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Ask any boxer owner what boxers are like, and chances are you'll hear the word "exuberant" mentioned at least once. This is no mellow couch potato dog. Although boxers are less active than some dogs, they do best with owners who appreciate and can accommodate their natural exuberance and zest for life. If you're looking for a dog that will join you in a friendly wrestling match, the boxer is a perfect partner. [ top]

Are you ready?
  • Are you a the-glass-is-half-full person?

  • Do you look to your dog to put you in a good mood?

  • Are you patient with high energy?

  • Do you like people and dogs that don't take life too seriously?
THE PERPETUAL PUPPY Boxers calm down once they reach adulthood (at around 3 years of age), but they never lose that playful puppy spirit. Always clowning around, boxers are playful and tend to act like puppies their entire lives. Sure, boxers can be very well behaved and in perfect control, but watch out for that twinkle in their eyes, because if anyone proposes a game, a boxer of any age will be more than ready to play hard. [ top]

Are you ready?
  • Do you prefer a mature dog? A stately, quiet, mostly decorative dog? If so, consider another breed.
  • Do you think a large dog running in wild circles around your living room is funny or appalling? If you think it's funny, you'll appreciate a boxer.
  • Are you sorry to imagine the end of puppyhood, or do you imagine counting the days until your dog finally grows up? If you are counting the days, consider another breed.
THE ATHLETIC BOXER Boxers are athletic, high-energy dogs with lots of muscle to maintain. They are also intelligent, and if you don't keep those brains busy, you'll have a bored buddy. In fact, mental stimulation may be even more important than hours of physical exercise. You can satisfy your brainy and brawny boxer involved in organized activities, such as agility and competitive obedience, or more casual pursuits, such as hiking, walking and mastering tricks. Boxers high energy and intelligence mean you must also be ready to stay one step ahead of them, during activities and at home. Boxers are notorious for foiling your efforts to keep them under control. Many boxers can figure out any kind of latch for any crate or pen in no time. Sometimes they have the door open before you can turn around and walk away. So boxer owners need to be a little creative when crating their dogs. Boxers are also good jumpers and may escape from fenced yards if they are bored and see something fun to chase on the other side of the fence. Boxers have a lot of energy and aren't always the calmest dogs. Be prepared to see your adult boxer race around the house at break-neck speed. [ top]

Are you ready?
  • Do you have the time and interest to get involved in activities with your boxer? If not, consider a less active breed.
  • Do you think agility would be a blast?
  • Are you ready to take a few extra steps, such as fortifying a fence or securing a kennel to keep your dogs safely confined when necessary?
  • Do you look forward to daily training time and daily interactive playtime, or do they sound too much like chores? If you think inventive and play-motivated training sounds fun, you'll do well with a boxer.
TRAINING YOUR BOXER Because boxers are strong and curious and need lots of stimulation, a bored boxer can easily become a destructive boxer-especially in puppyhood. Boxers must have plenty of chew toys and lots of mental challenges, and they must be trained starting in puppyhood to know what is and isn't allowed. We can't expect our boxers to attend one training class and be the perfect obedient companions. Training is ongoing. You can't get a boxer and never do anything with it and expect it to be perfect, to not chew on things, to not misbehave, to not be destructive. You have to show it how to be a good dog. Boxers are play motivated and easily bored, so it's up to you to find interesting ways to train. [ top]

Are you ready?
  • Are you prepared to take your boxer to obedience classes and to continue training throughout your boxer's life?
  • Can you afford a wide range of stimulating chew toys?
  • Are you ready for a few slip-ups, mishaps, occasional lapses and the loss of a few shoes or a couch cushion or two? Will you remember that if your boxer does destroy something, you are probably more at fault?
THE INDEPENDENT BREED Some dogs are clingy and needy, this is not the case for most boxers. They may follow you around, and be constant shadows, but they don't have to be touching you all the time like some breeds. While they don't crave constant attention, they just want to know where you are. If you go into a closed room, almost assuredly your boxer will be waiting at the door for you to come back out again. Their independence is due in part to their heritage as working guard dogs, responsible for alerting their owners to the presence of intruders. That same independence means boxers can be a challenge to train. [ top]

