Boston Terrier vs French Bulldog — Which Breed Should You Pick (and Why)

Boston Terrier vs French Bulldog — Which Breed Should You Pick (and Why)

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Flat faces, small bodies, BIG eyes, adorable ears. How to tell the difference between Boston Terrier vs French Bulldog?

These dogs make excellent companions and are popular with city dwellers as they are well adaptable to small apartments. They are small statured and compact and not very sporty. Yet these two are among the most popular dog breeds in America!

The French Bulldog is an American sweetheart ranking 4th in popularity in the U.S. while the Boston Terrier ranks 21st.

But believe it or not, they also have their differences, and many at that!

If you are looking at taking in one of these breeds, you will have to make a choice of which one best suits your lifestyle. This article takes an in-depth look at these breeds to help you make a choice between the Boston Terrier and the French Bulldog.

Boston TerrierFrench Bulldog
 Boston TerrierFrench Bulldog
SizeSmall sized dog standing at 14 inchesSmall dog standing at 12 inches
AppearanceHas longer legs and a slimmer frame. It also has a limited coat color spectrum. The coat is known as a tuxedo coat. Shape of the head is round and the ears are pointed and prickly. Has a stumped tail that is either screwed or straight. Stockier body with short legs. More dense muscles. Coat colors are more varied. The ears are bat-like and their snouts are even shorter. The head and the jaws are boxy looking almost square.
TemperamentQuick on their feet and love physical activity. They love attention but would rather get it outdoors running with you than staying indoors. They regularly come in for a cuddle and like peace and quiet. This breed makes excellent pets for homes with smaller, energetic children.Intelligent but stubborn and independent. Despite this, they are friendly and relaxed. They like to be petted and love attention. They prefer a cuddle to bursts of energy. Can be barkers.
Life Expectancy10-15 years10-14 years
Health IssuesEye and skin problems, joint issues and breathing problems.Joint problems in younger stages, eye conditions and overheating which causes breathing problems.
Feeding HabitsHigh energy activities help with keeping their weight in check. They are not fussy eaters and they tend to stick to a regular feeding schedule. Love treats and snacks.They are very susceptible to obesity because they are more sedentary. Also, not fussy eaters but they are prone to food allergies. Limit their snacks and treats as they grow older to ensure they remain healthy.
GroomingHas mild to moderate grooming needs.Has moderate grooming needs
TrainabilityVery easy to train because of their eager to please nature and their love for human attention. They grasp commands quickly and have the energy levels to execute commands fast.A bit stubborn and slow on the command uptake. But they can be trained with patience and understanding.
Boston Terrier vs French Bulldog Comparison Table

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1. Boston Terrier vs Frenchie — Personality

Boston Terrier vs French Bulldog
Boston Terrier vs French Bulldog Comparison Table

Both breeds are considered small in stature. However, Boston Terrier appears larger because of its longer legs and slimmer frame compared to the shorter, stockier French Bulldog.

But let’s learn something about their personalities, I hear you say.

You know how small dogs can be yappers?

Well, despite their small stature, these two breeds are NOT yappers.

The Boston Terrier has a tendency to bark a little more than the French Bulldog. But even with their regular barks, they are not as vocal as other small breeds. (Looking at you, Beagle!)

Expect a Boston Terrier to be more active than a French Bulldog and have high bursts of energy.

Looking for a running partner to challenge you? Boston Terriers make excellent running partners.

A heavier stocky build makes the French Bulldog appear more relaxed and less agile.

But they can also be playful and excitable when they choose to be.

Both breeds have short coats and require low maintenance when it comes to grooming. They also have minimal shedding. More on that below!

Their stumpy little tails that are either straight or screwed are also a hallmark feature of these two breeds.

A malformation in the vertebrae is what causes the screwed tail and is more common in French Bulldog than Boston Terriers.

2. Appearance

Different side profiles, head and ear shape set the Boston Terrier apart from the French Bulldog. But you will notice a few similarities too: both have erect ears and are flat faced breeds.

