Boxer Dog Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
Boxer Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014
Boxers can be fine family dogs if you can proviide enough exercise and training to control their rambunctiousness when young, and if you can provide for their special needs due to their unnaturally short face.
As puppies and young adults, Boxers are animated, playful (often cuckoo!) dogs who love to romp and jump. Middle-aged Boxers typically become more deliberate and dignified and make calm, loyal companions for the rest of their (unfortuntately not very long) lives.
Exercise needs vary from long daily walks for more sedentary Boxers to vigorous daily romping for high-energy individuals -- but not in hot weather, because Boxers are more susceptible to heatstroke than most dog breeds.
Though most Boxer dogs are fine with other family pets, including the family cat, quite a few Boxers are dominant or aggressive toward other dogs of the same sex, and some are cat chasers.
Boxers need consistent leadership. Their heritage, after all, is that of a strong-minded working dog. But you must handle them in an upbeat, persuasive way. Boxers are stubborn, yes, but also sensitive and proud. They will "shut down" (sulk and pout and passively refuse to do anything) if you jerk them around.
Most Boxers make vigilant watchdogs -- meaning they will bark when they see or see something out of the ordinary. Their guarding and territorial instincts, though, vary a great deal. Most Boxers react to strangers with a joyous "Hi there! Come on in!" (often accompanied by enthusiastic jumping and tail-wiggling). Other Boxers are sensible and polite with strangers, neither fawning over them nor threatening them. A few Boxers (typically those from German lines) are more forceful and challenging. Early socialization is important to develop a stable attitude in your Boxer.
If you want a dog who...
- Is medium to large, with a rugged, sleekly-muscled "masculine" build
- Needs minimal grooming
- Loves to romp and play
- Is usually steadfast and reliable with everyone
- Looks imposing enough that he is an effective deterrent even when friendly
A Boxer may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- Rowdiness and exuberant jumping when young
- Potential aggression toward other dogs (usually of the same sex)
- A strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
- Snorting, wheezing, snoring
- Slobbering and drooling
- Gassiness (flatulence)
- A very real potential for health problems and a short lifespan
A Boxer may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of Boxer dogs
If I was considering a Boxer for my next dog, I would be most concerned about...
- Bounciness. Older Boxers can be quite mellow, but young Boxers (up to about two years old) romp and jump with vigor, and things can go flying, including small children or elderly or infirm people. This is an athletic working breed who needs exercise.
- Potential dog aggression. Though most Boxers are fine with other family pets, including the family cat, many Boxers are dominant or aggressive toward strange dogs of the same sex.
- Stubbornness. Boxers have an independent mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. Many Boxers are passively stubborn and will brace their legs and refuse to do what you want them to do. Some are dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show your Boxer, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say. In other words....
You must teach your Boxer to respect you. A dog who respects you will do what you say and will stop what he's doing when you tell him "No."
My book Teach Your Dog 100 English Words, gives you a unique vocabulary to use with your dog AND teaches my Respect Training Program. Your dog will look at you when you speak and do what you say. Not just when he's hungry for a treat or feels like it. But all the time. Because he respects you.
- Boxer sounds. Boxers are not "quiet" dogs. They're not yappy, by any means, but they do vocalize with grumbles and grunts, and they snort, snuffle, and snore. The sounds are endearing to some people, bothersome to others.
- Slobbering. Many Boxers, especially those with loose jowls, slobber or drool, especially after eating and drinking.
- Gassiness (flatulence). All short-faced breeds gulp air when they eat, and that air has to go somewhere, after all. However, commercial diets make flatulence worse by including fibrous or hard-to-digest ingredients such as corn, soy, and other grains. Instead, feed your Boxer an easy-to-digest, meat-heavy, homemade diet.
- Shedding. Boxers are average shedders.
- Finding a healthy one and keeping him healthy. Most Boxers do not live a long life – an alarming number succumb to cancer or heart disease in middle age. Other health concerns include eye diseases (such as corneal ulcers), digestive diseases (such as ulcerative colitis), hypothyroidism, itchy allergies, and more. To avoid these problems, you need to buy your Boxer from a person who can pass the "14 Family Companion Guidelines" in my book, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams. If they're not following these guidelines, it's a big risk to buy a puppy from them.
Once you have your puppy home, you need to keep him healthy by following the 11-Step Health Care Program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy.
If you want your dog to live a long, healthy life and seldom need to visit the vet, this is the book for you. How to prepare healthy meals, getting only the right vaccinations (not the ones that are either useless or risky), preventing fleas, ticks, and heartworm safely, getting dangerous (to dogs) products out of your home, healing or improving current health issues, and much more. This is my best book, and bargain priced, too!
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