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Are Boston Terriers Aggressive? The Answer is Surprising!

Rachel Giordano

By Rachel Giordano

blue boston terrier dog at the meadow

Boston Terriers are cute, spunky little dogs with big personalities. Known as the “American Gentleman” with a tuxedo coat, these little dogs are highly intelligent but can be a bit stubborn. However, it’s hard to resist that cute Boston Terrier face, and these little dogs know how to use their charm to avoid getting into trouble with their human parents.

They love to play and have tons of energy, which brings us to the question: are Boston Terriers Aggressive? The answer is simply no; Boston Terriers are generally not aggressive.

As a Boston Terrier owner myself, I can attest that they are not aggressive dogs. Like most dogs, they may sound vicious when engaged in a game of tuggy, but they are certainly not aggressive. Join us in discovering more about these fascinating little companions.

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What Were Boston Terriers Originally Used For?

Surprisingly, Boston Terriers were originally used for pit fighting.1 The breed originated from breeding the Bulldog with the now-extinct white English Terrier. Blood sports were popular in 19th century England, and a dog bred from these two breeds in the 1860s resulted in a dog named Judge, who was a bit bigger than the Boston Terriers we know today, weighing roughly 30 to 35 pounds (Boston Terriers today are typically 12 to 25 pounds).

Judge was a tough, muscular little dog sold to an American named Robert C. Hooper, who took the dog back home to Boston. Ultimately, Judge became the Boston Terrier’s patriarch.

Over the next several decades, careful selection for breeding was used to create a smaller version of these little dogs, which we’re familiar with today. Over time, the breed became gentler and more companion dogs for their owners. The Boston Terrier Club of America was formed in 1891,2 and 2 years later, the American Kennel Club (AKC) registered the first Boston Terrier as part of the non-sporting group. The breed has been popular ever since.

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Are Boston Terriers Protective of Their Owners?

boy holding and hugging a boston terrier dog
Image Credit: Zakharova Elena, Shutterstock

Yes, Boston Terriers are usually protective of their owners. Remember when we said they are generally not aggressive? That’s because they are mostly not aggressive; however, since they are protective of their owners, occasional aggression is a possibility due to their protectiveness, and the aggression may be towards other dogs if they feel you are threatened. As a rule, though, these little dogs are not aggressive but are protective of their owners.

Why Are Boston Terriers So Special?

Boston Terriers are eager to please and are highly intelligent. Their loving nature makes them a popular dog breed to own, and they get along well with other dogs and children. Boston Terriers have funny little personalities that will keep you smiling and giggling, and their low-maintenance coat is easy to maintain with a simple brushing once a week.

One of their favorite pastimes is snoring while dozing with you on the couch or bed, and they are ideal for apartment living due to their small size. Need more reasons why Boston Terriers are special? Let’s take a look below.

  • They are loyal
  • They love to be with you and the rest of the family
  • They are not big barkers (they only bark when protecting you)
  • They make excellent watchdogs
  • They have a gentle nature, making them ideal for infants and small children
  • They all have their own unique personalities
  • They love to snuggle with you, especially on cold days
  • They look adorable in clothing, and most tolerate clothing well
  • They don’t typically stink
  • They get the “zoomies,” which is hilarious to watch
  • They love giving kisses

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What Are the Cons of Owning a Boston Terrier?

As I’ve stated, I own Boston Terriers and know their temperament and other traits. If there are any cons to owning these little dogs, I would have to say they can pass gas like nobody’s business that can clear a room. They can be a bit stubborn, meaning if they want to play or go on a walk and you don’t, they can be persistent until they get what they want.

Boston Terriers can be at risk for brachycephalic syndrome due to their flat face and short noses. They are typically snorers, but some are louder than others.

When exercising your Boston, especially outdoors in warm weather, ensure you don’t overexert him in the heat, as this may cause breathing problems. You may also want to purchase a coat for your Boston in the winter when outdoors for protection.

Tips for Keeping Your Boston Terrier Safe

Boston terrier leash training
Image Credit: MVolodymyr, Shutterstock

Boston Terriers are easy to care for, but knowing a few tips can come in handy when owning a Boston. One helpful tip is to keep your Boston exercised, as some Bostons can be hyper from a lack of exercise—a game of fetch or tuggy is usually all they need.

Ensure you feed your Boston a complete and balanced, high-quality diet appropriate for your Boston’s age. For example, puppy, adult, and senior formulas. Make sure the dog food you choose is approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and contains no additives or preservatives.

Boston Terriers love to scour the floor for leftovers or any crumb, so you’ll want to ensure your Boston can’t get into dangerous foods, such as chocolate or raisins. You can occasionally give your Boston safe, human food as a snack. When in doubt about what to feed, consult your veterinarian for appropriate suggestions.

They also love to explore, so you’ll want to ensure you have a fenced yard with no way your dog can escape or let your Boston explore on a leash in case you don’t have a fence. Also, don’t let them engage in rigorous activity outdoors in hot or humid weather.

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Final Thoughts

Boston Terriers make excellent companions. They are intelligent, loyal, and funny little dogs that will keep you entertained. They are easy to care for and require little grooming. They are not aggressive, but like with any dog breed, they can be protective over you and get slightly aggressive with other dogs from time to time, but not enough to classify them as such.

Overall, owning a Boston Terrier is a rewarding and fun experience, and you can’t go wrong with adding one to your family.

Featured Image Credit: Rob Blaze, Shutterstock

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