Like with any breed there are certain things to consider before purchasing a boxer. Make sure you understand the idiosyncrasies and commitment involved. Remember, it's a commitment for the life of that dog.
Boxers are high energy, forever loyal animals that have a definite joy, a joy of life. They demand an owner who will firm and consistent, but never cruel. Obedience classes are highly recommended with this breed. Their natural curiosity, intelligence, size, and energy need to be focused on constructive pursuits.
Boxers are very intelligent, but must be trained differently than Golden Retrievers and Border Collies. Boxers do not take repetition well. They will shut down on you "when they get it" and you keep asking them to repeat the behavior over and over. Some folks see them shut down and consider this "being stubborn". I regard this as being VERY smart. If you were asked to do the same math problem over and over again in school, though you've shown your teacher you got it numerous times, you would shut down, too, or be rather naughty. :0) It's no different with boxers!
Boxers pick up new behaviors very quickly and therefore you have to stay one step ahead of them at all times.
You must be consistent with boxers as they will see any crack in your armor as an opportunity. For example, if you don't want them on the furniture - you NEVER let them on the furniture. If you allow them one time, you can basically throw in the towel because it's going to be VERY difficult to get them to stay off the furniture from then on out.
If you expect a dog that will lie quietly in a corner out of your way, or to be out in a kennel, you need to consider a different breed.
Boxers are extremely people oriented. They need to be in the center of the family. Often times I find myself sitting on the couch with two dogs pinning each side of me and one lying on my feet. They believe they are 50-80 pound lap dogs! When I get up, they all do. When I grab my keys, they think they get to go for a ride.
If you'd like a more independent breed, pick something else.
Boxers, especially when young, can be destructive. Chewing becomes a constant pastime. A crate becomes essential when raising a boxer pup. When you're not there to baby-sit, the pup should be retired to a crate. That way the pup is safe (from biting electric cords, eating dangerous items, or angering the owner because it chewed up the couch). The crate, in turn, becomes a haven for the pup. A place where they can got to escape and take a nap. It is also a safe place when traveling in a vehicle.
Good chew toys are essential with boxers. Make sure they are safe, nondestructive types for boxer jaws. Toys are cheaper than replacing shoes and furniture.
Boxers need exercise. They are natural athletes who need a fenced yard with room to run. If bored, they will turn to destructive behavior.
If you're looking for a breed to compete in agility, play ball or Frisbee, or go running or hiking, you're in luck.
Boxers must be indoor dogs. Their short coats and minimal body fat makes them unable to endure cold conditions outside. If they must be outside during the day, make sure they have a heated or indoor area for them to retire. On the other hand, they also can not take extreme heat. A cool place with plenty of water in the warmer months is also essential.
So if you expect your boxer to be an outside dog, pick a different breed.
The short coats of boxers have pluses also. There is minimal grooming with a boxer. A brushing once a week and a bath once a month is usually sufficient to keeping their coats healthy. Trimming their nails and cleaning their ears is about all else you have to do. No expensive trips to the groomers' every 4 to 6 weeks.
Boxers can produce "boxer slime." In other words, they can have wet/droolly mouths.
If you can't handle some froth once in a while, a boxer's not for you.
After they eat and drink, a wipe with a towel is sometimes helpful. Don't get me wrong. They're not like the dog on the movie Turner and Hooch, and our Labrador retriever is the worst "faucet face" when it comes to drinking water, but it's a consideration.
Boxers, can also be prone to many more health conditions than other breeds. So vet bills can be enormous. Cancer
Boxers can be afflicted with cancers affecting a variety of organ systems, including:
Mast Cell Tumor (MCT) – Skin and internal organs such as the spleen, liver and heart
Hemangiosarcoma (HSA) – Also affects the skin and internal organs
Lymphoma – Affects the lymphatic system (the circulatory system, paralleling arteries and veins allowing for movement of immune system cells) and internal organs
These painfully itchy dogs often need a variety of treatment for their skin, such as:
Medication – Antibiotics, antihistamines and steroids, or other immune system modifying drugs (such as Cylosporine)
Special Diet – A protein/carbohydrate-based diet of either home-prepared, commercial or prescription food (such as rabbit and peas, duck and sweet potato, Science Diet Z/D or Purina HA)
Dietary supplements – Omega 3 fatty acids such as fish oil, which has beneficial anti-inflammatory effects for the skin
Immune system hyposensitization – “Allergy shots” made from the Boxer’s own blood can help control dermatologic disease
Bathing – Consistent or frequent bathing with hypoallergenic, anti-seborrheic (scale lifting) or antimicrobial (bacteria or yeast killing) shampoo
Boxers’ typically sweet, family-friendly personally lends to the analogy of them having big hearts. Unfortunately, bigger hearts are not always better, and certainly do not often function as well as their normal-sized counterparts.
Boxers are prone to dilative cardiomyopathy (DCM), where the heart muscle stretches out and causes the electrical impulse that regulates heart contraction to travel through the heart in an inefficient manner. DCM can ultimately lead to heart failure. Other heart conditions, some developmental and others congenital, may also be seen in Boxers.
If you don't mind making the proper adjustments for bringing a boxer into your life, prepared for the possible expense and the positives outweigh the negatives in your mind, then you're ready to join the ranks of boxer owners.
Be ready! There's no going back to any other breed!