Dog Breeds Dog Training

Do Boston Terriers Bark A Lot? – The Dog Owner’s Guide to Barking

So do Boston Terriers like to bark? You'll be surprised.
Written by Tiffany Jeng

Boston Terriers are one of the most popular terriers – and for good reason! They’re cheerful and energetic, but also loving and kind – all the best qualities of a terrier. But if you plan to bring one home a dog, barking is always something to consider.

So, do Boston Terriers bark? In general, Boston Terriers are not big barkers. In fact, some owners describe them as “unusually quiet dogs.” Boston Terriers tend to have a low “woof” instead of a sharp bark. However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t bark at all, as baking will vary by individual dog. 

If you’re curious whether your Boston Terrier will bark or not, you’re in the right place. We’ll dive into why these dogs are so quiet (for the most part) and steps to stop a barking Boston terrier (if you happen end up with one).

RECOMMENDED: 31 Terrific Terrier Mixes

Why Boston Terriers Don’t Bark That Much

Boston Terriers don't bark much because they were bred to be that way.

It’s no secret that dog breeds from the terrier group love to bark. Because most terriers were originally bred to be working dogs, they needed to be lively and spirited dogs. In other words, dogs from this group tend to have high energy levels.

As a result, all that pent up energy needs to be released. And since most owners don’t spend enough time providing an outlet for their terriers, it often leads to both destructive or obnoxious behaviors – such as barking.

So if this is the case, why don’t Boston Terriers bark as much as other terriers? 

Boston Terriers are different because they were bred to not be working dogs. Rather, these terriers were the first non-sporting dogs ever bred in the United States. Their temperaments are so different that the AKC didn’t even put them in the terrier group!

Non-sporting dogs, such as the Boston Terrier, don’t usually have nearly as much energy as the working or herding dogs. Though, there are some exceptions. Instead, these dogs were meant for all kinds of jobs – from guarding to lap dog duties.

When Do Boston Terriers Bark?

When do boston terriers bark?

Keep in mind, it’s not like these dogs don’t bark at all. And of course, some Boston Terriers will bark more than others. It all depends on the individual dog. However, in what situations will your Boston Terriers bark? Read on to find out.

Barking to Protect

Boston Terriers, by nature, are very territorial and protective dogs. They will do everything in their power to protect their family. In fact, it’s why Boston Terriers are considered to be loving and affectionate dogs – they care about their pack!

However, this quality in Boston Terriers can lead to aggressive or territorial behavior, such as barking. If these dogs sense danger or someone intruding on their space, they will likely give “warning barks” as most dogs do.

Bostons do not bark unless it is necessary. Mine will challenge the front door when people knock or ring the doorbell. Other than than, he’s very quiet.

– Orozco34 (Boston Terrier Forums)

This type of behavior is not exclusively seen directed towards humans. In fact, Bostons can get aggressive with other dogs and pets too. So if you’re bringing one back to a household with another animal, you need to spend quite some time with socialization.

Boston Terriers pick their moments for barking. But when compared to the majority of dogs in the world, they’re still considered to be quiet dogs. And barking to alert you and protect may be the only times you’d want your dog to bark.

Playful Barking

Many owners will tell you that Boston Terriers bark when they’re playing with their owners, other dogs or animals. In other words, they tend to exhibit a “playful bark” instead of the more hostile and aggressive warning barks.

It’s all about how you read the situation. For example, if a Boston Terrier is barking while he or she is running with the kids, it’s probably not aggressive. After all, these dogs are naturally good at playing with children.

And even while playing, Boston Terriers don’t bark very much. There aren’t many things that will get a Boston Terrier excited and bark loudly. They’ll instead express their happiness with their body language, such as a wagging tail or some kisses.

Does Your Boston Terrier Bark Much?

We asked real Boston Terrier owners whether they thought their dog was quiet or not.

In order to gauge just how much these terriers bark, we had to ask real owners themselves. So, we surveyed the popular Boston Terrier Sub Reddit forum for answers from owners. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Pgcooldad says No:No. Only when someone is at the door or you play/roughhouse with them. I have two and occasionally they will bark at each other when they want the same toy or chew hide. My experience is that, they don’t bark.”

2. Bravelittletoastgirl says No:Maddie makes lots of growly whiny noises if she wants attention, but I’ve only heard her bark when someone’s on our back porch.”

3. Winelover211 says No:I have a Boston we raised from a puppy in an apartment and he never barks. The only time he will is if he’s on the bed and wants down and we walk away. Other than that, he’s quiet.

4. Thedaltonxp says No:Mine is pretty mellow. She will play as long as I want to but she is also completely cool laying on the couch with me if I don’t want to.

