Boston Terrier vs French Bulldog: little breeds, big difference

Boston Terrier vs French Bulldog: little breeds, big difference

Boston terrier vs French Bulldog: similar yet so different

Boston terrier and French Bulldog are not only two of the most adorable breeds out there. They are also getting more and more popular. It seems like, no matter where you look these days, you will see a Boston Terrier. Or is it a French Bulldog? They seem very similar in appearance: short, stubby-legged, flat-faced, black and extremely cute. But how do you tell one from the other, and what are some of the big differences between Boston terrier vs French Bulldog? Let’s find out.

Boston Terrier vs French Bulldog

Frenchie giving the camera the typical Frenchie look

Boston terrier vs French Bulldog: origins

The difference between the two breeds can be implied even just from the names of the breeds. Boston Terrier certainly sounds American. French Bulldog definitely sounds like it took its roots in Europe. Is that so? Yes and no. In truth, both Boston terriers and French Bulldogs have common ancestors. Both can boast having the DNA of old Molossus dogs, the dogs that belonged to the kingdom of the Molossians.

Those were large but not very tall, muscular dogs with broad heads and well developed jaws, bred predominantly for hunting or guarding purposes. Modern day mastiffs are direct descendants of the Molossus dogs. Both Boston Terrier and French Bulldogs also have some Molossus DNA.

Boston Terrier vs French Bulldog

Young black and white Boston Terrier

A more recent history of both of the breeds started in 19th century in England (for the Boston Terrier) and France (for the French Bulldog). By then, people were breeding a lot of medium-sized short-legged stalky dogs with characteristic skull shape, perked up ears and shortened muzzles. Some of them clearly had the traits that were later passed on to the French Bulldogs and what later became a Boston Terrier.

Boston terrier vs French Bulldog: differences in appearance

Although Boston terriers and French Bulldog may look very similar to the untrained eye, you will actually see quite a difference once you know where to look. Structurally, these two breeds aren’t alike at all, apart from their short statute.

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French Bulldog, as is implied from their name – is a Bulldog, with characteristic body shapes for a Bulldog. It’s a heavy, low-to-the-ground dog with wide body and wide, rounded chest that reminds of other Bulldog types and mastiffs. The legs are muscular but short and stalky. It’s a very “grounded” looking dog. There is nothing light about it. It’s about power and weight.

Boston Terrier playing with the owner

Boston Terrier playing with the owner

Boston Terrier, as can also be concluded from its name, is a Terrier.  If you have seen other terriers, you know they are generally taller dogs with the lighter statute, longer legs and are used for ratting, hunting and other activities where speed and agility are more valuable than sheer power and weight. Boston Terrier, just like other terriers, is more of a quick, agile dog than a short stalky powerhouse.

They are similar to French Bulldogs when it comes to height. But if you look closely, you’ll see that their legs are actually longer, and their smaller body sits higher than a French Bulldog’s. The chest is a little wide as well, but not as rounded. The face is a little narrower, and there aren’t as many wrinkles as in French Bulldog.

Although both French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers have characteristic perked up ears, French Bulldogs’ ears are rounded while Boston terriers have more “sharp”-ended ears, which makes their head and face look even narrower.

Boston Terrier vs French Bulldog - Frenchie relaxing

Frenchie Relaxing

Color differences

Although Boston Terriers and French bulldogs come in various colors, French Bulldogs can boast a wider variety of them than Boston terriers, who have only a few standard-approved colors. French Bulldogs can be fawn, tan, brindle, white and brindle-and-white. Purebred Boston Terrier colors are limited to black-and-white, brindle-and-white and seal-and-white. They are never of one pure color, such as white or fawn.

Boston terrier vs French Bulldog: weight

When it comes to weight, French Bulldogs are a little heavier than Boston Terriers. A typical Boston Terrier will weigh anywhere from 5 to 11 kg(11-24lb), while a French Bulldog can weigh 7 to 12 kg (16 to 28 lbs). This difference in weight is very obvious when you put a Boston Terrier and a French Bulldog side by side.

Boston terrier vs French Bulldog: temperament

Now that we know how these two breeds differ in their looks, what about their character traits? What is the difference between Boston terrier vs French Bulldog temperament?

