— Breed of the Month —

The Boxer

In 2012, the AKC changed the rules and added boxers to the list of breeds eligible for herding titles.

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Breed Traits and Characteristics

According to the American Kennel Club, here are some breed characteristic you can find in Boxers. 

 

  • Height

    23-25 inches (male), 21.5-23.5 inches (female)

  • Weight

    65-80 pounds (male), about 15 pounds less

  • Life Expectancy

    10-12 years

  • Coat Type/Length

    Smooth/Short

  • 80 Affectionate with Family
  • 100 Good with Young Children
  • 60 Good with Other Dogs
  • 80 Trainability Level
  • 80 Energy Level
  • 60 Barking Level
  • 20 Shedding Level
  • 60 Drooling Level

History

Boxers originated in Germany and were bred as bull-baiting dogs and then butcher’s helpers, assisting in controlling cattle in slaughterhouses. They descended from a long line of bullenbaiser breeds (bull biters) that were used to hunt boar, bear, and bison on large estates. Boxers were eventually bred with Bulldogs and even Great Danes.

Boxers were invaluable in the World Wars carrying ammunition, messages and supplies. Some of the soldiers fell in love with the dogs and brought them home with them. There are various theories about the origin of their name. Some say it comes from the German word boxl (nickname for one of the Boxer’s ancestors), whereas others think it comes from the way they use their fore paws like a boxer in the ring.

The first boxer was registered by the AKC in 1904 and the first AKC Championship was won in 1915. They really became popular in the U.S. in the 1950s when Bang-Away, a Boxer, won the Westminster dog show. Now the boxer has become extremely popular, always appearing in the top 10 breeds.

The Boxer

Who doesn’t fall in love with their wrinkled, worried faces? Their imposing stares, noble posture and jaunty gait? Don’t be fooled. Behind that stern façade lies one of the friendliest, most playful and loyal breeds Bark Busters has ever had the pleasure to train.

And training they will need! Boxers are highly energetic and without consistent mental and physical stimulation, they can get into a lot of trouble! They love to jump on people, so it’s important to break this behavior as soon as possible. Because they are so people oriented, they do not like being alone, so separation anxiety can always be an issue.

Boxers are well-muscled and of medium in size weighing between 50 to 80 pounds and generally live 11 – 13 years. Their coloring is generally fawn, brindle or white. About 1 in 4 boxers are white, often with colored markings called “Checker boxers”. It is a misconception that white boxers are less healthy than other colors of boxers and always deaf because 14% are born deaf.

Many boxers have docked tails and cropped ears, although it is becoming more common among pet parents to not crop the boxer’s ears and just let them hang down.

If a boxer is joining your family, know that their intelligence, courage and easy-going nature makes them a great family dog!

Boxer Management

Boxers are unique in that they don’t fully mature until three-years-old, meaning their puppyhood seems to go on forever! Boxers can be stubborn dogs, so they require a strong leader. Early training is important before your Boxer gets too big. Like many of the bully breeds, Boxers do not train well using physical punishment or being bossed around. Instead, with methods like Bark Busters uses, Boxers respond better to their leaders after you have earned their respect.

Think about it. Dogs learn how to communicate with each other at their Mother’s teat. They use voice tones (growling, barking, yipping) and body language (stance, position of tail, etc.) Therefore, it is best to use this same method of communication when dealing with your boxer. Mother dogs speak dog and teach their pups the law according to the dog.

Boxers don’t tolerate the heat too well, so walks during the cooler times of the day are best. They don’t like extreme cold temperatures either because of their short coat, so a doggie coat might be the ideal thing for your Boxer if you live in a cold climate. Many pet parents kid that their Boxers' range of tolerance is between 72 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit (21-22 degrees Celsius).

Boxers love to play and make great family companions displaying the utmost in love and loyalty. Even though they are not small, they often think they are lapdogs! When they get excited they do a little dance called a “kidney bean” where they twist their bodies into a semi-circle or even a full circle. They also make a special sound called a “woo woo” when excited. Owners of boxers know what I am talking about!

