Open Google and search for images of a French bulldog, or “Frenchie.” Now, look for photos of a Boston terrier (“Bostie”). These two dog breeds look very similar — almost identical, in fact. But the French bulldog and the Boston terrier are, of course, two very distinct dogs.
If you’re planning on adopting a new dog soon and you’re considering these breeds, it can be hard to choose. After all, they’re both adorable. The Frenchie and the “American gentleman,” as the Boston terrier is nicknamed thanks to its dapper looks, both make sweet and friendly pets. (So does the Frenchton, which is a Frenchie/Boston terrier mix!)
Let’s take a look at the French bulldog vs. Boston terriers in terms of their history, appearance, personality, and health. Then, you can decide which of these lovable small dogs might work best for you and your family.
Similarities and Differences in Appearance
When comparing the looks of the French bulldog vs. Boston terriers, these breeds look very similar. They’re both brachycephalic dogs, i.e. those with short, squashed faces and bulging eyes. They both have a stocky, muscular stance that almost looks like a miniature pit bull’s. But there are a few key physical differences that can help you tell them apart:
- Size: Boston terriers stand a bit taller than their French counterparts. The Boston’s longer legs put them at 15-17 inches in height, while the French bulldog is 11-12 inches tall. French bulldogs tend to be heavier, though — they typically weigh between 16 and 28 pounds, while the Boston terrier weighs between 12 and 25 pounds.
- Color: Boston terriers have a “tuxedo coat” consisting of white and either black, brindle, or dark brown. French bulldogs come in a wider variety of colors, including brindle, fawn, cream, pure white, and combinations of all of the above.
- Ears: One way to quickly tell these little dogs apart is by their ears. Frenchies have distinctive rounded “bat ears” that stand up straight on their heads, while Boston terriers have pointy ears. And Boston terriers tend to have a square head shape, while the Frenchie head is a bit rounder.
French Bulldog vs. Boston Terrier: Temperament and Activity Level
Both the French bulldog and the Boston terrier make wonderful family dogs. They’re generally friendly, energetic, loving companions. Note that both breeds are prone to separation anxiety and may need training and positive reinforcement to be able to stay alone comfortably. (Native Pet’s Calming Chews, which can reduce general anxiety and aid with sleep, might also be helpful!)
When comparing the French bulldog vs. Boston terrier in terms of temperament, Boston terriers tend to be loving and affectionate with anyone they meet. Frenchies may be a bit more selective, clinging closely to their human family members. And some French bulldogs need time to get accustomed to living with other pets, so it’s best to socialize French bulldog puppies early with other animals if possible.
Are Frenchies or Boston terriers as active as a labrador or a golden retriever? No, but they still need regular exercise. However, Boston terriers tend to have a higher activity level than French bulldogs.
Both breeds can overheat easily thanks to their unique facial structure — neither is suited to long hikes or play sessions in the hot sun. However, they do need regular exercise and mental stimulation via toys, puzzles, and play.
Health and Lifespan
“How long will my dog live?” It’s a common question for many dog owners. What’s the life expectancy of the French bulldog vs. Boston terriers?
The American Kennel Club (AKC) lists the Frenchie’s life expectancy at 10-12 years. The Boston terrier tends to live slightly longer, with a life expectancy of 11-13 years. Of course, these are just averages — your dog’s lifespan depends on a variety of factors including health issues and genetics.
What kind of health issues are Bosties and Frenchies prone to? This is one area where these two dog breeds are very similar. They’re prone to health concerns like:
- Breathing problems: Because they’re brachycephalic dogs with narrow windpipes and nostrils, it can make breathing difficult. Other brachycephalic dogs like pugs, Boxers, and the English bulldog also have these issues.
- Heatstroke: Thanks to their inefficient respiratory systems and their stocky build, too much time in the heat can be very bad for these small dogs.
- Eye issues: These dogs’ bulging eyes make eye health problems like dry eye, corneal ulcers, and even cataracts more likely. They’re also at an increased risk of eye injuries because the eyeballs don’t fit properly into the sockets.
- Dental problems: These dogs have the same amount of teeth as any other breed, but less space in the muzzle and mouth to fit them. That means the teeth get crammed together more than a different breed’s would, increasing the likelihood of dental problems like tartar build-up and periodontal disease.
To avoid the risk of breathing issues and heatstroke, don’t over-exercise your dog, especially in hot weather. Keep play sessions and walks short, under half an hour or so, and offer plenty of fresh water at all times to maintain proper hydration. If your pet looks exhausted or they’re panting or drooling heavily, it’s wise to take a break.
To keep your pup’s eyes and teeth healthy, make sure to visit your veterinarian regularly. That way, any concerns can be dealt with quickly before they get worse. And don’t forget to brush Fido’s teeth with a canine-formulated toothpaste.
Reputable dog breeders will test for health issues like these and raise well. If you’re adopting from a breeder, do your research to make sure you’re purchasing from someone reputable. Ask them about their licenses, and take a look at online reviews to see what others have to say about their own adoption experiences.
It turns out that both of these adorable pups have a common ancestor: the bulldog.
The French bulldog originated as a toy bulldog in England during the Industrial Revolution period. During this time, English lacemakers started to be replaced by mechanical weaving machines, resulting in a migration to France to find work. The workers took their English bulldogs with them to France — hence, the French bulldog.
The Boston terrier was originally a crossbreed between the English bulldog and the white English terrier (which is now extinct). As the Boston terrier’s name suggests, they were originally bred in the Boston, Massachusetts area. They were recognized by the AKC all the way back in 1893.
French Bulldog vs. Boston Terrier: Picking the Perfect Dog
French bulldog vs. Boston terrier: It’s a tough choice. They’re both popular dogs because these affectionate, loyal, adorable pets make wonderful companions for most families. And their generally agreeable nature makes both breeds good options for first-time dog owners and seasoned pet parents alike.
Boston terriers are a bit taller, but French bulldogs tend to be heavier. Bosties are recognizable by their characteristic tuxedo coat in white and either black, brindle, or brown, while French bulldogs come in a combination of colors like brindle, fawn, cream, white, and more. And Boston terriers have pointy ears compared to the French bulldog’s more rounded ears.
If you’re looking for a small dog who loves to cuddle as much as they love to play, either breed is a great choice. Whichever breed you choose, you’ll find yourself with a wonderful canine companion that the whole family will love.
Would you like more insight into your dog’s health and wellness needs? Browse the Native Pet blog.