Your Purebred Puppy, Honest Advice About Dogs and Dog Breeds

Sensible advice for raising your Boxer puppy so he lives a long healthy life and seldom needs to visit the vet. Learn about the most common health problems and issues in Boxers, the best dog food diet for feeding Boxer puppies and adult dogs, the truth about vaccinations, spaying and neutering, and natural health care.


11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, my best-selling dog health book

Boxer dog breed

Boxer Health Problems and Raising a Boxer Puppy to be Healthy

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014

Quiz – How Long Will Your Dog Live?
How To Raise a Healthy Dog
Feeding the Best Dog Food
Feeding the 2nd Best Dog Food
Vaccinations: Needed or Not?
Are You Sure Your Vet Is Good?

The most common health problems in Boxers:

Because of their short face, all Boxers suffer from some degree of brachycephalic syndrome, which causes all kinds of health problems.

Heart problems are very high on the list of major health problems in Boxers, especially subaortic stenosis and a specific form of cardiomyopathy called familial ventricular arrythmia. Pulmonic stenosis and septal defects (holes in the heart) are other heart problems occurring in Boxers.

Tumors and cancers are a serious concern in Boxers, including lymphosarcoma, mast cell tumors, histiocytoma, osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and others.

Eye diseases occur regularly in Boxers:

  • The most common eye problem is corneal ulcer, and in Boxers these ulcers can be very persistent and refuse to heal.
  • Cataracts can occur in Boxers under age 4 and can progress to blindness.
  • Other eye diseases in the breed include corneal dystrophy, cherry eye, eyelid abnormalities (entropion and ectropion), eyelash abnormalities, and occasionally progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).

Boxers often have health issues related to their digestive system – they are prone to being "gassy" (especially when fed kibble or canned diets). Ulcerative colitis (inflammatory bowel disease) is very common in Boxers. And they're at higher-than-normal risk for the emergency gastrointestinal syndrome called bloat.

The most common orthopedic health problem in Boxers is hip dysplasia. The Orthopedic Foundation of America evaluated the hip X-rays of over 3900 Boxers and found almost 11% dysplastic. In comparison, Doberman Pinschers have a 6% hip dysplasia rate. On a positive note, of 217 elbow X-rays, Boxers had a ZERO percent rate of elbow dysplasia. Other orthopedic health problems in Boxers include intervertebral disk disease, Wobbler's syndrome, osteochondritis, and hypertrophic osteodystrophy.

According to the Michigan State University Thyroid Database, Boxers have the 6th highest rate of hypothyroidism of 140 breeds (up to 23% affected). The OFA Thyroid Database ranks Boxers 3rd of 60 breeds (up to 30% affected).

Skin diseases include allergies (which cause itchy skin and can lead to pyoderma), demodectic mange (in Boxer puppies), follicular dysplasia, and non-tumorous growths.

On some older Boxers, you might see what looks like a growth on their gums, covering some of their teeth. This is actually fibrous gum tissue and the condition is called gingival hyperplasia. If the enlarged gums interfere with chewing or become damaged from chewing, the excess tissue may need to be surgically removed.

Blood-clotting diseases include von Willebrand's, hemophilia A, and factor II deficiency.

Other health problems in Boxers are Cushing's disease, epilepsy, pyloric stenosis, cystinuria, kidney disease, polyneuropathy, craniomandibular osteopathy, and in some white Boxer puppies, inherited deafness.


You probably want to know if you can prevent those health issues from happening to YOUR Boxer.

Yes, often you can.

  1. Some health problems are genetic, which means inherited from parents. Genetic health issues are common in Boxers today because of unwise breeding practices. My book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, shows you how to find a Boxer puppy who is genetically healthy.
  2. Other health problems are environmental, which means they're caused by the way you raise your dog. My best-selling dog health book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy shows you how to prevent environmental health problems by raising your Boxer puppy (or adult dog) in all the right ways.

Here are my dog health tips for raising a healthy Boxer puppy or adult dog:

Dog lifespan quiz How Long Will Your Dog Live? – Take This Quiz!
Based on your dog's breed and how you're raising him, this personalized quiz will help you understand how long your dog might live – and most importantly, how you can increase his life expectancy.


Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Dog Health Care – The Sensible Way
Read my advice on daily health care so your Boxer lives a long, healthy life and seldom needs to see the vet.


Real homemade dog food The Best Dog Food For Feeding Your Boxer
The best diet for feeding your Boxer is real food. Real chicken, turkey, beef, bison, venison, fish....This is not "people food" and I'll tell you why.


Natural dog foods for your Boxer Dog. The Second-Best Dog Food For Your Boxer
If you can't feed homemade dog food, here are your next-best choices.


Information on booster shots for your Boxer Dog. Vaccinations and Booster Shots: Needed or Not?
How many vaccinations does your Boxer puppy really need? Does your adult Boxer need yearly booster shots? The vaccination guidelines have changed. Find out what some vets aren't telling you....


Information on choosing the best vet for your Boxer Dog. The Type of Veterinarian I Recommend
Is your veterinarian really the best choice for your dog? Learn about the differences between vets who practice conventional, holistic, and alternative veterinary medicine.


Information on spaying your Boxer Dog. Spaying Your Female Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of spaying your female Boxer.


Information on neutering your male dog. Neutering Your Male Dog: Pros and Cons
Advantages and disadvantages of neutering your male dog.