Breed Spotlight: Boston Terrier

4 min read
Jan 28, 2022

Boston Terrier: Quick Stats


11 – 13 years


12 – 25 lbs.


15 – 17 inches


Yes, minimally


Friendly, intelligent, funny, and spunky

Common Health Problems: 

Eye infections, cataracts, deafness, and patellar luxation

Boston Terrier : How Do I Look?

Standing just under two feet tall, a Boston Terrier is known for their tuxedo jacket-like black and white markings, short snouts, and compact body frame. Their round ears match their stunning round eyes, giving them a kind, curious, or even mischievous appearance.

Your typical Boston terrier is sturdy, but portable enough to be carried in hand. Their walk is rhythmic, jaunty, and sometimes peppy. You can count on this American favorite to make you laugh daily.

Coat Type and Colors

Purebred Boston terriers usually come in five color combinations:³

  • Black and white
  • Black brindle and white
  • Brindle and white
  • Seal and white
  • Seal brindle and white

Rarer colors, like the blue Boston terrier, can be more difficult to find. The blue color is a mutation that adds a bluish hue and white streaks to their black fur. If you do find uniquely colored Boston terriers puppies, they may not be purebred or they may come with a hefty price tag.


Boston terriers’ ears need to be inspected during bath time to make sure they stay clean. If left unchecked, debris can lead to ear infections.

Some Boston terriers are born deaf due to a genetic abnormality in the breed, while others become deaf or hard of hearing as they age. Check with your veterinarian to ensure their hearing is checked carefully.

Shedding and Grooming

Boston terriers aren’t heavy shedders if their short fur is properly cared for. Since these pups are pretty active, they will need a bath once or twice a month to avoid atopic dermatitis from developing. Brush their coats once a week or as needed and they’ll remain beautiful bundles of fun.

Drooling Level

Boston terriers aren’t heavy droolers.

Boston Terrier: Personality Traits

What My Adoption Bio Would Say:

Need a clever best friend, minus the sarcasm? I’m your match! I love to play and simply can’t wait to find my people so hurry up! Take me home to your tiny humans so we can start making memories


The Boston terrier is an extremely lively, affectionate, and intelligent dog. Their high energy level can be a cause for concern to some owners, but once they get into the family routine, they make wonderful family dogs. Boston terriers thrive on attention, especially play time with their pet parents.

They require rigorous daily exercise to remain physically and mentally healthy. Otherwise, your terrier may get into a good bit of trouble chewing and breaking things for attention.

Exercise Needs

Boston terriers need a good deal of exercise due to their high energy levels. Be prepared to spend an hour walking them or multiple rounds of fetch. The good news is that, once they’re tuckered out, they make excellent lap dogs.

Good with Kids?

CBoston terriers are great with young kids. They thrive on the attention and play that children provide. Plus, their compact size assures that they won’t intimidate your growing toddlers.

Barking Level

Boston terriers aren’t known to be vocal dogs. How much your dog barks depends on the individual personality of your Boston terrier. Most aren’t extremely vocal, but some more anxious pups can be quite yappy.

Are Boston Terriers Good with Other Pets?

These terriers are very friendly towards other dogs. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t expect a Boston terrier to trouble cats either, but be mindful to socialize the animals before leaving them unsupervised.

Boston Terrier History

As the official dog of Massachusetts, the Boston terrier was bred in the capital of the Bay State during the 1870s.³ The “American Gentleman” is known for their white and black coloring in a tuxedo-like pattern. Our modern day Boston terrier descends from a now-extinct English terrier with the goal of making a smaller, more compact sporting dog. They’re stocky and strong in body and character.

Like all terriers, this breed makes an excellent companion animal, and they enjoy chasing balls and other sporting activities. They aren’t great running buddies due to their short legs, but trust that your Boston terrier will be ready to bring laughter into your life as they have in homes for decades.

Common Boston Terrier Mixes

On the hunt for your new best friend? Consider some of these popular Boston terrier mixes:

  • Frenchton: French bulldog mixed with a Boston terrier
  • Bossie: Australian shepherd mixed with a Boston terrier
  • Boglen terrier: A beagle mixed with a Boston terrier
  • Bo-Chi: A Chihuahua mixed with a Boston terrier
  • German terrier: A German Shepherd mixed with a Boston terrier
  • Boston Lab: A Labrador retriever mixed with a Boston terrier
  • Pomston: The Pomeranian mixed with a Boston terrier

Typically, mixed-breed dogs don’t experience as many health issues as purebred dogs, but you should still ask plenty of questions when purchasing a new puppy. A responsible breeder will tell you everything about the medical history of their animals.

Boston Terrier Health Problems

You can expect your Boston terrier to stay healthy with a good diet and exercise. Obesity is common in Boston terriers, and can cause heart disease and digestive issues. This could lead to costly veterinary bills if you don’t have dog insurance. Here are some other common health issues to look out for3’4:

  • Congenital Deafness: This is a deafness that is present at birth. Deaf dogs may need a hearing dog to act as a guide.⁵
  • Brachycephalic Airway Obstructive Syndrome: This syndrome is caused by the shape and size of the skull that obstructs a dog’s airways.⁶
  • Patellar Luxation: This is an elbow displacement.
  • Expansion of the Esophagus (Megaesophagus): This is an abnormal, hereditary stretching of the esophagus that causes dogs to regurgitate food.⁷
  • Corneal (Eye) Ulcers
  • Cherry Eye

Protect your Pets

Even the healthiest of pups can come with unexpected vet costs. Pet insurance can help keep your dog and your bank account happy.

How Pet Insurance Can Help Your Boston Terrier

Even though these are relatively healthy dogs, Boston terriers experience several breed-specific issues. For example, their large, prominent eyes can develop infections like conjunctivitis, cherry eye, and ulcers. Experts recommend checking their eyes daily for redness or irritation.³ You may need to invest in saline eye drops or rinses to keep their eyes free of irritants. In extreme cases, a veterinarian may prescribe eye care products for your Boston terrier which can add up quickly.

Cataracts in Dogs

Cataracts are growths on the eye’s lens that cloud a dog’s vision. They range in size, oftentimes starting small and growing in size, creating a gray-like film over their eyes. Boston terriers can develop cataracts as early as 8 weeks old. If left untreated, cataracts can lead to blindness. A MetLife dog insurance policy may help cover the cost of diagnosis or treatment for cataracts.2

For information on how pet insurance can help your Boston terrier, learn more about how pet insurance works. Remember that signing up for a dog insurance policy while your Boston terrier is still a puppy can ensure your dog is covered before something like cataracts becomes a preexisting condition.

Protect your Boston Terrier

Enroll in 3 Easy Steps

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal, or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC. 

³ “Boston Terrier,” American Kennel Club

⁴ “Boston Terrier: Recommended Testing,” OFA - The Canine Health Information Center

⁵ “Deafness in Dogs,” Merck Veterinary Manual

⁶ “Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome in Dogs,” VCA Animal Hospitals

⁷ “Disorders of the Esophagus in Dogs,” Merck Veterinary Manual

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