Since the 1800’s, Boston Terriers have consistently been one of the most popular dog breeds in America. And they seem to be especially popular among the rich and famous, counting many celebrities as their owners.
U.S. Presidents, A-list Hollywood Stars, legendary musicians, supermodels, and even an alleged axe murderer; here are some of the more notable famous Boston Terrier owners:
- Robin Williams
- Rose McGowan
- Louis Armstrong
- Sonny Rollins
- Rudy Vallee
- Joan Rivers
- Helen Keller
- Famke Janssen
- Denise Richards
- LeAnn Rimes
- Alison Sweeney
- Jake Gyllenhaal
- Norman Reedus
- Gerald Ford
- Warren G. Harding
- Gary Oldman
- Joan Crawford
- Kate Mara
- Sandra Dee
- Lizzie Borden
- Austyn Yoches
- Jean Arthur
- Sue Carol
1. Famous Boston Terrier Owner: Robin Williams
Robin Williams is regarded as one of the greatest comedic actors in history, beloved around the world for his versatile roles and wide range of characters. Achieving great success in both stand-up comedy and film, with iconic roles in Mrs. Doubtfire, Aladdin, and Dead Poets Society, he was a creative genius who inspired many with his distinct brand of humor.
In addition to the Oscar and Emmy awards which recognized his immense talent, Williams’ philanthropy efforts – often aimed at animal welfare – earned him an honorary humanitarian award from Comic Relief USA in 1994.
The Boston Terrier, named Verna Pearl, that Williams was often seen with was actually owned by his assistant. However, they were together so often that Williams thought of the dog as one of his own.
Dog's Name: Verna Pearl
2. Famous Boston Terrier Owner: Rose McGowan
Rose McGowan has made a name for herself in Hollywood as an actress, director, and activist. As an actress, she has appeared in films such as The Doom Generation, Jawbreaker, and Charmed.
Over the course of a successful career spanning three decades, she has been able to make a significant impact in filmmaking and pop culture by consistently taking up challenging roles that often mirror aspects of feminist themes or controversial topics.
In addition to fighting for social issues she believes in, McGowan is also willing to fight for her dogs. McGowan told Modern Dog magazine that she spent over $250,000 on surgeries and procedures for 2 of her Boston Terriers. McGowan has owned 3 Boston Terriers in total.
Dogs' Names: Bug, Fester, and Happy
3. Famous Boston Terrier Owner: Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong was an American jazz musician and singer renowned for his versatility, skill on the trumpet, and creative collaborations. Throughout his career, Armstrong achieved significant success that lasted through the 1950s. In addition to recording over 60 albums, he also created dozens of hit singles, including “What a Wonderful World” which remains one of the most familiar and beloved pieces in popular music history.
His contribution to jazz is immense; by refining scat singing techniques and influencing multiple performers who followed him, Louis Armstrong helped define the genre as we know it today. His legacy continues to live on in the countless musicians he inspired over the course of his career.
Here Armstrong is pictured with his Boston Terrier named General, who was a gift from his manager.
Dog's Name: General
4. Famous Boston Terrier Owner: Sonny Rollins
What is it with Jazz musicians and Boston Terriers?
Sonny Rollins is widely recognized as one of the most important and influential jazz musicians of the 20th century, having played with some of the greatest artists in his field. His repertoire spans bebop, hard bop, avant-garde jazz and his own unique style.
Rollins’ notable recordings include Saxophone Colossus, A Night at the Village Vanguard and Way Out West. His accomplishments have been recognized by numerous awards including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and a Pulitzer Prize for Music Special Citation.
Dog's Name: Unknown
5. Famous Boston Terrier Owner: Rudy Vallee
Yep, another Jazz musician.
Rudy Vallee was an iconic American singer, actor, and bandleader whose career spanned eight decades. He skyrocketed to fame in the 1930s as a popular crooner and gained international recognition with his collegiate-style singing.
Not only was he known for his smooth baritone voice, but also for the famed megaphone he used to amplify it on the radio airwaves. Later in his lengthy career he performed in several Broadway musicals and acted in over twenty films before retiring from show business in 1972 at the age of seventy.
It is safe to say that Vallee is best remembered as one of jazz’s greatest vocalists and entertainers who helped shape modern entertainment.
Dog's Name: Unknown
6. Famous Boston Terrier Owner: Joan Rivers
Known for her sassy wit and cutting one-liners, Joan Rivers was an iconic comedian who left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry. She was not afraid to tackle controversial topics with a fearless attitude that challenged social norms.
Rivers wrote several books and starred in TV shows along with performing regular comedy tours up until her death in 2014.
Rivers was well known as a dog lover who owned several dogs throughout her life, including a Boston Terrier named Lulu. According to her Goddaughter, “Lulu, a sprightly Boston Terrier, given to her by a paramour, a dog who wound up living the final year of her life as a tripawd, after bone cancer forced a rear amputation.”
