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How Aggressive Are Boston Terriers? Reasons, Tips & FAQs

Written by: Patricia Dickson

Last Updated on April 8, 2024 by Dogster Team

close up portrait of an angry boston terrier dog

How Aggressive Are Boston Terriers? Reasons, Tips & FAQs

Boston Terriers are dogs with spunky personalities in tiny bodies. In fact, the dog has the nickname “the Gentlemen” because it looks like they’re wearing a tuxedo. However, when you want to adopt one of these dogs, the first thing on your mind, especially if you’re a parent, is whether the dog is aggressive. As long as they are properly socialized and trained, Boston Terriers are not aggressive and make exceptional pets for families.

Below, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about these adorable dogs, so you’ll know if the Boston Terrier is the right fit for your home.

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Are Boston Terriers Aggressive?

Boston Terriers are bred to be companion dogs and are not generally aggressive at all. They are friendly and gentle and get along well with children and other pets. However, they need to be socialized and trained as a puppy to ensure they’re well-behaved and obedient.

boston terrier dog standing on the lawn
Image Credit: Eve Photography, Shutterstock

Can Boston Terriers Become Aggressive?

Boston Terriers are certainly not aggressive dogs, but like any breed, they can show aggression in some circumstances. In the section below, we’ll discuss why your Boston Terrier might be prone to aggression.

Reasons Your Boston Terrier Could Be Aggressive

Although aggression is rare with Boston Terriers, they can display aggressive tendencies due to these factors:

  • Illness
  • Frustration
  • Fear
  • Injury
  • Trying to assert dominance
aggressive boston terrier dog on a leash at the park
Image Credit: MVolodymyr, Shutterstock


What Are the Forms of Aggression in Boston Terriers?

There are different forms of aggression in Boston Terriers and breeds. You can find a few of them below so you know what to look for in your little friend.

Dominant Aggression

In most cases, your Boston Terrier will become aggressive if they are male and run into other male dogs. This is normal and is your little friend trying to assert his dominance over another male. However, this tendency can be overcome with training.

Territorial Aggression

A Boston Terrier is extremely loyal to their family, and you can expect them to show aggression if they think you or your family are being threatened. This is also perfectly normal, but you need to train and socialize your Boston Terrier early so they know what is acceptable and what isn’t when protecting you and your family.

boston terrier dog standing on the grass
Image Credit: Lenka N, Shutterstock

Pain-Based Aggression

Everything from being injured, ill, or having a hormone imbalance could cause your furry friend to show pain-based aggression. Dogs can get aggressive when they are in pain, and if you suspect your pup is ill or injured, take them to the veterinarian for a full examination.

Defensive Aggression

This type of aggression usually occurs if your dog feels threatened or is anxious about something. If your dog is acting out because of defensive aggression, you should determine what’s bothering them, so you can remove it. If you can’t find the cause of the defensive aggression, contact your vet for help.


How to Cope with Aggression in Your Boston Terrier

As you probably already know, Boston Terriers are smart canines. They are usually calm and even-tempered, but it takes proper training and socialization to get them that way. If you’re having a problem with your furry friend being aggressive, no matter what form of aggression they’re showing, there is something that you can do about it. We’ll give you a few tips on how to cope with aggression in your furry friend.

Train Your Boston Terrier Correctly

The best way to keep your Boston Terrier sweet, calm, and even-tempered dog is by training them correctly. It’s essential to remember that proper training doesn’t happen overnight. Training your dog the correct way takes patience, consistency, and love. It’s best to use positive reinforcement in training and avoid yelling at or scolding your pup.

boston terrier dog getting a treat in a training
Image Credit: Christine Bird, Shutterstock

Start the Training Early

Although you can effectively train an adult Boston Terrier, it will take more time and patience than training a puppy. Whether you adopt a puppy or an adult, it’s best to start the training as soon as you bring your pet home. If you don’t establish boundaries early on, your pet is more likely to misbehave.

Hire a Professional

Of course, you can always hire a professional dog trainer to train your Boston Terrier. It is an excellent idea if your dog is older and set in their ways. You can ask your vet for recommendations for the best trainer to meet your needs. However, it’s important to note that it will cost much more than training the dog yourself.


Final Thoughts

Boston Terriers are usually affectionate, loyal dogs that make great pets. They get along great with kids and other pets. However, they need to be trained and socialized as puppies to get along with others. Although they’re small dogs, they’re very loyal and protective of their families. If your Boston Terrier displays aggression and you cannot resolve the issue, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Your vet will give them a full examination to rule out any health issues and can provide anti-anxiety medication if needed.

Featured Image Credit: Mike Condon Photography, Shutterstock

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