Running With Boston Terrier: The Importance of Exercise

My Boston Terrier is a wild little thing. She enjoys every type of activity imaginable. However, I have to pay close attention to her so that she doesn’t experience any complications due to her brachycephalic face. Between us, we’ve worked out a great routine.

Boston Terriers are not bred to be runners; at best, a well-conditioned dog will be able to run up to a mile. He is more likely to be able to hike up to 8 miles comfortably. You will have to monitor his health regardless of which exercise you choose.

If you are interested in learning more about Boston Terriers and the different types of activities they can participate in, you should continue to read. I will also cover the different factors you need to monitor to prevent a medical emergency from occurring.

Running With Boston Terrier

Exercise is critical to maintaining a healthy weight for your Boston Terrier. While running and jogging are perfectly acceptable forms of exercise, you’ll find he prefers playing to burn off his calories. 

Most Boston Terriers enjoy a game of fetch or chasing a frisbee around. However, you’ll have to monitor your dog for signs of respiratory distress. Playtime should stop well before any indication of a problem is seen. 

Boston Terriers are brachycephalic, which means they have flat faces. Because of this feature, they have trouble breathing and are prone to heat stroke during strenuous activity. You will need to monitor your dog for signs of either condition and immediately stop playtime.

When it comes to running with you, if you properly train and condition your dog, he will be able to run up to a mile with no complications. However, the breed is not built for long-distance running and instead will benefit from gentle jogging or short bursts of speed.

Hiking is another alternative to running that these dogs excel at. Given the right circumstances, your Boston Terrier can hike up to 8 miles with you. They will need plenty of water and enough adequate breaks to prevent breathing problems and overheating.

Alternative Exercise Options

In addition to running, there are several other options that your Boston Terrier will love. You can be extra creative or traditional when it comes to playtime; the important measure is getting your dog out of the house.


image of a boston terrier playing fetch

I have yet to meet a dog that did not like to play fetch. This activity is something you can do when you only have a few minutes or when you have hours. It’s that versatile. Depending on how much work you want your dog to do, you can also make the game difficult or easy.

Try tossing the ball or toy into different places where your Boston Terrier will have to go an extra step or two to retrieve it. Doing this will add a little extra thought and fun to the game. 


Additionally, if you have strong toys or even a good rope, you can establish a decent example of a premium toy for this type of fun. It’s a great way for your dog to relieve some of his frustrations. Make sure it’s good quality material, so your dog won’t get his teeth stuck.

Sprinkler Play

A backyard alternative to swimming is sprinkler play. Your dog will love running through the water to cool off from the heat. Use the sprinkler as just a water toy or a method to play with other toys. 

Remember to never leave your dog unattended in the yard while he’s playing. This is a prime way for accidents to happen. 


Swimming is an excellent option for those dogs with painful conditions like arthritis. It is a low-impact activity that will help lift up aching joints. You need to carefully monitor your dog while he swims. If he gets tired, he needs to be able to rest, so keep him in the shallows.

Concerns When Exercising Your Boston Terrier

Several factors can affect your Boston Terrier during exercise sessions and must be considered. 

Beware of Temperature Extremes

Whether the weather is too hot or too cold, you must take charge of your Boston Terrier’s health. This breed is extremely susceptible to overheating, so you should avoid long bouts of exercise during the hottest of the summer months. 

In addition to overheating, Boston Terriers are known for developing serious reactions to the cold, including being prone to hypothermia. Consider a jacket for our dog to keep him warm in winter.

Overexercise Can Have Disastrous Consequences

Too much exercise can be problematic for your dog’s brachycephaly. This facial design does not allow for the best airflow, which can result in respiratory distress, overheating, and collapse. Overexercising can lead to injury as well.

Observations You Need to Make When Exercising Your Boston Terrier

Because of their brachycephalic faces, Boston Terriers are not as athletic as some other breeds. Exercising requires deep breathing that is not always possible for these dogs, resulting in lower stamina. 

Ensure you keep a close eye on your Boston Terrier to prevent him from overexerting himself. You must stop all activity at the first sign of respiratory problems or fatigue, which can result in a severe medical emergency.

If it’s hot and humid outside, consider moving all activity inside for the day. Making these modifications will prevent overheating and potential collapse.

It’s going to come down to your personal judgment when exercising your Boston Terrier. You will know him the best out of anyone. While there are standards and recommendations, every dog is different. 

Get to know what your dog likes and does not like. How long he can play or run without getting winded will be the major deciding factor in the duration of your playtime. 

jojo the boston terrier just napping

Final Thoughts

While your Boston Terrier is a loyal dog, he may not be the best-suited type of dog to be your running companion. He will, however, still require adequate exercise and play to help alleviate stress, reduce the risk of obesity, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Boston Terriers are not well-suited to long-distance or endurance running. A well-conditioned dog will be able to run a mile at best. These dogs are more likely to be able to hike up to 8 miles comfortably. Either option will require health monitoring.

Your Boston Terrier will have his favorite activities that keep him busy, but you will still have to monitor him to ensure that he is safe during these activities. You must pay attention for any signs of respiratory distress or fatigue so that you can stop the exercise for resting time.

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