Boston Terrier: Color, Lifespan, Characteristics & Facts

Boston Terriers, which happen to be the state dog of Massachusetts, are a small, loving breed with a whole lot of energy. Many assume the animals operate like other little dogs, but the truth is they are a great blend of playfulness and energy.

The breed is content with laying down on the couch or a premium dog bed when tired, but they also love long walks and will participate in many different games. It all depends on your mood and the way you present such activities.

The breed is relatively recent, and one of the few developed in America, but they have ties that go much further back. Selective genes turned them into ideal pets for the whole family.

Not only do they actively bond with their owners, but they enjoy spending time with kids and other pets as well. If you’re looking for an energetic breed that also has an off switch, a Boston Terrier might be your best bet.

Though the most common Boston Terrier mix coat is white with another color, the Brindle Boston Terrier and Boston Terrier Brown can be found as well. There are also some interesting traits within the breed, such as Boston Terriers with tails.

Breed Overview

Other Names: Boxwood Terrier, Boston Bull Terrier

Origin: United States

Height: 15 to 17 inches

Weight: 10 to 25 pounds

Life Span: 13 to 15 years

Colors: Seal &White, Black & White, Brindle & White

1. Personality & Temperament

CyberPet - Boston terrier

Boston Terriers are small, energetic dogs. Though they do not bounce off the walls like other smaller breeds, they will actively engage in a range of fun activities. The canines enjoy playing all sorts of games as long as you are also active.

Though they do fine in smaller spaces, such as apartments or condos, the dogs do need to get outdoors each and every day.

The breed is also very emotional. They form strong bonds with their owners and openly play off their mood. If you are sad, your terrier will likely react accordingly. The same thing goes for if you’re overly excited or happy.

As they are so in-tune with people, Boston Terriers are relatively easy to train. The breed loves to please and responds well to positive reinforcement.

2. How to Care for a Boston Terrier


Boston Terriers are small dogs, but they grow rather quickly. Puppies should get three to four small meals of premium puppy food, as noted in this article until they reach a year of age. From there, you can cut their feedings down to twice a day.

With this breed, protein is the name of the game. All of the best options come packed with protein to allow your terrier to grow to full size. Just be sure to avoid brands with high grain content, as that can irritate your pup’s stomach.

While wet food is recommended for many breeds, Boston Terriers do well with nutrient-packed dry food. Not only does it keep their teeth clean, but it also cuts back on bad breath.


The Boston Terrier’s smooth coat requires regular bathing to keep its luscious shine. You can give them a dip as much as once a week, but once a month is typically fine. It depends on how much they play outside.

Before bathing your terrier, it is important to go over their fur with a hair dryer in order to knock loose any dirt or dander hiding in their coat. Also wipe down their face wrinkles after a bath in order to prevent any bacteria build-up.

It is important to regularly trim their nails, clean their ears, and brush their teeth as well.


Boston Terriers greatly enjoy exercise, but they can flame out rather quickly. A daily half-hour walk is great, as is running them around a park or yard. However, if you notice your dog quickly becoming tired or laying down, head back inside.

On the other hand, make sure your pet gets enough exercise. If you notice your terrier is still quite energetic after your daily walk, take them out for a bit longer or run them around for an extra half hour at home.


Boston Terriers, while intelligent, need proper praise in order to do what you want. Positive reinforcement is essential for the breed and makes it so they will be eager to follow commands.

The breed takes well to both obedience and house training, especially when they are young. A good crate is also vital for proper crate training.

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3. Common Health Issues of the Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier life span ranges from 13 to 15 years. That is a long time, but it does not mean they are immune to issues.

Boston Terrier health problems vary from minor to much more severe. When asking “how long do Boston Terriers live?”, it is important to consider general health risks that come with the breed.

Brachycephalic Syndrome

As with many squish-faced dogs, Boston Terriers have trouble breathing. Brachycephalic syndrome, where extra soft tissue constricts breathing airways, is extremely common within the breed.

This condition manifests in many different forms. Sometimes it comes about through stenotic nares, sometimes it is everted laryngeal saccules, and sometimes it is an elongated soft palate. If your dog cannot easily breathe, this is likely the cause.


Hemivertebrae is a genetic disorder common in smaller dog breeds where the vertebrae in the spine are deformed in some way. The bones can fuse or twist, which then puts stress on the spine and causes your dog a lot of discomfort.

Boston Terriers with this condition tend to experience pain, fecal incontinence, as well as weakness in their hind limbs. Always be on the watch out for such problems. If any arise, take your dog to get checked out.

Ear Infections

When it comes to Boston Terrier health issues, ear infections are one of the most common. Though they are not easy to detect, there are a few key signs.

Always watch your dog to see if they scratch their ears or shake their head. A bad smell coming from the ear canal may be a sign as well. If your dog shows any such symptoms, take them into the vet right away.

Eye Issues

As they have large, protruding eyes, Boston terriers are also susceptible to a wide range of eye conditions. That includes cataracts, cherry eye, glaucoma, corneal ulcers, and dry eye. Always clean your dog’s eyes and get them checked on a regular basis.

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4. Children & Other Pets

Boston Terriers are an active breed, which makes them great for children. The dog’s affectionate nature extends to kids of all ages, and their medium size mixes well with their energetic temperament. They have the energy to keep up with children, but are also not so small that they will get hurt.

Beyond that, Boston Terriers also do well when raised alongside other breeds. Early socialization with both dogs and cats will make your terrier much friendlier as they get older.

Though the canines may act aggressive towards strange dogs walking by the house, they are more bark than bite. Even if they come into contact with an animal they don’t trust, they can warm up as time goes by.

5. The History of the Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier breed we know today first came about in 1870 when Robert C. Hooper purchased a dog that was of both the Bull and Terrier lineage. He then bred that Boston Terrier with French Bulldogs to create the modern breed.

Known as “roundheads,” the dogs quickly became popular throughout the Boston area. In just a few short years, the American Kennel Club accepted the dogs into its doors and made it the first non-sporting breed developed in the United States.

Citizens took to the breed thanks to its sweet personality and small size. So much so, that it wasn’t long before they spread out to the rest of the country.

While coat pattern did not matter at that time, breeders soon became focused on creating different Boston Terrier colors. It was not long before selective breeding gave rise to variations like the Red Boston Terrier and Chocolate Boston Terrier.

6. The Regular Expenses of Owning a Boston Terrier

Breeders sell Boston Terrier puppies for between $600 and $1,200. The median price falls around $800.

7. Boston Terrier Rescue Groups

There are a range of adoption centers and help organizations dedicated to putting Boston Terriers into good, loving homes.

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