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Boston Terrier Colors: 8 Standard & Non-Standard Variations


Last Updated: January 23, 2024 | 6 min read | 1 Comment

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The Boston Terrier is friendly, bright, amusing, and popular in America. They look similar to the famous Frenchie cousin but slimmer and leggier. The Boston’s coat colors and markings give them the appearance of wearing a tuxedo. This, combined with their fun-loving character and beautiful appearance, has earned them the nickname “The American Gentleman.”

Unlike many terriers with a whole rainbow of colors to choose from, the Boston Terrier only has five standard colors. These are Black and White; Black, Brindle and White; Brindle and White; Seal and White; and Seal, Brindle, and White. Bostons have white markings, which should follow a specific shape and placement, especially around their head, neck, and legs.

Some coat colors are more common than others. There are also a handful of non-standard colors that occur occasionally but are pretty rare. We look at all the colors in the Boston Terrier family and discover which ones are the most common and rarest. We also explore the relationship between coat color and health and shedding and find which coat color is the best for you. Let’s dive right in.

Boston Terrier Genetics & Health

The world of doggy color genetics is a confusing and complex one, and it is still not fully understood. But to summarize it briefly, two pigments determine all doggy coat colors. These are eumelanin and pheomelanin. The first produces dark colors such as brown and black. And the latter causes the amount of red and yellow in their coat. The pigments in a Boston’s coat depend on the coat color genes they inherit from their parents.

Most dogs inherit the standard color gene. However, in some dog breeds, there are dilute color genes. These dilute color genes are rarer than standard color genes. Essentially, the dilute gene weakens the color, diluting it down. Bostons born with a dilute coat color have an increased risk of color dilution alopecia (CDA), a genetic condition that causes patches of thin hair or hair loss and may also cause itchy or flaky skin. This can affect Bostons with blue, fawn, and lilac coats.

Standard Boston Terrier Colors

There are many different kennel clubs worldwide, each with a breed standard for registerable breeds listing the ideal characteristics. Some breeds have different breed standards depending on which kennel club you are looking at. The American Kennel Club (AKC) is the primary kennel club in America. Their Boston Terrier breed standard lists the details of standard coat colors. As reputable breeders usually breed Bostons with these colors, they are more common than non-standard colors. But some of these colors are rarer than others. Let’s take a closer look at each coat color.

Black & White

Black and white Boston Terrier standing outside.
The black and white tuxedo coat is why these pups are called “The American Gentleman.”

Black and white is the most common coat color and the one that most people think of when picturing Bostons. Some breeders refer to this coat as the black coat, but they are technically black and white, as all Bostons have white in their coats. Pups with the “perfect” tuxedo patterning are likely to be higher in price than their “imperfect” siblings.

Black, Brindle & White

Black, brindle, and white Boston Terrier lying on sidewalk.
Black, brindle, and white coats are very similar in appearance to the most common black and white coats.

If you look closely at the coat’s black areas, you can see lighter brindle stripes throughout. Not all of the black areas have brindle stripes; instead, they are solid black. This is what sets it apart from the brindle and white coat.

Brindle & White

Brindle and white Boston Terrier colored dog standing looking up.
Brindle and white coats are rarer than black, brindle, and white.

The difference between this coat and the black, brindle, and white coat is that all darker areas have brindle stripes. Some of the brindle patterns might be more obvious than other parts.

Seal & White

Seal and white Boston Terrier colored dog lying in the sun on a pillow.
The seal color is rarer than black coats.

The color seal is hard to identify, especially for those who don’t know what to look for. To the naked eye, the coat looks black or very dark brown. But in the sun or bright light, it has a red cast. Some call this coat the seal coat, while others call it the brown and white coat. But it shouldn’t be confused with the non-standard brown and white coat.

Seal, Brindle & White

Seal, white, and brindle Boston Terrier colored dog sitting in sand with a tennis ball.
This is the rarest of all the standard colors.

This coat is similar to the seal and white coats except for the brindle pattern within the seal color areas. For this reason, you might find pups with this coat with a higher price tag than the other more frequent coats.

Non-Standard Boston Terrier Colors

In addition to the standard Boston Terrier colors, a few other colors pop up in litters from time to time. Any Boston color that isn’t standard is considered a non-standard color. These colors are unacceptable in the show ring, so some breeders choose not to breed them. As a result, they are much rarer than standard color jackets.

