Spotlight on: Boston Terriers

Boston is famous for so many things! Historically, there is the Boston Tea Party, the Boston Massacre, and the home of Paul Revere. Culturally, Boston is known for its baked beans, Fenway Park, the Boston Marathon, and let’s not forget about Cheers!

All these things are great, however since most of us reading this are dog people, we know the best thing that comes from Boston are Boston Terriers!

Basic Characteristics of Boston Terriers

With their tuxedo style coat and compact body, Boston Terriers make quite the family pooch! While this breed averages between 12 to 15 inches at the shoulder, they can weigh anywhere from 10 to 25 pounds, and sometimes even more! Their sturdy size varies greatly and some Bostons are much smaller than others, while some seem to tower over others.

Their solid, stocky build is accompanied by a large head, short snout, erect ears, and broad chest. At the opposite end of their head, is a short tail, which should never be docked. Their fur is very short, yet smooth, and is usually black and white which resembles a tuxedo, however additional colors include seal and white or brindle and white.


While it is thought that Bostons were bred to fight, this breed is a lover, not a fighter! Bostons are known for their friendly demeanor and never really meet a stranger! They immediately want to be friends with everyone they meet, which makes them great family dogs! They get along great with kids and other animals. Although they are a friendly breed, it is always a good idea to expose your Boston to experiences with early socialization to get him comfortable with meeting new people or animals.

In addition to their great temperament, Bostons are very smart! This typically helps to make house training and obedience smooth sailing, however as smart as they are, keep in mind that Boston Terriers can also be stubborn! Typically, this breed is food- or toy-motivated, so while training, make sure you have plenty of treats or toys for positive reinforcement.

If you are looking for an affectionate lap dog or snuggler, then you definitely hit the jackpot with Bostons. Pet parents of Boston Terriers can agree that this breed loves attention and affection and is willing to reciprocate to their owners. Additionally, Bostons also like to clown around! Expect these goofballs to want to play and act silly at any given moment.


With their muscular build, Boston Terriers are ready to play no matter what the activity may be. They love to play both indoors-which makes them great apartment dogs – as well as outside. While each dog is unique, this breed typically requires at least one walk a day, which they will willingly love to take! Others may require more exercise, which could include playing chase in the backyard, going for a run, taking a trip to a local dog park and playing with his friends, or even swimming.

Keep in mind, because of their short noses, this breed is susceptible to heat stress and should not be left outside in the heat for a lengthy amount of time.

These dogs love to play with their pet parents, kids, or other pets. While they can self-entertain with a toy for a brief period of time, it is important that you actually participate in the exercise activity with your Boston. If left to their own devices, some Bostons may get bored and destructive, so make sure to engage in physical activity with your pup!

boston terriers

Bostons would definitely benefit from courses such as agility, rally, or flyball to help express all of their energy. Pet parents can easily do an internet search to find local classes to enroll their Bostons in. Joining a course like one of these not only helps with exercise, but it also encourages good socialization skills. It’s a win-win!

Finding the time to give your dog adequate and necessary exercise every day can be difficult. If you find yourself working long hours during the day or don’t have time to dedicate daily for your Boston’s exercise, consider hiring a pet sitter to play with your pup when you are unavailable.


It’s pretty evident that Boston Terriers are easy-going, and the same goes when it comes to their grooming. While they do shed, it is pretty minimal, however, this breed should be brushed weekly to help control the shedding.

Bathing is required only when the pet parents deem necessary, typically once a month, or unless their Boston decides to play in a mud puddle or roll in something they probably shouldn’t have.

In addition to basic brushing and bathing, pet parents need to be considerate of other grooming needs. This could include trimming nails monthly, checking and cleaning ears on a weekly basis, and brushing those pearly whites weekly, if not daily.

Boston parents may also want to do daily eye checks to make sure there is not any redness or discharge coming from their pup’s eyes. Doing routine grooming and hygiene care for your Boston Terrier will help to keep him happy and healthy.

Vet and Medical Care for Bostons

The lifespan of a Boston Terrier is anywhere from 13-15 years. While typically a healthy breed, Bostons do have a couple of health-related conditions that are important for pet parents to be cognizant of.

  • Cherry Eye – This genetic issue is caused by a prolapse of the gland of the third eyelid. It typically occurs in dogs that are less than a year old. This condition is treatable by veterinarians and if treated, dogs can live a completely normal life.
  • Cataracts – Just like humans, dogs are susceptible to cataracts too! Cataracts occur when a clouded film covers the eye lens and are typically treatable. Bostons can have both juvenile cataracts, which develop between eight weeks of age and 12 months, as well as adult cataracts. This is another important reason its critical pet parents check their dog’s eyes daily.
  • Heart murmurs – Heart murmurs are a harsh, regurgitant sound in the heart, especially over the mitral valve area where a defect causes a backflowing of blood into the left atrium. Due to heart murmurs, the heart is cannot efficiently provide blood to the body the way it should. This condition requires the attention of a veterinarian and treatment usually includes a low-sodium diet, restriction of exercise, diuretics, and medications.
  • Patellar Luxation – A common problem in small dogs, this occurs when the patella doesn’t line up properly and can create an abnormal gait or cause lameness. This condition can lead to arthritis or degenerative joint disease. Depending on the degree of the luxation, veterinarians will typically suggest surgery to correct the problem.
  • Deafness – Bostons can be born deaf and are typically BAER tested when they are puppies to determine if they have unilateral or bilateral hearing. If you do decide to purchase a Boston Terrier from a breeder, make sure you inquire about the BAER testing.
  • Allergies – Like many people and animals, Boston Terriers can suffer from allergies. Ranging from food to contact allergies, keep an eye on your pup to see if he is suffering from allergies, and contact your vet for advice.

It is always a good idea to have a discussion with your vet about any health concerns you may have regarding your pet. Remember to stay up to date with routine vet care and be in tune with your pet and their behavior.

If something seems “off” with your pet, make sure you seek veterinary assistance to help treat conditions to prevent them from getting worse. It is no secret that vet bills can escalate quickly, especially when it comes to an emergency or surgery. It is never a bad idea to consider getting your fur baby a pet insurance policy to assist in paying those vet costs.

Bringing a Boston Terrier Home

Overall, Boston Terriers are great dogs all around! Make sure that prior to bringing one home, you are willing to keep up with their care and exercise. Remember, bringing home a new pet can be a 10-15 year, or longer, commitment. Purchasing a Boston Terrier from a breeder can cost pet parents $600-$2,000. Keep in mind that does not include food, toys, or veterinarian care.

As always, please keep in mind the Adopt, Don’t Shop option! Many purebred animals end up in shelters every single day for reasons that are usually out of their own control. Furthermore, Florida has an amazing Boston Terrier rescue. Be sure to check out and contact the Boston Terrier Rescue of Florida for more information on volunteering, fostering, or adopting a Boston Terrier in need of a good home.

As always, Space Coast Pet Services is available for all your fur baby needs, including dog sitters, walkers, and even home visits. Contact us or explore our website today for a full list of services.


Melanie Haynes



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