Why Do Boston Terriers Burrow?

Ok, if you have owned a Boston Terrier for more than a minute you know they love to burrow. I was curious why Bella, my Boston, burrowed so much. After doing some research, here is what I found out.

Why Do Boston Terriers Burrow? Boston Terrier Society
Bella snoozing on the couch. She covered herself like this.

Why Do Boston Terrier Burrow?

Boston Terriers burrow for several reasons. First, it is rooted in their genes originating from a Terrier and Bull Dog. Second, out of boredom, your Boston could be burrowing. Finally, it can help with their anxiety, being in a tight, compact space under the blankets, and this space makes them feel safe and secure.

Which Breeds Like To Burrow? 

Some dog breeds dig or burrow instinctively. Centuries ago, Terriers, in general, were farm dogs in the South used for hunting small animals such as gophers, weasels, rabbits, moles or rodents. Although Terriers and their relatives Boston terriers aren’t used for hunting anymore, they still love to dig or burrow. 

History of Boston Terriers

The Boston terrier breed first appeared in 1870 when a Bostonian named Robert C. Cooper bought a dog that had both bull and terrier lineage. The dog’s name was Judge, later called Hooper’s Judge. Hooper’s Judge is an ancestor of today’s Boston Terriers. Boston Terrier owners say that Bostons are smart, easy to train and make great family dogs. They also shed very little. Today, Bostons are a popular breed

Reasons Boston Terriers Burrow

Boston terriers have a compact build that’s perfect for burrowing. They’re strong and well-proportioned with a square head and arched neck. Their muzzle is short and wrinkle-free. So, why do Bostons burrow? 


Bostons are wired to dig. Their love of burrowing is rooted in their breed mix of terrier and French bulldog. If you have small animals in your backyard, there’s a good chance your Boston will try to catch them or dig to find them. 


If your Boston has nothing to do when she’s in your backyard, she’ll dig. Young Bostons are more prone to this, but Bostons love to dig at any age. Many Boston owners find their yard full of holes when their dog doesn’t have anything else to do in the backyard. 


Your Boston might dig beside a fence. It’s the perfect spot to slip under get out. Bostons are smart dogs, so never leave your dog alone while she’s in your yard. Reinforce all the areas of your yard where your dog can escape, such as fences or gates. 

Stress relief

Digging gives your dog some stress relief. Digging helps your dog work out her anxiety or frustrations. It’s mentally and physically stimulating for her, especially if she’s alone a lot during the day. 

How Can You Stop Your Boston From Burrowing In Your Yard?

A backyard full of holes is ugly and potentially dangerous if someone steps into a hole. It’s hard to stop your Boston from digging, but there are some things you can do to discourage your her from digging up your entire backyard.

Chicken wire

If she’s digging near or along your fence, put up some chicken wire there to stop her. 

Digging pit

If you can’t stop her from digging in the yard, create a digging pit so she can dig without worry. Find a place in your yard that’s suitable and safe for your dog. Dig a large round area that’s not too deep. Dump a mixture of sand and soil into the pit. Turn it over, so it’s loose and has good drainage. Bury a few toys or chewy treats in the digging pit to catch your dog’s attention. 

Take your dog over to the pit and allow her time to sniff around. When she finds a toy, give her praise and a treat. Encourage her to keep digging. Continue to praise her every time she finds a treat. At some point, she’ll start digging just for the fun of it. Boston’s are smart. It won’t take her long to figure out this her spot. If she wanders over to another area and starts digging, take her back to her digging pit, and encourage her to dig. Give her treats when she does.


Give your Boston terrier lots of exercise. Walk her several times a day to reduce her boredom. Let your Boston play with other dogs to socialize her. All these things provide her with mental and physical stimulation, so she’s less likely to burrow in your yard. 

Why Do Boston Terriers Like To Burrow Under Blankets?

Many Boston owners say their dog loves to burrow in clothes or blankets, my Boston included. Why Bostons love to burrow under the covers to sleep, could be because of their love of digging or burrowing. 

Dog behaviorists also suggest that some burrowing could result from anxiety. The burrowing is a way of working out your dog’s anxiety. If you leave your dog alone for long periods, she will get anxious and frustrated. 

Final thoughts…

Boston terriers are great family dogs. They’re smart, shed very little, and have a good sense of humor. They love to burrow, but you may end up with a yard full of holes. You won’t stop your Boston from digging, but you can redirect her to an acceptable digging spot made just for her. Burrowing is innate for your Boston terrier, boredom and anxiety can make this behavior worse. 

Reduce your pooch’s anxiety with lots of exercise, socialization with other dogs and playtime. Keeping your Boston busy will help reduce some of her digging tendencies, at least outside. Inside, she may still burrow under the covers and in the laundry basket, but that’s too cute to make her stop. 


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.

Recent Posts