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Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier

A little American Gentleman, the Boston Terrier is a popular choice for families and couples.

The Boston Terrier, also called the Boston Bull Terrier, is descended from English Terriers and bulldog-like breeds who were bred in England for pit fighting in the 19th Century. When one of these dogs was imported to the USA, he was subsequently bred with other small bulldog like dogs to create the Boston Terrier breed. They quickly gained popularity for being great companions. The breed was named after the city in the United States, Boston, and was officially recognised as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1893.

Ranging from 38 to 43cm in height, and 5 to 11kg in weight, the Boston Terrier is a small dog breed. They are well known for their white “tuxedo” coat appearance, with either a black, brindle or seal bicolour coat. They are a short-coated breed with minimal shedding. Their life expectancy is around 11 to 13 years. 


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Dog Breed Facts & Characteristics


United States of America 

Also known as 

Boston Terrier, Boston Bull Terrier, “American Gentleman”

Bred for



Small breed dog ranging from 38 to 43cm in height, and 5 to 11kgs in weight

Weight Range

5 to 11kgs


Brindle, black or seal with white markings  

Life expectancy

11 to 13 years  


Short, soft coat that sheds 


Friendly, goofy, alert

Exercise requirements


Best suited for 

Suits a wide range of households with time for a pup 

Apartment Friendly

Yes, with daily walks and plenty of toys and company 


Although their ancestors were bred for the world of pit fighting, the Boston Terrier has lost the aggressive temperament required to compete as a fighter and is an affable and charismatic companion which earned them the nickname of the “American Gentleman”. A little clown at home, they will amuse with their goofy antics and are typically quite easy to train as they will thrive on praise and attention. Boston Terriers are moderately energetic and will generally adapt well to apartment living if they have daily walks, plenty of toys, entertainment, and company. Left alone they may become anxious and lonely. The Boston Terrier makes a joyful family companion and a popular playmate with children. Even though they are a small dog, investing time in early socialisation and training will help make for a more well-adjusted pet.


The coat of the Boston Terrier is short and easy to maintain, although it does shed. Cleaning around the eyes and skin folds of the face should be done regularly to help prevent skin infections, to which the breed is susceptible. Ear cleaning should also be a part of the regular grooming schedule to help keep the ears clean and free from debris to help prevent ear infections. Regular teeth cleaning can help to keep your dogs teeth in top shape. Prevent parasites by ensuring your Boston Terrier is on flea control all year round and tick prevention if you are in a paralysis tick area. 


When choosing a food for your Boston Terrier, select a premium food appropriate to your dog’s age and life stage. Make sure your pup always has a supply of fresh, clean water available.

Common health concerns 

The Boston Terrier is a brachycephalic or short-faced breed. According to PetSure data from 2013 to 2018, brachycephalic breeds have a higher prevalence for many major health problems including patella luxation, skin conditions, eye conditions, anal gland problems, digestive diseases, and ear infections. Brachycephalic airway syndrome is caused by changes in the airways which can result in lifelong breathing problems and poses a significant welfare risk to these dogs. Read more about brachycephalic dogs here.

In 2020, Boston Terriers visited the vet for skin conditions including allergic skin disease, gastrointestinal problems, traumatic injuries which included corneal ulcers, and ear infections. With prominent eyes, Boston Terriers are prone to eye injuries, resulting in corneal ulcers as well as other eye problems including “dry eye” (keratoconjunctivitis sicca), and conjunctivitis. Digestive problems are also common in the Boston Terrier. These often manifest as diarrhoea, flatulence, and vomiting.  

The five most common reasons for a Boston Terrier to visit the vet (excluding routine care visits) according to PetSure data from 2020.

Most common pet insurance claims for this breed, PetSure data, 2016- 2020



Average cost for single treatment
(average pet insurance claim amount)

Highest cost for single treatment (highest pet insurance claim seen for this condition)


Skin conditions, including allergies, itchy skin and inflammation




Gastrointestinal disorders, including diarrhoea, vomiting and inflammation 




Eye conditions, including ulcers and conjunctivitis




Traumatic injuries, including foot and eye injuries 




Ear infection



Disclaimer: Reimbursement for these claims would be subject to limits, such as annual benefit limits or sub-limits, benefit percentage, applicable waiting periods and any applicable excess. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider.

Most popular Boston Terrier names (PetSure data, 2020)

Most popular names

  1. Frankie
  2. Winston
  3. Hugo
  4. Archie
  5. Luna
  6. Charlie
  7. Baxter
  8. Bruce
  9. Bentley
  10. Lola 

Most popular female names  

  1. Luna 
  2. Frankie
  3. Lola
  4. Roxy
  5. Bonnie
  6. Daisy
  7. Ruby
  8. Stella
  9. Bella
  10. Lulu 

Most popular male names

  1. Winston
  2. Hugo
  3. Frankie
  4. Archie
  5. Baxter
  6. Bruce
  7. Ollie
  8. Oscar
  9. Bentley
  10. Boston 

Did you know?

The Boston Terrier has been the official mascot of Boston University for nearly 100 years.

Where can I get a Boston Terrier?

Although they are a pure breed of dog, it may be possible to find a Boston Terrier via a breed specific rescue organisation. You may also find a perfect small dog for you and your family at your local rescue organisation or shelter who needs a loving home. 


  1. American Kennel Club, Boston Terrier, Accessed on 12/04/2021
  2. Dogs NSW, Boston Terrier, Accessed on 14/04/2021
  3. Wikipedia, Boston Terrier, Accessed on 14/04/2021

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Kylie Mitchell is a veterinarian with over 17 years experience in animal health and welfare, including in the veterinary and pet insurance industries

She has three rescue cats (Noah, Bei Bei and Meeka), four very old cockatiels and a pond-full of fish.

Kylie's pets

Bei Bei
Bei Bei