How to Select a Boxerby Elle Smith
A boxer dog exhibits a wide range of character traits; when you add a boxer to your life, you get a clown, gymnast, lap dog, watch dog and sensitive soul all wrapped up in one loyal canine companion. But boxers are not for everyone. They require a lot of exercise and do not do well when left alone most of the day, Wendy Morawski, a boxer breeder for 33 years, said in an interview. The boxer breed is also known for hereditary disorders, such as cancer and dilated cardiomyopathy, that can be passed to their progeny. As with any breed, the boxer's temperament can vary from dog to dog. Boxer aficionados have identified a few things to look for in selecting the right boxer for your family.
Take a trip to the library and read all you can about boxers. Visit your favorite social media websites and look for groups dedicated to the boxer dog. Engage in discussion and learn what other boxer owners feed, how they train, and what sex or color they prefer. Educate yourself about what you're getting into, then decide if the boxer is still your breed of choice.
Look for a responsible breeder who does health tests on the boxer parents before breeding and who has a history of long-lived boxers, Morawski suggests. Boxer breeders sell puppies as companion animals (not intended for show) for various reasons, such as markings or conformation.
Visit the breeder's home to ensure that the pups are raised in clean conditions. Expect the "third degree" when being interviewed as a prospective boxer parent, writes author and breeder Stephanie Abraham in her book "The Boxer." A conscientious breeder will want to know where the puppy will stay during the day, whether you have a fenced yard, and where the dog will sleep, for example.
Insist that the puppy have veterinary clearance as to its health, Morawski advises. A good breeder will have excellent knowledge of the pups offered for sale and will be honest about the litter's pedigree.
Select a lively, alert puppy who happily greets you and your family; however, if one puppy hangs back, don't dismiss it as not being well-adjusted. Dogs have a pecking order within the litter, and he may not be outgoing until he leaves the pack and gets adjusted to his new home.
Choose the gender and color you prefer, if you have a choice. Quality breeders usually take deposits or reservations on certain dogs, so you may have only one or two puppies to choose from. A boxer's coat is either fawn, brindle or white. White boxers are not allowed to be shown. Don't buy into the myth that white boxers are rare and that they are all deaf, Morawski says.
Consider rescuing a boxer dog. These can be fabulous dogs that are given up by their owners for various reasons, including divorce, a move, or never having trained the boxer to control behavioral issues such as fence-jumping or soiling in the house. Morawski, who has worked with numerous rescue organizations, says she has found rescued boxers to be responsive to training and affection.
- Wendy Morawski, breeder; Skidoo Boxers; Vallejo, California
- The Boxer; Stephanie Abraham
- Boxer, boxer dog image by DopKay from Fotolia.com