Like with any breed there are certain things to consider before purchasing a boxer.  Make sure you understand the idiosyncrasies and commitment involved.  Remember, it's a commitment for the life of that dog.

Boxers are high energy, forever loyal animals that have a definite joie de vivre, a joy of life.  They demand an owner who will firm and consistent, but never cruel.  Obedience classes are highly recommended with this breed.  Their natural curiosity, intelligence, size, and energy need to be focused on constructive pursuits.

Boxers are very intelligent, but must be trained differently than Golden Retrievers and Border Collies. Boxers do not take repetition well.  They will shut down on you "when they get it" and you keep asking them to repeat the behavior over and over.  Some folks see them shut down and consider this "being stubborn".  I regard this as being VERY smart.  If  you were asked to do the same math problem over and over again in school, though you've shown your teacher you got it numerous times, you would shut down, too, or be rather naughty. :0)  It's no different with boxers!  

(Xac and Smudge not quite reaching that Cheeto!)

Boxers pick up new behaviors very quickly and therefore you have to stay one step ahead of them at all times.  I'm always amazed how quickly I can move on to the next thing in agility because they've mastered a skill so quickly.  (below - Abby learning the weave poles using the "channel method".)

You must be consistent with boxers as they will see any crack in your armor as an opportunity.  For example, if you don't want them on the furniture - you NEVER let them on the furniture.  If you allow them one time, you can basically throw in the towel because it's going to be VERY difficult to get them to stay off the furniture from then on out. 

If you expect a dog that will lie quietly in a corner out of your way, or to be out in a kennel, you need to consider a different breed.  Boxers are extremely people oriented.  They need to be in the center of the family.  Often times I find myself sitting on the couch with two dogs pinning each side of me and one lying on my feet.  They believe they are 50-80 pound lap dogs!  When I get up, they all do.  When I grab my keys, they think they get to go for a ride.  If you'd like a more independent breed, pick something else.

Boxers, especially when young, can be destructive.  Chewing becomes a constant pastime.  A crate becomes essential when raising a boxer pup.  When you're not there to baby-sit, the pup should be retired to a crate.  That way the pup is safe (from biting electric cords, eating dangerous items, or angering the owner because it chewed up the couch).  The crate, in turn, becomes a haven for the pup.  A place where they can got to escape and take a nap.  It is also a safe place when traveling in a vehicle.  Dogs should never be loose in the back of a pick-up!!!

Good chew toys are essential with boxers.  Make sure they are safe, nondestructive types for boxer jaws.  Toys are cheaper than replacing shoes and furniture.

Boxers need exercise.  They are natural athletes who need a fenced  yard with room to run.  If bored, they will turn to destructive behavior.  If you're looking for a breed to compete in agility, play ball or Frisbee, or go running or hiking, you're in luck. 

Boxers must be indoor dogs.  Their short coats and minimal body fat makes them unable to endure cold conditions outside.  If they must be outside during the day, make sure they have a heated or indoor area for them to retire.  On the other hand, they also can not take extreme heat.  A cool place with plenty of water in the warmer months is also essential.

The short coats of boxers have pluses also.  There is minimal grooming with a boxer.  A brushing once a week and a bath once a month is usually sufficient to keeping their coats healthy.  Trimming their nails and cleaning their ears is about all else you have to do.  No expensive trips to the groomers' every 4 to 6 weeks.

Boxers can produce "boxer slime."  In other words, they can have wet/droolly mouths.  If you can't handle some froth once in a while, a boxer's not for you.  After they eat and drink, a wipe with a towel is sometimes helpful.  Don't get me wrong.  They're not like the dog on the movie Turner and Hooch, and our Labrador retriever is the worst "faucet face" when it comes to drinking water, but it's a consideration.

 If you don't mind making the proper adjustments for bringing a boxer into your life, and the positives outweigh the negatives in your mind, then you're ready to join the ranks of boxer owners.  Be ready!  There's no going back to any other breed!

Shannon Carlson

Trail's End Boxers

Klamath Falls, Oregon

Boxer Frequently Asked Questions

Finding the Right Breeder

What Breeders Expect of Buyers

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