The Boston Terrier is often dubbed the “American Gentleman”.
These small dogs have a friendly expression with their welcoming eyes and infectious smile, making the breed one of the most popular in the United States of America.
At the time of writing, the Boston Terrier is the 23rd most popular dog breed in the USA after the American Kennel Club recognised the breed in 1893.
The Boston Terrier is the official dog of the American state Massachusetts after the breed was initiated by Robert C. Hooper and his dog Judge in the late 1800s.
In the 21st century, the Boston Terrier continues to prove a popular dog breed not just in Massachusetts but worldwide thanks to their friendly, funny and uplifting personalities.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at Boston Terrier pros and cons, examining the advantages and disadvantages of owning the breed.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at what Boston Terrier owners have to say about day-to-day life with the American Gentleman.
Boston Terrier Pros
Boston Terriers are famously friendly and outgoing so they make for an ideal pet in a family setting. Described as people-orientated by the American Kennel Club, Boston Terriers will relish the opportunity to interact and play with their fellow family members. The AKC give the Boston Terrier breed a five-star rating in terms of showing affection to the family and being good around young children. Respected website Dog Time write that the Boston Terrier “loves children and makes a good playmate for them”.
Archer shared his experience with his Boston Terrier on Reddit around children.
He is the absolute sweetest dog I’ve met. He adores children and is always thrilled to meet new people. He is incredibly silly and makes us laugh on a regular basis. They’re delightfully weird little dogs.
Don’t bark a lot
As you might expect from a dog breed dubbed the American Gentleman, the Boston Terrier isn’t obnoxious where noise is concerned. It seems like the Boston Terrier is a relatively quiet breed when compared to some other dogs with a tendency to bark. While researching the breed, we noticed lots of Boston Terrier owners reference the fact that their dog doesn’t bark a lot – and when they do it’s less of a bark and more of a chirp.
A Reddit user shared on the social media website that her Boston rarely barks,
I have a Boston we raised from a puppy in an apartment and he never barks. The only time he will is if he’s on the bed and wants down and we walk away. Other than that, he’s quiet. And he loves visiting with all the other dogs at the apartment.
Of course, every Boston Terrier will be different so there’s no guarantee that your Boston won’t vocalize their feelings. This is a point emphasised by this Redditor.
Mine has ONLY ever barked in her sleep. Her only waking vocalizations are moans and squeaks. It’s kind of adorable, and perfect for apartment living. I haven’t even been able to train her to bark but I’ve met other Bostons that do bark quite a lot. I think it has a lot to do with how/where they’re raised and socialized. Mine is a rescue that was a breeder in a bad situation. I doubt any of the dogs that come from their bark.
A trademark of the Boston breed is their playful personalities. These small dogs have big friendly eyes that the AKC describe as shining with “kindness, curiosity, or mischief”. Indeed, they’re said to have a “natural gift for comedy”. They won’t need an excuse to have a romp in the garden or yard with their fellow family members whether it’s a game of fetch, tug-of-war or even doggie sports.
Kafira shared that her Boston loves to play outside.
They love to play and are quite goofy at times. They are pretty strong dogs for being so small and sometimes may get over excited when playing. She loves to go outside, but tires or gets exhausted in overly warm/hot or cold weather.
Another Boston owner described their playfulness as a pro and a con depending on what you’re looking for from being a pet parent.
Lots of energy here. Assuming you can keep up, their weight is easy to manage, and they can be a lot of fun to play with. If you don’t want daily play sessions, probably best to pick another dog.
Low maintenance coat
Boston Terriers aren’t a hypoallergenic dog breed so they’re not suitable for someone with an allergy to dogs. Having said that, the Boston’s coat is relatively easy to maintain unlike other breeds with curly hair or long hair. These Boston dogs have a short, sleek coat that will shed a moderate amount. However, it’s easy to look after provided you’re willing to give your Boston’s coat a quick brush a couple of times a week.
Biddle revealed on Reddit that her Boston Terrier doesn’t shed a lot.
My Boston hardly sheds. I find a few black hairs on the sheets or the couch after he’s had a good scratching or when a dog would typically shed its coat, but it’s barely noticeable. I don’t find myself vacuuming more or sweeping chunks of hair from corners.