However, these differences escape most people who confuse the two breeds for being one.

But that’s why we are here!

Boston Terrier vs French Bulldog — Weight and Height
Boston Terrier vs French Bulldog — Weight and Height

Male French Bulldogs are usually 2-4 pounds heavier than female French Bulldogs and tend to have larger heads. Male Boston Terriers, on the other hand, are taller than their females and also heavier.

The Boston Terrier has a square head with few or no wrinkles whereas the French Bulldog has a blockier head full of wrinkles.

(I can hear your doggie talk: “Where’s my wrinkly baby?”)


The most arresting feature of the Boston Terrier is its large, dark brown eyes that express a sweet loving nature. Because its eyes are so BIG, you should wash them daily and check for any signs of irritation or redness. 

But the French Bulldog’s eyes aren’t small either! They are captivating with a dark hue, and sit wide apart on the head.


Boston Terriers universally have a ‘tuxedo’ coat pattern. They look like white dogs fitting a black or brown outfit, giving rise to the nickname “American Gentleman” for the breed.

It’s normal to come across Boston Terriers with small patches of color on their coats, while others have a dark coat decorated with a few white markings. Purebred Boston Terriers are not found in ANY other color.

Most French Bulldogs, however, come in one solid color, although they may have splashes of grey or white around their feet or on their chests.

They are also known for their wide range of coat colors and markings even though they typically share the same brindle patterns that are common on other Bulldogs. The colors include:

  • Brindle
  • Brindle and white
  • Fawn brindle
  • Fawn
  • Fawn and white
  • Cream
  • White
  • White and brindle
  • White and fawn

Rarely will they come in black and white patterns and that makes it easier to distinguish them from a Boston Terrier.

They both wear short smooth coats which require minimal grooming and are low budget maintenance. The Boston Terrier has a clean, smooth, fine haired coat while on the other hand the French Bulldogs coat is fine, short, smooth and shiny.


These breeds have different ears. But the problem is, you can only discover that if you look CLOSELY.

The French Bulldog’s ears are bat-like, moderate in size and stand erect on the dog’s block-shaped head. A Boston Terrier, by contrast, has pointy ears sticking out sharper on their round-shaped heads.

As a puppy, French Bulldog ears are fluffy but stand up on their own until after it has finished teething. That is typically when the puppy is several months old, though can take a bit longer.

cute Boston Terrier puppy with perky ears

Like French Bulldogs, Boston Terrier puppies are also born with floppy ears but will start to look like they are standing up at between ages 5-8 weeks. By 12 weeks they should be up.

In some rare cases, the ears on these breeds fail to stand up altogether or the tips become folded. Such anomalies afflict both French Bulldog and Boston Terrier. But they’re nothing a vet can’t sort out!


This is where it gets tricky with these little pooches.

Boston Terriers and French Bulldogs don’t have a lot of space for their jaws and teeth due to their short, broad heads and flat faces.

They are known as brachycephalic breeds.

As a result, their mouths tend to be crowded causing jaw problems and misaligned teeth. Their jaws may also develop abnormally.

Teeth crowding occurs when there is inadequate space for teeth both in the upper or lower jaws, resulting in teeth overlap.

However, a condition known as prognathia (a soft palate disorder), though abnormal in other dogs, is considered normal in breeds like French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers with flattened faces.

It occurs when the dog’s lower jaw is longer than the upper jaw.

Considering that 42 teeth must fit in your shortened Boston Terrier and French Bulldog’s mouth, the teeth are bound to be misaligned.

Prognathia allows the teeth on the lower jaw to fit a bit better.


The French Bulldogs tend to be stockier and heavier set. They are the more relaxed of the two breeds, but maintain an active lifestyle.

In comparison, Boston Terriers are taller, lightweight and of a lankier stature.

A quick comparison of the athletic abilities shows that the Boston Terrier is the more athletic and energetic of the two.

Bulldogs will be bulldogs, after all!

