The ‘American Gentleman’ — The Boston Terrier Dog Breed

guide boston terrier dog breed

The Boston terrier is a lively, spirited and wonderful family dog. They earned the nickname “The American Gentleman” because their black-and-white patterns look like tuxedos. (Which, we have to say, is a bit unfair to Boston terrier females!) They also hold a special place in dog history; the Boston terrier dog breed is the first breed that Americans developed (Source: ASPCA).  

Boston Terrier or French Bulldog — How to Tell the Difference

It’s easy to confuse a Boston terrier with a French bulldog. How to tell the difference between them? Here are a few distinct traits that’ll help:

french bulldog has round ears and square jaw
The French bulldog has round ears and square jaw.
boston terrier has rounder face and pointed ears
The Boston terrier has a rounder face than the French bulldog and pointy ears.

Boston terriers have rounded heads with pointed ears, whereas French bulldogs have square-shaped heads and bat-like ears. Bostons tend to be taller, thanks to their longer legs versus those of the French bulldog.  The color of Boston terriers is a distinctive tuxedo-style in seal, brindle, or black with white. On the other hand, French bulldogs come in various shades, including white, cream, fawn, and brindle.

Do Boston Terriers Bark a Lot?

If you’re looking for an individualistic and independent dog, Boston terriers fit the bill. These little guys have unique personalities, some energetic and playful, while others are more collected and composed. It is the difference in your Boston’s demeanor that will determine whether he barks very little or barks continuously. Unfortunately, if yours is the latter, it’s likely that your pet’s barking drives you and possibly your neighbors crazy. 

Your dog’s barking is controllable, but you need to determine why your pet seems to bark all the time. While all dogs bark at one time or another, there are several reasons why a dog barks constantly. Once you affirm it’s nuisance barking, it’s time to train your terrier. 

How to stop Boston terriers from barking

No matter how frustrated you get with his barking, don’t yell at your dog. Yelling can worsen the situation. Your pet can become fearful and bark more. Or, he can take it as if you are joining in the noise. Although training your dog to stop nuisance barking can work, it won’t happen overnight; it takes time, patience, and consistency.

One of the best things you can do for your energetic Boston is to ensure he gets enough exercise each day. A tired dog is less likely to break out in a bark fest. Bostons require mental stimulation, which you can satisfy with heavy-duty chew toys or puzzle games that require your dog to find hidden treats. 

Socializing your dog can teach some dogs to be less “barky” when they see strangers and other dogs. Introduce your pet to the mailman, neighbor kids, and other dogs can make it less likely he’ll bark the next time they cross paths. While you can socialize adult dogs, socialization is best when it’s started during puppyhood and continued throughout a pet’s life. 

TIP: Invite the mailman or package delivery driver to give your pet a cookie (that you provide). 

If you have other people living in your household, get them on the same page with training. Any inconsistency in correcting your dog’s behavior and you will find training useless. Your pet will learn not to bark around you but bark like a fool outside your presence.

For specific training, techniques check out our barking guide. We recommend a combination of voice commands with an ultrasonic training tool.

Facts About Boston Terriers

Ranked #21 on the AKC Breed Popularity list, Boston terriers are intelligent, friendly, and energetic. Their adorable, squishy face, large round eyes, and lively personality steal the hearts of many dog lovers. The compact-sized Bostons are friendly with humans of all ages and love being with their families. Although generally good with other pets and animals, regular and consistent training can help with any dominance issues. With the right training, Boston terriers make excellent therapy dogs.

  • Size: Boston terriers are medium-sized dogs ranging 15 to 17 inches in height and weigh 12 to 25 pounds.
  • Life expectancy: Boston terriers live about 11 to 13 years.
  • Coat: Boston terriers have fine short-hair coats that come in seal, brindle, or black with white markings that require weekly brushing. They are infrequent shedders.
  • AKC group: Boston terriers belong to the AKC non-sporting group.

Are Boston Terriers Easy to Train?

Early socialization and puppy training classes are essential to a well-adjusted, well-mannered adult dog. Bostons are a sensitive breed that calls for gentle corrections to behavior followed by plenty of praise. 

They are intelligent and overall an easy breed to train. However, regular physical exercise and mental stimulation are a must with Boston terriers to help them maintain their focus during training. With that said, due to their breathing difficulties, you must ensure a Boston stays hydrated and doesn’t overexert or get overheated during training. In the end, the key to training Bostons is patience, practice, and consistency. 

Do Boston Terriers Need Grooming?

Boston terriers are handsome dogs with their tuxedo-style coat. Minimal shedders, weekly brushing with a soft-bristle brush, hound glove, or a rubber grooming mitt or tool helps maintain the fine coat and keep any loose hair from the floor and furniture. Brushing will further promote hair growth and distribute skin oils that keep the coat healthy. Boston terriers require only occasional bathing unless they get into something messy, which isn’t unheard of with this breed. They are instinctive diggers. Routine nail clipping is necessary to prevent them from growing too long and causing the dog pain when walking or running. 

What If My Breed Is a Boston Terrier Mix?

Sometimes you want the best of both worlds, but before you adopt a mix, check out the parent breeds’ strengths and weaknesses. A Boston terrier mix can reduce breathing issues; this brachycephalic (obstructed breathing) breed is prone to suffer. Brachycephalic breeds, according to HSVMA, include bulldogs, boxers, King Charles spaniels, mastiffs, pugs and a few other breeds, so keep that in mind when looking for a Boston terrier crossbreed.

While there are no guarantees that a genetic combination will eliminate health problems, one thing is sure, Boston terrier mixes produce some adorable, lovable dogs.

Here are some popular Boston Terriers breed mixes 

  • Bojack — Boston terrier + Jack Russell terrier
  • Bosapso — Boston terrier + Lhasa apso
  • Boshih — Boston terrier + Shih tzu
  • Bossipoo — Boston terrier + poodle
  • Bostchon — Boston terrier + bichon frise
  • Boston spaniel — Boston terrier + Cocker spaniel
  • Brusston — Boston terrier + Brussels griffon
  • Bugg Dog — Boston terrier + pug
  • Cairoston — Boston terrier + cairn terrier
  • Boston Bulldog — Boston terrier + bulldog
  • Frenchton — Boston terrier + French bulldog
  • Sharbo — Boston terrier + Chinese shar-pei