Is A Boxer A Good First Dog To Own? – A Beginners Guide

I knew a Boxer named Tony once back when I was a full-time dog walker. Tony was one of my favorite clients because of the sheer exuberance and friendly demeanor he had. Tony was an “in-your-face” kinda friend that could bounce as high as me, and never missed a chance to sneak a kiss. His owners had never owned a dog before, and often shared this experience with me. Is a Boxer a good first dog to own? Well…

Boxers can be an excellent first dog to own if you have time and commitment. Be prepared to match their energy level, exercise needs, and provide a consistent level of training from a very early age. Boxers are great family dogs, but be sure you’re ready to provide them with all of their exercise and training needs.

The Boxer is a truly unique one of a kind breed of dog. Full of joy, vitality, and clown-like behaviour. They have larger than life personalities and energy levels to match. If a Boxer is going to be your first dog you own then here are a few things you need to know before getting one.

Are Boxers A Good First Dog To Own? – A Beginners Guide

boxer head tilt

Boxers are among some of the silliest, most friendly, and lovable goofs balls in the dog world today. It is no wonder the popularity among the breed is so high, as any Boxer owner will tell you. They are in fact one of the most popular breeds according to the AKC. 

One of the Boxer’s most notable features is it’s desire for human affection. As I mentioned above with my friend Tony, they are a real in-you-face friend, and often feel like a shadow around the house. They love to be near their owners and involved in everything the family is doing. 

The Boxer is a great pet. Their reputation as a healthy, loving, athletic family member is what makes them such great dogs, and potentially a great first dog to own. But just because they are great dogs, doesn’t mean owning one is easy. If you are thinking of getting a Boxer as your first dog there are a few things you need to know.

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10 Things You Need To Know Before Getting A Boxer?

Boxers are extremely high energy.

How high energy? Bouncing off the walls type energy. Boxers mature later in their life, usually around the age of 3-4 years old. This means you will have a rambunctious and possibly destructive over-sized puppy on your hands for the first few years.

The Boxer comes from an ancestry of game hunting dogs called Bullenbeisser. These dogs were Germany’s premier big-game hunter, used by noblemen to run down, catch, and hold such formidable opponents as bear, bison, and wild boar on vast ducal estates.  

If you are going to bring a Boxer home, you must know they are going to need a lot of exercise to keep them happy and healthy. 

boxer jumping

Boxer puppies get big.

The cute little nugget you bring home on day one will soon be a 65-80lbs dog, and though that may not sound like a large dog, trust me when they are jumping on you or running at the speed of sound in the backyard, that is a big dog.

Boxers are indoor dogs.

The Boxer does not tolerate cold very or heat very well, and will need to be an indoor dog during cold or hot seasons. They are also very people oriented and would much rather be inside the house with the rest of the family, instead of being left to their own devices alone in the yard.

Boxers are easy to groom.

Boxers have short smooth coats and shed very little, making grooming and general housekeeping fairly straight forward. A good brushing every week or so will keep them looking healthy and shiny, and keeping your wallet a little fuller from the less frequent visits to the groomer.

Resources & ReviewsThe 15 Best Dog Grooming & Bathing Products

Boxers sadly don’t live that long.

The average lifespan of a Boxer is only 8-10 years old. They are also susceptible to a variety of health conditions. When adopting a Boxer it’s always a good idea to discuss with the breeder some of the more common ailments for Boxers. Getting a health guarantee from your breeder is not uncommon and always a good thing to request.

Boxers suffer from minor ailments like: 

  • Colitis
  • Gastric torsion
  • Corneal erosion
  • Hypothyroidism 

Diseases that are more complicated are:

  • Canine hip dysplasia (CHD)
  • Boxer cardiomyopathy
  • Subvalvular aortic stenosis (SAS). 
  • Sometimes degenerative myelopathy and brain tumors are also seen in the breed.

Boxers are great with children.

Kids are also seemingly endless balls of energy, and for a Boxer this is a perfect match. The friendly and kind nature of the Boxer makes them excellent playmates with kids, but be sure to monitor play time as Boxers are large dogs and can easily knock over a child on accident. Training on proper play etiquette would greatly benefit the dog, as well as the children.

Boxers drool. A lot.

That cute adorable flappy lip face you have come to love, is also the source of a lot of drool. If you don’t mind a little mess then a Boxer is a fine pet to have. Just know that you will find drool on everything, and even in places you can’t fathom how it got there. 

Boxers can be stubborn.

Known for being a little hard headed, the Boxer can be incredibly stubborn when they want to be. Training will at times need to get creative and remain interesting for them to stay engaged. Though this is not a deal breaker of a trait, just be aware that extra patience and consistency will be needed to break through that stubborn streak.

boxer boxing

Boxers love to chew.

