When choosing the best dog breed for your family, temperament and trainability are just as important as looks. Both boxers and Labrador retrievers have been kept as loving family pets for generations, and both are considered to be good with children. These breeds are similar in size, energy level, but the boxer can be more protective.
The decision about which breed is best for your family might come down to your own personal preferences. Being equipped with a thorough understanding of both breeds and how they are similar and different can help you make that decision.
Video of the Day
Boxers tend to be playful, but they are also patient with children and seem to understand that young children need gentler treatment. They are extremely loyal and brave, so they make good protectors of children as well as good companions.
Labrador retrievers are also well-known for their kind nature when dealing with children. Labrador retrievers are extremely outgoing and tend to be nonaggressive, so a Labrador retriever may act more as a playmate than a protector toward its young owner.
Boxer vs. Labrador care
Both boxers and Labrador retrievers are short-haired dogs, so not a lot of grooming is required. Labrador retrievers shed more than boxers because of the undercoat — if you plan to keep your dog indoors, this could be a consideration. However, the lack of an undercoat in boxers makes them more susceptible to cold, so a boxer might be better suited to living indoors or in a warmer climate. Both dogs are similar in size and require the same amount and type of food.
As puppies, both breeds like to chew, although Labrador retrievers tend to chew on furniture and other household objects more than a boxer does. Neither should be left alone for long periods of time as puppies, or they might get bored and start chewing on things. Both boxers and Labrador need daily exercise, but a Labrador retriever in particular needs to live with an active family to keep its need for exercise met.
Boxer vs. Labrador training
Both breeds are amenable to training. Labrador retrievers tend to be extremely eager to please their owners, so training them with praise as the reward is extremely effective. Considering the Labs high energy and physical strength, it's recommended they are socialized earlier and puppy training classes are essential. Exposing your puppy to different people, places, and even training between the ages of 7 weeks to 4 months old will help ensure a well-balanced dog.
Similarly, the boxer's intelligence and alertness make this breed easy to train as well, since this type of dog will typically pay close attention to instruction and pick up training concepts quickly. Note that boxers need early training and can get bored easily by repetition and don't always get along with other dogs of the same sex. Boxers also excel at a variety of dog sports such as agility or even herding.
Considerations when selecting dogs
When purchasing either a purebred boxer or Labrador retriever, always go through a reputable, registered breeder. Both breeds can be prone to health problems, with heart problems being more common in boxers and bone problems being more common in Labrador retrievers.
A reputable breeder will screen for potential problems before selling you a puppy or dog. Another option for families who like the look and temperament of these breeds but do not want to pay the price for a purebred is to look for mixed-breed dogs with one of these breeds as part of the mix. Or many rescue organizations specialize in rehoming breeds including Labs and boxers — both are extremely popular breeds in North America.