They can be headstrong, meaning you will have to have patience when training them. They can become overexuberant and in their zest to protect their family, can lead to some aggression, so training in good doggie manners, is advised. Early socialization is important so they become exposed to different sights and experiences. Exercise is key to keep their energy in check -- the boxer is a big dog and can do a lot of damage if he's bored or lonely.

Boxers Personality & Temperament

Characteristics

  • Smart, friendly, fearless
  • Loyal and graceful
  • High energy and like to stay busy
  • Great guard dogs
  • Must be exercised regularly
  • Don’t do well in hot weather (overheating) or cold weather since they are short coated
  • Tend to snore and snort
  • Initially distrustful of strangers particularly if they sense a threat to their family
  • Will jump, twist and somersault to entertain humans

Fun Facts about Boxers

  • Because of their playful nature, they are sometimes called the “Peter Pan” of dogs.
  • Their short muzzles can cause them to snore.
  • A boxer holds the world record for the longest tongue – 17 inches.
  • Boxers are cousins to the bully breeds.
  • According to the AKC, the boxer was one of the first breeds used for German police training.
  • It is a myth that all white boxers are deaf – only 12 to 14% are.

Capabilities

Boxers are excellent guard dogs and have an above average IQ, making them diverse in the roles they can play. Boxers love to be active and are perfect for agility, obedience and flyball.

  • Athlete
  • Cattle dog
  • Show dogs
  • Police dog
  • War dog
  • Dog for the blind
  • Search and rescue

Bark Busters Trainer Mark Renshaw on Boxers

Having been the original office now to have opened in the United States, with nearly 17 years in training over 6,000 dogs, I would have to say that Boxers are among my most favorite breed to train! Although highly energetic, with proper leadership, mental stimulation as well as exercise, I typically find this breed to be very receptive to learning new rules and boundaries and generally a good fit for most homes.

I advise most people looking to get a Boxer as a puppy to carefully research responsible breeders, as they are susceptible to breed-specific genetic conditions which include very serious afflictions such as dilated cardio myopathy (very serious heart condition) as well as various forms of cancer and hip and elbow dysplasia. I often deal with a lot of clients who have rescued adolescent or adult Boxers and advise them to work closely with their veterinarians to monitor for any of these issues and seek their recommendations on appropriate supplements to aid in their general well-being.

One of the most typical behavioral concerns that I often see with this breed is their unprecedented desire to jump on people. Because of their size and muscular frames, jumping can be very problematic especially around children and elderly people. In addition, pulling on leash is common due to their physical strength. I find that these dogs are great candidates for the Bark Busters Wagg Walker communication harness for learning to walk at a prope heel position. Another concern that I commonly see, especially when training adolescent or adult Boxers, is a trait that the breed was originally designed for (protection/guarding) manifesting into a pattern that can escalate into fear aggression and excessive barking habits if left unchecked. As with other ‘working’ breeds, they need extra mental stimulation and entertainment in addition to physical exercise to avoid destructive chewing behaviors due to boredom and inactivity. In essence, Boxers are truly wonderful dogs that are easily trainable!

Fortunately, utilizing a system of training which dogs readily understand which is neither compulsory nor reliant on food and bribes, the Bark Busters training method is ideal for this working breed. By engaging with the simple use of voice tone, body language and timing, the nuisance behaviors that are typical of the Boxer are easily resolved within the first two hours of training in most cases. I personally find the breed to be very intelligent, quick learners and genuinely compliant. (They are usually ‘softies’ occasionally acting out in assertive ways).

 

Bark Busters Trainer Jeff Drier on Boxers

It’s not true that these dogs were so named because they stand up on their back legs like kangaroos and “box” with their front feet, although I might start that rumor. As a trainer for 15 years, I have worked with many boxers and there are some things that I can generalize.

They have the greatest facial expressions. I love their expressiveness and if there is a dog that wears its feelings on its face it is the Boxer.

They are energetic and will be great companions if you are working towards running a marathon. They will not be as helpful if you are working on a crossword puzzle championship or doing a jigsaw puzzle. That’s not to say that they can’t stay quiet and still, but they can’t stay quiet and still for long. As I said they are energetic.

