French Bulldog vs. Boston Terrier - What Are Main Differences?

French Bulldog vs. Boston Terrier - What Are Main Differences?

Author WDF Staff | Last updated: May 03 2023


If you love small companion dogs with characters bigger than life, you will love Boston Terriers and French Bulldogs. These dogs can seem similar, but if you take a closer look at both breeds, there are apparent differences that are relatively easy to spot. If you are trying to decide between these two breeds, here are some basic things you should know about them.

Physical difference

French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers can seem pretty similar at first glance. Still, if you take a closer look at each dog, there are clear, easy-to-notice distinctions. You don’t have to be an experienced dog owner or breeder to know the difference. Here are some basic physical traits of both breeds;

French Bulldog vs. Boston Terrier size difference

It is entirely understandable how someone might confuse these two breeds. However, French Bulldogs are smaller and heavier. The standard said these dogs should be between 9 and 14 inches tall, depending on the sex of the dog. Frenchies should weigh between 17 and 31 pounds, which is significantly more than the Boston Terrier.

black and white french bulldog

Boston Terrier is taller than the French Bulldog. These dogs should reach a height of 15 - 17 inches and weigh 12 - 25 pounds. They are slimmer and more athletic dogs whose agility is easily noticeable.

Physical similarities

These two breeds share some common traits, so it is not surprising why sometimes they get mixed together. The most noticeable similarities are their ears, flat faces, and color patterns.


French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers have upright ears that can seem very similar. However, a close inspection of both breeds’ ears will reveal the difference. Frenchie’s ears are usually rounded at the top, and Boston terriers are pointed and tilted slightly away from their head.

Flat faces

Both breeds are brachycephalic, which means they have flat faces and might have issues with the respiratory system. That characteristic highlights the importance of getting a dog from a responsible breeder who is health-testing their dogs. Both breeds have black noses and slight wrinkles around their eyes and cheeks. However, Frenchies have more massive head, and Boston Terriers’ head is more rounded.

Want to know more about Boston Terriers? Check out the full Boston Terrier breed profile.


Both breeds are descendants of the English Bulldog, so they share many similar physical traits. However, there is a slight difference in how each breed came to life. Both breeds are not that old; their history began in the 19th century.

french bulldog front

French Bulldog heritage

Frenchies are descendants of the older version of the English Bulldog. When dog fighting and bull-baiting became illegal, dog breeders wanted to reduce the Bulldog’s size, so they started crossing them with different Terrier breeds. That reduced the Bulldog’s size, but some puppies were born with upright ears.

The Brits thought that was a fault and started discarding these dogs. Luckily, lace workers took these dogs with them to France in search of employment, and French Bulldogs became incredibly popular among commoners.

RELATED: French Bulldog - the Journey

Boston Terrier heritage

Boston Terrier’s heritage is a bit closer to home in Boston, Massachusetts. Like the French Bulldog, the Boston Terrier is also a descendant of the English Bulldog. These small dogs were crossed with white English Terriers to create a small fighting dog. Needless to say, Boston Terriers are not fighters; they are lovers. Their popularity as companion dogs exploded in the Boston area, and they took over the whole US pretty soon.

If you want to know more about French Bulldogs, check out the full French Bulldog breed profile.

French Bulldog vs. Boston Terrier Character traits

Both breeds are among the most popular choices for small family companions. In fact, Frenchies are the 4th most popular breed in the US. That would be impossible if they didn’t have great characters. However, there are slight differences between them.

French Bulldog character traits

French Bulldogs are very adaptable. They have a mellow character that will fit great in an urban living environment as well as farm living. They love going to parks and on different adventures but are not too energetic. These dogs are friendly, outgoing, and playful. Frenchies don’t bark often, but they use all sorts of grunts on sounds to let you know how they feel. These dogs will love napping and being close to their owners.

french bulldog profile

Boston Terrier character traits

Boston Terriers are a lot smarter than Frenchies, but they are also a lot more stubborn. They can become a nightmare to train, but if you know what you are doing and you are persistent, you can have an amazing little dog. Boston Terriers are more energetic than Frenchies and can even make great agility competitors.

Health issues

We already mentioned that both breeds are brachycephalic, but most new owners are unaware of what that means. These dogs have flat faces and short snouts, which means they have specific health issues that dogs with long snouts don’t have. The most significant issues involve overworking them during warm weather.

boston terrier

The warm air isn’t adequately cooled before entering the dog’s lungs because of its short snout. If a dog is running and being very active during warm weather, it can quickly get overworked and be at risk from heatstroke. That should not be taken lightly, and if you notice symptoms of heatstroke, you should seek vet help immediately.

The second thing both breeds will experience is above-average air ingestion while they eat. This is very well-known in the dog owner community; Frenchies and Boston Terriers are known for being gassy. Some owners find it funny, but there are situations when it can be pretty embarrassing.

Want to know what Frenchie owners say about them? Check out this article - French Bulldog from a different perspective.

Price difference

Both French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers are pureblooded dogs that can be bought from responsible and reputable breeders worldwide. Since both breeds are brachycephalic, getting these dogs from breeders that health tests their dogs is vital. Poorly-bred dogs will most likely develop health issues and cost more in vet bills. There is a slight price difference between these two breeds. French Bulldog puppies go for an average price of $1.500 - $3.000, and Boston Terrier puppies go for $600 - $1.200. Both prices will depend on the sex, pedigree, and show potential.

Now you know the basic differences between these popular small companions. We are sure you will not make a mistake whichever breed you choose.

World Dog Finder team

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