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5 Crazy Facts About Boston Terrier Lifespans (and 10 Tips to Increase It)

  • July 26, 2020
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5 Crazy Facts About Boston Terrier Lifespans (and 10 Tips to Increase It)

Do you want to know how long Boston Terriers live?

I remember when I was in my mid 30s and my friend who was over 40 said.. turning 40 is like when the bartender asks for the tab and asks you to settle up?

I was confused.

Please explain more I asked her.

So she said, “Well all those wrong decisions you made when you’re younger … they eventually catch up to you and in some form or other you have to pay for them.”

I never forgot that talk I had with her because sure enough now that I’m closer to fifty I look at my dogs the same way in the sense that…. all the decision I make on their behalf will affect them in their older age.

I take my own health very seriously.  I eat whole fresh food when I can.  My dogs do too.  I exercise daily.  My dogs do too.

I’d like to live a long life.  And I’d love my dogs to live as long as they can too.

So this post is dedicated to how to ensure my dogs live as long and as healthy as they can.

Fact #1: Boston Terriers Live an Average of 11 to 13 years.

The parent club for our breed is the Boston Terrier Club of America and they state that the average Boston Terrier lives between 11 to 13 years.

This is in line with dogs their size. For example, the Cocker Spaniel’s average life span is 11 years, while the Cardigan Welsh Corgi’s average lifespan is 13 years.

Keep in mind just because this data point exists…. it doesn’t mean that is how long YOUR Boston Terrier will live.  Different factors will affect how long they live such as:

  1. Genetics
  2. Lifestyle
  3. Environment
  4. Injuries

I’ve seen Boston Terriers live till they were 15, 16, 17, and 18 years of age.   As dog parent owners we don’t have control over their genetics, but we do have control over the other three.


Fact #2: The Leading Cause of Death Is Cancer at 30.4%

In the study by the University of Georgia that spanned 20 years, it reports that 30.4% of the time, Boston Terriers die from cancer.

There is also a clinical study from Hindawi in the UK reporting that Boston Terriers are reported to show an increased risk of developing MCT (Mass Cell Tumors) from a report in the Journal of National Cancer Institute in America.

At thirty percent this is lower than fifty percent of dogs over the age of 10 that develop cancer. For the general dog population it has been reported that cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of 10.

Fact #3: 22.2% of Boston Terriers die from Neurological Issues

These would be those diseases of the brain and spinal cord such as disc disease that can cause paralysis; strokes; seizure disorders; and tumors of the brain and spinal cord.

This category likely includes cognitive disorders as well, such as canine cognitive disorder (CCD) or cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), similar to Alzheimer’s in people.

Fact #4: 7.4% of Boston Terriers Die from Metabolic Issues

Metabolic would be anything that affects the organs, including kidney and liver disease. Endocrine diseases would be considered metabolic, along with diabetes insipidus and urinary stones.

Cushing’s disease and diabetes mellitus are the most common endocrine disorders in dogs. Addison’s disease would also fall into this category.

Fact #5: Boston Terriers Suffer From These Health Issues Most Commonly.

If this article: BOSTON TERRIER HEALTH ISSUES I go over their top health problems in detail.

1. Eyes (distichiasis, cherry eye, corneal dystrophy, cataracts, corneal ulcers, keratitis sick, and glaucoma)
2. Ears (deafness)
3. Patellar luxation
4. Hermivertabrae
5. Brachycephalic syndrome
6. Demodectic mange
7. Cushings
8. Megaesophagus
9. Allergies

Be sure to visit the article to read about each one.


How Can I Help My Boston Terrier Live Longer?

This next section will cover tips to help increase your Boston Terrier’s life expectancy.

Of course this isn’t a guarantee but they will give your dog a better chance at having a long and healthy life.

Tip #1: It Helps To Have Healthy Parents

Buying a puppy responsibly gives you the most knowledge about their background. Responsible breeders test their dogs and do not breed when there are known health issues.

If you have not yet purchased a puppy, start with these articles:

How to find a reputable Boston Terrier breeder

What to look for when buying a Boston Terrier puppy

DISCLOSURE: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you click on a product link, I may receive compensation. This compensation comes at no additional cost to you, and as always I only recommend products I have tried and trust. Maggielovesorbit, Ilovebostons is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Tip #2: Feed Your Boston Terrier Fresh Food To Avoid Cancer

We already know that processed food is bad for humans. The same goes for dogs.

