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Adopt a Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier Dog Breed

Picture: Robert Dowling/Corbis


Terrier, companion, Mastiff (Bulldog)

Area of origin:

United States

Original function:

ratting, companion

Average size of male:

Ht: 15-17, Wt: 10-25

Average size of female:

Ht: 15-17, Wt: 10-25

Other names:


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    Friendliness towards dogs

  • Friendliness towards other pets

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    Friendliness towards strangers

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    Ease of training

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    Watchdog ability

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    Protection ability

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    Cold tolerance

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    Heat tolerance

Boston Terrier Dogs Available on Petfinder Right Now

See more adoptable Boston Terrier dogs available on Petfinder

Boston Terrier Dog Temperament

The Boston is devoted and sensitive to its owner's wishes and moods. He is well-mannered indoors but saucy and playful (especially enjoying ball chasing) whenever the chance arises. Somewhat stubborn, he is nonetheless clever and learns readily. Some bark a lot.

Boston Terrier Dog Care

This is a lively dog that needs daily exercise and interaction with his people. He loves games, and most of his exercise requirements can be met with a romp in the yard or a short walk on leash. He cannot live outdoors. Some Bostons wheeze and snore, and many don't tolerate heat well. The coat requires only minimal care, an occasional brushing to remove dead hairs.

Boston Terrier Dog Health

Major concerns: none
Minor concerns: cataract, PDA, patellar luxation, stenotic nares
Occasionally seen: deafness, hydrocephalus, esophageal achalasia,
distichiasis, persistent right aortic arch
Suggested tests: none
Life span: 10-14 years
Note: This breed does not tolerate the heat and is sensitive to
anesthesia. It is prone to corneal abrasions. Caesarian deliveries
are commonly needed.

Interested in the history of the Boston Terrier dog breed?

Unlike most breeds, the origin of the Boston Terrier is well-documented. Around 1865, the coachmen employed by the wealthy people of Boston began to interbreed some of their employers' fine dogs. One of these crosses, between an English Terrier and a Bulldog, resulted in a dog named Hooper's Judge. Although Judge weighed over 30 pounds, he was bred to a smaller female, and their son was in turn bred to another smaller female. Their progeny, probably interbred with one or more French Bulldogs, provided the foundation for the Boston Terrier. By 1889, the breed had become sufficiently popular in Boston that fanciers formed the American Bull Terrier Club, but this proposed name for the breed was not well-received by bull terrier fanciers. The breed's nickname, roundheads, was similarly inappropriate. Shortly after, the breed was named the Boston Terrier, after its birthplace. The Boston's rise from nonexistence to AKC recognition was meteoric by modern standards, as the breed was recognized by the AKC in 1893, less than 20 years after the breed was born. Breeders continued to seek greater consistency. In early years, color and markings were not particularly important, but by the early 1900s, the breed's distinctive markings had become an essential breed feature. The handsome little Boston Terrier quickly gained favor throughout America, ranking as one of the most popular breeds in the early to middle 1900s and retaining great popularity today.

Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. based on

Shelters with Boston Terrier Dogs

Some animal welfare organizations with Boston Terriers ready for adoption:

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