Similarities & Differences Between the Boston Terrier & French Bulldog

Regardless of your dog knowledge, breeds are often confused with other breeds due to their similarities. Today we will be discussing the differences between Boston Terrier and French Bulldog breeds. What about them causes confusion? What can you look for to differentiate the Boston Terrier vs French Bulldog? Are they in the same blood line? Let’s get to it!


Boston Terrier Beginnings

The Boston Terrier originated in the United States and is known as the first non sporting dog breed to be bred in the states. The story is that Bulldogs and the English Terrier (extinct) were bred in England during sometime in the 1860s for pit fighting and ratting contests. This dog, Judge was the first Boston Terrier. Judge was sold to a man, Robert C. Hooper of Boston Massachusetts. Hooper bred Judge in Boston, and that is where it began for the Boston Terrier.

The French Bulldog Debut

The French Bulldog was created in England to be a toy size version of the Bulldog. The Frenchie’s history dates back to ancient Greece where a tribe known as the Molossians lived. The Molossians possessed a breed known as the Bullenbeisser which is the breed responsible for starting it all! As bull fighting and other blood sports were outlawed and breeding regulations became more strict, breeders modified their breeding techniques. They began cross breeding with terriers and other Bulldogs which created a smaller less aggressive version of the Bullenbeisser. Eventually this new Bulldog was bred with other terriers and Pugs to create that compact snout the French Bulldog is well known for.

Origins Comparison

As you now know, both breed’s beginnings started in the same country but resulted in very different outcomes and are quite different. The Boston Terrier started in England and then made it’s way to Boston MA where it was bred with an English Terrier.

The Frenchie though also created in England was bred with a Bullenbeisser only to then be mixed with various Terriers and Pugs.

Boston Terrier Vs French Bulldog – Build/Appearance

The Boston Terrier is described as small, compact, but muscular and well built. Their colors are typically described as “Tuxedo” having a black and white pattern that mimics a tuxedo.

The French Bulldog is a small and sturdy breed but bred in different colors and has a different stance and facial structure. This greatly changes their appearance compared to the Boston. View the table and images below to see comparisons

Specs. Boston Terrier French Bulldog
Weight: 10-25 lbs. 20-30 lbs.
Height: 16-17 inches 11-12 inches
Coat Colors: Brown/White – Seal/White – Black/White – Brindle/White Fawn – White – Brindle/White – Brindle – Tan
Coat: Smooth Coat, Short Hair Short, Smooth, Fine, Shiny
Build: See Image (A) See Image (B)
*Image: (A) Boston Terrier Figurine (B) French Bulldog Figurine

*Image of our Boston Terrier & French Bulldog figurines which accurately depict each breeds build.

Dimensions of each Breed

Not only do their weight, height, colors, and coat styles differ, but their overall appearances differ as well. You can see in the images, the Boston Terrier is shorter in length and taller than the Frenchie. Alternatively the Frenchie has shorter legs which gives the breed a rectangular shape that is lower to the ground. The Boston Terrier is more square in it’s dimensions.

Boston Terrier versus French Bulldog – Ears & Skull

At first glance the ears look similar as well. But if you look closer, you can see the Boston’s ears are more triangular in shape while the Frenchie’s ears are more “bat like”. What I believe causes the most confusion is their faces. When you view each breed straight on, their mouth, nose, and snout shape are strikingly similar, especially the shape of the mouth. But what you can do to easily detect the difference between the two breeds is look at the shape of the skull. The Boston Terrier’s skull is more circular and their facial features are longer. Even though the Frenchie has a circular appearance, their facial features are shorter and more flat.


If you have a chance to spend some time with both breeds, you will get to know their temperament and personality. The Boston Terrier exudes intelligence and playfulness in a lively yet gentle manner. They are often described as stubborn which requires constant and consistent training.

On the other hand, the French Bulldog is smart, loving, and playful and are happiest when with family and people. They are easy to train and listen well. The most notable difference between the two is their socialization skills and responsiveness to training.

Final Words

Hopefully now the French Bulldog compared to Boston Terrier debate is more clear. Both breeds have similarities and can easily be confused. The key areas to focus on are their height, shape, stance in relation to the ground, ears, facial dimensions, and colors.

Written on May 10th, 2018
Updated October 2nd, 2020

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