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 – for good reason! They’re cheerful, energetic and loving – all the best qualities of a terrier. But if you plan to bring one home, barking is something to consider. So, do Boston Terriers bark? How much do they bark?

In general, Boston Terriers are not big barkers. In fact, some owners describe them as “unusually quiet dogs.” They tend to have a low “woof” instead of a loud bark. However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t bark at all. 

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

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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 in the terrier group love to bark. In fact, terriers were originally bred to be working 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. Because most owners don’t spend enough time providing an outlet for their terriers, it leads to both destructive and 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 the one of the first terriers bred to not be working dogs. In fact, these dogs were the first non-sporting dogs 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 working or herding dogs. Instead, these dogs were meant for all kinds of jobs – everything from hunting, to guarding and even as affectionate lap dogs.

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 dog. However, in what situations do Boston Terriers bark?

Barking to Protect

Boston Terriers, by nature, are very territorial and protective dogs. Because they’re affectionate and loving dogs, they’ll naturally be protective of their owners.

This can lead to aggressive or territorial behavior, such as barking. If they sense danger or someone intruding on their space, they will likely give “warning” barks as most dogs do.

This type of behavior is not exclusive to humans. In fact, they can get aggressive with other dogs and animals too. So if you’re bringing home a Boston Terrier to a house with another dog or cat, you need to spend quite some time with socialization.

Playful Barking

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

Even while playing, they don’t bark very much. There aren’t many things that can get a Boston Terrier excited enough to bark loudly. They’ll instead express their happiness with their body language, such as a wagging tail or some kisses.

Owners: 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 dont 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.”

Boston Terrier Owners Survey Recap

Out of 10 Boston Terrier owners, only 1 owner thought their dog barked a lot. On the other hand, 7 owners believed that their dog does not bark a lot. The remaining two owners experienced mixed results.

We know this is a pretty small sample size, however, this is just more evidence that points to the fact that Boston Terriers are quiet dogs.

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. It may seem like they’re randomly barking, but they’re 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 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.

The dogs learn that by barking excessively, the owners will “reward” them with a treat. Once this connection is established, barking will happen and happen a lot.

It’s best to ignore your dog when they’re barking at you for the wrong reasons. 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 times. As soon as they start to bark, reward them with praises and a treat.

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

It may take some patience and repetitions with a Boston Terrier, but they’re intelligent and very capable of learning these commands. 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 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 owner, 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 play with an infant, Boston Terriers generally do well with older kids.

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.

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, the Boston Terrier is an excellent choice!

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About the author

Tiffany Jeng

Tiffany is a product of Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine (class of 2022). Combined 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.

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