Are Boston Terrier Aggressive Dogs?

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Boston Terriers are one of the most popular dog breeds for their charming appearance and personality. Still, many potential owners question its reputation on aggression. So, are Boston Terriers Aggressive Dogs? Let’s find out!

Are Boston Terriers Aggressive Dogs?

Boston Terriers are not aggressive dogs in general. They are bred to be companion dogs with a friendly temperament. They have a great love for people and their homes and get along well even with other pets.

Graphic image of a Boston Terrier with a text explaining whether Boston Terriers are aggressive dogs

Although Boston Terriers are affectionate and sweet, they could show signs of aggression at some point just like other dogs. There are factors that could result in aggressive behavior such as fear, pain, and lack of training.

The Boston Terrier Temperament

Although Boston Terriers came from the Bulldog family, they don’t have the aggressive traits of their ancestors. In general, they were bred to be affectionate dogs that love to play and be with people. You would also hardly see them engaged in fights with other dogs.

Boston Terriers as Non-Sporting Dogs

Not all dogs have the same personality traits. While there are dogs that excel in herding or hunting, Boston Terriers belong to the non-sporting group as assigned by the American Kennel Club.

Setting aside sports, Boston Terriers excel in keeping their owners company. They are loyal, sweet, and do not wander far from their home. 

Can Boston Terriers Become Aggressive?

While many people don’t consider Boston Terriers one of the most aggressive dog breeds, they can become aggressive. There are many factors that lead to dog aggression. For instance, if your pet is not trained well and lacks socialization, it could also increase the chances of aggression.

Other factors like age and sex can contribute to aggressive behavior outbursts.

Signs of Aggression

When dogs including the Boston Terrier become stressed, worried, or nervous, they could exhibit aggressive behavior. Knowing the signs of aggression and being able to spot them on time will help avoid damage and injuries.

Below are the signs of dog aggression:

  • Body posture becomes stiff
  • Ears are pinned back
  • Baring teeth
  • Growling
  • Bites in varied intensities
  • Snarling

What Are the Common Reasons for Aggression in Dogs?

Dogs, especially those who have experienced trauma, can become aggressive in a snap. The level of aggression depends on its cause. Below are the common reasons why dogs become aggressive.

A Boston terrier dog biting a stick
  • Illness or injury
  • Fear
  • Possessiveness
  • Interpretation of dominance
  • Frustration

Illness or Injury

Dogs get uncomfortable when they are sick or in pain. They are likely to show aggression when they get stressed while dealing with discomfort. If your dog suddenly shows aggressive behavior like growling and baring the teeth for no reason, then this can be due to an illness or injury. 

The most common reasons for pain in dogs are arthritis, internal injuries, lacerations, and bone fractures. However, some diseases that affect their brain, such as tumors and cognitive dysfunction, can also lead to a change in behavior.


Fear is another reason why a Boston Terrier might become aggressive. Dogs have the instinct to defend themselves when they feel that they are in danger. One example of such a scenario is being trapped with the possibility of being attacked.

Dogs that sense danger can instantly become aggressive, especially when they are not familiar with the people and environment around them. Also, rescue dogs have higher chances of showing aggressive behavior as a result of a past traumatic experience.


Resource guarding is common to all dogs. Yet, even the Boston Terrier which is generally affectionate can become aggressive over the fear of losing the things valuable to it. 

Dogs often growl when someone gets too close to their favorite toys or food. Other dogs can even attack a stranger if it gets too close to its home, which they consider as territory.

The degree of aggression can be severe based on how much the dog values an object. The more valuable it is, the more aggressive and destructive the dog can become.

Interpretation of Dominance

By nature, dogs are neither submissive nor dominant. However, some dogs develop dominant behavior and become aggressive when they feel that their position is being challenged. This behavior toward other dogs is common yet could also happen toward people.

Dogs feel that they have to prove that they are in charge and would behave aggressively through growling, biting, and snapping.

Forms of Aggression

Aggression TypeReason for Aggression
Territorial Boston Terriers are loyal dogs so it’s not uncommon for them to guard their family’s home/territory and go aggressive to someone or something they see as a threat.
Dominant Male Boston Terriers are usually aggressive when they see another male dog. It’s perfectly natural, especially with male dogs they don’t know.
Defensive This aggression usually happens when your dog is in fear or anxiety. If your dog continues to feel threatened it will show signs of aggression.
Pain-Based If your dog feels pain or discomfort, it might get aggressive. Aside from physical injuries and medical conditions, a hormonal imbalance could also be a cause of aggression.

Dealing With Aggression in Boston Terriers

Bostons are smart dogs. However, proper training is essential for them to establish calm and even behavior. It is also important that your pet recognizes you as the pack leader to simplify dog aggression management.

Boston terrier dog wearing a harness

Proper Training

The best way to manage aggression in dogs is proper training. Dog training is not an overnight process, it requires consistency. Practice as often as possible yet be sensitive to distinguish an exhausted dog.

Teaching your dog to acknowledge you as the pack leader is the key to an obedient dog. To be the pack leader, you should insist on your rules and your dog should know that you would not take ‘no’ for an answer.

Prison Dog Training Programs

If you think it would be best to have another person train your Boston Terrier, then perhaps you can enroll it in prison dog training programs. This type of program has several amazing benefits for both prisoners and dogs. Also, it is cheaper than hiring a professional trainer.

Hiring a Professional Dog Trainer

If not prisoners, you can hire a professional dog trainer. Yet, expect this service to cost more. You can ask your veterinarian for recommendations. When looking for a trainer, go for one who is certified to ensure they have enough knowledge of learning theory.

Related Questions

Before I wrap up this article, I want to answer a couple of questions regarding the aggressiveness of Boston Terriers. 

Are Boston Terriers Aggressive Towards Other Dogs? 

Boston Terriers can be aggressive towards other dogs just like any other breed. Bosties are calm and affectionate dogs in general. If they are raised well and socialized properly, then they are unlikely to become aggressive.

Why Does My Boston Terrier Growl at Me?

Your Boston Terrier might growl at you for several reasons. It could be that it is showing possessiveness, like when you come close to its food bowl or toy, or it is trying to signal danger. Regardless, you must manage growling as aggression properly and immediately to avoid any damage and injuries.

Are Boston Terriers Difficult Dogs?

No, Boston Terriers aren’t difficult dogs. They are easy to train so they can be handled easily. Boston Terriers are intelligent breeds so lowering their aggressiveness should be manageable.



Boston Terriers are a playful and loving dog breed. Yet, while they are bred to be affectionate companion dogs, they can still show aggression when threatened, worried, or in pain. Properly trained and socialized Boston Terriers are unlikely to become aggressive dogs.

Leave a Comment