Is you’re New Year’s resolution to get a new dog? Were you were gifted one for Christmas? Here’s hoping you got the breed of your choice, but if you are still deciding hopefully this blog will give you some insights into Boxers. This old German breed is a medium sized dog that comes in only four colours; fawn, brindle, black mask, with and without white markings and white. But its short, close lying coat is not its most distinctive feature. Actually, its head shape it what gives the boxer its characteristic look, specifically the muzzle. In a perfectly bred Boxer, the muzzle should be proportionate to the skull and the length of the muzzle to the whole head should be in a ratio of 1:3, and of course that ever so slight but notable underbite. Boxers are one of those breeds like the Doberman that tend to get esthetic body clippings like tail docking and ear cropping – ugh. Sorry I never understood that. If they’re born that way… Back to business, this is a breed review not an editorial!
Boxers are a great family dog due to their friendly nature and robust energy that stays with them their whole lives. Ever true to their masters, they are cautious of strangers and also alert, agile and strong which makes them great guard dogs; something to consider if you have little ones at home. Their not just great people pleasers, they are quite bright as well! They are intelligent pups that have served as service dogs, guide dogs for the blind, therapy dogs, police dogs in K9 units and occasionally as herders of cattle and sheep. That’s quite a varied resume.
Being such a busy breed means they need to spend their energy so keep them active – it will prevent them from getting into those nasty boredom habits such as biting, chewing and licking. As all you athletes out there know, a voracious physical lifestyle is going to require an energy supply so keep those calories coming in the form of lean animal protein such as chicken, turkey, lamb and fish.
Now, the most important things to know about a breed before you buy and fall madly in love is the diseases they are prone to. I know, love is unconditional for better or for worse, but you may want to find out what you are in for in case you can’t handle the heartbreak. So here’s the down and dirty. Boxers actually have a few diseases named after them. Starting with the eyes, a condition called indolent corneal ulcers, also called Boxer eye ulcers which are recurrent epithelial erosions on the corneal surface. Moving towards the heart, they are prone to arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, or Boxer cardiomyopathy which means part of the heart which is usually made up of muscle is made up of fat or scar tissue instead. Moving our way down the body to the gut, hystiocytic ulcerative colitis (Boxer colitis) which is an invasive E.coli infection is also high on the list of Boxer specific maladies. Aside from these, they may develop other ailments as most dogs do such as cancers, hip dysplasia, bloat and degenerative myelopathy.