Once you’ve owned a playful, rambunctious Boxer, no true dog lover could blame you for saying that such a dog breed is capable of being a lifelong companion and friend that few humans can emulate.
Of course, there will be Boxer pros and cons, as with every other dog breed too, but every Boxer lover will tell you that these loyal, protective dogs have far more good points than bad, and we’re going to cover some of them.
Immediately, one good point that comes to mind is that the Boxer is a good-looking, alert dog. The head is square-shaped with a blunt muzzle, the eyes dark and wide-set. The forehead is always a little bit wrinkly.
Their ears are set high on the skull and have been customarily cropped in the past to stand upright and pointed. When the ears are uncropped, they’re medium length, lying close to the head when relaxed. The tail has always been traditionally docked, giving the dog his compact, groomed appearance.
Boxer Pros and Cons – (A Quick Look-See)
- A loyal companion – adores spending time with his human family
- He’s your protector – a strong, muscular breed
- He makes a good watchdog
- He’s beautiful to look at
- The broad, blunt face just asks to be kissed non-stop
- Intelligent, trainable working-dog breed
- Average shedder – short hair
- Low maintenance breed
- Amicable – gets on well with people and other pets
- A good breed to choose for the first-time dog owner
- Eager and responsive with training
- Boundless energy – super buddy for active owners
- Entertaining and amusing – plenty of laughs with this breed
- Can be over-exuberant and boisterous
- Can be stubborn with his strong-willed nature
- Inclined to drool and slobber
- Unsocialized, they can show aggression towards other dogs
- Prone to serious diseases such as cancer and heart disease
- Deep-chested dogs like the boxer are susceptible to bloat
- They are brachycephalic and can become easily overheated
- Not recommended for homes with handkerchief-sized gardens
- Sloppy eaters – food always spread around the bowl
- Boxers are known for their flatulence, more so after a meal
- They like chewing on things – no regard for your expensive shoes
- They’re prone to digging – only when seriously bored
- Can have separation anxiety
What Are the Pros of Having a Boxer?
To elaborate a bit on the pros of the Boxer –
A Loving, Loyal Companion
The boxer is such a happy, loyal and affectionate companion that he makes a joyful and ‘never-a-dull-moment’ addition to any active household.
These dogs love their human families, loving the company of both adults and kids. With a boxer, there is no such thing as your personal space, because the closer he can be the better. He is quite prepared to be a lap dog, and even a full-grown adult will try every which way he can to find a way onto your lap.
Yes, these sleek, muscular, energetic dogs have got a bit of a history of being used for dogfighting in the past, but they’re the wrong dog breed for that, as they are essentially gentle and way too happy-go-lucky. They don’t have a history of aggressive tendencies.
That’s the thing about boxers – they’re full of surprises. Yes, they don’t have aggressive tendencies, but because of their strength, courage and protective instincts, they’ve been well used in the military before and have also been used for search-and-rescue work.
When you’re at home, these robust dogs make excellent watchdogs and they’ll certainly alert you well in advance that there is an intruder close by.
Inside Out Beautiful
Just look at the boxer – you can always be proud of him. They are medium- to large-sized dogs with strong, muscular bodies, The head and face are his most distinctive feature and the docked tail also contributes to his distinctive look. This trend is prohibited in many countries these days.
He is a short-haired breed, with a smooth fawn, red, caramel or brindle-colored coat that lies tight to the body.
The face or mask is usually black, but some have white face markings as well as some white on the chest and paws.
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Highly Intelligent – Easy to Train
They’re intelligent dogs these and can be easily trained. They do tend to be a bit stubborn so you will need to be patient and persevere with training.
It’s wise to take your boxer puppy to obedience training classes as this early training and socialization will ensure that you can take him anywhere. You can begin training at 8 weeks of age already as a boxer puppy is a clever dog and he quickly learns by repetition.
Boundless Energy – Super Hiking Buddy
His athletic physique and his high levels of energy and playfulness means that your boxer will be needing a good deal of exercise. If you have a large garden, you’ll notice that they often take off to run at top speed, darting in and out between the gardens and lawns.
This is precisely why he is such a great buddy for active people. He’ll never disappoint you on long walks or hikes and thrives on the mental and physical stimulation of being out and about.
To keep up his energy, you want to be sure to feed these high energy dogs the right, high-quality food. This high-energy dog isn’t finicky when it comes to feeding requirements.
High Energy Requirements Require High-Quality Food
To keep your boxer happy and healthy you want to feed him a commercially manufactured dog food from the best brands and which are suited to the weight, size and energy levels of your dog.
Some boxer owners say that dry dog food or kibble is the best choice for a boxer as it works well to remove plaque from the dog’s teeth that could lead to canine periodontal disease.
