The American Gentlemen is an apt name to describe the lively Boston Terrier. This intelligent utility breed is the smallest Bull breed, but it more than makes up for its small size with the heart of a lion (or, at least, a much larger breed of dog). In addition to their wonderfully good looks, especially as puppies, Boston Terriers boast an affectionate and loving temperament that makes them a great all-around puppy choice for all types of owners.
The popularity of this American breed hasn’t gone unnoticed here in the UK. Although it was the most popular breed in the United States after the Second World War, it ranks amongst the most popular breeds in the UK as well. Their popularity is no secret. Boston Terriers have excellent qualities and there are so many great reasons to purchase one.
Some highlights of Boston Terriers:
Intelligence: this breed is intelligent and can be trained fairly easily.
Sociable: Boston Terriers thrive on interaction with owners and their families and are known to be loving and affectionate companions.
First-time owners: for a variety of reasons, Boston Terriers are an excellent puppy choice for first-time owners.
Shedding: with a short coat of fur, Boston Terriers shed very little and as such don’t require much cleaning of the home.
Grooming: this breed is low-maintenance in terms of grooming.
Some downsides to the Boston Terrier:
Barking: some Boston Terriers enjoy barking and will bark profusely if they haven’t been properly trained to keep it in check.
Isolation: this breed doesn’t tolerate loneliness, even for short periods of time.
Energetic: Boston Terriers have a seemingly endless supply of energy and can be difficult to keep up with.
Health: unfortunately, Boston Terriers are prone to many hereditary diseases and health problems.
Few dog breeds trace their origins to America since most were imported from England and elsewhere. The Boston Terrier is one breed that is all-American, although its ancestry can in fact be traced back to English Bulldog and Terrier breeding which were imported to New England in the late 19th century. These Bull and Terrier breeds were popular in northern English mining towns in the late 19th century since they combined the intelligence, tenacity, and ratting abilities of both breeds well. Consequently, breeders from Liverpool and elsewhere in England that came to America brought their knowledge and skill in breeding with them. The original Boston Terrier was named Hooper’s Judge and belonged to Bostonian Robert C. Hooper. Early Boston Terriers were reserved at first solely for Bostonians, but their popularity quickly spread across America and this restriction was eventually lifted. In the 1950s, the Boston Terrier had become the most popular breed in America. It was recognised by the Kennel Club of Great Britain in 1901 and was not as popular in Britain as it was in America, but that is now changing and the Boston Terrier ranks amongst the top 50 most popular breeds in the UK.
Boston Terriers have a dapper, lively, and active disposition and can be easily recognised by their short coat of white and black, brindle, or seal markings that blend colours from Bulls and Terriers. Ideally, Boston Terriers should be balanced in their markings as well as in their expression. The proportion of dark-coloured and white markings give the impression of wearing a tuxedo, thus giving the Boston Terrier the nickname “the American Gentleman.” They are also recognisable by their upward-pointing pricked ears and their compact, well-balanced physique. They should always appear sturdy and never out of proportion.
Boston Terriers are small-sized dogs. Males and females grow on average to 38-43 cm in height.
Fully-grown adult male and female Boston Terriers weigh between 7-11.5 kg on average.
This breed has the following commonly-accepted coat colours:
Regardless of colour, all Boston Terriers must have white markings on their muzzle band, a white blaze between the eyes, and on their forechest. Moreover, white markings over the head, on the collar, on part or all of the forelegs, and below the hocks of the hind legs are all desirable.
As a true American Gentleman, the Boston Terrier boasts a friendly and lively temperament, high intelligence, and excellent social qualities that make interacting with them a true joy for owners and families alike. They are always eager to please and are gentle around owners, but can often show signs of aggression towards strangers and other pets. Unfortunately, Boston Terriers had previously used in dog fighting (in addition to catching vermin). Don’t judge them by their past; Boston Terriers are loving companions that are kind and affectionate. They are ideal for first-time owners since they require little grooming and shed very little, which makes maintenance all the more easy.
Boston Terriers can be taught guard duties and they do tend to show aggression towards strangers, but they aren’t the most ideal choice. They do make excellent watchdogs, however.
In general, Boston Terriers don’t bark much at all. This applies if they’ve been properly trained. If they haven’t, they can easily become compulsive barkers. Train them properly and they will learn to keep their barking to a minimum.
Although Boston Terriers are highly intelligent and are fairly easy to train, they may show their terrier side by demonstrating stubbornness at times. This can be reduced by providing them proper obedience training as puppies.
Boston Terriers are playful and will enjoy playing with owners and their families well into adulthood.
This breed gets along well with children and is gentle and affectionate with them. Young children and toddlers should be supervised at all times, however.
If properly socialised, Boston Terriers can learn to get along with other pets. They are often wary of other pets and may attempt to show signs of aggression.
Boston Terriers should never be left alone. They take isolation poorly and require someone around the home at all times, even if they simply want to lay down beside them for awhile.
Many Boston Terriers enjoy the water and love to swim. Always introduce puppies to water gradually and allow them to dip their paws in so that they aren’t frightened of the water.
Generally, Boston Terriers are expected to live anywhere from 9-15 years.
Boston Terriers require a good hour’s worth of exercise every day. Ensure that vigorous exercise, including canine sports are part of the daily routine. This breed is highly energetic and needs to let it out.
Unfortunately, Boston Terriers are prone to many common health issues, including:
Roaching (curvature of their back);
Sinus issues (reverse sneezing);
Boston Terriers are adaptable enough to live comfortably in a flat or in a house and will be happy in urban landscapes as well as the countryside.
A fully-grown Boston Terrier should be fed ½ to 1.5 cups of high-quality dog food every day, divided into two meals. Adjust as necessary to promote good health and to prevent overfeeding.
This breed doesn’t require much grooming. Their nails need to be trimmed frequently, but their short coats of hair require little maintenance aside from weekly brushing.
This breed doesn’t shed much at all. This makes cleaning around the house much less of a hassle in order to control shedding.
As a rough guide in pricing: Cost to buy: roughly £700-1,000 for a well-bred Boston Terrier puppy Other costs (Vet, Food etc): £70-100 per month
You can read our general buying guide here, with the most important thing being going to view your Boston Terrier puppy, seeing it with its mother, and checking the quality of the breeder. More specifically, here is some Boston Terrier puppy buying advice:
All Boston Terriers must have a ‘tuxedo-like’ coat of fur, blending white with another acceptable colour. Solid black, brindle, or seal Boston Terrier puppies are undesirable and should be avoided. Furthermore, their eyes should never be blue or have a hint of blue to them.
This breed is quite popular in the UK, which may lead some questionable sellers to promote scams online. Always ensure that you’re able to visit the puppy and to see all required documentation to ensure that it’s been bred according to Kennel Club standards and was bred in ethical conditions.
A big thank you to the following sources who helped to shape this article:
UK Boston Terrier Rescue: https://www.ukbostonterrierrescue.co.uk/
The Boston Terrier Club: https://thebostonterrierclub.co.uk/boston-terrier-rescue/
Kennel Club of Great Britain: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/search/breeds-a-to-z/breeds/utility/boston-terrier/
UK Dog Trust: https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/
Blue Cross: https://www.bluecross.org.uk/rehome-pet
Federation Cynologique Internationale: http://www.fci.be/Nomenclature/Standards/140g09-en.pdf