Let’s start with Boston Terriers. These are what can be called a perfect family dog. This is partly due to their compact, convenient size: you can take this dog anywhere with you. But their real charm is, of course, their temperament. These are curious, happy and friendly little dogs. They will follow their owners everywhere and become a real family member in no time.

Boston Terrier on a walk

Boston Terrier on a walk

Aggression is extremely uncommon in Boston Terrier. They hardly ever bark despite their small size – unlike many smaller dog breeds! They will, of course, stand their ground and try to protect themselves or their family if there is any danger. But these are not the dogs that will start up fights with other dogs and they are usually very safe even for very young children.

The one possible downside of a Boston Terrier is their stubbornness. They are still Terriers, and terriers are known to be somewhat independent thinkers. Stubbornness and self-willingness may especially be the case in the Boston Terriers that don’t get enough attention, interaction and socialization from their owners at a young age.

It is important to see your dog as true part of your family and provide it with as much interaction and socialization as possible. This will help your dog grow up more “extroverted” and people-oriented and help diminish their natural independence. A dog that grows up as a “part of the team” will be a better team player than a lonely, sad, frustrated dog. Training also plays a part, both as time spent interacting with you and your dog actually learning to pay attention to you and what you want from them.

All in all, despite their independence, Boston Terriers are excellent pets and family companions.

Boston Terrier vs French Bulldog

Black Boston Terrier at the end of a long day

French Bulldogs are another wonderful breed that makes for a great family pet. They are an amiable, outgoing and easy-going breed, deeply attached to their families. They are active, playful and often stay very puppy-ish even into their older years.

French Bulldogs are highly intelligent and very people-oriented. They always keep an eye on their owners and want to participate in everything you do. However, they are also happy to leave you alone if they see you have something else going on. This emotional intellect is a remarkable part of their personality that a lot of owners talk about when they talk about their Frenchies. This emotional intellect is also something you need to keep in mind when you talk to your French Bulldog.

They can be very sensitive when it comes to your tone of voice and can’t stand raised voices and especially yelling. Sensitive as they are, French Bulldogs also have a good memory and can hold an offense for a long time. If you break their trust by yelling at them (or hitting them, which you should never do!), they may distrust you for quite a while, or even plot revenge (by ruining your favorite shoes or leaving messes in the house).

French Bulldogs are very outgoing and sociable

French Bulldogs are very outgoing and sociable

French Bulldogs are very outgoing and sociable. They need their families and don’t do well left alone for long periods of time. Having another pet really would really help keep your Frenchie company, be it another Frenchie, another dog breed or even a cat. Although some French Bulldogs can be grumpy at times, they are rarely aggressive towards people or other animals. Like Boston Terriers, they are also very safe with children of all ages. However, if it’s a new baby, your Frenchie may get a little jealous of all the attention that they are not getting. In this case, you might want to pamper them a bit more than usual.

Activity and energy levels

What can be said about Boston terrier vs French Bulldog energy levels and exercise requirements? These are both smaller breeds, so you may think they don’t need much exercise. Well, it’s true and not true at the same time. Both Boston Terriers and Frenchies don’t require as much exercise as a Husky or a Border Collie would. However, they still do need to expend their energy on a daily basis. It is important for any dog, regardless of their size.

Both Frenchies and Boston Terriers are extremely playful and active and love being outside. They need to explore, enjoy the sunshine (or rain, at that matter), see sights (people and other dogs) and just play in the park. Those are usually the favorite activities for any dog, even if you think your pup is the laziest couch potato out there. So, in terms of energy expenditure and exercise requirements, there isn’t that much difference between a Boston Terrier and a French Bulldog. With either of them, be prepared to walk your dog daily and also spend a significant part of your weekend in a dog park. That is if you are planning to be a good owner for your dog.

Boston Terrier vs French Bulldog - Boston Terrier being cute

Boston Terrier being cute

Common health conditions

Some breeds tend to be more susceptible to health issues than others. When it comes to French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers, these two are not the breeds that have a lot of genetic or acquired diseases. However, they can have health issues stemming from their anatomy.  It can be various spinal issues such as disc degeneration, dislocation, hernias, compressed disks, etc. Due to the structure of their head and nose, French Bulldogs have shorter nasal passages and the air they breathe in doesn’t have enough time to warm up/cool down (depending on the weather outside) and get moist enough. This can become a cause of respiratory issues.

