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How Much Exercise Does a Boston Terrier Need? What You Need To Know


May 26, 2023
boston terrier running on grass


boston terrier running on grass

Playful and ready to rumble, the Boston Terrier is a lively doggo with an upbeat personality. It’s quick to adapt to new environments and can be happy within apartment walls as long as the pet gets enough activity per day. And you won’t have to play with it for hours. While each dog is different, on average, Bostons only need 30–60 minutes of daily exercise.

Fetch, tug-of-war, and puzzle toys are some of the games that Boston Terriers like to play. Or you can go for a walk/run. So, how do you exercise with this lovely dog? How do you protect it, help avoid separation anxiety, and keep those muscles and joints in tip-top shape? We have all the answers right here!

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Boston Terriers: The American Gentlemen

It’s impossible not to fall in love with the Boston Terriers! These dogs are gentle, friendly, and hard-wired to please their owners. They are inquisitive, too, and ever-ready to join you on a walk or jog. A well-trained Boston has perfect manners and takes its morning strolls with a rhythmic step. Add the trademark short, sleek, and luxurious coat, and you’ll see why this breed is often called the American Gentleman.

Sweethearts by nature, Boston Terriers have big, loving eyes, a short muzzle, and a short tail. They’re not that big, by the way: the average Boston weighs 12–25 pounds and stands 15–17 inches tall. More importantly, these dogs are equally affectionate toward adults, children, and fellow pets. So, if you’re looking for a compact, open-hearted doggo, do consider adopting a Boston Terrier!

Boston Terrier on the green background
Image Credit: Lenka N, Shutterstock

An Hour or 30 Minutes: How Much Exercise Is Enough?

Bostons have a curious, cheerful nature and love outdoor activities, but they don’t need to be outside 24/7. You won’t have to play or exercise with them for 4–5 hours, either. These dogs can stay happy and fit with only an hour of daily activity. For some pooches, even 30–40 minutes of exercise will be enough. Yes, it depends on the dog, but the older the pet gets, the less exercise it’s going to need.

Senior canines tend to have various medical conditions. The same goes for puppies; be very careful not to put too much pressure on the dog’s muscles and joints. Starting off, even ten minutes of activity might be a bit too much. The vets recommend going slow and adding extra five minutes each month, allowing the pet to develop properly. Also, consistency is imperative: Bostons need exercise every day!

The Best Exercises for a Boston Terrier

What kinds of exercises do these dogs like? Should you take them on your daily walks or play intelligent games like fetch or tug-of-war? Well, why not try all of them? By doing different things, you’ll be able to keep the doggo excited for tomorrow’s “trials”. And that’s exactly how you create a strong bond with the Boston.

Here’s a quick look at the best ways to keep your pet fit:

  • Take the Boston for a stroll. What could be better than enjoying the evening breeze on a walk with your favorite pet? Walking is a simple, yet effective exercise for Boston Terriers. Don’t walk too slowly, though, as that might bore the dog. Also, don’t forget to dress it for the occasion (like if it’s cold or windy outside).
  • Invite it to join you on a jog. This is another great exercise for Boston Terriers. You don’t have to participate in a marathon, though. Take it slow: once you find the perfect pace for the jog, it might just turn into the dog’s favorite activity. This is important: Bostons have short back legs. To avoid injuries, keep the running distances nice and short.
  • All-time classic: Tug-of-war. Witty dogs like to play tug-of-war: it tests their physical abilities and wits. Plus, the game gives them a chance to spend time with you. Tug-of-war can be played both outdoors and indoors, as long as there’s enough space. Pick the right toy (small knotted rope) and let the dog win—that’s the key to success!
  • Fetch and puzzle toys. By nature, Boston Terriers are eager to please their owners, and fetch is a great game for creating a trusting relationship with your pet. And you can mix it up with sprinkler running. As for the toys, they motivate dogs to put their intelligence to good use to figure out how the puzzle works.
boston terrier chewing ball
Image Credit: Tasha Karidis, Shutterstock

The Biggest Benefits of Exercises for Boston Terriers

Just like any other dog, the Boston relies heavily on daily activity to stay healthy, fit, and mentally stimulated. If they turn into couch potatoes and spend all day watching TV and snacking on treats, that will negatively impact their well-being.

Here are the most significant pros of exercising these dogs:

  • Good health, lower chance of obesity
  • Lower risk of cancer and heart diseases
  • Stronger muscles and joints
  • Lots of mental stimulation
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • No destructive behaviors
  • A chance to bond with the owner
  • Socializing with other dogs

Separation Anxiety: Here’s How You Can Avoid It

The worst thing you can do is let the Boston play in the backyard and switch your attention to something else. Most likely, the dog will feel left alone and miserable. Remember: Boston Terriers are sensitive creatures that thrive on positive reinforcement. That’s why you need to play an active role or at least praise the dog constantly for performing a trick, solving a puzzle, or just running around the property.

If you neglect this lovely pooch for too long, separation anxiety will kick in, leaving the dog anxious and depressed. It might even develop destructive behavior, which won’t be easy to fix. So, the key here is to give the dog its fair share of attention and show it that you like to spend time with it. The good news is—even the most active Bostons aren’t at all clingy and need about an hour of exercise per day.

boston terrier dog running on water
Image Credit: Avi’s Colors, Pixabay

Tips For Keeping the Dog Safe During Exercise

Boston Terriers are prone to overheating. That’s why you shouldn’t expose them to direct sunlight. If you’re going for a walk or a jog, do it in the second half of the day, when the sun is setting. More than that, if your dog has brachycephalic syndrome, it will run out of breath fairly quickly. So, give it plenty of breaks! Another reason for that is their short legs: they’re not built for long runs. Humidity is also a problem.

Next, while you should reward the dog with treats, remember that Bostons are at high risk for obesity. Letting it gain extra pounds may result in inflamed joints (arthritis), diabetes, heart conditions, and even cancer. To keep the dog in proper shape, talk to a veterinarian. They’ll tell you what kind of premium-quality food and treats to buy for your Boston Terrier to keep it well-fed, stimulated, and in decent shape.

Grooming: Taking Proper Care of the Pet

Thanks to the short coat, Boston Terriers don’t shed nearly as often as dogs with long, weathered fur. If you brush this pet once a week using a soft-bristle brush and a grooming mitt, that should be enough to keep the house hair-free. Another big pro of regular brushing is the even distribution of the dog’s natural oil, which keeps it healthy by fighting off bacteria.

Also, don’t forget to trim the Boston’s paws. If the nails grow for an extra week or two, they will start to hurt the pooch and make it harder to keep up on your next walk or run. As for bathing, it depends on how much daily activity the pet gets. In most cases, once in 4–6 weeks is the way to go. But, if you often take the dog to the woods, you might have to wash it 2–3 times a month.



Despite their inquisitive nature, Boston Terriers are considered low-maintenance dogs. Now, they do require their fair share of exercise per day. But the American gentlemen also like to chill on the couch, especially after some high-activity games. So, it all comes down to finding the right balance between playing with this dog and letting it rest.

Even if you only have 40–50 minutes per day to jog with your four-legged bud, in most cases, that will be enough to keep it fit, healthy, and happy. Use the tips from our guide to pick the best exercises for the Boston, be there to reward it with treats, and you’ll quickly turn into the dog’s biggest hero!

Featured Image Credit: Zero Degrees Photography, Shutterstock

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