Are Boxers the Most Troublesome Dogs? 5 Common Complaints About Them
Who doesn’t love a boxer? These silly dogs have clownish antics and adorable smiles and are much beloved by many. In fact, the American Kennel Club (AKC) reported that boxers were the 16th most popular dog breed in the United States in 2022. First introduced to the United States after World War I, they began to quickly grow in popularity in the late 1930s.
Playful, loyal, and great with kids, these upbeat, amusing dogs have turned into common family pets. However, despite their popularity, boxers often get a bad reputation for being a troublesome breed. Playfulness becomes hyperactivity, loyalty becomes aggression, and those cute faces become mess-making machines. While these dogs have many great qualities, here are five common complaints about boxers.
1. Boxers Are Too Hyperactive
Boxers were originally bred in Germany as bull-baiting dogs and to control cattle in slaughterhouses. As a working breed, they have a lot of energy, determination, and drive. While boxers are now bred primarily as pets, that liveliness hasn’t dissipated. As a result, they are extremely playful, high-energy dogs that need to stay busy. They can be rowdy and commonly jump up on people if their energy doesn’t have an outlet.
A bored boxer is a destructive one, and they will chew up furniture and household items if they aren’t kept stimulated. Boxers are incredibly smart dogs and have the mental capacity of a 3-year-old child. Much like human toddlers, they require a lot of attention and interaction. Both mental and physical stimulation are important to prevent the restlessness that can lead to bad behavior. Training, command sessions, and agility activities can keep a boxer’s brain sharp, with the bonus of teaching the dog discipline and focus.
Boxers also require lots of exercise to prevent the development of behavioral problems, such as dominance or aggression. The best way to reduce a boxer’s hyperactivity is to have a set routine of exercise, playtime, training, and attention to prevent detrimental energy levels before they start. Through preemptive action, negative habits can be corralled before they begin.
2. They Can be Dominant or Aggressive
Aggression toward people in boxers primarily stems from a lack of exercise or socialization. If boxers don’t have a healthy outlet for their energy, it can manifest in negative ways. While boxers are naturally playful, loyal, and loving, a poorly socialized dog of any breed can become fearful, excitable, or upset when stressed. A boxer’s loyalty to their family can also result in aggression toward strangers if the dog perceives them as threatening their owners.
If a boxer is well socialized, stimulated, and trained, the likelihood of aggression toward people is actually extremely low. In fact, they make great pets for kids and love playing with children. However, boxers can be dominant toward other dogs or very selective about which dogs they tolerate. Even if they like another dog, their high-energy, rambunctious play style can be off-putting and overwhelming. To avoid this common complaint about boxers, dog trainers and veterinarians recommend slow introductions and matching boxers with playmates that have similar energy levels.
3. Boxers Are Prone to Medical Problems
Many purebred dog breeds have health problems, and boxers are no exception. Considered a brachycephalic breed, boxers have short snouts and flat faces. As a result of their shortened airways, brachycephalic dogs such as boxers are prone to breathing issues and airway problems. Because dogs cool themselves by panting and taking in cooling air, a boxer’s shortened airways make it difficult for them to regulate their body temperature. This makes them incredibly susceptible to overheating and heatstroke.
These breathing challenges can also cause boxers to take in too much air that can get trapped in the stomach if the dog gets bloat. Bloat, formally known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), can cause the dog’s stomach to distend with gas and fluid that cannot escape. If left unaddressed, the stomach can become dilated enough to rotate over, leading to a blood-supply blockage. Sadly, gastrointestinal complications such as these can often result in death.
In addition to breathing and gastrointestinal issues, boxers are also prone to mobility problems, such as hip dysplasia and degenerative myelopathy. This condition affects the lower spinal cord and nervous system, ultimately resulting in paralysis in the hind legs. While the disease is not fatal, its effects are irreversible.
Boxer cardiomyopathy is another common issue in boxers. This cardiac disease prevents the dog’s heart from adequately pumping blood throughout the body. Fainting spells and an irregular heartbeat are both symptoms of cardiomyopathy. With early intervention and treatment the disease can be managed, but symptoms should be addressed immediately to avoid the risk of complications or sudden heart failure.
4. They Make a Mess
Boxers are big droolers, which is a very common complaint about the breed. Their big, open lips allow drool to pool in their cheek pouches. When a boxer shakes its head, that slobber goes everywhere. Nervousness and excitement can increase drooling. Since boxers are such excitable dogs, this can result in fairly consistent slobber splashed around your home.
These dogs don’t just make messes on your furniture—they also pollute the air! Due to their short snouts and flat faces, boxers take in a lot of air when they breathe. They’re also enthusiastic eaters, and end up swallowing excessive amounts of air during mealtime. This results in flatulence. The previously mentioned gastrointestinal issues can also contribute to gassiness, making boxers very smelly dogs.
5. Boxers Don’t Have Long Lifespans
Smaller breeds have longer lifespans than large ones. At 65-80 pounds, boxers are medium-large breeds, so they fall somewhere in the middle when it comes to longevity. While chihuahuas can live up to 20 years old, boxers generally only live for 10-12 years. Due to all of the health problems they are prone to, many of these dogs do not even make it that long. A male named Maccabee is the oldest boxer on record. He died in 2016 at the ripe old age of 16 years and 9 months, though reaching this age is incredibly uncommon for the breed. However, with proper veterinary care and good nutrition, boxers can live for a happy and healthy decade or more.
Pros and Cons of Having a Boxer
|Pros of Boxers||Cons of Boxers|
|Clownish and prone to funny antics||Can jump or become hyperactive and play too hard when overstimulated|
|Very intelligent||High need for mental stimulation to prevent destructive behavior|
|Loyal to their families||Can develop aggression problems without proper socialization|
|Require little grooming||Drool excessively|
|High energy and active||Prone to health issues and short lifespan|