Boston Terrier vs Pug: 5 Key Differences

Written by August Buck
Published: March 30, 2022
Image Credit Various photo/Shutterstock.com
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While the two dog breeds may look similar to begin with, there are a great number of differences between a Boston terrier vs pug. Both of these small dog breeds are extremely popular for a wide number of reasons, but what differences separate them from one another and what similarities bring them together? 

In this article, we will discuss all of the differences between Boston terriers and pugs so that you can learn to tell them apart based on their physical appearance alone. We will also discuss what purebred dogs were originally bred for as well as their behavioral differences and overall health differences. Let’s get started and learn about these two dogs now! 

Comparing Boston Terrier vs Pug

boston terrier vs pug
Boston terriers grow larger than pugs do on average, in both size and weight.

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Boston TerrierPug
Size15-25 pounds; 13-17 inches tall13-20 pounds; 12-15 inches tall
AppearanceFound in a variety of colors including black, white, brown, gray, red, and tan. Ears stick up and they have a mark on the center of their faceOnly found in fawn and black colors; squished face and ample wrinkles. Ears end near the eyeline and are floppy. Dark markings around face and ears
Originally Bred ForOriginally bred for hunting rats and were used illegally in dog fightsOriginally bred for royalty and as lap dogs; purebred dog and popular pet
BehaviorLoyal and protective; loves taking care of their familiesCalm and mellow; used to sleeping frequently near their humans
Lifespan13-15 years12-14 years

Key Differences Between Boston Terrier vs Pug

Boston Terrier vs Pug
Pugs were originally bred as lap dogs for royalty, while Boston terriers were bred for the illegal act of dog fights.

Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com

There are many key differences between Boston terriers and pugs. Boston terriers grow larger than pugs do on average, in both size and weight. The Boston terrier is found in a variety of colors and markings, while pugs are only found in fawn and black colors. Finally, pugs were originally bred as lap dogs for royalty, while Boston terriers were bred for the illegal act of dog fights. 

Let’s discuss all of these differences in more detail. 

Boston Terrier vs Pug: Size

Boston Terrier vs Pug
The average Boston terrier weighs anywhere from 15 to 25 pounds, while the average pug only weighs 13 to 20 pounds.

Lenka_N/Shutterstock.com

While it can be difficult to tell upon first glance, the Boston terrier outgrows pugs more often than not. However, both of these dogs are considered small to medium sized dog breeds and their size and weight often overlap. Let’s discuss this in more detail now. 

The average Boston terrier weighs anywhere from 15 to 25 pounds, while the average pug only weighs 13 to 20 pounds. This also means that most pugs grow to 12 to 15 inches tall, while Boston terriers often reach 13 to 17 inches on average. 

Boston Terrier vs Pug: Appearance

Boston Terrier vs Pug
The amount of colors that a Boston terrier comes in far exceeds the amount of colors that a pug comes in.

Pavel Hlystov/Shutterstock.com

You can easily tell the difference in appearance between a Boston terrier and a pug. For example, Boston terriers have ears that point upwards, while pugs have floppy and long ears that hang near their eyes. Boston terriers also have distinct stripes or markings on their faces, in between their eyes, while pugs do not have the same markings. 

The amount of colors that a Boston terrier comes in far exceeds the amount of colors that a pug comes in. Pugs are found in black and fawn only, while Boston terriers are found in black, white, brown, gray, red, and tan. Finally, Boston terriers only have short and stubby tails, while pugs have their trademark curly tails.

Both of these dog breeds have squished faces and noses, which can lead to health issues down the line. While their appearances are adorable, it is important to always keep this physical appearance in mind. Both pugs and Boston terriers need to be cared for and kept healthy to avoid any issues with their respiratory systems.

Boston Terrier vs Pug: Original Reason for Breeding

Boston Terrier vs Pug
Pugs are still lap dogs to this day, preferring to be close to their humans at all times, while Boston terriers enjoy a level of Independence and freedom from their people.

Zero Degrees Photography/Shutterstock.com

While the answer may surprise you, Boston terriers and pugs were bred for very different purposes. Pugs are considered one of the oldest dog breeds that still exist in the world today, and Boston terriers are a fairly old breed too. However, pugs were bred for the nobility of the time and were praised as lap dogs. Boston terriers were used to hunt rats in factories as well as in the illegal act of dog fights. 

Boston Terrier vs Pug: Behavior

Despite both of these dogs having similar energy levels and needs for their sizes, there are some behavioral differences between Boston terriers and pugs. For example, pugs are still lap dogs to this day, preferring to be close to their humans at all times, while Boston terriers enjoy a level of independence and freedom from their people. However, even the average Boston terrier remains loyal and protective of their family, while pugs have a more laid-back approach. 

Boston Terrier vs Pug
The average pug lives anywhere from 12 to 14 years, while Boston terriers live anywhere from 13 to 15 years.

iStock.com/LexiTheMonster

Boston Terrier vs Pug: Lifespan

A final difference between Boston terriers and pugs is their lifespan. The average pug lives anywhere from 12 to 14 years, while Boston terriers live anywhere from 13 to 15 years. However, both of these dogs suffer from very similar health issues and concerns. Some of those health concerns include Brachycephalic Syndrome due to both of these breeds having smushed faces.

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About the Author

I am a non-binary freelance writer working full-time in Oregon. Graduating Southern Oregon University with a BFA in Theatre and a specialization in creative writing, I have an invested interest in a variety of topics, particularly Pacific Northwest history. When I'm not writing personally or professionally, you can find me camping along the Oregon coast with my high school sweetheart and Chihuahua mix, or in my home kitchen, perfecting recipes in a gleaming cast iron skillet.

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