If you live in a city and you’re looking to add a canine companion to your home, you may want to consider the Boston Terrier. As their name suggests, these Terriers have grown up accustomed to city life.
The AKC put it aptly when they write on their website: “It’s a safe bet that a breed named after a city like the Havanese or Brussels Griffon, for instance, will make an excellent urban pet”.
Boston Terriers don’t need a lot of space so they’re adept to apartment life provided they get sufficient mental and physical stimulation. They’re versatile dogs so they’ll be equally happy in an apartment or a country house.
An experienced Boston Terrier owner explained his daily routine living in the city with his Boston.
Totally a perfect fit. I first got my Boston when I was living in a little apartment by myself, and having him around definitely kept me occupied and was good cuddly company! I kept my dog kenneled up while I was at work and just made sure to toss a ball around outside in the park after I got home so he got his exercise in almost every day, and he always seemed ecstatic about the whole situation.
His Reddit post did have a word of caution – though.
The only part of having a dog in an apartment is potty training can get tricky. But keeping a regular schedule really helps, make sure he goes out like every two hours at first, and don’t put any blankets or anything in his kennel until after he learns not to pee in there while you’re gone.
Boston Terrier Cons
They may be friendly, goofy and playful but don’t underestimate a Boston’s ability to have a stubborn streak. These Terriers can have a wilful side that can make training a little tricky. While most Boston Terriers are extremely food motivated and eager to please their owners, their stubborn trait is still worth noting if you’re thinking about becoming a proud Boston Terrier owner.
One Reddit user likened her Boston Terrier to a toddler!
She’s so stubborn but very smart. She knows what she wants and what she doesn’t, and occasionally ‘talks back’ or throws tantrums if she doesn’t get what she wants. Like a child.
As we mentioned earlier in this feature on Boston Terrier pros and cons, the breed have a relatively low maintenance coat. However, the breed do shed to some degree so it’s important to be aware of. Boston Terriers will shed to a greater degree at the changing of the seasons but no more than any other dog breed.
A Boston owner on Reddit went on to explain.
Otto is just under 6 months old and he does shed but not very much at all. I think I lose more hair each day then he does. They are short hair dogs and as long as you groom them occasionally you really only need to worry about shedding when the seasons change and pretty much all dogs shed then.
If you’re thinking about getting a Boston Terrier, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with some of the potential health issues that could arise during your pup’s lifetime. Like any dog breed, Boston Terriers can be genetically predisposed to some health conditions.
The AKC advise prospective Boston Terrier owners to ask their breeder whether they’ve screened for eye problems such as cataracts, corneal ulcers, and glaucoma, as well as deafness and patellar luxation (comparable to a “trick knee” in humans). The organization recommend paying particular attention to their eyes!
On the topic of health issues, Boston Terriers are a snub-nosed dog breed so they can be prone to some breathing problems. This is a health issue that you should pay particular attention to. On a lighter note, Bostons have a reputation for being big snorers. They’ll grunt when they move as they look to regulate their breathing. If you’ve got sensitive ears, perhaps you’ll find this trait undesirable. Others may find it endearing. These snub-nosed dogs can also be prone to temperature sensitivity so it’s important to monitor their exercise especially in warm weather.
One Reddit user said to forget about adopting a Boston if you don’t like snoring.
Going off the grunting, if you don’t like the noise, then I’d seriously consider the short nose dog thing. Their short noses cause the grunting, which also means they snore.
Another Boston owner recommended that you leave the hikes until the winter!
The only cons I can think of about the general breed is you have to watch their activity levels, they overheat easy, which means no activity when it’s too hot, save hiking and lots of outdoor stuff for fall or winter.
They be called the American Gentleman but the Boston Terrier are known for one ungentlemanly trait. Boston are prone to flatulence. In fact, some Terrier owners describe their Bostons as “little stink bombs”. Their farts have been known to fill a room. We recommend feeding your Boston Terrier a human-quality, fresh dog meals to help with their digestion. You can check out some of the best options in the USA and in the UK here.
Xiare shared that her Boston’s farting stopped when she ditched the traditional dog food.
I’ve noticed since switching my dog from a big store brand like Purina to a USA made, grain free brand has pretty much stopped ALL farting. I can’t even remember the last time my Boston let one, and it used to be an all the time thing. So I think it has something to do with the fillers in her food.