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Boston Terrier Lifespan: How Long Do Boston Terriers Live?

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The average lifespan of a Boston Terrier is between 11 and 13 years. The oldest documented Boston Terrier died at the age of 15. This breed is long-living and is a great companion even in their senior life stage.

Every owner wants their dog to live forever. The Boston Terrier is among the breeds that hope to do that. 

In this article, you learn what factors influence the expectancy of Boston Terriers and the health issues that shorten their lives.

You will also learn what you can do to make your Boston Terrier live longer, and how old your dog is in human years.

How Long Do Boston Terriers Live?

The average lifespan of a Boston Terrier is around 12 years. This is almost as high as a Jack Russell Terrier, who lives 12.72 years, on average[1]. Jackies are the longest-living dogs, so it’s fair to say that Boston Terriers are long-living.

Boston Terriers live between 11 and 13 years, on average. They live longer than many short-nosed breeds. 

This is quite the achievement, as many brachycephalic breeds have a short life span. They experience breathing issues that cause premature death. They even have a higher chance to die while traveling by plane.[2]

How Long Do Boston Terriers Live

This table lists the average lifespan of breeds similar to the Boston Terrier[3].

BreedAverage Lifespan
Staffordshire Bull Terrier11.33 years
Boxer10.04 years
Pug 7.65 years
English Bulldog7.35 years
French Bulldog4.53 years

The Life Stages of a Boston Terrier

Boston terriers go through four life stages: puppyhood, adolescence, adulthood, and the senior stage. Each stage has its difficulties, so it’s important to know how to deal with them.

The essential aspects owners need to address are socialization and training. If Boston Terriers are not socialized during puppyhood, they become anxious adults. 

Puppyhood is also the best time to expose your Boston Terrier to various environments. Put them in as many different situations as possible. 

If they get acquainted with a wide variety of situations, they won’t fear them during adulthood. 

Training should also start in puppyhood. Boston Terriers have a predisposition for aggression[4] because they were initially bred for pit fights.

If they are not trained at an early age, they will develop behavior issues. 

This table lists the main life stages of Boston Terriers.

Life StagePeriodDescription
Puppyhoodbirth – 0.5 yearsRapid growth
Adolescence0.5 years – 3 yearsAchievement of social and physical maturity
Adulthood3 – 8 yearsPersonality manifestation
Senior stage8 years – end of lifeAltered health and behavior

Related: Boston Terrier Growth Stages

The Life Stages of a Boston Terrier

Factors That Influence Boston Terriers’ Lifespan

The main factors that influence the lifespan of Boston Terriers are:

  • Diet
  • Stress
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Health issues

Diet

The way diet influences Boston Terriers’ lifespan is similar to what happens in humans. If you feed your dog nutritious food, it will be healthy and live longer. If not, it will live a shorter life.

Make sure to provide proteins, carbs, and healthy fats. 

A wide variety of minerals and vitamins also has a big impact on Boston Terriers’ life span. It reduces the risk of certain health issues and decreases stress levels.

Stress

Stress and anxiety have a negative effect on the lifespan of Boston Terriers. Separation anxiety and non-social stress don’t raise mortality rates. 

Still, fear of strangers is correlated with a shorter lifespan in dogs.[5]

Lack of Physical Exercise

Boston Terrier Lack of Physical Exercise

Exercise is essential for dogs as it is for humans. Boston Terriers that exercise daily are healthier. Their hearts perform better and their muscles and bones are strengthened. 

Physical exercise is essential, especially for older Boston Terriers. It prevents arthritis and keeps their stress levels at bay. 

Sedentary Boston Terriers have more health issues than active Bostons.

Health Issues

Boston Terriers are prone to several health issues that decrease their lifespan. Their mortality rates are highly influenced by specific diseases. 

Some of these health issues are genetic and can lead to premature death. Others decrease the well-being of Boston Terriers. Diseases and physical issues diminish their lifespan because they impair movement or cause higher stress levels.