3. Grooming French Bulldog vs Boston Terrier

grooming french bulldog

Brushing the bulldogs

Both the Boston Terriers and the French Bulldogs have similar grooming needs which are low maintenance. Those are two lucky pooches!

French Bulldogs are mild to moderate shedders whilst Boston Terriers shed VERY little. (Unlike the bigger and hairier breeds such as American Akita and Akita Inu!)

Both breeds require brushing once a week to remove loose hair and spread their natural oils throughout their coats.

Bath time for the bullies!

Boston terriers are very low maintenance because they have single coats. That’s great news for them, as you’ll only need to wash them once a month!

On the flip side, French bulldogs can come with a single or double coat depending on the breed. But there are very few double coated French bulldogs. Both varieties can use a bath once a month.

And if your Boston Terrier or a French Bulldog gets really messy and needs a bath out of turn, then use a very gentle shampoo and conditioner made for dogs.

That is because these two bulldog breeds are prone to dry skin and frequent washing makes their dry skin worse.

Both breeds suffer tear stains and their faces should be wiped daily. You don’t have to wash them! Gentle dog wipes for tear stains will do.

In order to prevent fever and infections, the Frenchie’s wrinkles should be cleaned regularly.

Cute clean ears!

cleaning ears of a boston terrier

Both Boston Terriers and French Bulldogs have upright ears.

The good news is that their upright ears prevent the buildup of moisture within the ear canal. However, the flip side are narrow ear canals. So, to prevent infections, you should clean them weekly AND always be on the lookout. 

Avoid cotton swabs which makes the process painful for the dog and use cotton balls instead. Don’t go too deep into the ear because it would damage your dog’s ear canal. Make sure the ears are dry after the process to avoid moisture, which could cause the build up of bacteria.

Moisture creates the breeding ground for yeast, ear mites and other icky organisms. And you can tell that there’s something going on if you notice bad odor, ear discharge and swelling or redness of the ear canal or flap.

Also, when infections set in the pooch, their behavior will change from playfulness to depression. If you notice ANY of these symptoms, call the vet immediately!

French and Boston manicures

Boston Terriers and French Bulldogs have similar nails. But French Bulldogs are not as active as Boston Terriers so their nails tend to grow faster. That translates to regular trimming and tending!

But how to trim ‘em?

You can use file scissors, electric grinders, guillotine etc. 

As with all dogs, you have to get them used to the process BEFORE push comes to shove. 

Touch their paws regularly to make them feel comfortable, and offer them treats and praises during the trimming session. As every groomer will tell you, this is one of the most stressful situations for pooches.

Still, a dog nail clipper with a guard is highly recommended to avoid hurting the dog.

Paw detail

Cute french bulldog showing pink paws

These two breeds have more or less similar feet/paws and require the same paw care.

They belong to the molosser group of dogs, whose folds harbor various bacterial infections.

Their paws need special care which includes cleaning and soothing the paws skin as well as providing them with appropriate footwear for certain weather conditions. Fancy buying TWO pairs of dog booties, anyone?

Dog paws are sensitive and they may react differently to outdoor factors such as dirt, snow, ice, street salt, sharp surfaces and hot pavements.

That’s why it’s always wise to clean your dog paws after a walk. Baby wet wipes are best for this, since they are alcohol free and are rich in certain moisture oils such as almond and chamomile.

Teeth brushing

As I said above, Boston Terriers and French Bulldogs have overcrowded teeth. The overcrowding means the teeth can harbor A LOT of food particles, which are a true magnet for bacteria. That nasty buildup of tartar and plaque on their teeth may lead to periodontal disease!

All of that means you need to be almost pedantic about their oral hygiene.

Ideally, you should introduce the toothbrush while they’re still young puppies. But if you didn’t do it and your doggo is now adult, introduce it gradually until they get comfortable with the process.

4. How to Train Boston Terrier vs French Bulldog

How to Train Boston Terrier vs French Bulldog

Both breeds can show a fair level of stubbornness when it comes to training. 

Still, Boston Terriers tend to be MORE eager to please than the strong-willed French Bulldog.

