By: Sharon Sleighter
Thinking of adopting a boxer? Boxers are a wonderful family dog, but there’s some things you need to know before jumping into a relationship with this clown of the dog world. Boxers are a fun loving breed and tend to be “puppies” their entire lives. They are intelligent and stubborn, which means obedience training can be a bit of a challenge, and any boxer owner will tell you that a professional puppy training class (or classes) is a must. Only POSITIVE training should be used with the boxer. Jumping up on people is often the number one challenge to overcome as boxers, as their name implies, tend to jump and “box” in play.
Boxers are mischievous, smart and energetic. They need a family that understands this and one that is willing to give them the proper physical and mental exercise. A bored boxer is a destructive boxer. Because boxers are brachycephalic, referring to their adorable short muzzles and smooshy faces, but it also means that boxers cannot tolerate high temperatures. Due to their short coats and muscular builds, with little body fat, they also do not tolerate low temperatures. Boxers are best suited as indoor dogs due to this, and also due to the fact that they bond very strongly with their human families, and they want to be with their families. It is not uncommon for me to exit a room and find a pile of boxers outside the door (usually to the bathroom) waiting for me to come out. We refer to this as a “dog clog” in my house.
Boxers are also a wonderful dog in the rescue environment. They love all people and bond quickly with new people, they have a “love the one they’re with” attitude.
While boxers were originally bred to be guard dogs, do not expect your boxer to be aggressive with humans, in fact, quite the opposite is true. While boxers are ever vigilant and alert, you need to understand that while they will alert to bumps in the night or sounds outside, they should never be trained as “guard dogs”. This type of training can have a very negative result in boxers. Be comfortable in the fact that they will alert you to any potential danger, but don’t expect them to react in an aggressive manner to any human, and that’s just as it should be.
Boxers are high on the list of dog breeds that are prone to cancer. All lumps and bumps on your boxer should be examined/removed by your veterinarian as soon as possible. So you need to be prepared for the occasional surgical costs that come with the breed. Boxer lovers will tell you that these costs are minimal compared to the love and companionship they give their families in return.
Are you a multiple dog family? If so, you need to know that boxers are also unique in the fact that it is not ever recommended to place two females in the same home. Boxer females tend to be highly territorial and while they may get along with other female canines for a while, in some cases, even years, that is likely to change as they reach full maturity at 3-5 years of age. Once female boxers have had a spat with another female, they hold a mean grudge and they should never be left alone together after that occurs.
And don’t underestimate them, they can, and will, kill another female. I know this sounds harsh, but we have seen the heartache that families are forced to endure when their females start fighting after years of living together. It’s not worth the risk.
The ideal Boxer is a medium-sized, square built dog of good substance with short back, strong limbs, and short, tight-fitting coat. His well developed muscles are clean, hard and appear smooth under taut skin. His movements denote energy. The gait is firm, yet elastic, the stride free and ground-covering, the carriage proud. Developed to serve as guard, working and companion dog, he combines strength and agility with elegance and style. His expression is alert and temperament steadfast and tractable.
Two of the colors are fawn and brindle. Fawn shades vary from light tan to mahogany. The brindle ranges from sparse, but clearly defined black stripes on a fawn background, to such a heavy concentration of black striping that the essential fawn background color barely, although clearly, shows through (which may create the appearance of “reverse brindling”). Boxers can also be white or check. Check boxers are mostly fawn or brindle, but more than 1/3 of their bodies are white.
Boxers also have varying degrees of white on them. A boxer with a lot of white on his body is called flashy and a boxer with little to no white is called a classic or plain boxer
The white boxer now makes up 25% to 30% of all boxers within the United States and there are still many misconceptions about this color of boxer. Though the color of a boxer does not determine its’ individual personality or all those boxer traits we have come to know and love, the rumors associated with these misconceptions are often misleading. White boxers are often touted as “rare”, but the fact is that they have been a part of the breed as long as the Boxer breed has been around.
Because their skin is highly visible under their coats, sunscreen is required for extended play periods outside. Like people, they can be susceptible to UV rays and need protection from them.
One other misconception widely spread, is that the white boxer is prone to more health problems than it’s fawn or brindle brethren. For the most part, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. The only health issue that seems to plague the white boxer more is deafness. It is believed that 15% of white boxers are deaf. They are generally born as “hearing” dogs, but lose their hearing ability by 4-6 weeks of age. Deafness is viewed by some as an obstacle, but deaf boxers are highly trainable using hand signals rather than voice commands.
In any case, the white boxer is nothing more than a pale version of our beloved breed. They are everything we hold dear to our breed and they are strikingly beautiful in their differences.
Some boxers will have ears that are cropped and some will have natural ears. Boxers’ ears were originally cropped so that when boxers were bull fighting the bull would have less to grab. Now that boxers no longer preform in that function, more and more owners are choosing to leave their boxers’ ears natural.
Boxers that are used in shows will, most likely, continue to have their ears cropped as it is part of the AKC standard for our beloved breed.
Most boxers that you come across will have docked tails, but not all of them. More and more boxers are sporting their natural tails, but as the AKC standard calls for docked tails they will probably be the norm.
Now that you know a little more about the boxer breed, we hope that if you will consider everything that comes along with boxer ownership.
- Bring ‘em indoors with you. They love you and want to be by your side always.
- If you want a couch potato, get another breed.
- If the thought of a couple of chewed pillows (or even the entire couch) bothers you, get another breed.
- If the thought of a 70 lb dog running circles through your house at top speed bothers you, get another breed.
- If you want a dog with a keen sense of humor, tons of energy and a wiggle that starts with their nubs and ends in their smile, then the boxer just may be the breed for you!
By: Sharon Sleighter
Legacy Boxer Rescue Inc