Are Boston Terriers Smart? 5 Reasons Why They Are

Just like human parents, fur moms and dads would also like to brag about their fur baby’s intelligence.

You may be asking right now if your Boston Terriers are smart so that you can talk about that the next time that you have some dog discussions.

We got you covered right here, so read on and know the five reasons why your Boston Terriers are intelligent dogs!


There was a research conducted by Stanley Coren, a canine psychologist from the University of British Columbia, that led to the list of smartest dog breeds.

With the help of 199 obedience trial judges from the American and Canadian Kennel Club, he was able to collect enough data that will help in ranking the dogs by their working and obedience intelligence.

The criteria for ranking the dogs’ intelligence are based on:

  • Instinctive Abilities
  • Adaptiveness
  • Working capability
  • Obedience

The following are the criteria that Coren and the judges followed:

1. The number of repetitions needed for the dog breed to learn a new command. If it takes less repetition for a dog to learn a command, then the smarter it is.

2. The rate at which a dog breed will obey a known command on the first try. The higher the success rate, the smarter and more obedient the dog breed was.

According to Coren’s book, which was written in 1994, the Boston Terriers hold exactly position 100 out of the 136 breeds in the intelligence list.

You may think that it’s too low in the rank but hold on!

This ranking means that your dog is in an “average intelligence” position and it’s on the same ground as Australian Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, Great Danes, Greyhounds, Dachshunds, and Shiba Inus.

It should be noted that not all dog breeds are included and only those that received at least 100 responses were qualified for the least, and Yes! The Terrier Boston made the cut.

What more could you ask for?

Though it is really not that competitive with the Top 3 which are Border Collies, Poodles, and German Shepherds, the Boston Terriers are still smart enough to learn a brand new command with 25 to 40 repetitions and they can also obey a known command on the first attempt 50% of the time.


If a dog’s intelligence base will just be based on Coren’s criteria, then it is not holistic since it only measures the obedience intelligence, and the data is limited.

There’s so much more than that! You should remember that dogs are bred for different jobs and activities.

Yes, the ability of a dog to learn quickly and their obedience matters but it’s not the whole part of the story. Just because the Boston Terrier does not immediately obey your command it doesn’t that it doesn’t understand you.

You may not know it, but the pet that you are training is paying full attention, not just on your words but also on your eyes and body posture.

They’ll see if you are looking at them or not, then decide whether he will listen or not. Cunning, right?

Your presence and absence in the room will be a big factor and they will always be attentive on the way that you give the command and if you will be watching them when they’ll do it.

Alongside this, proper Boston Terrier training is also a great factor that enhances their skills! So make sure to start out their training at an early stage.


Now this will answer why they are not on the top of the obedience ranking. According to Top Dog Tip, the Boston Terrier belongs to the Top 15 of the most stubborn dog breeds!

It doesn’t mean that they don’t like your company though. They would just like to have their way and they want to do what they want.

So, wonder no more why they are not as obedient as the other breeds. They would rather hang out by your side and romp around the yard than sit through obedience training.

You see, it’s not that they are incapable of learning in a quick time frame, they are just aren’t that excited to work, that’s all.


Instinctive intelligence is the innate ability or skill that was bred into the dog. Take note that all dog breeds were developed in order to help with the tasks in society.

An example of this is the Australian Shepherds which were bred to herd dogs. It doesn’t take any human intervention or training for this kind of dog to herd livestock and organize them.

Going back to the Boston Terriers, you may probably know by now that at first, they are bred to be scrappy fighters and were also used as vermin hunters in factories. However, as the years went by, they are bred to be companions and show dogs.

They are calmer and more docile these days and that makes them an even better companion. Their instinctive intelligence also developed to understand human emotions and they now have the ability to communicate.

They would cuddle with you because they would like to show you their affection. Their snuggle is equal to “I love you”.


One thing that could tell if your dog is intelligent or not is the way that it can learn for itself through past experiences and their environment.

Those that do great in problem-solving or have a good understanding of the situation are the ones with high adaptive intelligence.

Many Boston Terrier parents shared that their fur babies are very smart in this aspect, as some explained that their dogs know where they are doing when they head out of the door, depending on what the owners bring out with them. They can even note your use of sunscreen or sunglasses.

There are many stories about this from other Boston Terrier parents, so why don’t you see for yourself and have your own Boston Terrier now?

If you already have yours, maybe you have already observed this on your own Boston Terrier, or you may have missed it. Just continue to pay attention to your pet’s ways and you’ll see what they are capable of.

This breed may not be on the top of the intelligence list, but you don’t buy or adopt a dog just because they are smart, do you?

You should find a breed that matches your personality. But then, Boston Terriers are already smart enough to be trained and are made to be good companions, so they are still one of the best choices out there!

Want to learn more about Boston Terriers? Check out our Boston Terrier 101 Guide to know everything about them in a digestible manner.

If you want to enhance their mental skills though, you'll have to train your Boston Terrier for brain training as well. Find out more here!

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