Do Boston Terriers Bark a Lot? [How to Stop]

You’ve likely heard that Terriers have barking wired into their system. But if you’re still set on bringing one home or if you already own a Boston Terrier, you might be wondering—do Boston Terriers bark a lot, or is it a myth?

Boston Terriers bark less than many dogs, especially since they have Terrier in them. Nevertheless, every dog is different, and certain situations can cause almost any dog to bark.

do Boston Terriers bark a lot
Do Boston Terriers bark a lot? [How to stop?]

In this article, I’ll help you understand why Boston Terriers aren’t big barkers, the situations that can cause them to bark, and how to manage their barking.

The Reasons That Boston Terriers Bark Relatively Little

Genes play a significant role in how likely a dog will bark. So, when looking at the Boston Terrier, you may be surprised to learn that this breed isn’t a true Terrier. 

Instead, the clubs state that in the 1860s, the British bred English Bulldogs and White Terriers to create what would soon become the Boston Terrier.

a boston terrier in a backyard
A happy Boston Terrier enjoying the backyard sun

The English Bulldog’s traits are what give Boston Terriers such a uniquely quiet demeanor. According to Hill’s Pet, English Bulldogs are a “laid back” breed, although they have a high tendency to make noise via snoring.  

Furthermore, breeders created the Boston Terrier so that they aren’t working dogs, meaning that they don’t need the high energy levels that other Terriers have. As you can probably guess, less energy means that Boston Terriers don’t want to waste it all on barking—they’d rather spend it cuddling and playing with you.  

Boston Terrier approaching
Boston Terrier approaching to the camera.

Situations That Cause Boston Terriers to Bark

So, now that you know the answer to “Do Boston Terriers bark a lot?” is usually not, let’s explore situations when you might hear your Boston Terrier raise their voice.

They’re Happy to See You

If your Boston Terrier sees you after you’ve been out of the house for a while—or even walked out of the room—they may bark because they’re happy to see you. Should they bark due to that, you can expect them to accompany it with tail wagging, running in circles, and jumping.

Researchers believe that dogs have a sense of time but not a concept of time. Therefore, they can likely sense when you’re home later than usual from a late meeting at the office and will express their happiness to see you. 

do Boston Terriers drool
Do Boston Terriers drool? Can it be stopped?

They Want to Protect You

Boston Terriers have protective qualities wired into their genes. So, if they believe another animal or human is threatening you, they may start barking. Their barking is often fierce and deep, accompanied by growling

A Boston Terrier’s territorial barks can be the most challenging for homeowners who live near sidewalks where their dogs can watch strangers pass.

Boston Terrier walking on a leash
A Boston Terrier walking on a leash with his owner at the park.

They’re Playing

If you bring your Boston Terrier to the dog park and they suddenly start barking at the other dogs, there’s often no need to worry. Barking and even growling at other dogs is a sign of happiness, as long as they’re wagging their tail and crouching down in a playful pose.

As long as the canine playmates reciprocate your Boston Terrier’s playfulness, there’s no need to reprimand or stop this behavior.

Boston Terrier running on a leash
A Boston Terrier on a leash running with her owner.

They Have Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a condition that can affect all dog breeds and is the result of your Boston Terrier feeling nervous when you leave, according to Care Center Vets, 20% – 40% of dogs that visit behavioral specialists suffer from separation anxiety.

In addition to barking, other signs of separation anxiety include:

  • Pacing
  • Panting
  • Self-harm
  • Tearing up items in the house
  • Signs of nervousness as you prepare to leave
a small boston terrier puppy looks down sadly
A small Boston Terrier puppy looks down sadly.

Something Scared Them

Like humans yelp when something scares us, Boston Terriers do the same by barking. However, unlike humans who can quickly determine if continued screaming isn’t necessary to alert someone for help, your Boston Terrier may continue barking at whatever scares them.

Doorbells are a great example of this. When the doorbell rings, your Boston Terrier may bark initially at the noise, followed by getting up their territorial instinct to bark at whatever lies behind the door.

Boston Terrier looks scared in blanket
Boston Terrier looks scared in a red blanket.

They Want You to Give Them Attention

Although Boston Terriers aren’t inherently big barkers, you may have inadvertently taught them to do it if you notice that they suddenly start barking when they look at you. 

Boston Terriers are intelligent animals and love attention. So, if barking caused you to pay special attention to them, even if it was from half-heartedly saying the word “no” with some finger-pointing, they might start repeating this pattern hoping they’ll get some one-on-one time with you.

a boston terrier outdoors with its large tongue hanging out
A Boston Terrier outdoors with its large tongue hanging out.

Something’s Hurting Them

If your Boston Terrier is in pain, you can expect them to bark. However, the bark will likely be more like a yelp or whine than the bark they have when a stranger walks into your yard.

Most commonly, getting a thorn stuck in their paw, a bee sting, or other similar environmental factors can cause your Boston Terrier to bark suddenly. If you can’t immediately notice and alleviate their distressed state, it’s best to bring them to a vet. 

a boston terrier at a veterinarian office
A Boston Terrier at a veterinarian’s office

How to Teach a Boston Terrier Not to Bark?

Should you have a Boston Terrier that barks more than you’d like them to, the strategies below can help resolve the problem.

Boston Terrier sitting with owner
Boston Terrier sitting with his owner on a couch.

Train Them With the Word “Quiet”

Boston Terriers are intelligent and quick learners. So, you can teach them the words “speak” and “quiet.” It may seem counterintuitive to teach them the word “speak,” but doing so will help enforce what you mean by “quiet.”

With time, they’ll learn the concept of being quiet. As a bonus, you’ll be able to impress people with your Boston Terrier’s intelligence by having them speak on command.

Remove Them From the Situation

If there’s something in the environment causing your Boston Terrier to go into a barking frenzy and it’s within your means to remove them from it, this is often the quickest and most effective course.

Alternatively, if you can’t remove the source but are getting stares from other dog parents, try kneeling down and gently covering your Boston Terrier’s eyes. The distraction and loss of one of their senses can make your misbehaving pooch instantly stop barking.

Don’t Pay Attention to Them

If you sense your Boston Terrier barks to get attention and isn’t responding well to the “quiet” command training, another effective technique is ignoring them.

I know how hard it can be to not look into their adorable face as they bark away for your love, but with time they should settle down, especially since you know that they don’t have the same amount of energy as purebred terriers.

do Boston Terriers bark a lot
Do Boston Terriers bark a lot? [How to stop?]

Increase Their Exercise

Although Boston Terriers have relatively less energy than some other dog breeds, exercise is still crucial for their wellbeing. So, if they have too much bottled-up energy with nowhere to expend it, they could end up barking.

Walking, dog parks, agility courses, and playing hide-and-seek are excellent options for letting your Boston Terrier stretch its legs and quiet their voice.

Choosing a Non-Barking Dog Breed 

When exploring the question “Do Boston Terriers bark a lot?” the answer is “no” with a few exceptions—namely, their environment and personal wiring

Given that these circumstances can be the case for any dog breed, no matter how quiet they typically are, Boston Terriers are an excellent dog to choose if you live in an apartment or other area where neighbors are close. 

With some positive reinforcement training and plenty of love, you can expect to have a fiercely loyal and relatively quiet companion for your family.