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Getting to know the Boston Terrier

Known as “The American Gentleman,” the Boston Terrier breed has firm roots in American history. Find out why this portable and friendly dog makes a great family pet.

Getting to know the Boston Terrier

Would you like a friendly, portable, well-dressed dog who is always duded up in a tuxedo? An energetic dog—family friendly, eager to please and isn’t prone to fits of barking? If so, you will want to look at the Boston Terrier.

History of the Boston Terrier

Sometimes referred to as “The American Gentleman” because of its unique markings, the Boston Terrier is a crossbreed of the English Bulldog and English Terrier. It’s rare to fully trace the origins and history of a breed, but the Boston Terrier is the exception: The birth of the first one in the US occurred more than 100 years ago in 1870. The first Boston in the line was called, “Hooper’s Judge,” named after the man who purchased him. It is believed that today’s Boston Terriers can all be traced back to that first thirty-pound male.

Fun fact: TheBoston Terrier is the official state dog of Massachusetts.

Characteristics of the Boston Terrier

When you choose to share your life with a Boston Terrier you can anticipate up to fifteen years together. Your Boston will want to please you and can be taught tricks, but you need to earn her respect and need to be the “leader of the pack” with this breed. According to the American Kennel Club, the Boston Terrier is the 21st most popular dog breed.

Boston Terrier puppy nudging a bowl

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A Boston Terrier is a contradiction in personality traits: she is a wonderful apartment dweller and is more than happy to be a couch ornament. Get her outside though and she is a prancing, feisty ball of energy. Even with its shortened snout, a Boston Terrier can excel in agility.

Be forewarned, your Boston Terrier, like many small dogs, may get feisty with unfamiliar dogs. He will require socialization if you want him to play nicely with others.

This breed is prone to several health issues including: allergies, deafness, corneal abrasions and cataracts. Your veterinarian may recommend running hip, knee and eye examinations to help rule out, or help you prepare for, ailments. The breed, because of its short snout (also referred to as Brachycephalic breeds), are prone to breathing problems. They have difficulty tolerating anesthesia or heat, and their snoring and wheezing may keep you up at night.

Even though your Boston Terrier will need some exercise and regular walks to burn off his excess energy, a short leash walk or a romp around the backyard will suffice. If you’re looking for a running companion, the Boston Terrier will not meet your expectations.

Is a Boston Terrier the Right Dog Breed for You?

If you’re making a pros and cons list,here are a few things to consider. A Boston Terrier is family and cat friendly, adaptable, portable, apartment friendly, trainable, and low maintenance—requiring little grooming. On the flipside, a Boston is territorial, has a stubborn streak and will not be the best watch dog.

If you live in an apartment and are looking for a companion who loves walks, but not overly long ones, you will want to share your home with a Boston Terrier. They dote on the family with whom they live and revel in being the center of attention.


Robbi Hess, award-winning author, is multi-petual: She shares her home with two Devon Rex kittens, three adult rescue cats, a mini poodle, a Goldendoodle, three lizards and two ferrets. When not caring for her pets, she is an editor, speaker, time management and productivity guru, content creator, social media manager and blogger. She writes at All Words MatterMy Divas Dish, and is the story editor and chief cat herder at Positively Woof.

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