Toys, bones, t.v remotes, your new pair of shoes, all can be fair games as the Boxers are known to be big chewers. There are easy solutions to this by providing your Boxer with plenty of toys and food balls to keep them busy. Exercise and training also play a big role in deterring this kind of behaviour.

Resource & ReviewsThe Best 15 Dog Toys & Chews for Aggressive Chewers

Boxers can get a little gassy.

Farts are a perfectly natural thing in dogs, but some dogs toot a little more than others. Boxers are known to have a few more farts than other dogs, this is due to their shorter muzzle that affects their breathing and the amount of air they swallow, leading to a few extra farts. 

boxer guard dog

How Much Exercise Do Boxers Need?

The short answer is a lot. Boxers are natural hunting and working dogs and are bursting with energy from a very young age. A Boxer will at a bare minimum require about 1 hour of exercise a day, but upwards of 2 hours is recommended.

Giving the Boxer a chance to burn off the excess energy is a great way to ensure bad behaviours don’t start to develop out of boredom and bent up energy.

Some exercises that you can employ to keep you and your Boxer health include:

  • Daily Walks
  • Mental Stimulation
  • High Intensity Activities

Daily walks should be a regular part of your routine with a Boxer. Not only is it good for them, but taking a walk is known to have great physical and mental health benefits for us humans. It is also a great opportunity to consistently practice some training skills with on leash manners.

Mental Exercise For Your Boxer

Mental stimulation is also a big role in your Boxer’s daily exercise routine. Things like chew toys, puzzle games, and nose work activities can all provide that extra needed brain work to keep your Boxer engaged. Learning games can also be a great way to practice some basic commands and new tricks to further enrich your dog’s daily exercise.

boxer tennis ball

High intensity activities can range depending on your access to certain spaces and tools, but a few to keep in mind for including in your Boxers exercise regime include:

  • A Jolly Ball – a nearly indestructible ball that is constantly moving
  • Playing Fetch with a ball or Frisbee
  • Flirt Poles – A large version of a cat toy that has a toy on the end of a long bungee
  • Tug-of-War – Nothing beats a good old game of tug-of-war
  • Spring Pole – Attach a large rope or toy to a tree or pole allowing your dog to play tug-of-war with themselves. 
  • Head to the dog park – a good run and socialization with other dogs is always a great way to burn off that extra bit of energy. 

Be mindful when exercising your dog, that they do not overheat. Boxers are very sensitive to heat and can often push themselves too hard. Be sure to high intensity activities to cooler parts of the day or year to ensure they don’t over do it.

Following these simple exercise routines and activities are guaranteed to keep your high energy Boxer out of trouble and physically healthy throughout the years. One thing I learned from my friend Tony was that a tired dog is a happy dog.

boxer sleeping


King Komb DeShedding ToolOne of the best dog brushes on the market. I use the King Komb each and every week with my Pibbles. Easy to use and even easier to clean.

Wahl Dry Skin Oatmeal Shampoo – Smells great, cleans great, and best of all keeps my dog’s skin and coat looking and feeling amazing. Wahl Dry Skin Oatmeal Shampoo keeps my Pibbles skin moisturized like no other.

Earth Rated Dog Wipes – Dog wipes are an essential to keep on hand, and nothing beats Earth Rated. Hypoallergenic, biodegradable, and durable. I keep these dog wipes in the house and the car for everyday use.

Kong Extreme – Kongs are one of my most used tools to give my dogs some mental stimulation and something tough to chew. Kong Extremes are as tough as they come and will give your Pibble the entertainment they crave.

Outward Hound Food Puzzle – Outward Hound food puzzles are the best in the industry. Available from beginner to advanced. These are an excellent way to challenge and mentally stimulate your dog.

BeneBone Dog Chew – The toughest dog chew around. My dogs absolutely love the bacon flavor and peanut butter flavor BeneBone. These will keep your toughest chewers busy for weeks, if not months and years.

BarkBox Super Chewer – Variety is the spice of life, and BarkBox Super Chewer is the perfect way to keep your dog engaged. New treats, toys, and chews each and every month that your super chewer will love.

iCrate Dog Crate – The iCrate is my absolute top recommendation for dog crates. I use this for both my dogs and love the sturdy, easy to store, and versatile adjustable panel. You need the iCrate in your life.

HiKiss Long Training Lead – Recall training and puppy training outdoors requires a long training lead. My favorite to use is the HiKiss long training lead. Available in a range of lengths to suit your long lead training needs.

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