Good Diet Enhances a Boxer’s Good Points
The food you give your Boxer is paramount to his health. Fortunately, the best dog foods include the nutritional additives your boxer needs to support all that energy. The foods are vitamin- and mineral-fortified which rules out the possibility of your pet developing nutritional deficiencies.
Do proper research and only look for foods that are made where strict quality-control standards are in place. Some countries have no qualms when it comes to adding in toxic substances to make up the bulk.
Make sure too that your pet has a constant supply of fresh, cool water available to him as he is prone to over-heating.
The short coat of the boxer ensures these dogs are low maintenance. He’ll love the interaction and closeness a grooming session provides, but essentially the short-shiny coat needs only be brushed once a week.
If he’s particularly dusty from all that cavorting around like only boxers are known for, you can wipe him down with a damp chamois or sponge.
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Never a Dull Moment – Comical and Entertaining
They make you laugh for sure, because they take much longer to mature than many other dog breeds. Some of the other dog breeds are mature at 1 year of age, but your Boxer has puppy tendencies even at 4 and 5 years of age.
They have so much friendly energy that sometimes they might become like lunatics, running, leaping and jumping in sheer exuberance
What Are the Cons of Having a Boxer?
The boxer is one helluva dog so it seems impossible that he could have any kind of negative characteristics. And yet when it comes to boxer pros and cons one has to assume he has, and we reluctantly look at some of these –
Over-Exuberant and Boisterous
Boxers can be hyperactive, boisterous and downright unruly if they aren’t properly trained and socialized. Unfortunately, because they’re such amicable, loving dogs, they tend to want to jump up on people and paw at the face for a response.
It is thought that this tendency is where the name ‘Boxer’ comes from. He can knock a child or frail person clean off their feet, but some training can eliminate this habit.
They Feel the Heat and Cold More
Because of the short, close-lying coat, they don’t have much insulation against the cold. Also, as a short-muzzled breed, they’re at risk for overheating. As a responsible boxer owner, it is up to you to monitor his reactions to extreme weather conditions.
They require a lot more TLC in the summer than other dogs to ensure they’re safe and healthy in extreme heat. Always watch their weight and familiarize yourself with the signs of heatstroke.
Inclined to Drool and Slobber
Not all boxers will drool and slobber, so for some boxer owners, they aren’t even aware of this. If your boxer does drool, you can put it down to the mouth, lips and jowls. It’s just the way the lips curl – inward or outward – that will determine whether your boxer drools or not.
You may notice that when he drinks water, there is a mix of saliva and water that falls back into the bowl. It is why it is important to change his water regularly. A boxer might also drool from sheer anticipation when waiting to receive his food.
The best and simplest way to solve the problem, especially when he is indoors, is to just wipe the mouth with a wet-wipe. You need to know that there are quite a few diseases in which drooling is a symptom.
Prone to Health Issues
Even though you take good care of your boxer, these dogs are prone to quite a few health issues. A boxer that reaches 12 years of age has thought to have reached a good age. By knowing about some of these diseases, you can think about how to plan around them.
Unfortunately, with the boxer, cancer is the number one health issue with them, and according to studies from the University of Georgia, 44.3% of boxers die from some kind of cancer. The UK Kennel Club tells us that 38.5% of boxers get cancer during their lifetime.
Therefore boxer owners need to watch out for possible early warning signs. It is thought that cancer in boxers is genetic, environmental and from injuries as a puppy . Of course the symptoms will vary according to the type of cancer the boxer has, but lumps, rapid weight loss, decrease in energy levels and a change in bowel movements could all be indicative of cancer.
Spaying and neutering reduce the chances of cancer in these dogs. You also want to be sure that your boxer lives a healthy lifestyle and that his food is of the highest quality.
Every now and then you can pull your boxer to you and run your hands over the entire body to check for new lumps. If you suspect anything, you need to get your pet to the vet immediately. If caught early, the chances of survival are so much greater.
Boxers can also suffer from heart problems, bloat and joint issues.
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Problems With Being Brachycephalic
Being a brachycephalic breed, the blunt face makes it that the dog is at risk for brachycephalic respiratory syndrome.
They aren’t able to take in air properly and their inefficient panting and inability to cool down can cause inflamed airways.
There are some dog experts that tell us that a dog’s body condition score has an even greater impact on thermoregulation than does being a brachycephalic breed. In other words, being overweight is more than likely to be riskier than being brachycephalic.
When you have a brachycephalic breed, you have certain responsibilities. You have to accept limitations and practice caution wherever you are.
These dogs require a lot more attention in the hot months than other dogs and there always needs to be the availability of cool water to drink and to perhaps even wade in.
