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Breed Profile: Boxer

Boxers are, simply put, fun made dog. They’re bouncy, they’re slobbery, they’re silly, and they make good family dogs. They are strong though, and they can be quite clumsy, so be sure that you’re ready to put in the work to make this marvelously muscly dog part of your pack!

Boxers are strong but gentle. They’re great playmates, get along well with other dogs and pets if socialized properly, and are great with kids (although their natural exuberance can bounce smaller kids right off their feet, so exercise caution!)

They’re not particularly great at being watchdogs because they are naturally so friendly, but because of their smooth coats, they are great for people who don’t have a lot of time for grooming.

History of the Boxer

 The Boxer is the descendant of two historic European dog breeds, the Brabenter Bullenbiser and the Danziger Bullenbiser. As you might have guessed from the name, those dogs were big and muscular too, and were used for hunting large game, and for bull baiting.

Bull baiting was eventually outlawed, but the need for a strong, tall dog with the short snout that makes it possible to breath even while hunting remained, and the Boxer was born. But this particular hunter wasn’t hunting animals.

Instead, the Boxer became renowned for their prowess in chasing down bad guys for the police and military in Germany. By 1900, the breed was firmly entrenched as a star member of the working group, and forty years later, became a favorite family dog too.

Today, the Boxer consistently ranks near the top of the most popular breeds list, and it really is a great all round choice if you want a family dog.

General Physical Characteristics of the Boxer Breed

Boxers are lean, mean, licking machines! These dogs weigh between 50 and 80 lbs., with females on the lower end of the scale, and males slightly larger.

They are typically around 21 to 25 inches tall, and all of that height is typically pure muscle. They have short coats that can be tan, white, brindle and a combination of all of them, and they typically have their tails docked by breeders (a throwback to their days as working dogs, where their tails were prone to injury.)

Boxers naturally have floppy ears, and while some people feel that cropping them makes them look fiercer, cropping is unnecessary and cruel, and should be avoided.

All boxers have short muzzles, and pronounced facial wrinkles that make them one of the most expressive breeds around. They really can’t hide their emotions at all!

Temperament and Character of Boxers

Boxers positively fizz! They are extremely happy, extremely bouncy, and extremely exuberant.

For owners who aren’t used to the breed, or who live in smaller quarters, this can be a problem, because sometimes, that sheer joy bubbles up and results in a bouncy dog, and some broken stuff…

They are relatively intelligent, and fairly easy to train, and while they can be aggressive towards strange dogs, they are usually easygoing with other pets in the family. They’re also fantastic with kids.

Because they need so much exercise to keep them happy (and this breed really does NEED physical activity), they are best suited to younger families or very active people, who will share that need to explore and exercise.

Lifespan of the Boxer

Boxers typically live between 8 and 10 years.

Common Health and Personality Issues in the Boxer Breed

Boxers are generally healthy dogs, and their love of exercise tends to prevent conditions related to obesity, provided they get their time outdoors!

The following conditions are common among Boxers, however, and owners should be aware of the risk:

  1. Cardiomyopathy, which is a condition where heart function is compromised, resulting in an enlarged heart muscle.
  2. Higher risk of gastric torsion or bloat. Take special care when feeding, and after meals, to limit activity.
  3. Hypothyroidism, or an under functioning thyroid gland.
  4. Digestive issues, including colitis.
  5. Corneal erosion, where the outer layer of the cornea is slowly worn away.
  6. Boxers can be at a slightly higher risk than other dogs of brain tumors.
  7. The breed, like many other short snouted breeds, is sensitive to heat, and prone to heat stroke. They are also not well equipped to handle extreme cold, so in Canada, that means coats, boots and doggy treadmills for part of the year!
  8. Hip dysplasia is sometimes a concern, as with many other larger breed dogs.

Generally, boxers are hardy dogs, that are strong and very easy to live with. While they don’t need as much training as some other breeds, you will probably find that some obedience training is a good idea, just to keep the bounces in check!

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