They bounce, pounce and jump. Do you remember superballs? Those were the hard rubber balls that bounced higher and longer than any other ball? Boxers are the superballs of the dog world. They WILL greet you by jumping up on you, unless you are very determined. Counter-surfing is also a common issue with them once they realize they can reach the counters.

They are very intelligent, friendly and easy to train and typically fun-loving. They are happy to participate in any physical activities, the more strenuous the better. If you want a frisbee chaser you cannot pick a better breed. They live to run, and jump. If you are a hurdler, Boxers will adopt you immediately and will give you a great home.

If they aren’t given outlets for their high energy they will develop their own outlets which probably won’t be what you want them doing, (see counter-surfing above).

They are very affectionate with their family but can be a little wary of strangers and visitors, so leadership is vital in keeping that under control. They can play rough so interactions with children need close monitoring. They don’t mean to hurt anyone but often they don’t know their own strength.

These are all breed generalizations and there are certainly boxers that don’t fit these descriptions, but of all the boxers I’ve worked with, most do resemble the above. Bark Busters’ methodology makes it easy to teach your dog, even Boxers, how to be great family members. Love, trust and respect are necessary elements of a great relationship and all those grow from understanding and clear communication. This is where Bark Busters excels, teaching our clients what their dogs are looking for and how to provide the leadership and structure that dogs instinctively seek. If you have issues with your Boxer or any other breed, contact your local trainer for assistance. You and your dog will be happy you did.

 

Boxer Common Behavioral Issues

Boxer puppies need socialization as early as possible and firm but fair training. Boxers need to be positively motivated and love praise. Establishing yourself as the alpha dog and providing a consistent and structured environment goes a long way with a boxer.

Remember that your dog wants to please you – he just doesn’t know how. He will challenge you for control if he suspects you are not going to be a strong leader. Letting him know who is in charge and earning his respect upfront is key to successful training.

Boxers tend to have a mind of their own. Remember that boxers don’t like to be left alone, so separation anxiety can be a problem. They respond best to firm but fun training to help overcome their jumping, biting, barking and other mis-behaviors. Praise should be a major part of your training program.

An essential part of your training must involve exercise. Because of their high energy, a rousing game of fetch, or a long walk daily is a good idea. Remember that a bored dog is a mischievous dog.

Separation Anxiety

Some Boxers don’t do well when left home alone. They just don’t like solitude (especially if their doggie parents have never prepared them for it).

Things like leaving the home for a few minutes, but staying close by, to gauge your Boxers reaction to being left alone.

Leaving durable toys or treat-dispensing toys with your dog can help break the boredom, but sometimes they just want you.

This might sound great since anyone would want to be loved that much? However, the issue is that you might never be able to leave your dog at home alone while you go out to the movies or a meal.

It is best to start practicing separation from your Boxer as soon as you can. For example start off by teaching your dog not to follow you from room to room. They need to understand that they cannot always follow wherever you go.

If your dog sleeps with you or a family member, that might seem like a wonderful thing and no issue if your dog does not suffer Separation Anxiety, but a problem if it does.

The reason is your dog never gets to experience separating from you or the family when you are at home and the only time you do is when you all go out.

So practice separating, stopping your dog from following you everywhere you go and understand that the wanting to be with you all the time, might not be love, but could be the start of Separation Anxiety.

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Boxer Health

Common Injuries and Illnesses

Your Boxer's health concerns will change over the course of their life. A puppy might be more prone to eating something they shouldn’t, a 2-year-old Boxer is more likely to develop a cancerous mass, and a senior Boxer may develop urinary tract infections as they age. Boxers also have personality and physical traits that may make them more prone to certain conditions—they’re prone to heart conditions as they age, and tend to be active dogs that can injure themselves when playing or running.

If you are ever concerned about your dog’s health, your local veterinarian is a great resource—no matter how small the question.

At any stage of life, here are some of the most common injuries and illnesses you should be aware of when bringing home a Boxer:

  • Cruciate ruptures
  • Allergies
  • Eye conditions
  • Lymphoma
  • Arthritis
  • Masses
  • Heart problems

Genetic Health Concerns

Like many popular breeds, the Boxer has a number of hereditary health issues, like eye conditions and heart problems. Boxers are also susceptible to allergies and multiple types of cancer. Most reputable breeders now have their breeding stock checked and scored for these hereditary ailments by a vet. You can request proof that the puppy you are purchasing comes from parents that have been checked for these issues.

