What Are Ideal Markings on Boston Terrier?

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Boston Terriers are known for their distinct white markings. However, these markings aren’t always present. The markings and colors are important in determining if your dog is purebred.

So what are the ideal markings on a Boston Terrier?  

What Are the Ideal Markings On A Boston Terrier? 

The ideal markings on a Boston Terrier consist of a  white-collar, white muzzle band that can also include a white blaze over the head and between the eyes, partly or wholly white on forelegs and hind legs below the hocks. 

Graphic image of two Boston Terriers that explains what are the ideal markings for their breed

This article will tackle an in-depth discussion about the Boston Terrier’s markings, so keep on reading.

Markings and Colors

The American Kennel Club has set a standard for a Boston Terrier’s markings. The white markings should cover the chest and muzzle. It should also have a white band around its neck and a blaze of white between the eyes.

The forelegs and hind legs up to the hocks should either have partial or whole white markings. Also, the markings are preferably symmetrical. 

There are only three acceptable colors — black, seal, or brindle. These colors must come with white markings. Otherwise, your dog gets disqualified if it comes in a solid color of the mentioned colors above. The club insists that Boston Terriers with markings and colors outside the set standard are mixed with other breeds.

In the next section, I will tackle the three common colors and the different patterns of a Boston Terrier. 

Brown Boston Terrier

Black and White

Boston Terriers come with their classic color combination of black and white. It creates a tuxedo look that gained them their nickname of the “American Gentleman.”  

Their coat is mainly composed of black with white markings. To distinguish that they have indeed pure Boston Terrier blood, the color combination should come with dark brown eyes and a black nose. 

Seal and White

Boston Terriers with seal and white colors have dark brown and black noses similar to those with black and white color. The seal and white combination is commonly known as brown and white. The brown color is more visible when exposed under the light with some red undertones.

Seal and white Boston Terriers are accepted by the American Kennel Club standards to breed in the future. Other brown shades like fawn and liver are disqualified in the show ring.

Blue Boston Terrier puppy

Brindle and White

Brindle color is more of a pattern rather than a solid color unlike the two previous coats mentioned. It can either come as dark or light with a dominant base or dilute.

Boston Terriers with brindle and white colors come with black noses and dark brown eyes too. 

Rare Colors 

Boston Terriers with rare colors are often a result of undesirable mating because the breeders are not knowledgeable regarding this matter. Reputable breeders warn dog shoppers that Boston Terriers with “rare colors” are used by other breeders to sell the dogs for a higher price. 

The AKC breed standard doesn’t allow these rare colors because some puppies may not be pure-bred Boston Terriers and may link to some health issues. Examples of rare colors include:

  • Solid black
  • Red or liver
  • Brown
  • Blue
  • Champagne or pale red
  • Solid white

Pink-eared and blue-eyed Boston Terriers are also not allowed by the AKC breed standard.

Change in Markings

The seal color is actually the new addition to the original black or brindle with white standard color. The two latter colors mentioned are the earliest official breed standard color of the AKC.

Since the earliest standard doesn’t have a specific list of excluded colors, the revised breed standard added the colors to exclude. Boston Terriers with “rare colors” are excluded from the revised breed standard.

In addition to that, white markings should be a chest splash, a muzzle band and a blazing white between the eyes without touching them. The breed standard also accepted the white markings on the collar and near the hocks, although not ideal.

What is the General Appearance of Boston Terriers? 

Boston Terriers appear to have a smooth coat, short-headed, short-tailed that is set low on the rear. They come in the colors of black, brindle or seal with white markings. The body is short and has a strong build.

Their limbs are neatly turned and strong. The head and the body are well-proportioned. 

Boston Terrier with ideal markings

They have dark brown eyes and black noses. What makes this breed of dog distinct are their color and white markings that are proportionate with each other. Their ears are quite large and stand erect. Another distinct feature of Boston Terriers is their big eyes that slightly protrude. 

The facial features include a flat-nosed face with jaws that are in proportion to their body. The short upper jaw creates a pushed-in face that makes them a brachycephalic breed. They also have a broad chest and a proud neckline. 

The characteristics of Boston Terriers include being alert and obedient, which indicates a high degree of intelligence. They are also kind and lively. They are very affectionate and get along well with all members of the family. 

Related Questions

How Do I Know if My Boston Terrier Is Purebred?

One way to identify if your Boston Terrier is purebred is through its markings. A purebred Boston Terrier has white markings on its body and head. It should have a white muzzle band, white fore chest and a white blaze between the eyes and head.

What Is a Haggerty Spot on a Boston Terrier?

Haggerty Spot is a rare marking where a Boston Terrier has a dot on top of its head. It is named after the Haggerty family where it originated in the early 1900s. 

What Is the Rarest Boston Terrier Color?

The rarest Boston Terrier colors include blue and white, lilac and white, red and white. The mentioned colors, together with other rare colors not mentioned, aren’t recognized by the AKC.

Boston Terrier Dogs 101: Boston Terrier Facts and Information


To sum it up, the ideal markings of Boston Terriers include white accents on their muzzle, collar, forelegs and their hind legs. The markings, together with their standard breed color, help me identify if they’re purebred or mixed. Boston Terriers with rare colors are mostly a product of less knowledge in breeding.

Make sure you get your Boston Terriers from reputable breeders.