Boxer4 May 2023
Reviewed by Dr Jill McMaster BVM&S MBA MRCVS, Veterinary Surgeon and in-house expert at BorrowMyDoggy on 26 May 2023
Let’s talk about… Boxers: what are they?
- Boxers originate from Germany in the 19th century, where they descended from the extinct Bullenbaiser breed.
- Boxers were one of the first military breeds of dogs, and in World War I were used as messengers and guard dogs.
- The name Boxer is thought to derive from the dog’s tendency to stand on its hind legs and box with its paws.
- They are widely known for being fun-loving, energetic and a great family pet. They generally love playtime, walks and plenty of attention!
- Most Boxers weigh between 25-32kg, with the females usually being on the smaller side of that range.
- They tend to be about 50-60cm tall.
- Their lifespan is usually between 9-12 years depending on the health of the individual dog. The oldest recorded Boxer is reported to have lived for 16 years and 9 months.
What is the temperament of Boxers like?
- Boxers are very happy, bright and friendly dogs.
- If socialised with them at a young age, they enjoy the company of children and other animals, and love being part of a family.
- They are well known for their big personalities and love to make people laugh with their antics.
- Although they are intelligent and loving, they can be quite boisterous and large, which means they are best suited to dog owners with a bit of previous experience.
- Boxer’s can be protective of their family and their home, but if someone comes to visit that they know they will be sure to greet them enthusiastically!
- They can be a bit barky, but it depends on the dog, and they are more likely to bark if they are bored or have separation anxiety issues.
What kind of exercise do Boxers need?
The Kennel Club says that
devotees of the Boxer need to be fit to stand up to their charges; a gentle, meek Boxer does not exist.
- On average, an adult Boxer needs about 2 hours of exercise a day, making sure that as well as walking and running they get time to sniff and investigate!
- Although, full of energy, Boxer puppies should get less than this and a basic guide is 5 minutes per month of age. Boxers should not be on full exercise levels until they are at least 18 months old.
- Boxers can be full of energy, but also very smart, so as well as the physical exercise they get on walks, they need plenty of mental stimulation.
- A large, secure garden is ideal for Boxer owners, so as well as their daily walks they can have time to play in the garden.
- Be careful when exercising or playing with a Boxer in warm weather. Their short faces make it difficult for them to condition hot air as they breathe it in, so they need to have exercise restricted so they don’t overheat!
Do Boxers need a lot of grooming?
- Boxers come in several different colours, but usually either red, fawn, different variations of brindle, white or a combination of white or a black mask with the red, fawn or brindle.
- They have short smooth-haired coats.
- Grooming occasionally with a rubber brush, especially if they are moulting, is a great way to keep a Boxer’s coat in a good condition.
- As with all dogs, as they don’t sweat, unless they have a specific skin condition, and are advised to do so by your vet, only bathe Boxers 3-4 times a year.
- Many boxers can drool, and may need their face, particularly their face folds cleaned and dried.
- Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Are Boxers easy to train?
- Boxers are very smart dogs but are also known for being a bit stubborn which can make training slightly challenging.
- As long as training is consistent and engaging, they can really enjoy learning, especially as it means they get to spend time with you!
- They are very prone to jumping up, so often it takes a bit of work to stop them doing this.
- They love attention and treats so both can be useful training rewards.
What do Boxers eat?
- Adult Boxers should eat a complete, balanced dog food twice daily. They can also have occasional treats, but like any dog, watch out for the extra calories. Puppies should initially eat four times a day, then down to three, then to two at six months old.
- For most Boxers you can make the change from puppy to adult food gradually at between 15 and 18 months old. Your pet food supplier and/or vet can advise on individual cases.
- Boxers can get overweight relatively easily as they often have big appetites, but by not letting them overeat and keeping them active, you can help them stay at a good, healthy weight. If they are an ok body weight, you should be able to comfortably feel your pooch’s ribs, but not count them, when they are standing normally. They should also have a nice neat waist when you look from the top, and they should have a good tuck from their chest up to their tummy. If you are worried your pooch could be a bit overweight or underweight then contact your vet practice for advice.
- Some Boxers have food intolerances or allergies. In some cases this can be seen as an upset stomach, but with a lot of Boxer dogs signs like itchy skin and ears, can be caused by food allergies! Your vet can advise on specific diets if they think this could be happening to your Boxer.
- Boxers love a good treat as a reward, but like any dog, this should only make up a maximum of 10% of their daily calorie intake.
Are Boxers healthy?
Like any breed of dog, there are health conditions that Boxer dogs are more prone to than others.
These can include problems with:
Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) - narrow airways which can make breathing and temperature regulation difficult.
Bones and Joints -
- Hip Dysplasia - a condition where the thigh bone and pelvis do not sit together properly at the hip joint.
- Mast Cell Tumours - a growth or lump(s) that are made up of a specific type of white blood cell.
- Lymphoma - a cancer of the lymph nodes and lymphatic system of the body.
- Corneal Ulcers - open sores on the cornea/surface of the eye.
- Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) - this occurs when the stomach twists and gas and contents get trapped inside. It is a very serious condition and a vet should be contacted immediately!
Heart Disease -
- Aortic Stenosis - a narrowing of the value between the left side of the heart and the body’s main artery, the aorta.
- Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) - a disease of the heart muscle causing the heart ventricles to get larger.
- Hypothyroidism - a condition where your dog does not produce enough thyroid hormone
- Epilepsy - a condition of the brain that causes dogs to have fits.
- Atopy - when the immune system overreacts to an allergen and results in skin irritation.
- Skin fold dermatitis - inflammation, and possible infection of the skin between two skin folds.
This list is by no means comprehensive, if you have any concerns about the health of your dog, or if you want to discuss further if a Boxer is right for you, consult with your vet.
Our vet top tip
Boxers are absolutely delightful, but getting them trained to not jump up and be able to settle at a young age, can make trips to the vets much more chilled. As well as that, cleaning and drying their face folds when they’re young, so that it’s not strange when they need it done when they’re older, can really help!
BorrowMyDoggy loves Boxers
BorrowMyDoggy has 4,311 Boxer members.
What do BorrowMyDoggy owners and borrowers say about their Boxers?
Remus lives up to the boxer name - he is mad! Very high energy and would love to run and play all day if he could. He gets on with other dogs and absolutely loves kids. He just wants to play!
- Gemma, Owner of Remus
Poppy is full of personality and always willing to please. She loves cuddles and attention. She is a friendly and energetic girl who loves everybody! She gets on fantastically with other dogs of all shapes and sizes.
- Aimee, Owner of Poppy
Owner Marcio on his Boxer, Lolla:
She has been well trained by us and indoors she is usually very very calm and sleeps 80% of the day. A certain level of self confidence and assertiveness is highly required for her to respect you as a pack leader.
Owner Danielle on her Boxer, Rosie:
Rosie is a lover of luxury with a stately and unladylike slumbering snore.
Owner Helen on her, Boxer, Bruno:
Despite his size, Bruno can be a bit of a wimp – he doesn’t seem to like water (but will tolerate a bath/shower).
Lucie and her family, including three children, joined BorrowMyDoggy and found their pawfect match in Laury and her two beautiful Boxers, Ruby and Bella. You can read their wagulous tale here.
If you own or borrow a pawticularly bouncy Boxer that jumps up a lot, then why not try our Hound Hack on training your dog to not jump up?
The most popular name for a Boxer on BorrowMyDoggy is Bella .
10 most pupular Boxer names on BorrowMyDoggy
Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian. Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health contact your local vet.
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