Are Boston Terriers Actually Terriers?

Are you wondering if a Boston Terrier is actually a Terrier? The short answer is No.

I have seen many articles and posts referring to a Boston Terrier as a Terrier. I had even done this myself before I learned that Boston’s are not “Terriers.”

are Boston Terriers Terriers?

Here is what I’ve learned regarding Boston Terriers and their non-terrier status…

Are Boston Terriers Actually Terriers?

No, the American Kennel Club does not recognize the Boston Terrier as a Terrier. The Boston Terrier is in the AKC Non-Sporting group. The Terriers have their own group.

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Boston Terriers And Their Non-Terrier Status

So, why are Boston Terriers not considered Terriers? This is because the Boston is in the American Kennel Clubs Non-Sporting group.

A dog breed is put into a specific group based on their work function. A prime example is the Herding Group, well you guessed, dogs in this group were created to herd.

The AKC recognizes seven different dog groups:

  1. Sporting Group
  1. Hound Group
  1. Working Group
  1. Terrier Group
  1. Toy Group
  1. Non-Sporting Group
  1. Herding Group

What is the definition of the Terrier Group?

The Terrier, according to AKC, is known for two distinct traits, feisty & energetic. The Terrier Group breed was bred to hunt and to kill vermin. 

Particularly rats in the barn and around the home. 

The Complete List Of Dog Breeds In The AKC Terrier Group:

  1. Airedale Terrier
  1. American Hairless Terrier
  1. American Staffordshire Terrier
  1. Australian Terrier
  1. Bedlington Terrier
  1. Border Terrier
  1. Bull Terrier
  1. Cairn Terrier
  1. Cesky Terrier
  1. Dandie Dinmont Terrier
  1. Glen of Imaal Terrier
  1. Irish Terrier
  1. Kerry Blue Terrier
  1. Lakeland Terrier
  1. Manchester Terrier (Standard)
  1. Miniature Bull Terrier
  1. Miniature Schnauzer
  1. Norfolk Terrier
  1. Norwich Terrier
  1. Parson Russell Terrier
  1. Rat Terrier
  1. Russell Terrier
  1. Scottish Terrier
  1. Sealyham Terrier
  1. Skye Terrier
  1. Smooth Fox Terrier
  1. Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  1. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  1. Welsh Terrier
  1. West Highland White Terrier
  1. Wire Fox Terrier
Boston Terrier Laying down
Bella in the Non-Sporting group lol

What is the definition of the Non-Sporting Group?

The Non-Sporting Group is basically a group of breeds who had no distinct purpose, as the other six groups had. 

The breeds in this group come from broader backgrounds, so it is harder to group them.

The Complete List Of Dog Breeds In The AKC Non-Sporting Group:

  1. American Eskimo Dog
  1. Bichon Frise
  1. Boston Terrier
  1. Bulldog
  1. Chinese Shar-Pei
  1. Chow Chow
  1. Coton de Tulear
  1. Dalmatian
  1. Finnish Spitz
  1. French Bulldog
  1. Keeshond
  1. Lhasa Apso
  1. Lowchen
  1. Norwegian Lundehund
  1. Poodle (Miniature)
  1. Poodle (Standard)
  1. Schipperke
  1. Shiba Inu
  1. Tibetan Spaniel
  1. Tibetan Terrier
  1. Xoloitzcuintli

Why is the Boston Terrier not in the Terrier Group?

The Boston is not in the Terrier Group because their background and history is so diverse that their function and work purpose can not be grouped in the 6 of the 7 specific groups.

This is why the lovable breed has been placed in the non-specific Non-Sporting Group. The Boston over the years has been bred to be a companion dog.

While the ancestor of the Boston Terrier was a Bulldog as well as the now-extinct White English Terrier the Boston’s demeanor no longer resembles that of the feisty terrier. 

Final thoughts…

While the Boston Terrier is not technically a Terrier, it does have an ancestry trail to the old White English Terrier. 

In addition, the Boston was created in the 19th century, an era of when bull-baiting and rating were popular, this led to many Terrier’s being cross bred and designed for the sport.

While there is undoubtedly ancestry linkage to Terrier’s, this was still not enough to classify this unique breed with the Terrier Group.

Join The Boston Terrier Community!

Join thousands of Boston Terrier Owners in the Boston Terrier Society Facebook Group. 

In the group, we share photos, thoughts, and stories. As well as have contests with prizes and more!

Boston Terrier Society Facebook Community

This is a fun and friendly group. Feel free to pose any question you have about your Boston Terrier.

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Donnie Gardner

Donnie Gardner is the owner of the Boston Terrier Society. He has been raising Bella the Boston since 2010. He resides in Kansas with his wife, daughter, and Bella. His favorite activities are hanging out with family, traveling, running (but has bad knees), and reading non-fiction books.

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