Boston Terrier vs French Bulldog: 8 Main Differences Explained

boston terrier vs french bulldog

Written by Heather Hall

Updated: January 24, 2023

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Key Points

  • Boston terriers and French bulldogs are easily confused as they look and act similarly.
  • One difference is that Boston terriers have significantly longer legs than French bulldogs.
  • French bulldogs tend to be more relaxed than Boston terriers, making them more popular as pets.

The Boston Terrier and the French Bulldog are certainly two adorable dogs. Though they are similar in appearance, there are some differences between them. For one, they have ears that are different in shape. Also, a Boston Terrier has longer legs than a French Bulldog. This gives a Boston Terrier a small height advantage. Another difference is French Bulldogs have more variety in their coat colors.

French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers have different shaped heads. Though they are both energetic dogs, Boston Terriers are known to be a little more energetic than French Bulldogs. Though both dogs have a lot of good qualities, which one is more popular? Which of these dogs has a longer lifespan? Take a look at the answers to these questions as well as some other helpful facts about these sweet canines.

Comparing the Boston Terrier vs French Bulldog

French BulldogBoston Terrier
Lifespan10 to 12 years11 to 13 years
Ear ShapeRoundedPointed
Face ShapeSquareRounded
BodyShort legs, squat, compact bodyLong legs, sleek, long body
ColorCombination of brindle, white, cream, fawnCombination of black, white, brindle, and seal
Height11 to 13 inches tall15 to 17 inches tall
Popularity6th most popular in the U.S.23rd most popular in U.S.

The 8 Key Differences Between Boston Terriers and French Bulldogs

Boston terrier vs French bulldog: Size

Though they are very similar in size, an adult French Bulldog weighs a little more than a Boston Terrier. The French Bulldog has a muscular, compact body that can carry more weight than a Boston Terrier.

Boston terrier vs French bulldog: Lifespan

Generally speaking, the lifespan of a Boston Terrier is longer than a French Bulldog’s. Because of their squat body structure, French Bulldogs can easily become overweight without a proper diet and adequate exercise. They can suffer from heart issues, kidney issues, and other health problems as a result.

Boston terrier vs French bulldog: Ear Shape

Studying the subtle difference in ear shape is an easy way to tell a French Bulldog and a Boston Terrier apart. A Boston Terrier’s ears stand up and are pointy at the ends. Alternatively, a French Bulldog’s ears have been described as bat-shaped. Their ears stand up and are wide at the bottom and rounded at the top.

Boston terrier vs French bulldog: Face Shape

At first glance, it may seem like these dogs have the same face shape. But this is yet another subtle difference between them. French Bulldogs have a face that is square-shaped whereas a Boston Terrier’s face is more rounded.

Boston terrier vs French bulldog: Body

A Boston Terrier has longer legs than a French Bulldog. Their long legs are in proportion with a Boston Terrier’s relatively long body. On the other hand, a French Bulldog has short legs giving its body a more thickset appearance.

Boston terrier vs French bulldog: Color

These two dogs share some of the same coat colors. However, a French Bulldog has a larger variety of colors. They can be a combination of brindle, blue, white, cream, and fawn. A Boston Terrier is known for its white and black coat sometimes called a tuxedo. Or its coat can be a combination of white and brindle or seal.

Boston terrier vs French bulldog: Height

Looking at a French Bulldog and a Boston Terrier standing next to each other they would seem like the same size. But a Boston Terrier can be as tall as 17 inches from head to paw while a French Bulldog can grow to just 13 inches tall.

Boston terrier vs French bulldog: Popularity

These dogs are both popular. But look at the ratings and you’ll find that the French Bulldog is more popular with dog owners than the Boston Terrier. The French Bulldog is rated as the 6th most popular dog in the United States while the Boston Terrier ranks 23rd. Why? One possible reason is that French Bulldogs are more laid-back than Boston Terriers. But each family has to decide which dog is best for their household.

Brachycephalic Dogs

Both Boston terriers and French bulldogs are brachycephalics, a term describing flat-faced, short-muzzled dogs. Their altered bone anatomy actually comes from a genetic mutation resulting in wide, shortened skulls. Brachycephalics are known to have a myriad of health problems like trouble breathing, eye diseases, heat intolerance, dental disease, etc. Some other breeds labeled brachycephalic include boxers, pugs, English bulldogs, Pekingese, and several more.

Summary: French Bulldogs vs Boston Terriers

French BulldogsBoston Terriers
Shorter lifespan – more prone to diseaseLonger lifespan
Bat-shaped ears – rounder at the bottomTall ears that stick up
Square faceRound face
Variety of colorationsMainly tuxedo (black & white)
More popular breed because of its calm attitudeA bit hyper and anxious at times

Up Next…

There are several breeds other than French bulldogs and Boston terriers that resemble each other in more ways than one. Check out these articles to help tell these breeds apart:

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About the Author

Heather Hall is a writer at A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on plants and animals. Heather has been writing and editing since 2012 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture. As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, Heather enjoys hiking, gardening, and trail running through the mountains with her dogs.

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