Because many other health issues are also hereditary, you should do some research on the ancestry of your puppy and any health issues of that particular breed.

Many rescue organizations also check for common-ailments before making them available for adoption.

Tips For Every Dog Owner

Owner Taking Dog on Walk on Leash

One Step at a Time: A Guide to Successful Dog Walking

Walking our dogs is a great source of exercise for both pets and pet parents. It not only helps keep our canine companions healthy and physically and mentally stimulated, but also strengthens the bond between us. There are several factors for pet parents to consider, however, to keep walks fun and safe for all.

Bark Busters Dog Trainers Training Two Dogs

Tips for Every Dog - Why Training?

All dogs need some form of training and education. Love is vital to the bond you and your dog share, but on its own and without all the other elements of a strong relationship, your dog won’t feel fully fulfilled.

Dogs at Dog Park

Tips for Every Dog - Socialization

Dogs are social animals and like to be part of a structured social group. In the wild, their pack provides this purpose, but in the domesticated world, this consists of the humans they live with and other animals that live in your home.

Large Group of Dogs of Various Breeds

Tips for Every Dog - Four Basic Needs

At Bark Busters, we believe that every dog has four basic needs. When these needs aren’t being met, misbehavior will likely follow.

Hear from Bark Busters Clients Who Have a Boxer

Adrienne is AWESOME! Who knew that our fur son was feeling like he needed to take care of us. Adrienne came in and started training us to let Sugga Ray (our 1-year 11-month-old Boxer) know that we are taking care of him. I was amazed at the training techniques. So simple, that it made us feel really stupid. I guess you don't know, what you don't know. We are working on his reaction to other dogs if they bark at him or get in his space, but of course when we need dogs to pass by us on the trail that bark, there are none to be found. Adrienne gave us a great start and left us with plenty of homework for Sugga Ray. I know we have more things to work on, but we feel so good about his progress in just a week. We had overnight company this past weekend and he did not jump up on anyone not once. We are super proud of his 1st week of progress and our parent progress. I look forward to a very long relationship with Adrienne and Bark Busters. You all have been a blessing to us. I wish I would have found you all years ago with past fur babies, but I am definitely looking forward to a long partnership with Bark Busters.
We have a one and a half year old Boxer puppy and quickly realized we were going to need some help! Our issues with Chugga - the constant jumping on visitors, leash walking and “stay”.
We have never used a trainer before but Barbara is fantastic, Chugga responded to her training methods on the first visit! She took time to explain the training process to us as well as demonstrate. (we were being trained as well as Chugga)
We have been working with him and there has been a big improvement. We are very happy with the results.
It is reassuring that Barbara will be always be available to help us with Chugga if any other behavior changes arise as he grows older.
We are very pleased with Bark Busters and especially our trainer Barbara. We highly recommend this service to anyone.
Look no further for your dog training needs. Ben has been crucial in helping us acclimate our new boxer pup with our other boxer. We have addressed everything from aggression, dominance, potty training and learning to "speak dog". Our dogs are now happy and playing together! Definitely a one stop shop for training. Even when not in an active training, Ben is always available for questions, pointers and ongoing support. We couldn't be happier!
Pam is amazing!!! We are SO happy we found her through Bark Busters. Our boxer, Judge, responded to her immediately. Her expertise in training is evident the moment she walks in the door. Not only is she extremely good at what she does, she’s also easy to talk to, personable and down to earth! Her love for animals in general is apparent as you can feel the love she shares with your dog while training.
Wonderful trainers and an awesome system that I recommend to anyone seeking humane training. Love these guys!!
Working with Bonnie was an absolute pleasure: She was prompt, professional, and expert in describing and helping us implement effective training strategies! We felt empowered to practice and make progress after just one lesson, and we feel great about the prospect of her ongoing support.
Josh took the time to understand the particular issues we were challenged with specifically pulling on the leash, barking at passersby, and respecting personal space. We implemented corrections that were effective immediately. We are excited to keep practicing and enjoying more freedom with our furry kids!
We learned a lot! Great communication,looking forward to learning more.