5. Internetdoofus says Yes:I had a Boston Terrier that was very vocal. We had a couch in front of one of our upstairs windows and he would lay on top of it (to get the sunshine) and would bark at anything he say on the street. Cars, people, birds flying by, you name it.”

6. Zuvembi says No:I’ll chime in with the rest and say not much barking…The only other time is when he gets his toy stuck under something – which leads to his “Oh my god, come quick, this is important! There’s is a toy in danger!” bark.

7. Festion says Mixed:My Boston barks, but its always a security bark, doorbell, knock or a sound on the TV. He barks when playing and it gets too exciting.”

8. Wallflower7522 says No:The fact that they rarely bark is so great. My neighbors dog barks 24/7, it drives me nuts but our girls only bark when they have a reason to.

9. Ninjashira says No:My dog almost never barks. He’s two years old, and I think I’ve only heard him bark maybe three times. He makes plenty of other weird noises though!

10. Iredditfromwork says Mixed:Mine has ONLY ever barked in her sleep. Her only waking vocalizations are moans and squeaks…It’s kind of adorable, and perfect for apartment living…but i’ve met other Bostons that DO bark quite a lot.

Training a Boston Terrier to Not Bark

It requires patience and consistency to teach a Boston Terrier to be quiet.

We already know that most Boston Terriers aren’t big on barking. However, that’s not the case for all of them. If you happen to have a “rare” Boston Terrier that does excessively bark, here are some tips to stop the barking.

Remove the Barking Motivator

There’s a reason why your Boston Terrier is barking. Though it may seem like they’re barking at random, they’re actually not. There’s always a reason. First, you need to identify this by being observant when they’re barking.

For example, the motivator can be because they’re begging for treats. It could also be when a person passes by the home (while outside). In the second example, you would bring the dog in the house to remove the motivator. It can be that easy.

Ignore Them If They Bark

Sometimes your Boston Terrier will bark to try get a response from you. For example, when a dog goes on a barking rampage, some owners will try to calm them down by giving them treats. Big mistake – this could make things worse.

What happens is, the Boston Terrier learns that by barking excessively will lead to the owners giving a “reward,” such as a treat. Once this connection is established, barking will happen and happen a lot. The longer you do this, the more you reinforce it.

Instead, it’s best to ignore your dog when they’re barking at you for the wrong reasons. With this, they may eventually “give up” the barking. However, if your dog rarely barks and starts to bark at you, they may be trying to tell you something important.

Teach them the “Quiet” Command

Yes, its possible to teach a Boston Terrier to be quiet. However, to do so, they must learn how to “speak” first. You can do this by saying “speak” and waiting for your dog to bark a couple of times. As soon as they start to bark, reward them with praises and a treat.

Once your Boston Terrier has this down, use the “speak” command. Except this time, you will want to say “quiet” while they bark. As soon as they stop barking, reward them with praises and a treat. Make sure to repeat until they have this down.

This may take some patience and plenty of repetitions with a Boston Terrier, though they’re still intelligent and very capable of learning these commands. But in the long run, you’ll be happy you taught your dog these commands.

Who Are Boston Terriers For?

So what kind of owners are suited for a quiet boston terrier?

If you’re living in a small enclosed space with close neighbors, don’t worry. Boston Terriers are some of the best apartment dogs because they don’t bark too much. If you want to see other fantastic apartment dogs, check out 23 dogs that don’t bark.

These dogs are also highly suited for families of all types. Whether you’re a single owner or a family with kids, a Boston Terrier will thrive. They tend to develop deep relationships with their owners, so you can expect a reliable and dependable companion.

If your family has small infants or toddlers, these dogs are perfect. While I’ll never recommend letting your terrier (or any dog breed) play with a fragile infant, Boston Terriers generally do well with older kids that know how to respect them.

As parents, we all know that loud noises (such as barking) and babies don’t mix so well. But because they’re quiet dogs, having babies around will be no problem if you’re careful. Training will still be necessary though.

Boston Terriers are also excellent companions for seniors. Though they can be lively, they’re affectionate and don’t have the same high-energy temperaments that other terriers have. Their quiet demeanor is something that seniors can appreciate too.

Overall, these dogs are fantastic because they’re loving, friendly, cheerful, a little amusing, but most importantly, quiet dogs. If you think these characteristics fit you and your lifestyle, then a Boston Terrier is an excellent choice!

Posts you may like:

About the author

Tiffany Jeng

Tiffany is a licensed vet tech and a product of Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine (class of 2022). With over 5 years of veterinary technician experience, she's dedicated her life and career to dogs. When she's not studying or working, she's taking care of her Mini Australian Shepherd - Olympus! Read More.

Leave a Comment