How long do Boston Terriers live? Boston Terriers live between 12-15 years. A Boston Terrier’s median lifespan is 12 years, which is up from 8.5 years reported between 1980 and 1990. According to the UKC 2014 Health Survey, 73.08% of surveyed Boston Terriers had no reported disease. Breathing problems, cardiac issues, heatstroke, and cancers are the most prevalent life-threatening health issues for Boston Terriers.
Before owning Boston Terriers, our experience with other breeds was a life expectancy between 12 and 17 years. When I started researching how long Boston Terriers live, I was surprised by the data.
The lifespan of a Boston Terrier
While sources may differ, Boston Terriers generally live between 12 and 15 years. A 2013 paper found the median age of Boston Terriers to be 12 years.
A 12-year lifespan for a Boston Terrier is only slightly lower than the average of all dog breeds, currently 12.66 years.
In a 1997 Journal of Gerontology paper, “Comparative Longevity of Pet Dogs and Humans: Implications for Gerontology Research,” the median age at death for Boston Terriers was 8.5 years. The research was across 256 dogs between 1980 and 1990.
I found this fascinating as it might mean that our beloved Bostons are living longer…. or the sampling was just different between the studies.
Indeed, you may know Boston Terriers that are older than 12. Heck, our most senior Boston, Bridgette, is over 12 and plays like a young adult. It is essential to understand that the statistics are just numbers, and your mileage may vary.
Listen, if you fall in love with the breed, and it’s the right fit for you, the reported lifespan is likely not going to be a deciding factor. Just enjoy them as part of your family.
Next, let’s look at some of the more common health problems in Boston Terriers that can affect their lifespan.
What kind of health problems do Boston Terriers have?
Boston Terriers do have some health concerns that are more common to the breed than others. These health issues include:
- Eye Problems (cherry eye, cataracts, corneal ulcers, and glaucoma)
- Ears (deafness)
- Patellar luxation
- Heart (cardiac) murmur
- Hypersensitivity (allergic) Skin Disorders
- Trachea and breathing problems
- Spine and vertebrae issues
Generally, Boston Terriers do not die from most of these conditions. However, breathing problems, cardiac issues, heatstroke, and cancers can be life-threatening.
Boston Terriers do have an increased risk of certain types of cancers, including MCTs (Mast Cell Tumors) and Aortic/Carotid body Tumors (paraganglioma). (Source)
The United Kennel Club (UKC) updated their health survey in 2014, ten years after the previous 2004 survey. Others often cite this report. Beware that the 2014 results are based on a small number of respondents and heavily weighted toward puppies.
To get a copy of this report, just email the United Kennel Club health team and request the 2014 Health Survey report for Boston Terriers.
Tips to keep your Boston Terrier healthy
Boston Terrier owners want to do everything they can to extend their canine family members’ joy, health, and comfort as long as possible. Here are our top tips.
1. Regular Vet Checkups
Be sure to take your Bostons to see the veterinarian at least once per year. These annual visits are one of the biggest things you can do to maximize the time you have with your pupper.
This visit is an opportunity for you and the vet to find any concerns early. Many diseases are treatable. The key is to diagnose a disease early, which is when many treatments are most effective.
Look, we believe that getting the necessary vaccinations is the right thing to do. I know some owners who differ on this topic.
Getting required vaccinations is another opportunity to prevent disease and infection. This is not only for your dog but also for other canine friends, especially when it comes to infectious diseases.
3. Regular Grooming
Knowing that Boston Terriers are most prone to skin issues gives you the incentive to care well for your friend’s skin.
Weekly, brush and wipe down your Boston Terriers fur, skin, eyes, and ears. Vets have recommended the Douxo Pads as an effective chlorhexidine wipe for dogs with itchy skin and allergies.
Monthly, give your Boston a good bath using a gentle, hypoallergenic shampoo and conditioner. Remember to rinse well as any product remaining on the skin may cause irritation.
The short snout and a round head that gives a distinctive look to Boston Terriers mean they can have trouble overheating. Heatstroke can cause death in a dog.
While playing, walking, running, or in high heat scenarios, be sure to stop and take breaks and listen to your Boston breathing.
Carry clean drinking water with you and always allow them to hydrate, even before you feel the need yourself.
5. Feeding and Weight
Obesity in dogs is a killer. Boston Terriers are not immune from this.
As a general rule, Boston Terriers eat .5 – 1.5 cups of dry dog food, or equivalent, per day. This is a general rule, and you will need to adjust food amounts based on your Boston Terrier’s weight.
Often overlooked but super important to health is the type and quality of the food you serve. Look for high-quality foods that are not grain-based.
Personally, we have had a great experience feeding Natural Balance (LID) Limited Ingredient Diets. Our pups love the Salmon and Sweet Potato formula.
Most Common Causes of Death in Boston Terriers
Using the 2014 UKC Healthy Survey report, the most common causes of death, other than old age, are:
- Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome
- Cardiac heart Failure
- Cushing’s Disease
- Ingested Foreign Object
- Kidney Failure
- Megaoesophagus (enlarged esophagus, motility loss)
- Respiratory disorder – unspecified
- Urolithiasis (kidney stones)
What is the longest living Boston Terrier?
Bterrier.com reported a 20-year-old Boston Terrier named Maya Honk’n Snort from Southern Illinois, USA, but we cannot confirm. The oldest I can confirm is 16 years old.
In the 2004 UKC Health Survey, the longest living Boston Terrier was 15 years old. That’s good news for us Boston Terrier fans.