Dog's Name: Lulu
7. Famous Boston Terrier Owner: Helen Keller
Helen Keller was a remarkable individual who achieved great success despite challenges that would be too much for many people. Blind and deaf from an early age, she was able to learn how to communicate with the help of her teacher, Anne Sullivan.
Through their famous relationship, Keller learned to read Braille, speak and write, even graduating with honors from college. She then devoted her life to social justice causes and became a highly respected political leader in her time.
According to Perkins School for the Blind, “Dogs brought Keller joy, companionship and acceptance. From her childhood, through the years she attended Perkins School for the Blind and to the very end of her life, dogs were always by her side. And she doted on them all, large or small – from scrappy Scotties to dignified Great Danes to a famous Akita.”
Here, Keller is pictured with her Boston Terrier Sir Thomas, more commonly known as Phiz.
Dog's Name: Sir Thomas aka Phiz
8. Famous Boston Terrier Owner: Famke Janssen
Beginning her career as a fashion model, Famke Janssen became a renowned actress who has made an impressive mark in both film and television.
Her diverse range of roles has showcased her range of talent from the comic book villainess Jean Grey in the X-Men trilogy to turn of the century assassin Xenia Onatopp in GoldenEye to Lenore Mills in the Taken film trilogy.
Janssen has also starred in an extended run on Fox’s crime drama series The Blacklist.
Here Janssen is pictured with her Boston Terrier named Licorice.
Dog's Name: Licorice
9. Famous Boston Terrier Owner: Denise Richards
Denise Richards is an American actress and former fashion model who has graced the silver screen for over 20 years. Denise made her acting debut in the television series Saved by the Bell followed by film roles in major motion pictures such as Starship Troopers, Wild Things and as a Bond Girl in The World Is Not Enough.
Additionally, she was a main cast member on the show Beverly Hills 90210 where her off-screen relationship with actor Charlie Sheen gained tabloid fame.
A known animal lover and advocate, Richards is constantly opening her home to foster dogs in need. Here she is with her 2 Boston Terriers named Nana and Lucy, and her Pug named Henry.
Also Read: Boston Terrier vs. Pug Breed Comparison
Dogs' Names: Nana, Lucy, and Henry (Pug)
10. Famous Boston Terrier Owner: LeAnn Rimes
LeAnn Rimes is a multi-platinum selling American singer and songwriter. Emerging in the late 90s as one of the brightest, fresh country minds in music, her powerful, emotive voice has made her a fan favorite for over two decades. She has since gone on to land numerous awards and accolades across genres, including two Grammys and 12 Billboard Music Awards.
Also a philanthropist and animal lover, Rimes has partnered with several charities including Best Friends Animal Society.
Rimes owns a total of 9 animals – 2 cats and 7 dogs including 3 Pomeranians, 2 Chihuahuas, a German Shepherd, and of course a Boston Terrier. Rimes told Animal Fair that her Boston Terrier “Harley was given her name because she looked like a little biker chick. So I named her Harley, after Harley-Davidson.”
Unfortunately, Rimes also reported that Harley lost an eye after getting into a scuffle with one of her other dogs.
I couldn’t find a picture of Rimes with her Boston Terrier, so she is pictured above with one of her Pomeranians.
Dog's Name: Harley
11. Famous Boston Terrier Owner: Alison Sweeney
Alison Sweeney is an American actress, television producer, and host most known for her portrayal of Samantha “Sami” Brady on the soap opera Days of Our Lives. She is also well-known for hosting the NBC reality series The Biggest Loser from 2007-2015.
In addition to her acting and hosting career, she is a New York Times best-selling author with multiple titles including Scared Scriptless and Opportunity Knocks.
Sweeney is the proud owner of a Boston Terrier named Winky, who is the second dog on our list with only one eye.
Dog's Name: Winky
12. Famous Boston Terrier Owner: Jake Gyllenhaal
Jake Gyllenhaal is a talented American actor, producer and director. He began his career as a child, appearing in various shows such as City Slickers and Homicide: Life on the Street.
Over the years, he has gone on to star in many big budget films such as Brokeback Mountain and Donnie Darko for which he received critical acclaim and recognition.
Dog's Name: Unknown
13. Famous Boston Terrier Owner: Norman Reedus
Norman Reedus, widely recognized for his outstanding portrayal of Daryl Dixon in the critically acclaimed television series, The Walking Dead, has continually captivated audiences with his powerful performances and undeniable charisma.
Far more than just an on-screen star, Reedus is a multitalented artist whose illustrious career spans not only television and film, but photography, modeling, and even voice acting.
Dog's Name: Unknown
14. Famous Boston Terrier Owner: Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford, the 38th President of the United States, is remembered as an emblem of integrity and dedication during a time of significant political upheaval. Assuming office in the wake of President Nixon’s unprecedented resignation, Ford stepped up to the immense challenge of navigating the nation through the aftermath of the Watergate scandal.