Use positive reinforcement and consistency and you’ll have no problem at all!

  • Punishment or dominance-based training techniques have proved to be DISASTROUS when dealing with these breeds. This technique is likely to destroy the spirit of the eager Boston Terrier or cause aggression in the willful French Bulldog.
  • They highly value their bond with people and when that bond is damaged they suffer psychological problems.
  • Boston Terriers are quick to learn new tricks and can be a little territorial. So they need early socialization (think puppy classes!) to help them cope with the fact that other dogs exist too. (And some of them may even want to hang out with THEIR owner.) They are also often a bit more sensitive and completely in love with their owners.
  • Positive reinforcement coupled with their blend of contagious enthusiasm and intelligence makes Bostons very trainable. They love the physical and mental stimulation that obedience training offers. It gives them an opportunity to grow closer to their owner which is what they crave the most. 
  • Frenchies are not hard to train either, but they stand up for themselves a lot more often. That means any maltreatment will make them agitated and they will shut down.
  • The Boston Terrier craves mental stimulation. They also easily suffer from loneliness and anxiety. As much as they are trainable, it doesn’t come easy and patience is essential. Sometimes their robust enthusiasm overrides their intelligence making the house breaking process longer than you expected.
  • Plus, Boston Terriers are notorious diggers and to take care of this, create a digging section in your yard for them. If you don’t do it, THEY will! Count this as part of their physical activity and mental stimulation for your dog.
  • On the other hand, French Bulldogs do not like too much physical exercise. For best results, the training sessions should be short as they tend to lose interest quickly.
  • Mix up the routine to keep the dog interested. Treats and affection during training sessions will give you fast results. French Bulldogs are stubborn in nature and lots of patience is required to get the desired results. They are also slower to grasp new things but can’t easily forget once they master the trick.
  • Consistency on the trainer’s part will help them understand better. Create a usual training routine, which allows the French Bulldog to prepare physically and boosts its concentration.
  • Deviating from the usual routine confuses the dog making the learning process difficult. They have their own intelligence, independent thinking and mischievousness. A proper trainer takes all that into account while still teaching them to behave well!

5. Exercise and Health

cute boston terrier dog running and leaping outdoors

Both breeds adapt well to apartment life with short daily walks and moderate levels of exercise.

Boston Terriers are much more lively than Frenchies. Running, jumping and fetching are their favorite pastimes. 

If you’re a passionate swimmer, don’t expect a French Bulldog to match your skill. They are relatively poor swimmers! To make matters worse, they really like water, so you need to keep an eye on them near rivers, lakes and pools!

Health Conditions Affecting French Bulldog vs Boston Terrier

The two breeds are prone to heat stroke because of their short snouts.

Cute as they may be, these flat muzzles may also cause breathing problems on hot days, if they have been running a lot. They just can’t regulate their temperature as well as other breeds.

Due to their relaxed nature, French Bulldogs can slip into obesity if you let them eat all they want without adequate exercise. 

Boston Terrier dog going for a routine checkup

Conditions that affect both breeds include eye problems like glaucoma and cataracts. However, the Boston Terrier also suffers more from dry eyes which reduces the amount of fluid in their tear glands.

The breed suffers from dislocated knees at the same rate as the French Bulldog. Both dogs also have joint problems that are characterized by the joints on the hind or front leg not fitting into their corresponding sockets. It’s extremely painful and can cause lameness.

Another common issue is hemivertebrae. A failure in the development of the bones of the spine which results in a screw tail.

Boston Terriers are more likely to experience a genetic defect in the esophagus structure which causes the breed to vomit undigested food. Over time the throat lining is damaged.

They also suffer from reverse sneezing in reaction to an environmental allergen like pollens or grasses. Overexcitement or quick food gulping also triggers it. Train your pooch to eat slowly!

You are more likely to end up with a deaf Boston Terrier than a French Bulldog.

But the French Bulldog is more predisposed to an elongated soft palate which causes a breathing problem. They also tend to suffer from cleft palate, a split unilaterally or bilaterally on the palate which separates the oral and nasal cavities. Both can be corrected with surgery.

