While it has long been a well known saying that a dog ages 7 years per each human year, this is not correct. This has become well known because it is a simple method of estimating a dog's equivalent age.
Small breed dogs, such as the Shih Tzu, Chihuahua and others will age much differently than larger breed dogs such as the Boxer, German Shepard, Great Dane and others.
So the question is, how does a Boxer dog age? How long will he be a puppy, how long does adolescence and adulthood last and when must you admit that your dog has become a senior?
We will also discuss the milestones of a Boxer's life and appropriate care for each important phase of a Boxer's life.
When a Boxer is born until the age of 5, their age equivalent is formulated one way. After the age of 5, it is the weight of the dog that determines the age process. Therefore small breed dogs will age differently than a Boxer.
From birth until 2 year, your Boxer is considered a puppy and the method of comparing this to a human is done in a different way than after age 2.
Below is an age equivalent chart for the Boxer to human years for several ages. A complete Boxer Growth Chart is also inside of the AllBoxerInfo eBook.
Once the Boxer becomes 5 years old, the age equivalence can be charted with a more even and steady pace:
Your Boxer's Age Human Year Equivalent 5 39 6 47 7 49 8 54 9 58 10 63 11 68 12 73 13 78 14 83
7-8 Weeks Old.
This will be the age when a Boxer newborn
is fully weaned and ready to go to his new home. His world expands at this time. Some have a difficult adjustment leaving littermates and dam and transitioning to their new family.
A planned introduction to the home will set a good foundation for introduction to other situations. Housebreaking should begin at this age. With an excellent plan and follow-through, expect it to take 4 to 6 weeks for your Boxer to be doing well in this regard.
Command training (simple commands) can be worked in with housebreaking
and other daily activities. For example a 2 month old Boxer puppy can learn to sit while his harness and leash is being put on and then learn that walking over to the designated chosen area equals a trip to the bathroom.
Sleep may be erratic at this time and a Boxer puppy can sleep as little as 9 hours per day (rare) or up to 18 hours. Most will take quite a few naps during the day and then wake up 1 to 2 times per night.
We've seen 2 month old little ones sleep right through the night, but it is rare - in these cases, the dog is able to enter deep REM sleep quickly and stay there, keeping the number of nap times to a minimum.
3 Months Old.
This is the minimum age a dog must be in order to enter a dog show event. Many clubs, such as the AKC require a dog to be 6 months old; however if you truly want to show your Boxer, you may do so at 3 months with many other dog clubs.
By this age, the pup has a good idea of his home environment and since the rounds of puppy shots are almost done, owners should plan on how they will proceed in regard to introduction to the world.
To a dog, his world is as big as the owners choose. For some, it is just the neighborhood, for others it is the entire town! The reason that we say "plan" is because how a pup is introduced to other dogs, people and new environments affect how the dog reacts and responds. A planned transition to new elements is a huge part of Socialization Training.
1 Year Old.
By 1 year, if owners follow through, the Boxer is well trained, for both commands (simple and complex) and house training.
While small breed dogs have reached adulthood at this age, a Boxer is only 1/2 way there. Still, the dog has learned the basic workings of the world. He has been trained to know where his belongings are, who you consider to be friend or foe and is very used to his daily schedule.
This is a great Boxer age, the dog looks young, still has the mentality of a puppy with playfulness, etc. yet is a rather large pup! You'll have a 40 to 55 pound (20 to 25 kg) size
puppy jumping on you and acting silly.
Females will be on the lower end, males on the higher end. The body structure is slim, the chest is still relatively narrow. Over the course of this year, from the beginning of year 1 to the beginning of year 2, most will gain an additional 15 to 20 pounds (6.8 to 9 kg).
Height will increase. The most noticeable physical change will be the widening of the chest, a sure tell sign of a 2 year old adult.
2 Years Old.
This is a huge milestone. At 2 years old, a Boxer is considered to be an adult.
The dog will be at his adult weight and height. If you are offering commercial food, now is the time to switch to an adult formula. Temperament
will gradually change.
That playful puppy temperament will slowly turn more serious, but even older adults can have a sense of humor.
That puppy that used to leap after butterflies in the field may change into the adult that stands proud and strong, scanning the yard for trespassers.
5 Years Old. The Boxer will now begin to age at a more steady rate. Still active, yet fully trained, this is a wonderful stage. By this age, status in the house if full established.
Other family members may have come and gone (kids off to college, a new roommate moves in, etc.) However, if the dog was properly trained, he knew, throughout any changes, that his place was as Beta to his Alpha human leader.
7 Years Old.A 7 year old Boxer will often be considered a senior dog in the eyes of his veterinarian. Some will give it one more year and declare an 8 year old to be a senior.
Regular visits will normally increase from 1 time per year to twice a year. Changes will happen once again to the diet, moving over to one that is a bit lower in fat, yet higher in fiber. This helps a less active dog maintain weight and fiber is one element that aids in digestion.
A geriatric screening will check for kidney function. A Boxer dog with decreased kidney function should be fed a lower protein diet. The vitamin and mineral supplement will now switch to a senior formula as well.
Don't let the senior age label fool you, Boxers at this age should still be taken for a daily walk for exercise, will enjoy outings to the beach, etc. One thing to keep in mind is that an older dog will sometimes have less tolerance for puppies and young children.
It is a good idea to have a designated area for your Boxer to retreat to, should he desire...and most owners already have this set up (cot, bed or pad) set up in a quiet corner of a room.
Older dogs still like to see the family and be aware of comings and goings, but will often want to retreat when youngsters or puppies are at play. Each dog has his own tolerance for the loud noises and commotion that accompanies younger humans and dogs.
12 Years Old.
The average life span of a Boxer is 9-12 years old. At this age, a senior dog most likely has lived through some health issues. A dog of this age will most likely have arthritis. Movement may become difficult, it is suggested to have steps and ramps for the dog if he or she is used to climbing up onto your bed or the couch.
The dog bed should be evaluated for comfort and support. An orthopedic bed is highly recommended.
Any time after this age that your dog is still with you is a blessing. Some Boxers live late into their teens; however you should prepare yourself that your dog is nearing the end of his life cycle.