Boston Terrier Training and Care

The dapper Boston Terrier is often admired for his handsome good looks. The breed is sometimes called “the American Gentleman” because he looks a bit like he’s wearing a tuxedo, especially the black and white dogs. These dogs also have a very “gentlemanly” disposition. They are intelligent and gentle, and they like to stay close to their owners.

Boston Terrier Dog

History of the Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier is one of the few breeds that has been created in the United States. It may be hard to believe, but the Boston Terrier is descended from the bull and terrier fighting breeds of the 19th century. The Boston Terrier originated around 1870 in Boston when a man named Robert Hooper bought a dog named Hooper’s Judge. This dog was a Bull and Terrier dog, or one of the English Bulldogs being bred to Terriers such as the White English Terrier. Judge was a large dog, weighing about 30 pounds. Judge is the ancestor of almost all Boston Terriers today. The dogs produced by this dog were later bred with French Bulldogs and this provided the foundation for the Boston Terrier. The Boston Terrier was originally a much larger breed, weighing up to around 44 pounds. Today the breed is divided by classes: under 15 pounds; 15 to 20 pounds; and 20 to 25 pounds. They were first exhibited in Boston in 1870. The Boston Terrier Club of America was formed in 1891. By 1893 the breed had been recognized by the American Kennel Club. They were the first breed created in the United States to be recognized by the AKC. The breed was especially popular in the U.S. in the 1920s.


The Boston Terrier is usually a very healthy dog and they can have a long lifespan. It is not unusual for dogs of this breed to live 12 to 15 years or longer.

One area where the breed is prone to health problems is with their eyes. They have prominent eyes and they can experience issues such as juvenile cataracts, late-onset cataracts, cherry eye, glaucoma, entropion, distichiasis (an eyelash problem), corneal dystrophy, corneal ulcers, and keratitis sicca (dry eyes).

Other problems in the breed can include luxating patellas (slipped kneecaps), deafness, roaching along their spines (sometimes due to the luxating patellas), allergies, and heart murmurs in some dogs. These problems can appear in some dogs but they are not considered widespread across the breed.

Boston Terriers do have a sleek, smooth coat and they can have problems tolerating extremes of cold and heat. Many Bostons need to wear a sweater or jacket in cold climates and they should avoid going out in very hot weather. Dogs of this breed may also have sensitive stomachs and can have problems with gas.

The Boston Terrier is a brachycephalic breed (short-nosed) which means they have shorter air passages in their nasal cavities than breeds with longer muzzles. The Boston is susceptible to problems with heat and humidity and they shouldn’t be allowed to exercise when it is very hot or humid. They can also be prone to snoring and snorting or even making gagging sounds. This is normal with brachycephalic breeds and it doesn’t cause them any harm.

If you are interested in getting a Boston Terrier then you should talk to a breeder about possible health problems in the breed. Find out about the health of their dogs. Ask what health tests they have performed. Ask how long their dogs have lived and ask any particular questions that concern you about health in Boston Terriers.

Temperament and Training

Boston Terriers are lively, gentle dogs. They are typically friendly toward everyone and they enjoy being with people, especially their owners. They are very well-mannered dogs, as befitting dogs known as “gentlemen” (and ladies). They do tend to have strong personalities, so you will always know when a Boston Terrier is in the house. They aren’t shy dogs. They are simply well-behaved dogs.

Boston Terriers usually get along well with children, especially older children. They can be good with younger children if the kids have been taught how to treat dogs with respect. As always, you should supervise when children and dogs play together so no one gets hurt. Boston Terriers are also very good dogs around the elderly as they are gentle and careful.

Boston Terriers are very smart and they are usually easy to train. They love to please their owners. If you are patient and use positive reinforcement techniques (treats and praise), your Boston Terrier can usually learn very quickly.

Although these dogs are called “Terriers” they are not actually considered Terriers by the American Kennel Club. The AKC places them in the non-sporting group, which is a group for companion dogs. They may have Terriers in their family background, but the Boston Terrier has been bred to be a companion dog for over a hundred years and they are always first and foremost interested in being with their owner and being a good companion. This is not a breed that’s interested in ratting or Terrier pursuits.

The Boston Terrier is usually a very sensible dog and they don’t bark a lot. They make an excellent dog for people who live in apartments for this reason. They need regular daily exercise but they can have their needs met by taking them for walks. They usually get along well with other dogs and pets, especially if you spend time socializing them when they are puppies and introduce them to other dogs and pets when they are young.

Some Boston Terriers are more affectionate than others. Some can be rather independent in nature, while others like to cuddle. This again often depends on how you raise the dog when he is a puppy.

Learn more about our private dog training classes for adult and puppy Boston Terriers. We provide service in Beverly Hills and West LA.


It’s not hard to groom a Boston Terrier. They have a short, sleek coat that should be brushed at least once a week to remove any dead or shedding hair. They shed seasonally at which time you will need to brush them more often to keep hair from accumulating in your home. Bathe your dog as necessary.

These dogs do have prominent eyes and they are prone to eye problems and eye injury so you should be sure to clean around their eyes frequently and check for any problems.

You should clean your dog’s ears weekly to prevent ear infections.

Trim your dog’s nails on a weekly basis to keep them short. If you trim them each week, removing just a small amount of nail, then you won’t cut the quicks or harm your dog. LIke many small breeds, the Boston’s nails can grow very long since they don’t usually get a lot of exercise or wear the nails down naturally, so be sure to trim them often.

Special Needs or Care

Keep in mind that the Boston Terrier is a brachycephalic breed and they do have problems with heat and humidity. It’s best if they avoid hot weather as much as possible. They can also have problems with cold weather because of their thin coat so consider having your dog wear a sweater or coat when you take him outdoors in the winter.

Dog care and behavior counselor with 15 years of experience. I hold a M.S. in Psychology with an emphasis in Animal Behavior.

Posted in Dog Breeds