How Long Do Boston Terriers Live? [Boston Terrier Lifespan]

If you’re thinking about bringing home a Boston Terrier or looking at your greying best friend, it might get you thinking—how long do Boston Terriers live?

The average lifespan of a Boston Terrier is 11 – 13 years.

how long do Boston Terriers live
How long do Boston Terriers live? [Boston Terrier Lifespan]

However, the reality is that this number can be significantly less or more, depending on genetics, breeding practices, external factors, and luck. 

I’ll help you understand what impacts a Boston Terrier’s lifespan and ways you can help your beloved pet live a longer, happier life.

Understanding the Boston Terrier’s Lifespan

If you’ve spent a lot of time around dogs, you’ve likely heard the saying that small dogs live longer than large ones. Scientists can’t deny this trend is true, although there are still many theories about why this may be.

One of the most common theories is that larger dogs have more growth hormones, which can cause diseases ranging from cancer to heart problems. Therefore, smaller dogs have a reduced chance of these issues.

Nevertheless, when it comes to a Boston Terrier’s lifespan, they have a relatively shorter lifespan for being a small dog. As a dog owner myself, I know how disheartening this can be to hear. 

However, there are several ways you can increase the chances of your Boston Terrier living a longer life, and I’ll share them with you here.

a small brindle and white boston terrier looks up at the camera
A small brindle and white Boston Terrier looks up at the camera.

The Issue With Boston Terrier Breeding

Boston Terriers are a brachycephalic breed. In layperson’s terms, that means they have wide skulls and short snouts that cause them to have respiratory issues. Sadly, humans are the reason for this condition in the Boston Terrier.

Traditionally, Boston Terriers had longer snouts that allowed air to enter their respiratory system more easily. However, with increased demand for the “cuteness” of a scrunched nose, breeders designed these dogs to have increasingly shorter snouts.

The result is that many Boston Terriers suffer from shortened lives due to brachycephalic syndrome

So, if you have a Boston Terrier with an extremely scrunched nose, they’ll likely have a harder time with the following:

  • Maintaining their body temperature in the heat
  • Eating and drinking without injuring their eyes
  • Inability to run and play like most dogs
  • Air gulping and excess farting
  • Difficulty swimming for long durations

In severe cases, your veterinarian may need to perform surgery to reduce the impact of brachycephalic syndrome. However, this is a high-risk surgery, given that it involves the head, and the chances of death can be high.

two white and black boston terrier puppies sitting
Two white and black Boston Terrier puppies sitting.

Choosing a Responsible Breeder

Should you decide to buy instead of adopting a Boston Terrier, you have control over whether you support brachycephalic breeding practices.

The good news is that not all breeders have made Boston Terriers with unnaturally short snouts and wide heads. Therefore, do your research to choose a responsible breeder. 

Doing so will increase your chances of having more years with your beloved pet, and you won’t put money into the pockets of irresponsible Boston Terrier breeders.

Common Health Issues That Shorten a Boston Terrier’s Lifespan

When exploring the question, “How long do Boston Terriers live?” it’s crucial to understand that many factors can influence a Boston Terrier’s lifespan. 

Like humans, Boston Terriers can fall victim to rare diseases. However, more often than not, they follow breed-related and age-related health trends. Below are some of the most common health issues your Boston Terrier may face. (From weight loss to hair shedding).

a small boston terrier puppy looks down sadly
A small Boston Terrier puppy looks down sadly.

Heart Disease

According to Winter Park Veterinary Hospital, heart failure is the most common disease in Boston Terriers as they age. Furthermore, a massive 75% of this disease results from valve deterioration. Your veterinarian can detect this heart disease by listening for a heart murmur with a stethoscope.

If you catch heart disease early enough, your veterinarian can prescribe your Boston Terrier medicine to control it. The best way to prevent heart disease is to clean your dog’s teeth regularly and keep them at a healthy weight.

Dental Disease

According to statistics for all dog breeds, 80% of dogs have dental issues by the time they reach two years old. Tartar build-up leads to gum and root infections and can shorten your Boston Terrier’s life. 

If you don’t catch dental disease early enough, your Boston Terrier could suffer from losing teeth, kidney damage, and issues with their heart and liver. Regular canine dental cleanings are one of the best ways to prevent these problems.