We’ve been working with Ryanne for 6 weeks. During that short time she showed us how to communicate with our rescue. He’s a 1 year old Aussie border collie mix. We’re his 4th and forever home. He is a high energy and very intelligent dog. We knew we needed help. Ryanne came to our home and worked with us for 3 sessions over the last 6 weeks. She showed us how to immediately and effectively communicate with our dog. We can now take him to the park and play fetch. He walk's calmly by our side and ignores distractions. He only focuses on us. Before we could barely walk him without being pulled to the ground. If you’re thinking about using a trainer I highly recommend the Bark Buster program. Thank you Ryanne!
Diane and John are truly a power couple! They have an amazing bedside manner, have made us feel comfortable while supplying plenty of love and humor throughout the process. They are 150% dedicated to the work and are willing to work around the clock to help us with any challenges we have with Remy. These trainers are nothing short of amazing! They have helped us realize that although training with your dog can be challenging; however, it is more than possible, fun and worth the time we're putting in for our desired results. Thank you Diane and John! We look forward to our continued work with you all.
Friendly explained everything in great detail.
Our session was very useful & helpful in training our puppy Boji. We are looking forward to continuing the lessons with Karen.
Understanding her binary language barrier with a few simple commands made me feel at ease. Knowing my family can also walk and feel in control of our dog.
Unbelievable progress on the first day of training! Highly recommend Joshua as a highly competant and companionate trainer.
Josh was able to teach me how better to teach her! She may have some bad experiences w/ me that puts her on guard, but Josh helped a lot with recognizing the behavior and the methods how to fix this issue.
Noticed results right away!
Joshua is very professional and to the point, detailed, plus came prepared. Lucy was very receptive to him. We learned so much to make our lives plus lucy's life easier + with more joy! The information was very helpful plus the homework! Looking forward to our 3–4-week follow up. Thank YOU!
We were provided great philosophy plus lessons on how to train and understand our dog. Lucky learned a lot today!
Such nice and incredibly helpful people. Our dog is almost 4, and we thought we’d never be able to get her out of these bad habits that she’s always had. But they really helped us control her negative behaviors in a way that is not demeaning in any way. Our dog is thriving and we couldn’t be happier. Really worth the investment.
The training session was very effective. We see a massive improvement with our dogs already. Can't wait for the future!
Karen was very professional. She explained things where we could understand completely.
Very knowledgeable on training. Amazing to sum it all up!
I've worked with Bark Busters since 2021 when I first adopted my dog, Obi. He had some behavioral and anxiety issues that we needed to get under control. I shopped around for a few different trainers that were a bit cheaper but the training just didn't work well with my dog. I came across Bark Busters and was a little hesitant because of the pricing, but I felt that their methods of communication made so much sense. I first worked with Dalila and was stunned by her passion and commitment to this program. I had such an amazing experience with her and we were able to manage Obi's leash manners and home anxiety. As time went on, we reached back out to Bark Busters since Obi was beginning to act up again around other dogs. Because of that lifetime guarantee, we were able to work with Jared at no additional cost. Jared was very lovely and personable. He gave us great tips and a little refresher course. I would highly recommend working with Bark Busters because you can tell they genuinely care about their clients and want the best for your family!
Pixie went from out of control to passive today in our session with Karen.
Yesterday, Lissette from Bark Busters came to our house and spent 3 hours working with us and all three of our dogs. Her results were amazing! It was probably harder to train the humans than the dogs but she was extremely patient. She gave us the needed equipment, instructions, and videos to be successful. She also promises unlimited support should we have any questions or concerns before our next visit. After following her instructions last night and then today, our dogs have already shown improvement in their behavior! I HIGHLY recommend Bark Busters to anyone who loves their dog(s) and wants to take back control of their environment.
Stephanie is great! As first time dog parents we needed some guidance. So thankful we found Stephanie who provided us with some wonderful information and tools to help us with our new fur baby!
5 stars
The first session with Lee was amazing! He exceeded all our expectations! We look forward to future training. Our puppy is greatly improved in 24 hours.

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