Both breeds have similar life expectancy of between 10 to 13 years.

6. Price Comparison – Boston Terrier vs French Bulldog Puppies

cute boston terrier and french bulldog puppies sleeping

Due to differences in media popularity, Boston Terriers tend to be less expensive than French Bulldogs. If you opt to buy a puppy, Boston Terrier can range in price from $700 to $2700.

However, the much more popular French Bulldog puppies can dent your pocket by between $1200 to a whopping $8000!

French Bulldogs appear more exotic and they are homebodies. Their wrinkly faces add to their charm and they are adaptable to any home environment or situation.

Plus, they are such cuties.

7. History & Fun Facts About the Boston Terrier and the French Bulldog

The Boston Terrier and French Bulldog have a lot of similarities, including a similar Bulldog ancestor

But they also have different breed histories that span more than 150 years. In fact, as their name implies, they were developed on different continents.

The two breeds differ in their temperaments, activity levels and training requirements. Boston Terriers are descendants of the now extinct white English Terrier and a Bulldog mix named Judge

(I can totally picture the look on his face when his parents called him “Your Honor.”)

Anyway, Judge was brought to Boston Massachusetts from Liverpool, England in 1870. 

He was partnered with a small white female named Gyp, and after years of selective breeding gave rise to a friendly companion dog.

It was initially called the Round Head, Bullet Head or Bull Terrier. But eventually owners of this breed settled for the Boston Terrier in honor of the city where it was developed in 1889.

It’s tuxedo patterned fur has earned it the name ‘American Gentleman’ and the Boston Terrier is the official dog of Massachusetts and the mascot of Boston University.

On the other hand, French Bulldog’s history goes back to the 1800’s when lacemakers brought the toy Bulldog to France from England and crossed it with other breeds like pugs and Terriers.

The popularity of the ‘Bouledogue Francais’ had spread across the United States and Europe towards the end of the 19th century.

The French Bulldogs with their now classic bat-ears are more popular in the United States than the traditional Bulldog with rose ears.

The American fanciers even created the first French Bulldog club at the end of the 19th century.

Both the French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers are members of the utility breed group in the United Kingdom. They join the ranks of other such breeds like Dalmatians, Schnauzers, Akita and Poodles.

The Boston Terriers were recognized by the British Kennel club in 1914 while the French Bulldog was officially recognized a few years earlier in 1905.

Frequently Asked Questions

young boy holding cute french bulldog

Between Boston Terrier and French Bulldog which is cheaper to feed?

They are both on a small breed diet and cost about the same to feed. They do not eat much but they need healthy foods and treats.

French Bulldogs especially need to be watched in terms of diet because they can pack on the pounds pretty quickly with their sedentary lifestyle.

Which breed is better between the two? 

No dog breed is inherently better than the other. It may or may not suit your lifestyle, though.

Less active people living in a city apartment may prefer the French Bulldog which is laid back and relaxed while those actively living in the same environment which isn’t too hot may prefer the Boston Terrier.

Another factor to take into consideration is that Boston Terriers are friendlier with all creatures than the reserved French Bulldog when well socialized.

So, if you have other pets, a Boston may be a better option!

Bottom Line – Which Breed is Your Cup of Tea?

french bulldog eating apple

These two breeds make great family dogs.

If you like the pouty, I-will-ignore-you-sometimes disposition, take a Frenchie by all means!

But if you want an interactive, eager-to-be-around-you doggie, a Boston terrier will tick all the boxes for you.

Their similarities tend to end in appearance because they have different personalities that will gel with different families.

Boston Terrier loves EVERYBODY and is gregarious and has lots of energy to play and run about.

On the contrary, the French Bulldog is a career brooder. But as much as the French Bulldog is reserved around new people and pets, it enjoys playing when it can and then settles to its sedentary lifestyle.

We hope this article has given you insight into these two breeds. Whichever you choose, you’ll get an adorable, loving, affectionate family companion!

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