Though his presidency was relatively brief, he brought a sense of stability during tumultuous times as a seasoned political leader, having built a solid reputation during his 25-year tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives.
But before any of that, Ford was a young boy with 2 Boston Terriers named Fleck and Spot.
Dogs' Names: Fleck and Spot
15. Famous Boston Terrier Owner: Warren G. Harding
The tenure of Warren G. Harding as the 29th President of the United States, though short-lived, left an indelible mark on the nation. His administration, characterized by economic prosperity and political scandals, was defined by an emphasis on pro-business policies and a return to “normalcy” after the tumult of World War I.
Harding famously owned an Airedale Terrier named Laddie Boy who was the first “First Dog” to reach celebrity status. Harding, a lifelong animal lover, used Laddie Boy to promote animal welfare.
What is less well known is that Harding owned a Boston Terrier named Hub before taking office.
Dogs' Names: Hub and Laddie Boy (Airedale)
16. Famous Boston Terrier Owner: Gary Oldman
English actor Gary Oldman is known for his ability to play a wide range of movie roles from his masterful portrayal of historical figures such as George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, to unforgettable roles like Sirius Black in the Harry Potter series and Commissioner Gordon in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
Oldman’s commitment to the craft, coupled with his extraordinary depth of skill, has earned him numerous accolades, including an Academy Award, cementing his status as a true icon in the entertainment industry.
Dog's Name: Unknown
17. Famous Boston Terrier Owner: Joan Crawford
Joan Crawford, born Lucille Fay LeSueur in 1904, remains an iconic figure in the world of film and entertainment. Rising from humble beginnings, Crawford’s remarkable career spanned over five decades.
Throughout her career, Crawford amassed multiple awards and accolades—including an Academy Award for her performance in the 1945 film Mildred Pierce.
Crawford was also featured in our list of celebrity Scottie owners.
Dog's Name: Unknown
18. Famous Boston Terrier Owner: Kate Mara
Kate Mara, a talented and accomplished actress, has garnered an impressive list of career achievements throughout her time in the entertainment industry.
Her foray into the world of acting began at a young age, but her breakout role on the critically acclaimed TV series House of Cards truly catapulted her into stardom.
Here, Mara is seen walking her two Boston Terriers, Bruno and Lucius.
Dogs' Names: Bruno and Lucius
19. Famous Boston Terrier Owner: Sandra Dee
Starting her career as a model, Sandra Dee soared to fame during the late 1950s and 1960s as an actress and singer. Her youthful charm and undeniable talent captivated audiences, leading to memorable roles in films such as Gidget and Imitation of Life.
As successful as her career was in the mid 20th century, Dee enjoyed a second boost in fame when she was referenced in the movie Grease.
Dog's Name: Unknown
20. Famous Boston Terrier Owner: Lizzie Borden
Lizzie Borden took an ax
And gave her mother forty whacks,
And when she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.
In 1892, Borden’s parents were brutally murdered by an axe in their home, and all eyes turned to Lizzie as the prime suspect. Though she was eventually acquitted in a sensational trial that drew international attention, many still believe that she was the one responsible for the horrific crime.
Ostracized for the rest of her life, Borden adopted 3 Boston Terriers to keep her company.
Borden’s dogs are buried in the Pine Ridge Pet Cemetery in Dedham, MA which is open to the public if you feel so inclined.
Dogs' Name: Donald Stuart, Royal Nelson, and Laddie Miller
21. Famous Boston Terrier Owner: Austyn Yoches
Austyn Yoches is a reality TV personality who stars in History Channel’s Swamp People which has captured the interest of viewers worldwide since its inception in 2010.
Set in the heart of the Louisiana bayou, the show offers a unique insight into the perilous lives and cultural practices of alligator hunters who navigate the swamp’s murky waters in pursuit of their elusive prey.
Yoches is the proud owner of a Boston Terrier named Manneaux.
Dog's Name: Manneaux
22. Famous Boston Terrier Owner: Jean Arthur
During the Golden Age of Hollywood Jean Arthur became a symbol of the emerging modern female archetype using her unique voice and versatile talent to work on classic films such as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The More the Merrier, and You Can’t Take It with You.
Despite her hesitance to embrace fame, Jean Arthur’s undeniable talent solidified her place as one of the most iconic performers in the history of American cinema.
Dog's Name: Unknown
23. Famous Boston Terrier Owner: Sue Carol
Sue Carol holds an esteemed place in Hollywood history. Her impressive career began as a silent film actress in the 1920s, where she charmed audiences with her captivating performances on screen. As the film industry evolved and maneuvered through the inevitable transition to talkies, Sue Carol demonstrated her adaptability and vision.
Recognizing her strengths and embracing the opportunities presented, she boldly transitioned into talent management and founded the Sue Carol Agency in 1930.
Dog's Name: Unknown