Dog Breed profiles

Boston Terrier Breed Profile

Boston Terrier fact file

KC Group: Utility
Size: Small
Height: Boston Terriers usually average 35.5 - 43cm
Weight: The breed standard lists three weight classes: lightweight: under 6.8kg; middleweight: 6.8 - 9.1kg; heavyweight: 9.1 - 11.4kg
Average lifespan: 12 years 
Good with children?: Seek breeder advice
Exercise requirement: Moderate
Good guard dogs?: Would bark
Moulting level: Low
Grooming: Little
Colours: The breed standard states brindle with white markings preferred, though black with white markings is accepted
Jogging partner: No


The Boston Terrier is generally a healthy and hardy breed but the following conditions are known:

  • Patellar luxation.
  • Hereditary cataracts.

Patellar luxation is a condition where the dog’s kneecap slides out of place, causing the leg to lock, with the foot held off the ground. It is common in small breeds and varies in severity.

Cataracts are a clouding of the lens of the eye which, if left untreated, can cause blindness. Boston Terriers are susceptible to two forms of cataracts: early onset and late onset. Early onset cataracts are caused by a mutant gene in the breed. They can be diagnosed in puppies aged between eight and 12 weeks and develop between the ages of two and four. Late onset cataracts are not caused by the mutant gene and usually occur later, between the ages of three and eight.

Health tests

Kennel Club assured breeders of Boston Terriers must use the British Veterinary Association/Kennel Club/International Sheepdog Society eye scheme. The test detects eye problems, in particular the onset of hereditary cataracts. It is recommended that dogs are tested once a year.

The DNA test HC-HSF4 is compulsory for KC assured breeders, to test for the mutant gene HSF4 which causes early onset hereditary cataracts. As the gene is recessive, a Boston Terrier might have one copy of the gene, meaning they aren’t affected. However, they will carry the gene which could be passed on to any offspring. The test will determine if a dog is affected, a carrier, or clear.


  • Intelligent and devoted.
  • Vivacious, with a sense of humour.
  • Boston Terriers are strong willed — if they really don’t want to do something, they won’t.


  • Boston Terriers thrive on human company and want to spend most of their time with their families.
  • This is an active dog who will go for long walks but will be equally happy sitting with you at home.
  • He is good with older children but may be a little boisterous for small children. All interactions should be supervised.
  • Boston Terriers are happy house dogs and could live in any sized home.
  • They will get on with most other pets as long as they are well socialised.


  • Boston Terriers are quick learners which makes them easy to house-train.
  • They excel in most dog activities and will enjoy the mental and physical stimulation.

General care

  • Boston Terriers have a smooth, fine coat which requires brushing once a week.
  • Ears, eyes, and facial wrinkles need to be checked regularly to ensure they are clean and injury free as they can become infected.


  • Intelligent.
  • Affectionate.
  • Adaptable to different lifestyles.


  • Can be boisterous.

Did you know?

  • The Boston Terrier was bred in the United States and first recognised in the USA in 1893.
  • A Boston Terrier is said to never meet a stranger — everyone is a potential new friend.