Are you ready?
  • Do you like a dog to hang around but not be glued to your side? Or, do you prefer a dog that is tuned in to your every move, mood and desire? If you want a "Velcro Dog," consider another breed.
  • Do you want a dog that learns through lots of repetition, or do you prefer the challenge of constantly inventing new, fun ways to train? If the latter, a boxer may be just right for you.
BOXERS LOVE COMPANY Boxers may be independent, but when it comes to company, their curiosity and love of people get the best of them. Boxers insist on greeting people face-to-face and bestowing a few licks, too. Your boxers may be very well behaved every day around your house, but it seems that all that goes out the window when company comes over. They just can't help wanting to get in your guests face. [ top]

Are you ready?
  • Will you become flustered at rowdy behavior every time someone visits your home? If so, consider another breed.
  • Are you prepared to socialize your boxer from puppyhood on by introducing it to many different situations and people?
  • Are you willing to have and use a kennel or crate to keep your boxer under control when necessary?
THE ADAPTABLE BOXER Because boxers are friendly and people oriented and adjust readily to new situations they are also easy to place into new homes. A well-screened rescue boxer is a great choice for people who don't want to deal with puppyhood. Because boxers adjust to new situations so readily, they make excellent adoptees. Consider a well-screened adult boxer from a responsible rescue group. The boxers adaptability not only helps a rescue dog settle comfortably into your home, but helps it weather the changes of a human household - a move to a new home, a new baby, a marriage or divorce, or just the two weeks with the petsitter when you go on vacation - with less stress than some breeds. As long as it is treated kindly by the humans around it, this adaptable breed is happy to love the one it's with. [ top]

Are you ready?
  • Do you want a dog that prefers you to all others in your family? If so, consider another breed.
  • Do you want a dog that loves everyone equally?
  • Are you interested in adopting a well-mannered adult?
FREINDS WITH EVERYONE Boxers look intimidating, no doubt about it. Their size and natural tendency to bark an alert should scare away would be intruders, but what if someone actually breaks into your house? Less territorial than some breeds, your boxer isn't guaranteed to do anything more than bark. Some boxers are likely to be friendly to everyone, intruder or not. Any boxer that does behave viciously or bites a human is not exhibiting normal boxer temperament. Being dog aggressive is one thing, but boxers know the difference between humans and dogs. [ top]

Are you ready?
  • Do you want a dog that will let you know when someone approaches your house?
  • Do you want a dog that you can trust not to be prone to attack people?
  • Are you content with a dog that looks scary but doesn't actually have a mean bone in its big burly body?
FEMALE AGGRESSION When it comes to other dogs, however - especially dogs of the same sex - boxers are not so likely to get along without incident. Dog aggression seems most common among females, although un-neutered males can also fight. Once two boxers have had an argument, it's never over. They hold a grudge, and they will be enemies forever and can't be trusted to be together. Anyone who gets in the middle of a boxer spat risks injury, not because boxers would attack humans, but because they are so focused on besting their canine enemies. It is never recommended to place a female boxer in a home with another female. Problems may not surface for a few years, and what are you going to do when it does? It's not worth the risk. Boxers also have a highly developed prey drive. Puppies can learn to get along with the family cat if raised together, but boxers can't be trusted around unknown cats, let alone squirrels, rabbits, birds, waterfowl, even sheep, goats and deer. [ top]

Are you ready?
  • Do you have a female boxer, and were you planning to get another female? Forget it! Get a male, or be satisfied with one dog. Males and females usually get along well together.
  • Are you prepared to walk your boxer on a leash and train it so that it is under your control at all times around other dogs?
  • Do you have a cat, or do you live in an area with lots of wildlife? Are you prepared to deal with the boxers prey drive, should it surface?
A JOYFUL BREED Best of all, boxer owners say, boxers are just plain joyful dogs. Boxers are always happy. Their good natured spirits can help to soften anyone's wrath upon discovering a chewed shoe or a dinner stolen from the counter. Of course, that face helps, too, adding a certain charm not only to the boxers conformation but to the general impression of the boxer's personality. [ top]

Are you ready?
  • Are you a "Don't Worry, Be Happy" kind of person yourself? If so, you and your boxer will be kindred spirits.

By now, you should have a pretty good idea whether a boxer's temperament will suit your own temperament and lifestyle. If a boxer sounds like it would be a perfect match for your family, then enjoy the journey ahead. It's bound to be full of fun.

Reprinted, in whole or in part,
with the permission of the publisher,
Fancy Publications Inc., from Boxers,
Volume 11 of the Popular Dogs Series: .

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