Boxers are always ready for a good time. They're like that perpetually positive friend who simply won't allow you to be in a bad mood. In addition to being upbeat, they are extremely devoted, protective, and patient — qualities that put them in the great-with-kids category.
They have an imposing presence with muscular bodies, eyes and ears on high alert, and a very obvious underbite. Their lower jaw juts out in front of their upper jaw, giving them that stereotypical tough-guy look.
What boxers are
Boxers have an amazing combination of wonderful qualities that appeal to just about everyone. This may explain why they consistently make the 10 most popular dogs list. They're strong, beautiful, and loyal.
They have a lot of energy, so be prepared to keep yours occupied, or she could become destructive out of boredom. (Getting another boxer helps!) Boxers do better in homes with big yards. Unless you're adopting an elderly boxer, apartment life is not for them.
Boxers love to play, but they're also excellent watchdogs. They take their job as security guard for the whole family very seriously. Anyone up to no good who crosses the path of an alert, defensive boxer will most likely skulk away in search of an easier target.
What boxers are not
One thing a boxer isn't is boring. They are most definitely not couch potatoes. They like to keep moving, and they're very athletic. Boxers also have a great sense of humor, and they don't mind being the butt of their own jokes.
Boxers love to jump around. When your boxer is excited to see you, and he will be even if you've just gone to the bathroom, his butt will wiggle uncontrollably, and he'll burst into his happy dance — jump, leap, bounce, and pounce. And here it comes — the kidney bean dance!
Boxers are known for this peculiar and endearing behavior. They bend themselves into a half circle that resembles the shape of a kidney bean, and then, holding that posture, they'll walk or try to run around in circles. It's very silly and very adorable.
Boxer life span
Our dogs love us unconditionally, but boxers take unconditional love to a whole new level. Once they bond with you, you belong to them forever. Forever, for a boxer's life span, is about 10 to 12 years.
Boxer life expectancy is the same as most dogs of similar size. By comparison, the age range for small dogs is 14 years and up. At the opposite end of the spectrum are giant breeds like Great Danes and mastiffs, which usually top out at seven to eight years.
Boxer health issues
Virtually all purebred dogs have developed genetically transmitted health problems over time. Boxers are no exception.
The purebred boxer can be prone to heart disease, cancer, neurological problems, hip dysplasia, and thyroid deficiencies. Thyroid problems are usually easily treated with inexpensive medication that your dog will take her whole life.
However, the other health issues that boxers may develop could prove expensive to treat and have a big impact on your dog's quality of life. While it's good to know what you're getting into with a boxer, it's also important to know that not all boxers will develop these problems. Yours may very well have a long and healthy life.
Boxers saw logs
Boxers snore. This is mainly because of their facial anatomy. That lovable, smushed face can make breathing more difficult than it is for dogs with long snouts.
The reason is that dogs with flat faces have narrower nostrils and elongated soft palates. Either one of these factors can cause snoring. Both together virtually guarantee it.
However, snoring can also be caused by other issues like allergies, dental problems, and being overweight. You know your dog best. If his usual snoring becomes much louder or is accompanied by wheezing, make an appointment to see your vet.
Cropped ears and docked tails
Boxers are one of those breeds who traditionally have cropped ears and docked tails. They're born with medium-sized floppy ears and long tails. The practices of cropping and docking are becoming less and less popular. Indeed, many consider it downright cruel, and some vets refuse to do it.
Ear cropping involves cutting off the floppy part of the ears and taping what's left to a brace. The ears heal standing up and forever remain in that position after the tape and bracing are removed. Tails are usually docked up to the second vertebrae. Ear cropping and tail docking of boxers is usually done between 10 and 12 weeks of age while the puppy is anesthetized.
The American Kennel Club's boxer breed standards allow for uncropped ears, but they still require that tails be docked. Unless you plan to show your boxer, it's probably best to leave her au natural. Cropping and docking are not painless when the anesthesia wears off, and all surgical procedures come with the risk of infection.
Training your boxer
The most important thing to remember in training your boxer is consistency. This is critical with any dog, but boxers are a particularly brainy breed. If you say no to him jumping on the sofa one time and let it go the next, he'll know you don't really mean what you say and take full advantage of that.
You'll also need to be patient. The life cycle of a boxer dog is a little different than other breeds. Boxers tend to mature slower. They grow into their adult dog bodies a lot quicker than they develop adult dog minds.
Have fun with your boxer
Boxers need exercise, and nothing makes them happier than being with you. So, take your boxer with you when you go hiking. Take her kayaking (be sure to get her a life jacket). If your boxer's primary exercise is walking, make sure those walks are regular, frequent, and long.
Your boxer can be competitive in agility, but you may have to mix it up to keep her interested. She may get bored if the course is always the same. If she's bored, she may take matters into her own paws and run the course backward.
Boxers can also make excellent service dogs. Their intrinsic and very deep attachment to their human makes them perfect for these jobs.
A long and happy life
Dogs' bodies and needs change as they age, just like ours do. Older boxers have a tendency to put on weight. You may need to switch his food as he ages and isn't burning up as many calories as he used to. If you do change his food, do it very gradually, or he may have diarrhea or become constipated.
Consider providing stairs or a ramp so the old guy can still curl up in his favorite chair. On the off chance he doesn't have his own bed, get him one. If the bed he has is old, replace it with one that has memory foam. In fact, get two — one for indoors and one for outdoors.
Try to budget for regular wellness visits to the vet. Your vet will recommend how often based on your dog's age and any health issues he may have. Make sure he still gets some exercise, even if it's just walking out to the mailbox with you. Most of all, shower him with love.
- AllBoxerInfo: Age of a Boxer Dog
- AllBoxerInfo: The Boxer Dog Information Center
- AllBoxerInfo: Boxer Dog Snoring
- AllBoxerInfo: Docking Boxer Tails
- AllBoxerInfo: Boxer Dog Ears – Cropping
- American Boxer Club: Home
- American Kennel Club: Official Standard of the Boxer
- American Kennel Club: Boxer
- American Kennel Club: 8 Boxer Facts You Might Not Know
- Dogster: Health Issues for Brachycephalic or Flat-Faced Dogs
- The Boxer Rescue: The Kidney Bean