Boxers are known for their flatulence, more so after a meal. Maybe it is because these dogs tend to be susceptible to gastrointestinal issues.
They have sensitive stomachs. They love their meals and will scoff down what’s in their bowl in no time at al. This causes them to take in a lot of air too. You just have to keep an eye on your boxer because high levels of gas can point to some other health issues.
Invest in a slow-feeder
True, there is always some gas in the digestive tract as starch and complex sugars for instance aren’t easily digested. They are then fermented by bacteria and this is what produces gas. You can solve this flatulence issue by investing in a slow-feeder bowl for your pet and also looking as smaller, more frequent meals as opposed to two large ones.
Of course, diet as always, plays a huge role in gas formation and there are certain foods that are particularly gas forming. If you are feeding your boxer a commercially manufactured dog food, make sure that it is the very best quality, vet recommended food.
They Like Chewing on Things
As already mentioned, boxers are intelligent, active dogs and you may notice that your older puppy hasn’t given up his destructive chewing behavior. The truth is, he could be both bored and anxious, he could be teething or he could just be plain naughty.
When you bring a boxer into your home, you have to realize that these kinds of dogs need lots of exercise as well as mental stimulation.
Punishing your boxer for disemboweling your favorite chair isn’t really going to work and will quite possibly make the problem worse. It’s dangerous for your boxer in terms of ingesting toxic chemicals or having something like a sock obstructing his airways, It’s the kind of behavior that you want to be stopped and that you can stop.
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A coping strategy
Chewing is a coping strategy for a young boxer left on his own too often or left day after day in a small space and wanting an outlet for his sheer frustration and energy.
Remember always that a tired dog is a quiet dog so the solution to the problem is to exercise your boxer, provide him with games and toys that challenge him to think and encourage mental stimulation.
Of course, when your boxer is a puppy and still learning, it’s important to control his environment and remove opportunities that are tempting for him. Put your shoes in a cupboard – out of sight, out of mind. It won’t always be this way. Just until your boxer learns your rules.
For anyone who works away from home, it can be a concern leaving any young dog alone at home, but more so a boxer. A boxer can suffer from separation anxiety, and his separation anxiety goes beyond simply missing you.
Just the sound of your keys is enough to alert him to the fact that you’re leaving. He may start whimpering and whining and unbeknown to you, he starts barking non-stop once you’ve left. Worse is when he paws frantically at the gate, injuring himself as he tries to find a way out of his confines.
Older boxers can also develop separation anxiety, especially when their ear- and eyesight starts to diminish. Always make sure before you get a boxer, that you have a large area for your dog to roam in. A boxer doesn’t adapt well to confined spaces.
He doesn’t adapt well to being locked up in dark rooms either as this intensifies his sense of isolation, He needs light areas to calm him when left alone.
Allow a visitor
A solution is to have a family member or friend come to your place during the day just to make sure everything is alright with your 4-legged friend.
If you can afford to, you can also pay for a referenced dog walker to come to your home and play ball with your dog for 15 minutes or so and to also take your pet for a walk.
Behave in a calm way whenever you’re preparing to leave home and your boxer because these intelligent dogs are quick to pick up vibes and moods.
A pet companion?
Sometimes it can be a fantastic solution to get another dog, even a small one, to keep your boxer company. This certainly does help to eliminate the issue of separation anxiety.
Nobody wants to advise another dog willy nilly as it’s a big responsibility having more than one dog but it can work for you so it is worth mentioning.
Is a Boxer Right for You?
When it comes to boxer pros and cons, you can easily see that most of the cons of this great German dog breed can be changed or managed. To answer the question is a boxer right for you, the answer is always a resounding yes!
Are You Right For A Boxer?
Perhaps the question ought to be are you as a human right for a boxer? Many people blame a dog for something they are responsible for.
Your Personality – Your Dog
The way a boxer’s personality turns out depends much on your personality and the lifestyle you provide him with. Boxers are just big, silly, playful, mischievous, stubborn, intelligent, goofy, gorgeous children and it is a pleasure and joy having one of them in your home.
Are You Ready To Do Your Part?
Are you as a human being ready and prepared to do your part and to ensure you provide the very best for such an awesome friend? Boxers are exceptional dogs, great with children and great for first-time dog owners and there is a reason why people who have owned them love them so much.
Yes, they do require a lot of attention but if you are up for all his antics, love and companionship and you are prepared to behave in a way that suits the characteristics of a boxer, then yes, the boxer is right for you.
Now you know why boxers are such great companions. But you’ll also now be aware of their downsides as well. If you’re not sure about boxer dogs, don’t let the downsides put you off! They really are fantastic and they’ll be a great lifelong friend.
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