8 Health Issues That Affect Boston Terriers’ Life Expectancy

The main health conditions that affect Boston Terriers’ life expectancy are:

  1. Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome
  2. Congenital deafness
  3. Eye disorders
  4. Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
  5. Cushing’s disease
  6. Heart disease
  7. Cancer
  8. Obesity

1. Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome

Boston Terrier Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome

Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome[6] affects most short-nosed breeds:

  • Boston Terriers
  • Pugs
  • French Bulldogs. 

This health condition leads to impaired breathing patterns[7], heat intolerance, and exercise intolerance[8].

Not all Boston Terriers experience the same severity of symptoms. While some individuals have mild symptoms, others die because of laryngeal collapse caused by this health issue.[9]

2. Congenital Deafness 

Boston Terriers have a predisposition for congenital deafness[10]. More than 100 breeds are prone to this health condition. 

Congenital means that Boston Terriers are born deaf.

Deafness does not cause death by itself. The danger is that deaf Boston Terriers find themselves in life-threatening situations. If they are not constantly supervised, deaf dogs can get injured, sometimes deadly.

3. Eye disorders

Boston Terrier Cataracts
Image Source

Boston Terriers have a genetic predisposition for eye conditions. They can also experience corneal injuries due to their prominent eyes. 

While corneal injuries don’t cause death, other eye conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma can become problematic.

Cataracts

Cataracts lead to a progressive opacification of the natural lens of a Boston Terrier’s eye[11]. This condition leads to blindness. 

Even though cataracts are treated by surgery, owners can’t know how impaired their Boston Terrier’s vision is. Only an ophthalmological exam can determine the effects of cataracts on a dog’s vision. 

Boston Terriers with impaired vision are prone to accidents that are sometimes fatal.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an eye condition that affects the optic nerve. Boston Terriers are among the top ten dog breeds[12] most affected by glaucoma.[13]

Boston Terriers with glaucoma experience high intraocular pressure. This affects the optic nerve progressively and eventually leads to blindness. Blind dogs are prone to more accidents that reduce their lifespan.

4. Legg-Calve-Perthes disease

Boston Terrier Legg-Calve-Perthes disease

Boston Terriers affected by this disease experience hip degeneration at a young age. Legg-Calve-Perthes disease requires both parents to pass on the gene for it to manifest. 

Boston Terriers are a part of a list of 26 dog breeds that are more prone to develop Legg-Calve-Perthes disease.[14]

5. Cushing’s disease

According to the American Kennel Club[15], most dogs only live for two years after being diagnosed with Cushing’s disease. 

Boston Terriers are at high risk of developing Cushing’s disease. In most cases, this health condition onsets when Boston terriers are older than eight years old.

6. Heart disease

Boston Terriers have a predisposition for heart disease and murmurs. Around 75% of the heart issues in Boston Terriers are the result of valve deterioration. If the condition is identified early, medication can prolong the lifespan of your dog. 

7. Cancer

Boston Terrier Cancer

Cancer is a common health condition in older dogs. As Boston Terriers live longer than other breeds, they have a higher chance of developing cancer at some point in their senior years.

Boston terriers have a predisposition[16] for different cancers:

  • Mast cell tumors
  • Aortic or carotid body tumors
  • Brain tumors

8. Obesity

Obesity affects the lifespan of Boston Terriers, similar as it does to humans. A study[17] that analyzed the records of 50,000 for a period of two decades concluded that overweight dogs have shorter lifespans.

More than half of the dogs in the United States were obese in 2018[18]. The prevalence of obesity in American adults during the same period was 42.4%.[19]

As there is a correlation between owners’ and dogs’ obesity[20], watching your eating habits is essential to keep your dog’s weight under control.

How To Increase the Life Expectancy of a Boston Terrier

You can increase the life expectancy of a Boston terrier by reducing its stress levels, serving a nutritious diet, keeping them active, and more.

Here are the best ways to increase the life span of your Boston Terrier:

  • Reducing their stress levels.
  • Providing nutritious food.
  • Spaying or neutering them.
  • Keeping them active.
  • Reducing their food intake.
  • Providing regular visits to the vet.