Hebivertebra is a fancy word for spinal deformities. Sadly, Boston Terriers frequently suffer from this condition because of their genetics. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to prevent hemivertebra, given that your Boston Terrier will have it from birth.

However, you might notice their spinal deformity symptoms worsening as they age. It’s crucial to bring your Boston Terrier to annual vet appointments since they’ll be able to monitor their hemivertebra with x-rays. In some cases, your vet might encourage you to put your dog through rehabilitation to help them live a longer, more comfortable life.

Brachycephalic Syndrome

I already talked about this earlier, but it’s worth reiterating again. If you bring home a Boston Terrier with an exceptionally short snout and wide face, you can almost guarantee that they’ll suffer from brachycephalic syndrome.

The issue results from a buildup of tissue in your dog’s nose and throat, given that they have the same amount of tissue as other dogs. But given that the tissue doesn’t have as much room to disperse, an obstructed airway is often the result. Pneumonia and heat stroke are common side effects of brachycephalic syndrome.

Eye Issues

You likely know your Boston Terrier’s eyes inside out from staring at them so much (and there are studies about the positive impact of doing so for both humans and pooches). So, you may notice if their eyes start to become cloudy from cataracts or if they develop a cherry eye from a swollen third eyelid.

Other common eye issues in Boston Terriers are dry eyes and physical injuries. The reason being is that a Boston Terrier’s eyes bulge out. Therefore, they’re prone to injury and may need veterinary attention to treat.

How to Increase the Chances of Giving Your Boston Terrier a Long Life?

In a perfect world, our Boston Terriers would live as long as we do. But since that can’t happen, the second-best scenario is to create a healthy environment for them to increase the chances of them living to the long end of their lifespan. Below are some of the best ways you can do so.

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

Take Them to Annual Check-ups

One of the first things you should do when bringing a Boston Terrier home is to schedule a routine veterinary appointment. You should then arrange to take your Boston Terrier to the vet once a year, assuming they don’t have a medical condition before then.

By doing so, your vet will be able to track your Boston Terrier’s health. They’ll also ensure they stay up-to-date on vaccinations and dewormers—two critical things for preventing common diseases that can shorten your dog’s lifespan. Also exercise your Boston Terrier (but do NOT over exercise them).

Boston Terriers are couch potatoes with frenetic bursts of hyper energy.

Spay Female Boston Terriers

There’s scientific evidence that spaying female dogs increase their lifespan as it reduces the chance of mammary cancer. Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about the potential of them dying while giving birth.

If you bring home a male Boston Terrier, I encourage you to neuter them too. Although neutering may not have as large of a health impact on males, there are already many dogs at animal shelters needing homes, so getting your pet neutered is the responsible thing to do.

Don’t Overfeed Them

Just like humans, overweight dogs suffer from many health issues that can shorten their lives. Therefore, opt for putting your table scraps in the trash instead of your Boston Terrier’s bowl. I know that can feel like tough love, but the result will be a healthier pup.

Furthermore, the quality of dog food you give your Boston Terrier is equally as important as the amount. There’s nothing wrong with budgeting, but skimping on your dog’s food quality to save a few bucks isn’t the time to do it. On the contrary, feeding your Boston Terrier food packed with fillers may ultimately cause you to spend more money on medical bills.

Be Selective of the Dog

The harsh truth is that money-hungry breeders are why many Boston Terriers suffer from a shorter lifespan. While it’s unfortunate for the dogs already born, you can play your small part in influencing the future of Boston Terrier breeding by buying a dog with non-brachycephalic qualities

By doing so, the dog you own will statistically have a better quality of life and longer lifespan. Watch out for problem signs like sweating or 24/7 shaking.

Making the Most of Your Time With Your Boston Terrier

Let’s face it—Boston Terriers bring so much joy to a home that they can never live long enough. However, the next time someone asks you, “How long do Boston Terriers live?” you’ll be able to give them an idea of how many more years you potentially have with your pet.

By acting upon the information I shared with you here, you’ll increase the chances of helping your Boston Terrier to have a longer lifespan and remain healthier during that time.