Boston Terrier Breed Information

Boston Terriers are a brachycephalic (flat-faced) breed.

Boston Terriers are likely to suffer from serious health and welfare issues due to their physical conformation, including severe breathing difficulties and eye problems.

Due to the degree of potential suffering caused by breeding for exaggerated physical features rather than health and function, we strongly recommends owners consider a healthier breed, crossbreed or mongrel.

You can read our statement on the problems with brachycephalic (‘flat faced’) breeds here.

Boston Terriers are a member of the ‘Utility’ breed group. Dogs in the Utility group were essentially bred for a specific purpose and so contain a variety of breeds. The function they have been bred for is not included in the sporting and working categories.

Boston Terriers are affectionate, fun-loving dogs that get on well with everyone given the right socialisation as a puppy, and are especially good with children. They respond well to training and enjoy the extra mental stimulation. For tips on how to socialise your Boston Terrier and training using reward-based techniques, take a look at our dog behaviour page.

Grooming will be needed once a week to keep the coat in tip-top condition.

Possible health problems:

Owners are, understandably, upset when their dog develops a health problem linked to its breed. Often they wish they’d known what problems the breed was prone to have. The potential health problems that Boston Terriers are prone to include:

  • Luxating patellas - the kneecaps slipping temporarily out of place.
  • Brachycephalic syndrome – upper airway abnormalities which are commonly seen in flat-faced dogs. Can include narrowed nostrils and elongated soft palate.
  • Boston Terriers have quite large shoulders relative to their smaller hind quarters and pelvic bones. This can mean they have problems giving birth naturally and often need to have a caesarean section to be able to give birth.
  • Hemevertebrae – deformities of the spinal bones, causing pressure on the spinal cord resulting in weakness, loss of hindlimb function and incontinence.
  • Atopy – hypersensitivity to certain allergens, causing itching and skin trauma.
  • Cushing's syndrome (Hyperadrenocorticism) - hormonal disorder which results in the production off too much cortisol.
  • Dry eye – Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) occurs when one or both eyes don’t produce a normal amount, or type, of tears. This leads to the eye becoming very dry, which in turn can cause infections and ulcers.
  • Cherry eye – eversion of the nictitating membrane or ‘third eyelid’ – generally occurs in younger dogs and can be surgically corrected.

For some conditions, there are screening programmes available through the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Kennel Club. The Canine Health Schemes allow breeders to screen for a range of inherited diseases, so it’s a good idea to check the parents of any puppy you’re looking to rehome have been screened under these schemes. We’d also recommend discussing the medical history of your potential puppy’s parents and grandparents, and think very carefully before taking on a dog with any of the health conditions listed above evident in the family line.

You can find out more about the Canine Health Schemes on the BVA's website.

You can read our statement on the problems with brachycephalic (‘flat faced’) breeds here.

Exercise requirements:

Boston Terriers are lively, intelligent dogs. They’ll need up to an hour’s exercise per day, but it’s important to remember that they should never be exercised in the heat of the day as they are prone to overheating. They enjoy playing games and will join in with plenty of enthusiasm, making them perfect family pets.

Estimated lifetime cost:

The likely lifetime costs for a Boston Terrier are based on estimates calculated using current market prices and include:

The list above does not include veterinary costs if your pet becomes sick or injured, so these average lifetime costs could be even higher.

Insure your Boston Terrier with PDSA:

1 in 3 pets need vet treatment each year and vet bills can come to hundreds of pounds. PDSA Pet Insurance can give you peace of mind when your pet is poorly, especially for breeds like Boston Terrier Dogs that are prone to certain conditions. PDSA Pet Insurance offers:

  1. Dog and cat insurance policies from 8 weeks of age.
  2. 24/7 veterinary advice online or over the phone with Petcall.
  3. Manage your policy online with the PDSA Insure Hub.
  4. Monthly payment at no extra cost.

By insuring your Boston Terrier with PDSA Pet Insurance you’ll also be helping to provide vet care to some of the UK’s neediest pets.

For more information on taking care of your dog please visit our puppies and dogs section.

Rehoming from a reputable source:

Where you get a dog from can have a big effect on how healthy and happy it is for the rest of its life. Find out where our PDSA vet experts recommend you get your dog from.

Energy levels
Easy to train
Exercise needed
Barking/likely to be vocal
Size Small
Average height 38-43 cm
Average weight 7-11 kg
Average lifespan Over 10 years
Minimum exercise (per day) 1 hour
Coat length Short
Minimum cost (per month) £70

Not sure if the Boston Terrier is the right pet for you?