It can sometimes be hard to distinguish between the adorable, squishy-faced Boston Terrier and French Bulldog. Beyond their cute, furry features, they share a lot of similarities and differences. Read our guide to learn more about these loveable dogs to choose your favourite. (If that’s even possible – we’re still undecided!)
The history of Boston Terriers and French Bulldogs
The Boston Terrier gets their name from, you guessed it, Boston, Massachusetts. In the 1870s, this American-born breed was originally crossed between an English Bulldog and the now extinct English White Terrier, called a Hooper’s Judge. Over the years, crossbreeding with the English Bull Terrier, the Boxer, the Pit Bull Terrier and the French Bulldog resulted in what’s now the modern Boston Terrier. An interesting fact – the Boston Terrier was the first non-sporting breed in the US.
The French Bulldog and Boston Terrier share a common ancestry – the English Bulldog. The Frenchie, as they are affectionately known by their fans the world over today, actually started life across the channel in England. During the Industrial Revolution, English lacemakers took their small toy Bulldogs with them to work in Normandy, and their furry companions were originally very popular ratters. In France, the dogs were then bred with French Terriers to become the French Bulldog we know and love today. The breed became popular with Parisian women who championed their batlike ears. Later, at the end of the 19th century, American fanciers created the very first French Bulldog club.
In the United Kingdom, both Boston Terriers and French Bulldogs are members of the Utility breed group, which is also the classification belonging to breeds such as Dalmatians, Schnauzers and Poodles. The Utility group is a mixed pack; the name basically means that each breed was originally intended for a particular purpose, which varies breed to breed. So, Boston Terriers Boston Terriers were first recognised by the UK Kennel Club in 1914 and the French Bulldog was officially recognised in 1905.
It’s easy to confuse these two breeds as they share a few of the same features. Cuteness aside (and we could talk for hours about which is the most adorable) both Boston Terriers and French Bulldogs have short snouts, minimal tails and bug-eyes.
Let’s take a closer look at their furry features.
Boston Terrier vs. French Bulldog size
Boston Terriers and French Bulldogs are both small dogs and similar in size. Frenchies have a muscular build and a larger bone structure, while Boston Terriers are the more leggy of the two breeds. Their longer legs give them a slight edge over their Frenchie cousins at approximately 36-41cm tall and weigh 7-13kg, while a French Bulldog’s stocky frame has them weighing in at 8-15kg and 30-33cm tall.
Colour and markings
Boston Terriers are known as the American Gentleman for their tuxedo-style markings in brindle, seal or black with white. Frenchies come in a variety of colours like brindle, cream, fawn and white.
Boston Terrier vs. French Bulldog ears
Frenchies are known for their distinctive ‘bat-like’ ears that are moderate in size and stand erect on their square-shaped head. By contrast, a Boston Terrier has pointed ears and their heads are round, not square.
Comparing their snouts
Boston Terriers and French Bulldogs both have short snouts and broad, square jaws.
Bosties have wide noses that are black and well defined with a line between their nostrils. Similarly, a Frenchies’ nose is extremely short with broader nostrils and a distinctive line between them.
Their flatter faces mean that both dogs are brachycephalic breeds. Their tiny nostrils, long palates, and narrow tracheas can cause health and breathing problems. You can read more about some of the health issues that brachycephalic dogs have here.
Boston Terrier vs. French Bulldog shedding
Both breeds are fairly low maintenance when it comes to grooming. Since they boast short coats, there’s little to no odor (aside from the occasional wind!) and minimal shedding. But, due to their coats, both breeds can be sensitive to extreme cold.
Both the Frenchie and Boston Terrier have stumpy, little tails that are either straight or screwed and sit low over their rectum. A screwed tail is caused by a malformation in the vertebrae and is more common in Bulldogs than Boston Terriers.
Both breeds need moderate levels of exercise. Boston Terriers are generally more active than French Bulldogs and can have large bursts of energy. They love running, jumping and fetch and may even obsess a little over a tennis ball. They’d make good running partners but can overheat because of their short snouts. In fact, both breeds can easily overheat due to breathing issues so it’s best to monitor them on hot days or if they’ve been running a lot.
Due to their heavier build, French Bulldogs are a bit more relaxed and agile, but no less playful or excitable when it comes to running and jumping. Regular, moderate exercise such as long walks or hikes are great for Frenchies and will keep them healthy and lean.
They may be small in size, but both Frenchies and Bosties are far from small in personality. Both dogs are very friendly, loving breeds and make excellent, furry companions. If you can’t be around as much as you’d like, you can find your dog an amazing dog sitter who offers dog boarding to keep them company through Rover.com.
Boston Terriers live up to their moniker as an American Gentleman. They can be lively, alert and intelligent and can go from having bursts of energy to wanting to curl up and have a cuddle.
The Frenchie is also nicknamed the Clown in a Clock of a Philosopher for their cheeky personality and equally friendly disposition. They are renowned for making their owners laugh, are very affectionate and love to cuddle.
Both dogs are super loving breeds and make great family pets. French Bulldogs can be protective around small children so it’s best to socialise your Frenchie with other dogs and humans at a young age.
Don’t let small dog stereotypes fool you. They may both be small, but neither dog is a big yapper. Of the two, Boston Terriers may have a tendency to bark a little more but are not as vocal compared to other breeds.
Boston Terriers and French Bulldogs are easy to train and make great dogs for first time owners. The American Gentleman is true to his nickname and quick to learn tricks, is a good listener and obedient.
French Bulldogs can be a little bullish and stubborn so it’s important for owners to express their authority early on – remember to use positive reinforcement techniques such as praise and treats. Frenchies may be small but don’t baby your fur baby. They can become stubborn and and if poorly trained, aggressive towards other dogs.
Similarly, Boston Terriers can get a little territorial, so early socialisation with other dogs is key. If you have a puppy, take them to training classes and continue to socialise your pup with other dogs and humans as they grow.
Boston Terriers vs. French Bulldogs city living
Looking for a dog that’s good for city living? Both Frenchies and Bosties are well suited for living in smaller homes such as flats and apartments. Frenchies and Bosties don’t need as much exercise as a Border Collie or a Labrador, for example – they’re happy relaxing with you at home. Boston Terriers, who love to run around outdoors, can control their energy indoors and are happy to chill out on the sofa, too. Both breeds are adaptable to new living situations, so if you move house, or leave them with a dog sitter while you’re away, they’re happy to make the new place their home, too.
Boston Terrier vs. French Bulldog: price of a puppy
The cost of your furry friend will really depend on the breeder you choose. There’s been a surge in popularity for French Bulldogs over the years so they tend to me more expensive than Boston Terriers. French Bulldogs can cost approximately £2000, while Boston Terriers can cost upwards of £700.
Boston Terriers vs. French Bulldogs health
The average lifespan of a French Bulldog is over 10 years while Boston Terriers live 12-14 years. Their short muzzles make them both prone to respiratory problems and are at risk of heat stroke in hot weather.
French Bulldogs can also suffer from obesity if overfed and under-exercised. They can also have problems with their eyes, heart and back. Boston Terriers are prone to cataracts and seizures, and may suffer from allergies and deafness.
While it may not necessarily be a ‘health’ concern, both breeds are known as loud snorers and Frenchies are infamous for being a little (or a lot!) on the gassy side – we’ll warn you – it can be very unpleasant!.