Another issue stemming from the French Bulldog’s anatomy relates to their eyes and eyesight. Frenchie’s eyes are somewhat bulged out of their skull. This increases their risks of trauma to the eyes, as well as conjunctivitis. Another issue that can be common for French Bulldogs is epilepsy. You can read more about French Bulldog health issues here

Boston Terriers tend to have similar conditions stemming from their anatomy such as degenerative conditions of the spine. Allergies are another condition very common for Boston Terriers.  They do tend to have somewhat weak digestive systems and may develop a number of allergies to different types of products. This can make choosing food a little complicated. It’s extremely important to investigate and confirm what exactly the dog is allergic to and avoid it in the food.

Deafness and cataracts are also somewhat common in Boston Terriers. More grave conditions include mastocytoma and Addison’s Disease.

Boston Terrier vs French Bulldog - Frenchie out on a walk

Frenchie out on a walk

Boston terrier vs French Bulldog: owner reviews

This is the kindest, happiest dog I’ve ever owned. Our Mimi is great to have in the house – she’s very calm, very well-behaved, even though we didn’t exactly train her too much when she was little. It’s sort of in her character. She’ll just hang around quietly or sleep in her dog house or, more often, in our bed! She’s great with kids too, very patient. She is never aggressive, but she can certainly lick you to death!

Another thing I love about Mimi as a busy mom of two is that she doesn’t require much grooming. I do brush her hair out at least once a week and the house is pretty clean! She doesn’t seem to shed all that much, which is great, or my husband would get rid of her. Just kidding! We all love her way too much.

Deb, owner of Mimi the Boston Terrier

Our Ollie is a gem, really. He has this wonderful personality that we really love about him. He loves everyone. Us, our neighbors, people on the street and in the park, kids, dogs. Just everyone. He can be a little stubborn, especially when he really wants something – food, a toy or to chase someone in the park. But in general he doesn’t dominate in our house at all. He accepts us as leaders. 

He’s very smart too. Great at learning tricks! We started doing agility just recently and he’s getting very good very fast. You can probably teach your Boston terrier anything you want, or at least that’s our experience with Ollie. We do get asked often if Ollie is a French Bulldog. I guess they do look a bit similar. But we are happy to educate everyone about Boston Terriers. I can’t believe they are not more popular because this is a great breed!

Jason, owner of Ollie the Boston Terrier

We got a “second-hand” French Bulldog, if you can say so. Macey was 3.5 years old when we go her. Her former owners were moving and couldn’t keep her. Or at least, that’s what they said. We think they just didn’t want to keep her, and to this day I cannot believe it. She isn’t a 100% easy, that’s true. She does have some allergies that we had to work on, and also some eye issues. Our vet helped with that.

Other than that, she’s an absolute sweety. She is so in love with the whole family, and me especially. It’s like she chose me. She always has to keep me in her field of view. Will follow me everywhere. One other issue with her is she is a little stubborn on the leash: she will pull to go where she wants to go. I am a little envious of owners of dogs that just calmly walk on the leash. That’s not our case. But other than that she’s our little treasure. I can’t imagine my life without her.

Jasmine, owner of Macey the French Bulldog

So we got Stevie 1.5 years ago. She’s my first dog and I guess I got lucky with her. She’s really a great dog. Very happy, very outgoing. She gets really worried if she hasn’t seen me or my husband for any length of time. She just needs to have everyone around her at all times. When she was little, she would pee a little bit every time someone returned from work or from outside. That went away, thankfully, once she matured and became calmer. She’s very friendly, but she’ll protect us if she thinks we are in danger. She can bark pretty enthusiastically if something scares her. But that doesn’t happen too often. 

Health wise she does have some issues. She tends to have some breathing issues where she will snort a lot – that usually happens in the summer when it’s hot. We are watching her for that, to see if that ever gets worse. She also tends to get a little chunky, but that’s our fault. We are always tempted to give her more treats but we probably shouldn’t.  She’s a pleasure to be around and we wouldn’t be without her!

Emily, owner of Stevie the French Bulldog

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