Blue & White

Blue and white Boston Terrier colored dog standing outside in field.
This is technically a black and white coat pup with a dilute gene.

Blue and white Bostons have a steel-blue coat with white patterns. Some people also call this color grey. The color black has been diluted to a steel-blue color. This makes these pups more at risk for CDA.

Brown & White

Brown and white Boston Terrier colored dog sitting outside in grass with owner.
Some intensely colored brown pups are called chocolate and white Bostons, and lighter brown pups are sometimes called fawn and white.

Brown and white Boston Terriers are the most common of the non-standard colors. They vary in brown shades, ranging from deep chocolate to light fawn. Some intense auburn shades are sometimes called red and white coats, and some pale red coats are called champagne.

Lighter-colored brown coats may be lighter due to the dilute gene, which makes them more prone to the health problems associated with CDA. Although brown and white coats are the most common non-standard colors, they are not allowed into conformation competitions.

Lilac & White

Lilac and white color Bostons are very rare. As a result, they are often seen as a desirable color for those who do not want to show their pups. Lilac is often confused for the blue coat, and it’s hard to distinguish, but in bright light, it has a purple hue. Remember that this color results from the dilute color gene, making them more prone to health problems.

Boston Terrier Markings

The markings on a Boston Terrier coat are significant in the show ring. They must all have a white muzzle band, a white blaze between the eyes, and a white forechest. Judges also like to see an even white blaze between the eyes and over the head, a white collar, and partial or complete white legs below the hocks. Any Boston without these essential markings or solid in color is disqualified from the show ring.

These markings aren’t that important if your pooch is a family pet, but they give them their distinctive look. Plus, if they don’t have the traditional markings, there is a chance they might not be a purebred Boston. It’s rare for Bostons not to have any markings.

Boston Terrier Color Variation

Boston Terrier colored dog with markings standing on white background.
If you come across any other coat color or markings not mentioned in this Boston coat color guide, there is a big chance that they are not a purebred Boston.

There’s a chance you could have a Boston mix breed. Be wary of irresponsible breeders that advertise rare Bostons with a significantly higher price tag than the average puppy price, especially colors not on this list. If you find a merle and white color pup, it is likely a Boston and the similar-looking French Bulldog hybrid, also known as a Frenchton.

Entirely white Boston Terriers do not exist. If you find one, they are either a mixed breed or a Boston suffering from albinism. Albino Bostons have no color pigmentation, and they have pale eyes, pink noses, and other features. All dogs with this genetic mutation are prone to more health issues. Although they can make sweet pets, they have a shorter lifespan and often have behavioral problems. Avoid any breeder selling an albino puppy as a white puppy. Some irresponsible breeders call them platinum Bostons, but this is just one of their many tactics to sell their pups.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the world of Boston Terrier coat colors.

What Color Boston Terrier Sheds The Most?

There is no link between Boston Terrier coat color and shedding. Bostons have a short and fine single coat that sheds lightly throughout the year and more moderately during the shedding seasons. Unlike many other single-coat dogs, they are not hypoallergenic.

Does Coat Color Affect A Boston Terrier’s Health?

A coat color affects a Boston Terrier’s health only if they have a dilute coat or suffer from albinism. Other than that, coat color doesn’t affect your Boston’s health. Their health is more determined by their genetics and lifestyle.

What Color Boston Terrier Should I Get?

This depends on the purpose of the Boston Terrier. If you want to breed your Boston or show them in the conformation ring, you should stick to a standard color. Non-standard colors are disqualified from the show ring. If you’re seeking a family pet, pick the color you prefer most. However, it’s always better to choose a puppy based on their personality that matches you and your family.

What Is The Rarest Boston Terrier Color?

The rarest Boston Terrier colors are the non-standard colors, and the rarest is lilac and white. Out of the standard colors, the rarest are seal, brindle, and white. The most common is the traditional black and white coat.

Learn More About Boston Terriers

If you’re seriously considering adding a Boston to your family, you may want to educate yourself even more about this beloved breed. Learn how much they shed and their grooming needs. We also have recommendations for the best dog food and best crates for Boston Terriers so you can be prepared before you bring your little one home.

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