Reduce Boston Terriers’ Stress Levels

Reduce Boston Terriers’ Stress Levels

A study[21] from 2019 shows a connection between dogs’ and their owners’ stress levels. 

Dogs mirror their owners. The more stressed an owner is, the higher the chances their dog is stressed. If you manage your stress, your Boston Terrier will lead a calm life. 

Reduce Boston Terriers’ stress levels by:

  • Engaging them in physical exercise.
  • Socializing them since early puppyhood.
  • Avoiding alone time if they experience separation anxiety.
  • Engaging in physical contact, such as petting and hugs.
  • Providing enough mental stimulation.

Provide Nutritious Food

Boston Terriers need a nutrient-dense diet to live long healthy lives[22]

The debate around what Boston Terriers should eat is neverending. There is evidence that homemade food prolongs the life expectancy of dogs by 2 years[23]. The same scientists who came to this conclusion highlighted that raw food is even better for prolonging a dog’s life expectancy.

Spay or Neuter Boston Terriers

Spaying or neutering a Boston Terrier can increase their lifespan by up to two years[23]. Still, there is a discussion around a higher risk of cancer following this procedure in Boston Terriers. 

A recent study[24] found a connection between increased cancer risk in Boston terriers after neutering. 

Even though some breeds are prone to joint issues after sterilization, Boston Terriers are not a part of this group.[25]

Keep Boston Terriers Active

Keep Boston Terriers Active

Physical activity keeps Boston Terriers healthy, both physically as well as emotionally. It decreases stress levels and keeps their organs functioning properly. 

Boston terriers need at least 30 minutes of exercise per day to stay healthy.

Reduce Your Boston Terrier’s Food Intake

A restrictive diet is effective in keeping obesity away. Moreover, your dog will benefit from a longer lifespan if you limit its food intake.[26]

You don’t need to starve them but reduce their meals without causing weight loss. If you diminish their food intake by 25%, your Boston Terrier’s median lifespan increases.[27]

A restrictive diet also delays the onset of osteoarthritis and joint-related issues in dogs.[28]

Take Boston Terriers to the Vet Regularly

Most diseases can be controlled if they are discovered early. Taking your Boston Terrier for a vet checkup at least once a year is essential to detect any life-threatening health conditions.

Harmless health conditions also diminish the lifespan of Boston Terriers. They alter their well-being and cause stress.

How Old Is My Boston Terrier in Human Years?

According to the American Kennel Club[29], the first year of a dog is equivalent to approximately 15 human years. By the time your Boston Terrier is two years old, they are 24 human years. After that, each dog year is equivalent to 5 human years.

This table lists Boston Terriers’ age in human years.

Dog YearsHuman Years
1 year15 years
2 years24 years
3 years29 years
4 years34 years
5 years39 years
6 years44 years
7 years49 years
8 years54 years
9 years59 years
10 years64 years
11 years69 years
12 years74 years
13 years79 years
14 years84 years
15 years89 years

Conclusion

Boston Terriers are long-living dogs, with an average lifespan of between 11 and 13 years. Their life expectancy is influenced by diet, stress, physical activity, and health issues. You can increase your Boston Terrier’s life expectancy by making small changes in their routine.

FAQs

Does the Color of a Boston Terrier Influence Their Life Expectancy?

No, The color of Boston terriers does not influence their lifespan. There is a misconception that red Boston Terriers live less than other Bostons but this is just a myth. Merle and pure white Boston Terriers are predisposed to several severe health issues. Still, these colors are rare in Boston Terriers.

How Long Do Terrier Mixes Live?

The average lifespan of Terrier mixes is around 13 years. Crossbreeds live longer than many pure breeds because, due to inbreeding, some genetic diseases are less spread. Breeders mix different breeds to reduce the risk for certain diseases. Some scientists believe that crossbreeds are healthier than pure breeds. Others are convinced there is no difference between the two.

About Ioana Moldovan

Ioana is a Misfit Animals staff writer and psychology student interested in animal behavior. She likes to dive deep into the newest scientific studies to find out the latest discoveries in the field.

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