It’s time to rethink your approach to dog food. When you reach for the cheapest bag of dog food you’re feeding your dog burnt and dry food that may be cheap now but has fillers, additives and preservatives that may cause harm in the long term so you’re merely delaying the expense and potentially increasing it if your dog gets cancer.

That’s why choosing a fresh food diet is ideal. That can either be a variation of home cooked or raw.

For my two dogs they eat a home cooked meal.

If you want to home cook, start with my article on FOUNDATION RECIPE FOR HOME COOKED FOOD FOR DOGS.

The number one reason people don’t make their own dog food is they are afraid of balancing it.

The easy solution is to use a “base” mix that does all of the work for you.

I can’t recommend RAW VIBRANCE from Doctor Harvey’s enough. It takes the guesswork out of balancing your dog’s home cooked meals. The formula is simple: Protein + RAW VIBRANCE + oil.

If you are what you eat, then I want to feed my dog food that will not just mean they are surviving, it means they are thriving.

If you want to feed raw, you can visit KEEP THE TAIL WAGGING to learn how to get started.

Tip #3: Become Well Read on How To Keep Your Dog Healthy.

In today’s age, we’re prone to gravitate to sound bites we get from our friends or from well meaning social media posts.

Our dog parenting knowledge has to be wider than what we read on our phone screens.

Equip yourself with books and read up on dog health so that you are better prepared with the information you need to help your dog stay healthy as opposed to waiting for them to get sick.

My favorite books on nutrition are:
Raw Meaty Bones Promote Health: Lonsdale, Tom:
Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats
Four Paws, Five Directions: A Guide to Chinese Medicine for Cats and Dogs
Yin & Yang Nutrition for Dogs: Maximizing Health with Whole Foods, Not Drug


Tip #4: Avoid Long Term Use of Steroids

For some reason Boston Terriers often have allergies. Go look in any Facebook Group for Boston Terriers and you’ll find dog parents complaining about their dogs having rashes.

The quick and easy fix that most vets will prescribe is Apoquel which has a dark side; as well as Cytopoint shots.

I’ve elected to go the natural route and took Maggie off both.

I’ve written about allergies extensively and through the years have gotten better at managing their allergies at home.

Home Remedies for Dog Allergies
Rash Advice for My Boston Terrier

Tip #5: Exercise To Avoid Being Overweight

Keep your dog fit, healthy and lean.

Overweight dogs are more likely to develop musculoskeletal problems, disc disease, diabetes, heart disease, and even some forms of cancer.

I personally walk my dogs two hours, sometimes more a day. Now I know that not everyone has the ability to have this much time to walk their dogs.

At a minimum you should walk your Boston Terrier 45 minutes in the morning and then another 45 minutes in the evening.

Real Dog Box Review - What to Know Before You Buy

Tip #5 : Keep Their Teeth Clean

Kibble and hard green sticks do not clean your dog’s teeth.

Marrow bones are too hard, so are weight bearing buckle bones as well as hooves and antlers.

The best way to keep your dog’s teeth clean is to give them a variety of edible chews that gently rub off plaque and scrape off tartar. We get our chews delivered from Real Dog Box.

Alternatively you can feed your dog a raw meaty bone. It is the meat that actually “flosses” your dog’s teeth to keep them clean and their gums healthy.

Dental disease leads to inflammation as well as a host of other heath problems.

Health starts off with clean teeth and gums.

Tip #6: Go To The Vet Regularly and Have Heart and any Lumps examined

We already know that Boston Terriers are prone to MCTS.

Go to your vet regularly to have their heart checked.

While you’re there, make sure they check for any lumps and bumps.

Tip: #7: Invest In Dog Training

It’s a given that children should go to school to benefit from receiving education.

Dogs need education (through dog training) too. Classes range from $300 to $2,000 (depending on where you go and how often you go).

If you get into dog sports that will be an additional investment.

Often times I see small dog owners forgo formal dog training because they think their small dog doesn’t need it.

Here are some reasons you should invest in training your dog:

– A well trained dog will listen to you so when you need to call their attention away from danger they will come.
– A well trained dog is less likely to misunderstand another dog and get in a fight. Small as they may be, Boston Terriers do not lack that in spirit and are known to take on bigger dogs because they are fearless.

When they are young, focus on obedience training. As they age you can start trick training as well as get into dog sports.

Don’t forget mental stimulation activities to keep their brain stimulated.

Tip #8: Spay and Neuter Your Dogs

Spayed females cannot get pyometra (uterine infection) and neutered males are less likely to develop prostate disease.

That said – talk to your breeder as newer studies are recommending delaying their spay and neuter (but no more than two years).

For example I waited two years before I spayed Orbit.

