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Dwarf Boxer Dogs

Correct Weight / Growth Rate of the Boxer Dog

You may find yourself with a purebred Boxer dog that is smaller than the breed standard and you may be worried about his or her size...questioning if you perhaps have a dwarf Boxer dog.

Because the Boxer is a rather large dog (for technically being a medium breed), the growth rate for Boxer puppies greatly varies.

Until a Boxer dog is 2 years old, you will not know the adult weight, size and physique that your dog will have.

To ensure that your dog is growing at the best rate possible, you will want to:
  • Feed your Boxer dog the highest quality food you can
  • Provide daily exercise
  • Keep regular veterinarian checkups to maintain good health


Is My Boxer Undersized and Why?

1) As with all dog breeds, there will be Boxer dogs that are smaller than the average breed standard.  Just as there will be dogs that are larger than the breed standard.  If there are no underlying health conditions with your Boxer, as long as a dog is receiving all of the proper care, these smaller dogs can be just as healthy.

2) A condition of low growth hormones can cause a dog's growth to be stunted.  This is often caused by damage to the pituitary gland.

3) In some rare cases, a dog may have Canine Dwarfism

Smaller Than Average Boxer Dogs

The breed standard is as follows:

Males will have a height (measured floor to shoulder) of 22-25 inches (56-63 cm) and a weight of 60-70 pounds (27-32 kg).

Females will have a height (measured floor to shoulder) of 21-24 inches (53-61 cm) and a weight of 55-65 pounds (25-29 kg).

A deviation of 10% is not uncommon, either smaller or larger.  Therefore, if a male is 53 or 54 pounds (24 to 24.5 kg), he can be complete healthy... no thyroid issues and certainly not dwarfism. Adult females can be 48 to 49 pounds (21.7 to 22.2 kg) and be perfectly fine without having any medical issues and again, not dwarfism.

Low Growth Hormones

A low production of growth hormone may be caused by several factors:
  • A lack of developmental growth of the pituitary gland
  • Cysts on the gland
  • Infection of the gland
  • Tumors
Growth hormone has many effects within the dog's body including controlling the growth rate, maintaining the hair coat, and bone and teeth development. This is rare with the Boxer breed and is most commonly seen with the Spitz, Karelian Bear Dog and Miniature Pinscher.

Boxer Dwarfism

If a Boxer truly has canine dwarfism, would be caused by a health condition known as achondroplasia. With achondroplasia, the bones of the dog do not grow to otherwise normal and expected size. There is a dysfunction with the fibroblast growth factor receptor gene. 

What are the Signs?

The difference between a dog that is smaller than breed standard and a Boxer dog that actually has dwarfism, is that not only will the size of the dog be affected, but the proportion of the dog as well.  This is rare with the Boxer breed and is more common with breeds including the German shepherds, Basset Hound, Beagles and others.

A Boxer dog with dwarfism will not grow at the proper rate and proportion. The dog will generally be much smaller than the other dogs in its litter.  He/she will have:
  • A larger than normal head while the body stays smaller
  • Noticeable issues with the teeth - both crooked teeth due to shorter jaw and teeth that are slower to develop
  • Abnormal bone shape
  • The coat is usually affected; most Boxer dogs with dwarfism retain their puppy coat and do not shed out into their adult coat
  • Sideways bowing of forelimbs – front legs are more likely affected
  • Spinal deviation to either side of the body
Associated Negative Health Issues

Because so many of the dog's organs are affected by this, a dog's life span is usually a bit shorter than with full sized Boxer dogs.

Treatment Options


Studies have been done to see if the growth hormone that is give to humans would work with dogs. This has had very limited and
varying success.  For those who wish to try this treatment should be aware that it is very expensive and there are no guarantees.

Surgery has been performed on some dogs to attempt to resolve issues with bone deformities; though results are not usually very sucessful.

Dogs that are experiencing pain from misshapen bones may need to be given anti-inflammatory and pain relieving medications. 

A Note About Miniature Boxers

While we are on the subject of dwarfism, let's take a moment to talk about so-called Miniature Boxers. Some people are crossing a Boxer with a Boston Terrier and calling the dog a Miniature Boxer; when in fact the dog is a crossbreed. Even stranger than that, some are crossing a Rat Terrier with a Pug and for some reason calling that dog a Miniature Boxer (though some do call it a Puggat)

In regard to a purebred Boxer dog, there is no such thing as a purebred Miniature Boxer. There is no reason for a legitimate breeder to purposefully try and create dogs that are smaller than the standard. Since buyers do want Boxers that fit the breed standard, it would not be logical to pair together 2 smaller-than-average Boxers in order to produce smaller-than-average puppies.

So while you may see advertisements or hear about Miniature Boxers, there is no such thing and of course, this dog is not -and never would be- recognized by any legitimate Kennel Club.  It is only the American Canine Hybrid Club and its counterparts in other countries that 'recognize' these 'designer' dogs.





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