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Boston Terriers

Boston Terrier Breed Standard

The Boston Terrier is the true American Gentleman of the dog world.  Throughout the years the standard, like all breed standards has evolved.  General Appearance - The Boston Terrier is a lively, highly intelligent, smooth coated, short-headed, compactly built, short-tailed, well balanced dog, brindle, seal or black in color and evenly marked with white.  The head is in proportion to the size of the dog and the expression indicates a high degree of intelligence.

The body is rather short and well knit, the limbs strong and neatly turned, the tail is short and no feature is so prominent that the dog appears badly proportioned.  The dog conveys an impression of determination, strength and activity, with style of high order; carriage easy and graceful.  A proportionate combination of "Color and White Markings" is a particularly distinctive feature of a representative specimen.

"Balance, Expression, Color and White Markings" should be given particular consideration in determining the relative value of GENERAL APPEARANCE to other points. Illustrated Breed Standard

In the show ring Bostons are divided into weight classes

Under 15 lbs

15lbs and under 20 lbs

20 lbs and not to exceed 25 lbs.


Health Concerns

Heat exhaustion

Patellar Luxation

Juvenile Cataracts

Boston Terrier Health Links


How to find a reputable breeder:

Start by contacting the national breed club and then the local breed clubs.

Attend a dog show and meet the breeders.  AKC Events Search

Look for websites with pictures of dogs being shown and ideally winning, with discussions of health testing.


A reputable breeder:

  • Is knowledgeable about his/her breed and breed standard;
  • Is active in the breed in some fashion, perhaps in the conformation ring, or in the performance aspect, such as obedience, agility, hunting, earthdog.
  • Has done extensive genetic testing on the breeding stock used and is willing and able to discuss whatever faults his/her dogs have (and all dogs have them. No dog is perfect.);
  • The environment the dogs and puppies are kept in are open for your inspection and are kept sanitary;
  • At least the dam of the litter is on the premises and is available for your inspection, with pictures and information about how to contact the owner of the sire available to you;
  • Has provided proper medical care and nutrition to all his dogs and will provide you with medical records;
  • Can discuss the socialization of the puppies and can make recommendations for the continued socialization and training;
  • Will have a written contract and bill of sale. Will offer a health guarantee;
  • Will offer a genetic disease guarantee;
  • Will take back the dog at any time during the dog's life if you become unwilling or unable to care for it.
  • Will be available to you for advice during the life of the dog.

Beware of Back Yard Breeders (BYB). These are people who breed to add a little cash to their bank account. They like to claim that “dog show people are snobby” and thus do not need to show their dogs.  They do not health test or make up B.S. health tests that have nothing to do with OFA or genetic testing.  They are not puppy mills, but may become puppy mills.  Almost all animal welfare groups including the HSUS agree that if you cannot adopt a shelter dog, that the best option is to buy from a reputable breeder who shows their dogs.


Here are a couple of great links to different BYB definitions.

The Backyard Breeder's and Puppy Miller's Big Book of Old Excuses

Reputable Breeder vs Backyard Breeder-from the Boxer Club

Article from Wild Heir Labrador Rescue


BYB stats

Although you might pay less for the breed of your choice from a pet store or backyard breeder, it's almost a given that in the long run, you'll pay a good deal more in vet bills and perhaps emotional bills (if the dog has to be euthanized due to a health or temperament problem), than you would from a reputable breeder.

Of the 52.9 million dogs who live in the United States, approximately 2.9 - 4 million of them are killed in shelters annually (AVMA, 1998, and AHA, 1998). Where do all these dogs come from? Puppy mills churn out 20% of the total number of dogs whelped yearly, and roughly 1% are the results of feral dogs reproducing on their own. Less than 12% come from breeders who actively test their stock in conformation, obedience, and field trials. Backyard breeders, or people who breed their dogs without testing and certifying their stock, produce nearly 67% of all the dogs born annually in this country (Gardner, 1994). You will not pay more for a pet quality puppy from a reputable breeder than one from a backyard breeder. Unfortunately, there are backyard breeders everywhere: in kennel clubs, advertising in the newspaper, and also in dog publications. The difference is that the ethical breeder has spent time and effort developing the healthiest, soundest, and most representative of the breed possible.