Tip #9: Invest in Immune Boosting Food Supplements

If you want to boost your dog’s immune system you can add the following supplements to their food.

Prebiotics and digestive enzymes

Enzymes are fundamental to proper digestion. If your dog is eating a dry or canned dog food, it is essential to add a digestive enzyme to their diet. Enzymes are not found in commercial dog foods because the cooking and extruding process destroys them.

Feeding prebiotics to your dog feeds the probiotics in his gut. Prebiotics help grow, restore and maintain healthy gut flora … which support your dog’s immune system.

I feed In Clover’s Fresh Digest Daily Digestive Aid and Immune Support Supplement for Dogs, All Natural Prebiotic and Enzyme Powder for Less Gas and Healthy Stools, Works Fast


From Dog’s Naturally Magazine:
1 Probiotics are little chemical factories that protect the body from bacteria, viruses and fungi.
2 They’re an important barrier to cancer-causing toxins, drugs, heavy metals and allergens.
3 They produce the important B vitamins
4 They help the body absorb nutrients like calcium, magnesium and iron.
5 They help with proper digestion.
6 They slow the growth of harmful bacteria, like salmonella or E coli

You can add a supplement or in my case I feed Maggie and Orbit fermented vegetables a few times a week (sauerkraut) as well as yogurt of kefir.


Mushrooms are versatile plants and help with

  • Prevention (disease)
  • Regeneration (cells)
  • Protection (cancer, radiation)
  • Intervention (treatment)

Now that Maggie is five I’ve added mushrooms to her food. I love the supplements from Dr. Harvey’s which are enriched with a variety of organic healing mushrooms to help balance the response of your dog’s immune system, including organic chaga mushroom, organic sheep sorrel, organic reishi mushroom, organic agaricus mushroom, and organic antrodia mushroom

Omega 3

Most commercial dog food is high in Omega 6 (can increase inflammation) and so adding Omega 3 oils will help decrease inflammation (which leads to allergies).

I opt to feed fish to help balance the fats and add more Omega 3s to my dog’s diet. I feed a variety of salmon, mackerel, sardines, smelt and anchovies.

If you want to add oil instead of feed fish you can look to Dr. Harvey’s which is a brand I trust immensely.

Joint Suppment.

Consider a joint supplement when your Boston Terrier get older.

A brand I love is In Clover. Support stiff, aging bodies or protect young, healthy joints with Connectin. The only joint supplement clinically proven by independent researchers to help support comfort and mobility in an average of 15 days, Connectin’s complete, patented formula nourishes the joint and its surrounding structures. Administering Connectin daily supplies the body with all three essential joint building blocks critical to healthy joint function plus a power-packed herbal blend for noticeable, lasting results.

Tip 10: Minimize Vaccines

For the record I’m not anti – vaxx.

Instead, I want to make sure I don’t over vaccinate.

Find a veterinarian that will discuss the best vaccine protocol for where you live.

In my case now that we have gone through all the core vaccines I am opting for titers to check if the antibodies are present before I proceed with the next vaccine.

Final Thoughts

There are four things that will affect how long your Boston Terrier lives.

  1. Genetics
  2. Lifestyle
  3. Environment
  4. Injuries

While we have no control over genetic history or factors…there are things you can do to help your dog live longer.

For example, you can feed them better food and strengthen their immune system.

And it goes without saying that buying your dog from a reputable breeder will increase the chances that your dog will be healthier.

And while you can do all of these things, none of these suggestions can prevent 100 percent of all illnesses, but they do equip you with a way to minimize them.

Prevention is the key. And providing a healthy lifestyle is the way.


Did you like this article?  Here are more about Boston Terriers

Why Are Boston Terriers so Gassy?

How To Get Ready For a Boston Terrier Puppy

Are Boston Terriers Born With Tails?

Should I Get A Second Boston Terrier?

How To Find A Reputable Boston Terrier Breeder


Hannah Zulueta and her two dogs Maggie and Orbit

Hello, my name is Hannah and I dance with my dogs.

I am a Boston Terrier Breed Advocate.  I started this blog because there isn’t enough space to tell our story on our Instagram.

My mission is to bring Boston Terrier dog parents the best, most accurate information to help your dogs live happier, healthier lives.

I have two Boston Terriers of my own. Maggie is my socially awkward heart dog while Orbit is my shadow and soul dog.

You won’t read about cats here, but you will get a fairly large dosage of articles dedicated to this wonderful breed to help you learn more about them or provide practical tips as you raise your own. Read more about us.

By, July 26, 2020
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