Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier Best Dressed Dog With Impeccable Manners


Where Do The Boston Terriers Come From?

Unlike most dog breeds that have little written history of their ancestry, the Boston Terrier’s beginning is well documented. Sometime in the late 1860s in England, a white English terrier (now extinct) and an English bulldog were bred. The breeders sold a puppy to William O’Brien, an American, who took the dog home to Boston.



O’Brien sold his dog around 1870 to Robert Hooper, and the dog became known as “Hooper’s Judge.” Hooper’s Judge is the patriarch of the Boston Terrier breed. Judge weighed over 30 pounds and was bred with a smaller white bulldog-type female named Gyp, owned by Edward Burnett. A smaller puppy named Eph was born. Judge and Gyp begat Eph, Eph begat Kate, and so forth. Today’s Boston Terrier breed was created after a few more refinements by other breeders.





By 1890, the Boston Terriers (Bostons) became extremely popular in the Boston area, and their owners created a club called the American Bull Terrier Club. Shortly after, the American Kennel Club (AKC) officially changed the dog’s breed name to the Boston Terrier, and the AKC recognized the breed in 1893.



The legislature of Massachusetts dubbed the breed the “American Gentleman” and declared the Bostons the official state dog in 1979. Boston University (not to be confused with Boston College) has used a Boston Terrier named Rhett as a mascot since 1922. Rhett’s name is somewhat controversial due to its connection with the movie “Gone With the Wind.”

The Bostons are not part of the AKC’s Terrier Group, despite their name. Instead, it is in the Non-Sporting Group. It is a relatively popular breed, ranking number 21 on the AKC’s list of most popular.

What Do the Boston Terriers Look Like?

Bostons are small dogs, standing about 16 inches tall and weighing no more than 25 pounds. They have erect ears, a short muzzle, and a coat combining white and black that resembles a tuxedo. The tuxedo look and good manners are why the Boston Terrier is nicknamed “American Gentleman.”

The black part of its coat can have some variation. It can be completely black, black brindle, or sable. Sable looks black but has a reddish tint in bright lights. Its face resembles the French Bulldog, and these two breeds are often confused.

Boston Terrier
Black Boston Terrier
Black Brindle Boston Terrier
Black Brindle
Brown Brindle Boston Terrier
Brown Brindle

Are Boston Terriers good family dogs?

The Boston Terrier is an excellent companion dog and usually gets along very well with all family members. They are affectionate and may become a bit possessive and territorial, making them resentful of other dogs and strangers.

Generally, they are happy, friendly, and well-behaved family members. They need human companionship, and you should not keep them as outside dogs. This breed loves to play with kids and requires a lot of attention. They are not frequent barkers but will bark when necessary. This trait makes them pretty good watchdogs.

They do shed somewhat, so they are not a hypoallergenic breed. The Boston Terriers need brushing about once a week and an occasional bath. Consequently, Bostons are not a good choice for people allergic to dogs.

Bostons are highly devoted to their owners and very sensitive to their human companions’ moods. This dog can sense whether its owner or other people feel upset, happy, or angry. This unique characteristic makes the Boston Terrier an excellent, clever companion who learns quickly.

This tough-looking dog may seem like it could live outdoors, but it does not tolerate heat or cold temperatures very well. They need daily exercise, which only requires regular walks on a leash or some playtime. They love to play chasing games and retrieve balls. But most importantly, they want constant human companionship.

Are the Boston Terriers smart?

These Terriers are ranked at 54 in Stanley Coren’s book, “The Intelligence of Dogs,” and are average in doggie smarts. Owners will tell you these dogs are very clever and relatively easy to train. Owners may be biased, but the Boston Terrier is intelligent and eager to please, so training should not be difficult. They can be stubborn, so you must be patient. Their desire to please should soon lead them to do what you are trying to teach them.

Are the Boston Terriers healthy?

Your terrier should be relatively healthy with proper care, good nutrition, and enough exercise. They have a lifespan of 11 to 13 years. However, according to the BTCA, some Bostons may have medical problems that require expensive veterinary care.

This dog breed is a brachycephalic (flat-nosed) breed. They may have breathing problems, so they may snort or sneeze to clear their smaller nostrils. They sometimes snore. Bostons can also have hip dysplasia, knee problems, and potential eye issues.

More Information

The Boston Terrier Club of America is one of the first breed clubs recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1893.   The BTCA, working with the AKC, is responsible for developing and promoting the breed standards. While the Club promotes the breed, they do not recommend that everyone should own one.  The Boston is bred as a companion dog. and needs lots of human contact.  

Compare these breeds:


English Bulldog

Height (inches): 14-15
Weight (Pounds): 40-50
Life Expectancy (Years): 8-10
Popularity (AKC): 5
Group (AKC): Non-Sporting
United Kingdom

American Bulldog

Height (inches): 20-25
Weight (Pounds): 60-100
Life Expectancy (Years): 10-12
Popularity (AKC): Not ranked
Group (AKC): Foundation Stock Services
United States
French Bulldog

Height (inches): 11-13
Weight (Pounds): under 28
Life Expectancy (Years): 10-12
Popularity (AKC): 4
Group (AKC): Non-Sporting
Bull Terrier

Height (inches): 21-22
Weight (Pounds): 50-70
Life Expectancy (Years): 12-13
Popularity (AKC): 62
Group (AKC): Terrier
United Kingdom
Boston Terrier

Height (inches): 15-17
Weight (Pounds): 12-25
Life Expectancy (Years): 11-13
Popularity (AKC): 21
Group (AKC): Non-Sporting
United States
Miniature Bull Terrier

Height (inches): 10-14
Weight (Pounds): 18-28
Life Expectancy (Years): 11-13
Popularity (AKC): 110
Group (AKC): Terrier
United Kingdom



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