THE BOXER DOG – IS IT THE RIGHT BREED FOR ME AND MY FAMILY?
The boxer is thought by many to be the ideal family dog. Those who love the breed know them to be exuberant, loyal and loving companions. They are NOT, however, the ideal breed for everyone. The same qualities and characteristics that endear them to those who love them may make them unsuitable for some households. To those who are considering owning a boxer we offer the following information - not to discourage potential loving owners, but to aid them in making a conscientious decision. Owning a boxer is a joy - acquiring one demands a true commitment to the physical and emotional health of the dog.
One of the primary characteristics that must be taken into account when considering a boxer is the high energy level common to the breed. Boxers are lively, active dogs, and may be too boisterous for some households. The proper balance of rest and exercise is essential.
Boxers are extremely "people-oriented" and have a great need for human companionship. Those who receive insufficient attention may resort to "bad" behavior in an attempt to gain it.
The boxer is a HOUSE dog. While they may enjoy regular play and exercise outdoors they are not suited for outside living. Their short coats cannot protect them from long exposure to cold temperatures and their short muzzles make them susceptible to extreme heat.
The boxer is a natural guardian of his home, but should NOT be purchased solely for that purpose. ALL dogs require intensive training in order to perform properly as protection animals. Only those with absolutely sound temperaments are suitable.
As with any breed, obedience training is essential for a well-mannered, disciplined companion. Boxers are an intelligent, clever breed. It is important to remember that an intelligent dog can devise more ways of getting into trouble than a dull one. Boxers must be trained in a firm but fair manner - they do not respond well to (or deserve) harsh treatment.
The boxer's short, tight coat requires little grooming, however like most breeds, they DO shed, particularly in Spring and Fall. The degree of shedding varies with the individual. Some boxers are prone to skin allergies.
Boxers are not wet mouth also known as drooling. Usually this is only when they have just finished drinking water. They may also snore.
The Official standard of the boxer used to call for cropped ears. Now it is up to the owner's discretion, Boxers with uncropped ears are now being shown. While many pet owners opt not to have this procedure, those who have their boxer cropped must be prepared to perform the necessary aftercare and taping to ensure the ears stand properly. This CAN be a lengthy process.
Finally, on the rather delicate subject of flatulence- the boxers digestion is sometimes less than perfect. Even when fed a high quality food, SOME may have rather frequent and, well-noxious episodes of passing gas. This, of course, varies with the individual and may not occur at all. (Just don't say you weren't warned if it does!)
Teaching Your Children to be Kind and Mindful of Dogs and Educating Others:
Respect is crucial for teaching dogs and children:
Like with any breed there are certain things to consider before purchasing a Boxer. Make sure you understand the breed’s characteristics and keep in mind, it's a commitment for the life of that dog.
Boxer dogs, although physically small compared to some other dog breeds, are big animals and can weigh up to 75+ pounds. Boxers are gentle and friendly; they are a very affectionate breed that require constant interaction and will follow you around all day if permitted. Boxers need to be with their family and thrive on human companionship. They do not thrive, and indeed, can develop bad habits if they do not spend time with their family. They are inclined to be boisterous which may not suit you or your lifestyle. Boxers mature very slowly, behaving like puppies nearly all their life, though they to start to settle more at around 3 to 4 years of age. If you are looking for an independent dog, which can spend hours in the yard alone, the boxer is not right for you. If you want a dog which will want to join in all your family activities, then a boxer may be for you!
Do you have children? Don’t be turned off by their size – boxer dogs are gentle breeds that are great with children. But like any dog breed, they should be trained appropriately to make sure neither the dog nor child is harmed accidently. Another consideration for any parent is – do you have the time to care for another little one? Parenthood is already a full time job for many people, and the addition of a pet can cause stress for some people.
Boxers suffer from exposure to extreme temperatures. Their coats are short and offer no protection against the cold and their short muzzles make them unable to tolerate extreme heat. They are house dogs, even though they need plenty of 'outside time', so if you dislike animals in the house, then the Boxer is not right for you. Like all dogs, Boxers need baths, nail grooming, walks, training, and cleaning up after. Fortunately, Boxers are very trainable and training any dog is part of having the dog of your dreams, but you must be willing to dedicate the time that it takes. Owning a Boxer is a lifestyle choice, so make your decision carefully.
Boxers require 'obedience' training and to be taught good manners - so if you have not got the time for this a Boxer may not suit you. Boxers are very intelligent dogs and require firm, fair, fun training. If you want a dog who only wants to do what you say when you say, do not get a Boxer. Boxers are a very independent breed, very willing to work with you, but unwilling to be ordered around. Trained properly, a Boxer is the most delightful companion you could wish for.
Boxers are natural guard dogs and most will look after the family home and property. Some Boxers take this to the extreme and may guard too well for your liking, while others seem to have missed out on any guarding instinct. However, the Boxer should never be purchased as a guard dog - this is only a tiny part of their great character, and it does not suit them at all. 'True' guard dogs require extensive, expensive training to perform, and only those with absolutely sound temperaments can do this work. No layman is able to tell if a dog is suitable or not without professional help.
But as any Boxer owner will tell you - they are truly wonderful, devoted, loving pets.
1. Requires almost no grooming - just give your Boxer an occasional bath, trim a few whiskers and toenails - and he's ready for polite society! Try to ignore all those charming little hairs that stick like the devil to your rugs and furniture.
2. LOVES small children - the noisier the better. Kids mean FUN to your average Boxer, and he is tolerant in the extreme. He's also a great babysitter because kids will find him endlessly amusing - almost as captivating as the TV...
3. Housebreaks like lightning - very clean and easy to crate train. Usually keeps himself relatively spotless - like your house cat (but don't dare compare the Boxer to a CAT - your dog will be disgusted in the extreme).
4. Deters visits from fussbudget relatives who criticize your housekeeping and the way you raise your kids. Any self-respecting Boxer knows just how to jump upon and knock over grumpy Aunt Martha - without even being told!
5. Manifests a striking appearance. In all colors - fawn, brindle or white, flashy or not - the Boxer can insinuate himself into any environment and invite admiring comments from discriminating passersby - he improves the decor of even the poshest establishment.
6. Considers himself far more intelligent than most canines. Learns in a flash, but insists on knowing WHY he should perform in a certain way. Continually outsmarts his owner in obedience trials.
7. Gives serious pause to unwelcome or hostile visitors - but can distinguish your average burglar from the neighbor or the neighbor's 10 year old. The poor UPS man, who may not know how discriminating the Boxer's tastes really are, may never quite dare leave that package on the porch.
8. Twists his body into impossible pretzel shapes - quite the contortionist if he's REALLY really happy. May be David Copperfield's next assistant.
9. Loves his People in the extreme. Always joyous when you return, even after a 30 second walk to your mailbox. Loyalty is one of his strongest suits.
10. Delights in his toys from puppyhood to old age - happy to catch a frisbee even when elderly and gray; and when, inevitably, he must leave you, he will apologize for the parting with a playful gleam still in his eyes.
Stephanie Abraham - Author
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