While temperament can be determined by heredity, training, and socialization skills, Boxers are generally very energetic and will always greet you as if they haven’t seen you in ages! They love to run around and play and are very curious of their environment. They are rambunctious as puppies and are usually a little calmer in adulthood. (I said ‘usually’)!
They tend to be very affectionate with their human family and will follow them everywhere. They are very loyal to their family and can be very weary of strangers. Boxers will either greet strangers with lots of barking and guarding of their families or they can be wary but quiet and friendly. It really depends on the individual and their previous training or socialization skills. This is the reason that some Boxers act as good guard dogs and others are not.
Boxers are considered a high-energy breed. They either need to have the space to run and play every day or they need to be taken on long walks or multiple 15 minute walks a day. They are better behaved when they have had plenty of exercise! They do not do well living outside due to their short noses and shorthaired coat. They love being inside with the family, but since they are big dogs, apartments are usually too small for them (unless they get to go outside often).
Children and other pets
Contrary to popular belief, Boxers do very well with older children. Boxers love to play and run around with them and they are very patient. However, due to his size and excitability, the Boxer may not be well suited for young children (toddlers) only because he might get too excited and accidently push them over.
Children must always be taught how to interact with a dog (i.e. no pulling and tugging of ears or tails, and no touching the dog when he is sleeping or eating). No matter how friendly a dog can be, never leave a dog unsupervised with a child.
If a Boxer has had plenty of exposure to other dogs, cats, and small animals, and has been trained how to interact with them, he’ll be friendly with them as well.
The Boxer is a strong and excitable breed. This is why training is extremely important! They are strong and big enough to knock someone over and hurt them accidently if they get too excited and are not properly trained. Therefore, Boxers need to be trained, and trained well, as soon as possible. Even though it takes time for them to fully mature mentally, training Boxers when they are puppies is best. They will be mischief makers when young and even as adults, so make sure you train them well!
Consistency and patience are of the essence! If you train a Boxer not to jump on the couch, but one time you let him do it, he knows that jumping on the couch is fine and will continue to do it. So, consistency, consistency, and consistency! Boxers can be somewhat stubborn, but they are not impossible to handle. They just need a patient trainer. They also need to be having fun! Just like children, they are more likely to do what you ask them to do if they are having fun doing it. So give them lots of positive reinforcement and tasty treats as well while training! Instead of drilling commands, make it into a game. Boxers will respond more to the training if it seems like play time to them.
Socialization at a young age is also very important for Boxers. They should have already developed good social skills with people and other dogs from a young age. Having good socialization skills makes training much easier and faster. (This is true not only for Boxers, but all dog breeds)!
Since they are a high-energy breed, getting lots of exercise and having time to run around, makes training easier as well. If they can burn off extra energy before a ‘training session’, they will be easier to handle.
Housebreaking is usually easy and fast since Boxers tend to like to be clean! Boxers do respond well to crate training, but the crate must be large enough for them to turn around in. This crate (36x23x25) is the size I recommend for a Boxer.
They also respond well to clicker training.
Boxers, like most other breeds, are generally healthy dogs. However, Boxers can have a few health problems ranging from heart conditions, metabolic issues, and even deafness. Boxers are more prone than other breeds to developing cancer, especially tumors including mast cell tumors, brain tumors, and also lymphoma. Lighter colored Boxers that have a lot of white markings can even develop skin cancer from overexposure to sun. The most common health conditions Boxers can have (and is by no means all of the possible problems) include aortic stenosis or sub-aortic stenosis, Boxer arrythmic cardiomyopathy, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, corneal dystrophy, demodectic mange, gastric dilatation-volvulus (‘Bloat’ or ‘Torsion’), environmental allergies and food-related allergies, and deafness (almost 19% of Boxers that are white are deaf).
The life expectancy is about 9-11 years. (Although I have known Boxers as old as 13).
The litter size is on average 3-8 puppies although the most common number is 6.
Considering that the Boxer has a short coat, grooming is very minimal. They have a moderate shed but a brushing with a rubber comb once a month is more than enough. Although they do shed more during the Spring.
They generally like to keep themselves clean and really only require a bath once a year. (Yes I said once a year, you read that correctly! Unless they happen to get muddy from outside of course).
Trimming nails is easy since their nails are not black and more or less only needs to be done once or twice a month. The dewclaw may need to be trimmed once a week since it doesn’t get worn down with daily walking.
Boxers with clipped or “bobbed” ears need to get their ears examined frequently for wax build up and for mites. Take a gauze pad and moisten it a little with an ear cleanser (ask your vet which one is right for your dog) and just wipe the outside of the ear canal. NEVER use a cotton swab and don’t push down too deep into the ear! When in doubt, ask your vet how to do it.
Good dental hygiene is important for Boxers (as with any dog) as their teeth need to be brushed a few times every week. Of course, if you have read my dog dental care post, you know that daily brushing is the best!
Boxers can have a problem with drooling.