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What Are The Downsides Of Owning A Boxer Dog?

The boxer dog is quite a popular large breed all across the UK, although they’re not quite as common as they were a couple of decades ago before a large number of new and imported breeds began to gain a real foothold here in the UK.

However, this handsome and distinctive-looking flat faced dog breed remains a firm favourite with many dog owners, and if you are looking for a very loyal, affectionate and loving large dog breed that is versatile and kind natured, the boxer is certainly a breed to consider.

Finding out the basics of what is it like owning a boxer and the breed’s positive traits is usually quite easy, and the boxer is a long-established breed that we already know quite a lot about. That said, it is really important to consider the main downsides or potential problems that can come with any pedigree dog breed when making a final decision about what breed to buy, and this is not always so easy to discover!

In this article we will look at some of the potential downsides of boxer dog ownership that all prospective boxer buyers should learn about before making a purchase. Read on to learn more.

The initial purchase price

Larger dog breeds tend to cost more to buy than their smaller counterparts, and the boxer is quite costly to buy even compared to many other breeds of a similar size.

The average sale price of a pedigree boxer puppy with papers is £1,093, whilst for non-pedigrees or unregistered dogs, the price isn’t a lot lower at £966. This means that even the initial price of buying a boxer is quite high, and the cost of caring for one will also be on the high side as the boxer is large.

A relatively low average lifespan

Boxer dogs live for around 9-10 years on average, although this is only a broad average and it is by no means uncommon for dogs of the breed to live quite a lot longer.

However, the average lifespan across dog breeds and types as a whole is nearer to the twelve-year mark, and so this indicates that the boxer doesn’t tend to live as long as most other breeds – often by a number of years. This is something that you should bear in mind before you make a purchase, and plan for accordingly.

A range of health problems

There are a number of conformation and hereditary health problems recognised within the boxer breed, and whilst they don’t affect all or even most boxers, they are risks that all prospective buyers should be aware of.

The complete list of potential boxer dog health problems is quite long, although naturally some of the conditions mentioned within it are more prevalent than others. Some of the health conditions that boxers can inherit can be identified prior to breeding with health testing, so choose a pup from a breeder who tests both of their parent dogs and makes a copy of the test results available to prospective puppy buyers.


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Sensitivity to heat

The boxer dog breed is brachycephalic, which is the term we use to describe their shortened muzzles and faces. Unlike many other brachycephalic breeds that have been selectively bred to exaggerate this trait, which can cause health problems, most boxers have a more moderate appearance that is better for their health.

However, all brachycephalic dogs are at increased risk of overheating when the weather is hot or if they are exercising hard, and this is something that you need to bear in mind and make allowances for.

Sensitivity to certain anaesthetics

Many boxer dogs have a specific sensitivity to certain veterinary sedatives and anaesthetics that are commonly used for routine procedures (like spay and neuter) and larger operations alike.

If you do buy a boxer dog, talk to your vet about the type of anaesthetics they use, how they determine their suitability for boxers, and the best way to proceed with your dog’s own anaesthesia if they do need surgery.

Boxer energy levels

Boxer dogs are lively and outgoing companions that tend to be inquisitive, playful, and very active. If you are an active person yourself who loves to walk and hike, a boxer might well be a good fit for you. Whilst the breed isn’t right up there with the most challenging breeds to exercise and keep happy, they do require at least a couple of relatively long and varied walks each day to provide mental and physical stimulation and keep the dog fit.

Most boxer dogs can’t swim well

Finally, something that takes many first-time boxer owners aback is the fact that dogs of the breed don’t tend to be good swimmers – or in some cases, can’t swim at all. This is because their short muzzles and natural balance makes it hard or impossible for them to both propel themselves to remain buoyant whilst also keeping their noses far enough above the water to be able to breathe.

It is a good idea to find out how well your boxer can swim under safe, controlled conditions, and to keep them safe near to water like canals, lakes and streams. A boxer that falls into deeper water might sink within just a minute or so, so take special care of your dog near to water and plan accordingly.


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