On average, a larger dog has a shorter life span than some other smaller breeds and this includes the Boxer. While not considered a huge breed, the maximum height and weight of 25 inches at the shoulder (63 cm) and 70 pounds (32 kg) – This is of a male - makes the average Boxer life span between 12 and 14 years.
Of course, there are some that live longer and unfortunately some that live shorter lives. The size of this breed equals more strain on the heart and other body organs, causing them to age and wear out faster than tiny dogs.
We personally know someone who has a Boxer dog that is 22 years old, certainly close to a record, if not one of the oldest Boxer dogs ever. However, one should expect their dog to live a decade and any years after that are a blessing.
Your Boxer will be considered a “Senior” between the ages of 6 and 7…There is no official age, it is something that is determined by one’s veterinarian. The change from adult to senior dog means that they will receive more specialized checkups, vitamins may change, and needs may change such as ramps or steps if arthritis is bad, an orthopedic dog bed, etc. Temperament often changes as a dog matures.
How to Help Your Boxer Live Longer
Despite the averages, there are some things that can extend the life expectancy of your Boxer dog.
Spaying or Neutering - This is not just for population control. It is proven that this leads to a longer life. When done to a male, it eliminates the chances of testicular cancer, when done to a female dog; it eliminates the chances of ovarian cancer and decreases the chances of mammary cancer. For males, it decreases the urge to roam, which can lead to injury or death caused by accidents (mostly automobile).
Nutrition is so important. Some owners do not think much about giving one unhealthy snack, but over a life time, these add up. Additives, coloring, fillers (which are often chicken beaks and claws) are found in manufactured food. Do not be misled, as “protein” can legally be chicken beaks in canine food. Did you know that legally a dog food that is labeled as containing meat can have the source be from dead, dying, diseased or disabled animals? Did you know that “complete and balanced” can lawfully mean the minimum and not the maximum? Did you know that corn that is often used as fillers contains very high levels of insect pesticides?
We highly recommend home cooking. At the very least, give healthy, wholesome snacks such as carrots.
Exercise. This also adds up over a life time and can add years to your Boxer dog’s life. It strengths the heart muscles and the entire body. Over exercising is not a good idea either. A good balance of a brisk daily walk and cardio once or twice a week…This would include hearty play such as Frisbee or trail running for 20 minutes.
Dental care is the most overlooked element that can add years to a dog's life. Canines do not develop cavities in the way that humans do, excess plague and tarter weaken teeth, which can lead to infection. That infection can then spread throughout the body. While chews can help loosen plague, this must be coupled with care at home.
A Boxer dog needs to have a daily routine in which the owner brushes the teeth. In addition to this, one will want to have professional cleanings every 1 or 2 years, in which the veterinarian or specialist will do a “full dental” which includes scrapings, xrays and rinses. This should never be ignored. Without this type of home care and professional care a Boxer dog will develop gum disease and that will often led to tooth loss (which causes malnutrition) and can even turn into a full body blood infection. If you are not sure which products are best for both brushings and for healthy chews, look to "Grooming" and "Supplement & Chews" in the Boxer Dog Specialty Shoppe.
Emotional health contributes to physical health. If your Boxer dog is lonely, is confined too much, does not receive exercise along side of you, is subjected to repeated loud noises or is put in areas that are too hot or too cold….this can all lead to stress and this can shorten their lifespan. Boxers and all dog breeds, require love; to be treated as a member of the family. To have your company, companionship and above all else to have you to look out for them. They cannot wash off toxins from chemically treated grasses themselves….They cannot protect their paws from ice melt. They cannot check their ears for mites. No one should own a dog unless they are committed to taking full responsibility for the life of one of God’s creatures.