Boxer - breed information and advice

Boxers are boisterous bundles of fun. Although the breed’s upturned chin gives them the look of a fighter, Boxers would rather be playing an energetic game. They love company and will show their disapproval if they are left on their own for too long.

Breed information

Essentials

Size: Medium to large

Coat: Short and smooth

Exercise: Adult dogs need two or more hours a day. A Boxer loves nothing better than charging around a park chasing a ball.

Life span: 8-14 years

Breed group: Working breeds were developed to perform tasks such as guarding and rescuing. They are physically and mentally tough, but require careful training to respect their owner as ‘pack leader’.

Corneal ulcers

Eye problems can be very common in dogs. Boxers can suffer from corneal ulceration in particular, which happens when the surface of the cornea is grazed as a result of scratches from other animals or vegetation, or because of foreign material in the eye, chemicals, heat or smoke, or infection. Corneal ulcers can be treated using eye drops and sometimes surgery, which is usually successful enough to allow the dog to live a normal life.

Fact

In our experience, corneal ulcers are the most common eye problem in Boxers

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Epulis

Epulis is a benign tumour that appears along the gum line. It appears as a series of small, fleshy masses sprouting from the gum and around the teeth. It can be painful, but surgical removal of the epulis growths allows the dog to lead a normal life.

Fact

We paid £2,609 to treat Baxter the Boxer for epulis in 2016

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Skin conditions

The skin is the largest organ of a dog’s body and a number of disorders can affect it. Like other dogs, Boxers can suffer from allergies that lead to dermatitis (skin inflammation). Allergies can be caused by many different items, including things that are inhaled (such as pollen or dust mites), items that are eaten (for example, wheat), items that the dog comes into contact with (for example, washing powders), or bites from parasites such as fleas. Another skin problem, pyoderma (meaning ‘infection of the skin’) is usually caused by bacteria, fungi (‘ringworm’) or yeasts. Skin disorders can be managed using various treatments, usually required long-term, which means the dog can get on with enjoying life.

Fact

In our experience, skin conditions are the second most common illnesses in Boxers

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Lumps and bumps

Like all dogs, Boxers can develop masses (lumps and bumps) in the layers of fat, skin and muscle that cover their bodies. These might be warts, cysts, lipomas (soft fatty lumps), abscesses or tumours, such as mast cell tumours. Mast cells are normal skin cells that help dogs respond to trauma and damage by releasing histamine. However, these cells can sometimes replicate into a serious type of tumour called a mast cell tumour. They vary widely in size and shape, but most take the form of a solitary lump within the skin. Treatment depends on the size and location of the tumour but almost always involves surgical removal.

Fact

Mast cell tumours are the fifth most common illness we see in Boxers

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Heart disease

Heart disease in dogs is classified as either congenital heart disease (which means ʻborn with itʼ) or acquired heart disease (which means the disease develops later in life). Both of these defects can lead to a state called ʻheart failureʼ, wherein the heart struggles to pump blood around the body. Boxers are particularly prone to a disease of the heart muscle known as cardiomyopathy, which often leads to heart failure. Early diagnosis of heart problems is key, because if they progress to the ʻheart failureʼ stage, treatment will then be needed for the rest of the dogʼs life.

Fact

Cardiomyopathy is the most common heart disorder we see in Boxers

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