about the boxer
The Boxer is a descendant of the Bullenbeisser (meaning bull biter), a German breed which was used to hunt bear, boar and deer in the 19th Century. It is thought that this breed was crossed with the Bulldog and this provided the basis for the present day Boxer.
The Boxer, much loved as a family companion for his intelligence and character, is an excellent guard dog and has proved his worth as a tracking dog and worked in the armed forces as a messenger and as a pack carrier. His clean outline, glossy coat and the nobility of his beautiful head and expression have brought the breed many admirers.
Boxers are large breed, short haired dogs in the 'working dog' breed group. The female is usually slighter in stature than the male and in adulthood is likely to weigh between 25kg and 28kg, about 5kg or so less than the average male. They can live up to around 15 years old, though the average natural lifespan is around 10-12 years.
TRAINING AND exercise
Boxers are intelligent and very curious dogs. They're extremely quick learners and are eager to please, which makes them great dogs to train. In fact they love the challenge and mental stimulation training exercises bring, so the more training you can give your boxer, the more he will enjoy it and the more benefit you will both enjoy.
Puppy training is a must and we highly recommend you take your boxer puppy to training classes where he will learn to socialise with other dogs. Obedience training can be done at any age and it's never too late to train your boxer. You can do it in classes or by yourself if you're prepared to put the time in and work with your dog which, if you do, will help build trust and respect and will cement the bond you share. It's important to remember you're the boss and your dog should follow your house rules. You'll find that if you give a boxer an inch, he may end up taking a mile, so it's always advisable to establish a set of house rules and give him boundaries, for example don't let him on the bed, make him sit before taking treats and only let him eat his meal when you say he can. Following these simple exercises will reinforce your position as his pack leader.
Boxers get their name from their habit of using their front paws in a boxing-like gesture when playing with other dogs. They are a high energy dog and require a good amount of daily exercise, including off-lead running/play. They are naturally people-orientated dogs and love to have interaction with humans, so ball or frisbee throwing games are highly enjoyable for them and an ideal form of exercise. If a boxer can enjoy an ample, stimulating exercise routine, he will likely sleep for long periods throughout the day and night.
The Boxer is generally a healthy dog but, like all dogs, they can be susceptible to health problems. They are known for getting lumps and bumps on their body, many of which are just harmless cysts or fatty tissue. However, cancerous tumours are common and cancer is the leading health issue associated with Boxers.
Other common Boxer ailments are heart conditions such as Boxer Cardiomyopathy & Aortic Stenosis and allergies, usually relating to diet and easily managed (see opposite). The Boxer is particularly known to be sensitive to acepromazine which is one of the most commonly used sedatives in veterinary practices. Vets will usually use a different sedative if performing surgery on a Boxer, but it is advisable to confirm this with your vet before they sedate your dog.
Boxers are a deep-chested breed and because of this they face an increased risk of Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), also known as 'bloat' or 'twisted stomach'. There are 3 simple steps you can take to drastically reduce this risk:
Spread their daily food intake over 2 or 3 smaller meals instead of 1 large meal.
After feeding, wait 30-40 minutes before exercise and allow the same time after exercise before giving food.
Use a 'slow feeder' bowl to prevent your dog eating too much too quickly.
Some people claim that white Boxers suffer from an increased risk of deafness due to their white gene, however there is no conclusive proof of this. Whilst there does seem to be a higher proportion of deaf Boxers that are white in colour, the vast majority of white Boxers can hear just as well as brindles and reds.
For more information about common boxer-related health issues, click the heart icon below:
From weaning right through to old age, it is diet more than any other factor that will determine the quality and the length of your boxer's life and, the truth is, most complete foods are nutritionally poor.
Food is essential for good health as much in dogs as in humans and as it's not uncommon for boxers to have sensitive tummies and skin, we strongly recommend you feed a high quality, nutritious diet. There are so many dog food options available today it can be a minefield when it comes to choosing the right one for your boxer, but if you stick to a few simple guidelines you'll be on the right track to find an ideal food.
Through your dog's diet, he has to get everything his body needs: from the energy needed to keep chasing those balls to the incredible array of nutrients that make up every tissue and keep every cellular process going. Too much or too little of any one of those nutrients can quickly cause upsets and if something gets into your dog's diet that shouldn't be there, you can be sure that problems won't be far away.
We instinctively know what our dogs should be eating; meat and bones. Anyone who has walked their dog in the country will also know that dogs enjoy all sorts of other natural foods like fruits, vegetables and herbs. This is what nutritionists call the dog's 'natural diet'.
Most of us also now know what foods are not good for our health - excessive salt, sugar or fat, artificial additives and so on, all of which can be equally detrimental to our dogs as they are to us. Despite all of this, if you take a look at almost any well known brand of dog food, you'll find an ingredients list bursting with unhealthy ingredients and almost free from anything even resembling the natural diet.
For the best dietary information and advice, click the dog bowl below to visit the UK website 'All About Dog Food'.