Boston Terriers have short, compact, muscular frames with well-balanced and graceful postures. Their short, wide and flat heads—sized in proportion to their bodies—have square, wrinkle-free muzzles, widely set eyes and big black noses. They have slightly arched necks and broad chests, strong limbs and short tails. Their smooth, fine coats come in brindle and white, seal and white, or black and white.
Boston Terriers have a unique personality that sets them apart from Jack Russells, Airedales, Cairns and other terriers. Some experts believe this is because their easygoing bulldog genes are dominant. Boston Terriers are less excitable than other terriers, having a gentle, well-mannered and gentlemanly personality. (They are, in fact, known as “the American gentleman”).
Originally bred to be fighters and scrappers, over the years they evolved into pleasant companions, which prove to be in spades. Though the typical “terrier” spunk and attitude shows up now and then, they are generally easygoing and amiable. Their keen intellect also makes them easy to train and eager to learn.
Boston Terriers get along with the whole family and other household pets (especially like-minded Boston Terriers). This is a playful breed that likes to be involved in family occasions. They get along famously with children, but have been known to be testy with the very young. Protective at just the right times, Boston Terriers will bark and bark and bark if someone approaches the house in a suspicious way.
Prone to heatstroke, Boston Terriers should be monitored when playing outdoors on hot days. And their short snouts may cause them to snore, drool and snort—kind of like Pugs. They are very easy to groom and don’t shed too much.
Boston Terriers can be very happy in apartments. A good daily walk and regular activity in the park will be enough to keep them mentally and physically in shape.
A healthy Boston Terrier can live as long as 16 years. Common health problems include cataracts, heart problems and allergies.
Originating in Boston, the Boston Terrier is one of the few breeds native to the United States. Bred in the 1870s from a mixture of English Terriers and English Bulldogs, Boston Terriers were originally known as Round Heads or Bull Terriers. In 1889, several dozen owners of these dogs formed the American Bull Terrier Club, which eventually angered fanciers of the proper Bull Terrier breed. With a name change in place, the Boston Terrier Club of America was formed in 1891, and two years later the AKC registered the breed.