AKC Standards For Boston Terriers You Should Know

The American Kennel Club is the authority known for registering dog breeds eligible for competitions. While you could always have an unregistered dog at home, there's an official AKC standard for Boston Terriers that you should know of.

The AKC Standards is based on the temperament and physical characteristics of the Boston Terrier and there are 11 categories for this.

General Appearance

Boston Terriers generally are sociable dogs that are built to have a compact sturdy body. They are well-balanced and the colors they sport should only be brindle, seal, or black with white markings. They have a short dog coat and the Boston Terrier's tail should be short.

Their head is also in proportion to their body and is often characterized to have this flat shape at the top. The "color and white markings" are by far the most distinctive characteristic that the AKC monitor when it comes to Boston Terriers.


The ideal expression that most Boston Terriers are known for is their alertness but also kindness exhibited by their large imploring eyes. This indicates their high intelligence and they often have an impression of strength and gracefulness. This is quite an apt picture coupled with their nickname as the American Gentleman.

Head (Muzzle, Jaw, Bite, Skull & Stop)

The Boston Terrier's head is another distinctive trait for them. Their head skull structure should be flat in their head and free from wrinkles with flat cheeks and well defined brow line.

When it comes to their muzzle, it should be square and shorter in length than in width. It should also be proportional to the skull and does not exceed one-third of its length.

Boston Terriers also should have broad and square jaws and have an even bite with their teeth when their mouth is closed.


When it comes to their eyes, they are large and wide apart. In fact, this is one of the most appealing feature of Boston Terriers! The eyes should be set square in the skull and other colors that have any traces of blue will be disqualified.


Boston Terrier's ears should be erect, small, and should be situated near the corners of the skull as possible. French bulldogs are often mistaken for Boston Terriers but the main difference between the two is their ears!

Neck, Topline, Body & Tail

The neck should be proportional to the skull and not overly long or too small to support the head. Since the body of Boston Terriers should appear short The topline is level and the rump curves slightly to the set-on of the tail. Their tails should be short and are often 1 - 2 inches long as they are part of the bobtail breed. Dogs that have docked tails are disqualified as well as it isn't a natural process.


Boston Terrier's forequarters should be laid back and straight in bone. Their feet are also characterized to be small, round, and compact. Those that have splayed feet or legs that are lacking in substance are automatically disqualified.


The hindquarters of this breed should be well muscled and sturdy. The stifles should also be bent and their thighs are characterized to be strong.

Color, Coat & Markings

The color, coat, and markings is by far the most prominent way to identify if a Boston Terrier passed the AKC Standards. There are only three colors accepted and these are brindle, seal, and black. The required markings of Boston Terriers should be white in the muzzle band, between the eyes, and their chest. However, these markings can still vary and accepted as long as it is near those locations.


Boston Terriers are by nature sociable and energetic. They are very loyal to their owners and often experience loneliness when left to their own! They are great companion dogs and have a high degree of intelligence.

While there are different kinds of Boston Terriers outside the AKC standards, it does not mean they are "illegitimate" and unlovable! The AKC breed standards is ofte just for those who want to register for competitions.

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