Basic Information

The Boston Terrier is one of the few truly American breeds. The Boston Terrier was developed in Boston, Massachusetts in the late 19th Century by the crossing of a Bulldog and an English Terrier. Thus the name Boston Terrier. Size ranges from approximately 10-25 pounds, although some may weigh up to 30 pounds. Physical characteristics include the bulldog-type short nose, naturally erect ears, a compact, muscular body, and a short, smooth coat. Markings vary, but all Bostons have white markings with a black, seal, or brindle body – as if the dog is wearing a tuxedo. They are compactly built and well balanced and convey an expression of determination, strength, and activity.

The Boston Terrier makes a wonderful pet and companion. They are basically an indoor dog. They do not like extreme heat or cold. The Boston Terrier is genuinely “a people dog” preferring his owner’s companionship to that of other members of the animal kingdom. He is a watch dog, companion and protector, an ideal family dog. He is adaptable to the smallest home because of his size, disposition and short coat. He loves to romp and play with children and adults alike.

Because of their short noses and dark, short coat, Bostons are extremely vulnerable to heat prostration. Although chronic health problems are unusual, because of their short noses, Bostons may be prone to heart or respiratory difficulties; and they may be more vulnerable to injuries to their prominent eyes. Other problems seen occasionally in the breed include long soft palates, stenotic nares, luxating patellas (slipped stifles), hemivertibrae, and cataracts. In addition, care must be exercised by veterinarians in the use of anesthesia; faster-acting isofluorane is recommended for this breed for surgical procedures. Maintained in good health, Bostons usually live 12 to 15 years, with some living as long as 18 years.

Purchase your Boston Terrier from a reputable breeder who is willing to answer all your questions and show you at least one parent (on the premises) of your puppy. The breeder should also help you and your puppy get acquainted by teaching you about a healthy diet, house breaking, and medical care. As a purchaser you should receive a written contract signed by the breeder, guaranteeing health. Your selection should be a puppy that appears healthy, active, alert, and very curious. It would be good to have your veterinarian examine your selection.

How To Find a Breeder

Excerpts From American Kennel Club (AKC) Website

A responsible breeder is the best source for a well-bred, healthy dog. The breeder will carefully select the parents of each litter to emphasize desirable attributes and minimize faults in their progeny. Some people breed dogs only to produce puppies to sell. (These individuals have no regard for the advancement of that breed; they are motivated solely by profit.)  Responsible breeders will never breed a litter without considering the advancement of the breed. Each litter should improve the quality of breeding stock, resulting in healthy puppies with improved breed soundness – this is, physical and mental health – that are an advancement toward the ideal breed.

Another good reason to buy a puppy from a breeder is that it gives you the opportunity to interact with the puppy’s siblings and dam, also possibly the sire. You can, therefore, form a general impression of what the future holds for the puppy you take home.

Buying from a breeder means that you are part of an extended family. Most breeders expect a call if the dog has a crisis at any stage in its life, so they can help you understand and cope with the problem. This can be especially comforting for the first time dog owners who can’t even imagine what kinds of questions they’ll have in the future.

Visit as many breeders as possible for your breed. Examine the premises to make sure they are clean and that the dogs appear to be well cared for. Puppies should be clean, well fed, lively and friendly, without any signs of illness such as runny nose or eyes, skin sores, or dirty ears or fleas.

Every breed recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) has a National or Parent Club that was formed for that breed. The parent club is responsible for the preservation, protection and welfare of that particular breed. They are also responsible for the Breed Standard of that breed. The breed standard is a written description, or word picture describing the perfect dog of that breed; how it should look, the manner in which it moves, and temperament. They are owned by the Parent Club. Responsible breeders are always trying to breed dogs closest to this standard with no inherited defects. The AKC believes that the Parent Clubs are the best contacts for anyone looking for information on a particular breed or purchasing a puppy of that breed. They can direct you to breeders of the individual breed in your state or region. They also have an abundance of excellent information and important facts that all owners of that breed should be aware of.

You may also consider visiting an All-Breed Dog Show. This will give you an opportunity to view firsthand virtually every breed recognized by the American Kennel Club. In addition to seeing a variety of dogs, you will have a chance to talk with dedicated breeders, people concerned with the welfare and advancement of their chosen breed. You can learn a lot from these knowledgeable and dedicated folks, who can also lead you to breeders of the particular breed in the area.

Helpful Links

Here are some interesting links pertaining to issues with Boston Terriers:

BAER – for hearing

CERF – for eyes

OFFA – for patella's/knees

Campus Chronicle News

Breeder Comparisions

Click here to download a chart from Lawrence County Humane Society Abuse and Adoption Center.


The Minnesota Boston Terrier Club is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
P.O. Box 7459, Minneapolis, MN 55407
If you have any questions, please call 651-254-9874 or send e-mail to