crate training is recommended, and with a gentle tone, the Boston Terrier takes right to it. 

This isn’t the easiest breed for first-time dog owners, but if you’ve lived with dogs before and have the time for training, the Boston Terrier isn’t off the table for you.

If you’re looking for the easiest to train dog breeds that aren’t high maintenance in other departments, check out the Poodle, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, and the Havanese. 



With an average lifespan of 13-15 years, the Boston Terrier sees a similar life expectancy as other breeds around their size. However, they may experience slightly more health issues on average. The breed is prone to cherry eyes, cataracts, deafness, and heart murmurs.

As well, because of their short snouts due to questionable breed practices, this breed can have problems with breathing — notably, a condition called brachycephalic syndrome.

As well they can have issues with overheating, and this can even make them less suitable to hotter climates when compared to breeds like Siberian Huskies who have way more hair. 

By most accounts, eye disease seems to be the most dangerous health issue this breed faces.



Both wet or dry dog foods are an excellent choice for the Boston Terrier. The big thing to look for, pertaining to their breed, is confirming the food you’re giving them is formulated for small dogs. Don’t let their small size fool you.

When properly exercised and given space to get their energy out, the Boston Terrier has a mighty appetite. As always, carefully monitor their weight to ensure they don’t become overweight. They love to run, but their big appetite often catches up to them. 


Exercise & Living Conditions 

30 to 60 minutes of moderate exercising — e.g., walking — every day is recommended for the Boston Terrier. Intense exercise in spurts is fine, but this isn’t the best breed for long jogging sessions — and you can pretty much forget about running sessions. 

With a short coat and immense love for people, the Boston Terrier is best studied for home living. Any size place is typically fine — be it a studio apartment or farmhouse — just make sure they are getting adequate exercise and outside time


Boston Terrier puppies

Goofy, rambunctious, but above all else, cuddle bugs, Boston Terrier puppies like any puppy can sure be a handful. But don’t worry, with daily training and early socialization, you will soon have a highly trainable pup that loves to please. 



What colors are Boston Terrier?

While the black or brindle pair with white is the most common coat color combination, Boston Terriers come in red, fawn, blue, lilac, cream, brown, and champagne. However, only the black, brindle, or seal with white are officially recognized by the AKC.


What colors do you get if you breed two brindle and white Boston Terriers?

Because brindle and white coat colorings come from dominant genes, if both parents are brindle and white, their puppies will likely be too. But if you remember back to science class and the famous Punnett square, recessive genes for colors such as red or cream can still pop up, even if both parents don’t express these colors outwards. 


How much are Boston Terrier puppies?

There are so many factors that go into how much you should expect to pay for a specific dog breed. Some factors include location, lineage, and even the color of the puppies’ coats.

It’s not uncommon to see puppies from the same litter being sold at different price points. 

On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $600 to $1,200 for a Boston Terrier puppy when purchasing from a private breeder or pet store.

But that is nothing when compared to purchasing a Boston Terrier puppy who comes from a superior lineage — expect to pay anywhere between $1,500 to $4,500 here. Rescuing can significantly reduce costs. 


How many puppies can a Boston Terrier have?

Due to their small size, Boston Terriers have small litter sizes that average between 3 to 5 puppies. Most Boston Terrier puppies are born naturally with minimal help from human care. However, cesarean births are not uncommon in any sense. Especially when the father is bigger than the mother. 


Where to find Boston Terrier puppies?

Coming in on AKC’s Most Popular Dog Breeds list at the 21st position, it’s safe to say the Boston Terrier is a pretty popular dog. There are about 200 recognized breeds on this list, and there are probably just as many unrecognized breeds.

What this means for you is it’s pretty easy to find Boston Terrier puppies — whether you’re looking to rescue or purchase from a private breeder. 


How to train Boston Terrier puppies

A calm demeanor with a pleasant and motivating tone in combination with early socialization and persistence is the key to unlocking a highly trainable Boston Terrier puppy. 


Miniature Boston Terrier puppies

Miniature Boston Terrier puppies do exist, but no, they are not a separate breed from the regular-sized Boston Terrier. They are simply either the runt of the litter passed off as a teacup Boston Terrier or both of their parents were selected for their small size in hopes that an equally small puppy is the result. 



Final Thoughts 

Wow, no wonder the Boston Terrier is one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. With incredibly loving and sweet personalities — despite their early years as fighting dogs — Boston Terriers are the perfect dog for many different people.

They are great for those that like a dog on the lower-maintenance front thanks to their low grooming and exercise needs — they are high energy, but it’s easy to get out.

The two departments where they can take a little more work is ensuring early socialization and monitoring their health closely for any of the health problems listed above. 

All-and-all, the Boston Terrier is simply a wonderful and delightful breed who can really light up a room. 

Enjoyed learning about the Boston Terrier? What to see if another dog breed is a better fit? No problem! At Tindog, we regularly bring you the best information on the all-things canine. 


“Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.”– Orhan Pamuk

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