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Boxer Dog Behavior


Are you thinking about getting a Boxer and wondering if this dog breed is right for you? Do you have questions about general Boxer behavior problems?

Or perhaps you own a Boxer and you are curious if his or her behavior is normal. 

Each recognized dog breed has their own general behavior and overall temperament; this is what defines a dog breed and makes them special. 

Each dog within that breed has their own little quirks and personalities that make each individual dog a treasure.
Boxer dogs piling on each other

Why The Boxer is so Popular

The appearance of the Boxer is quite stunning. Large, powerful and sleek with an imposing appearance and loud bark, the Boxer is a fantastic watchdog. While their looks may be intimidating, this breed also makes for a wonderful family pet.Their temperament is quite special.

Boxers are the perfect companion for singles and large families. They typically get along great with other dogs, and children. Some even do just fine with cats.


We have received many requests from our Members, asking for information regarding the subject of depression in Boxer dogs. There are many reasons and circumstances in which a dog may show depressed behavior., including Separation Anxiety. Understanding why your dog is behaving this way will lead you to know which steps to take to help him. Learn more in our Boxer Depression section.

Is this Breed Right for You? Boxer Dog Behavior to Keep in Mind

While the Boxer is a great dog and very popular all around the world (especially in the United States), because this is a big dog (one of the largest of the medium sized breeds), one should keep a few things in mind.

Boxer puppy behavior is excited and rambunctious.  Boxer puppies are generally very active and love to jump and bounce around. If you love playing with and being entertained by a puppy- and a rather large one at that - the Boxer is for you!

If your home is filled with expensive items and you generally keep things as clean as a whistle, having a Boxer pup playfully hopping around may not be right for you.
A Boxer makes a lot of amusing noises. If you want a quiet dog, you may want to think about another breed. However, if you love Boxers and are amused by the many noises one can make, this is the dog for you! 

The Boxer, along with other mastiff breeds such as the Pug dog were bred to have flat faces and wide noses. 

Because of the shape of a Boxer's head and face, a Boxer will:
  • Snort
  • Sneeze 
  • Grunt
  • Snore- Sometimes snoring can be quite loud.
  • Pass gas (flatulence) All dogs do this, the Boxer may just be a bit less discreet! 
  • Whine - A soft whining may be vocalized to gain attention.
The Boxer is, in general, a bit stubborn. While this breed may not immediately follow every command and in some cases play a mental game with you called, "Who's the Boss?", with patience and consistency the Boxer breed can be trained. If your Boxer dog is not listening to you, you'll want to be sure to teach and then continually reinforce proper hierarchy. 

If you are looking for the easy way out, this breed is not for you. If you are looking for a dog that needs interaction and effort from his owner to be fully trained and you are happy to do it, a Boxer will fit well into your life style.
The Boxer can display some destructive behavior if not properly stimulated throughout the day. Just as a human would have a difficult time sitting in 1 room all day, alone and without entertainment, so does this dog.. 

The breed needs an owner who is able to provide a daily schedule of activities: Walks and exercise to help maintain muscle mass, keep the heart healthy, and release pent-up energy, grooming to keep skin and coat healthy, bathing, regular meals, playtime and plenty of interesting dog toys. If a Boxer is given enough attention and activity when their owner is home, they will most likely settle down and behave well when left home alone.
Two Boxer Dogs on Front Deck
Separation Anxiety can occur with both puppies and adults that are left home alone for too long. How long is too long? That depends on the dog! For some, having an owner leave for 10 minutes can be stressful. For others, nervousness can set in after a couple hours. 

If your Boxer is very sensitive to being left alone, you can train him or her to learn to cope. When you leave, do not make a huge fuss or give hugs and kisses; this will send a message that leaving is a big deal. You can give your dog all the attention in the world, but stop doing so about 30 minutes before you actually leave.

Once he has been fed, has been taken out to eliminate and perhaps had a walk, you should quietly leave.  Throwing a toy as a distraction works well. 
Leave for just a few minutes and work your way up to longer and longer amounts of time. When you arrive home, again do not cause a fuss. Calmly enter and greet your dog with a relaxed tone.
Your dog will read off of you and react accordingly. If you announce your arrival back as if you have just returned from a month-long vacation and shower him or her with affection, your Boxer will become very excited. 

If you arrive back calmly, and wait a bit before enthusiastic interaction, your dog will then not associate play and fun with your arrival. They will simply enjoy the attention.
Other Dogs

This breed generally gets along very well with other dogs and two Boxer dogs together will be partners in crime for life. While an established Boxer should be tested to see how he reacts and tolerates another dog before bringing in an addition to the household, most do remarkably well.  This breed can be very friendly with the smallest of toy dogs and the largest of the large. 

Inside Environment

The Boxer is on the top of the medium sized dog breeds. While a dog of any size can live in any sized home, space should be considered before bringing a Boxer home. 

While this dog can make do with living in a small apartment, having a larger living area is best for the Boxer breed. In general, this breed loves to run around and have room to jump and play, even as an adult. 

If you have hardly any extra room in your living room, what will happen when your puppy grows into a 60 lb. large adult dog? 

You will be sharing your couch with this breed and it is best to think ahead to what life will be like with this size dog. If you do have extra room (imagine living with one extra human in your house) , the Boxer is the right breed for you!
You may also be interested in: Boxer Size

Quick Owner Q&A

Q: I have a 2 1/2 yr old female boxer, she likes all other dogs. But during our walks if another dog is walking towards us, she will get into a crouch down position and will start walking very slowly till they meet. She does this every time.Why does she do that?

A: That's actually a great question. Many owners believe this sort of behavior is due to a submissive nature or to show caution. However, your Boxer crouches in that way as a sign of play... and your dog is - by her stance - asking the other dog to engage in a friendly way. It appears that your Boxer is open to having canine playmates and that is a great sign of good socialization skills.

Q: My Boxer is just about one year old and to this day he's yet to bark.  He makes some noises, so his voice box is working.  I don't really need him for protection, but it kind of would have been nice. Should I be concerned?

A: It's actually not that uncommon for owners to worry their a Boxer doesn't bark.  Many Boxers are better at protecting via their size than their bark.  Some are just really laid back and easy-going. If you ever had a pup that was a yapper, you'd know how lucky you are. So, no reason to be concerned at all as long as he's not showing any signs of a health issue. 

Q: My 2 year old male Boxer hiccups a lot. Is that okay? Should I try and stop it? 

A: Canines do get hiccups just like humans and most cases are infrequent and short-lived. In cases where it lasts a long time, a dog can start to get frustrated with the diaphragm spasms and if your Boxer does show behavior that he's bothered you can intervene by giving him a spoonful of smooth peanut butter; that usually does the trick.  
See Also:
Begging Behavior - If a Boxer thinks that there is even a slight chance that he can get a tasty tidbit from you, he may never give up in asking for it. Advice for teaching a Boxer to stop begging. 
Are Boxers Outside Dogs - Boxers love to run around outside; however, they should be supervised and never allowed to spend the day outdoors alone. 
Boxer doesn't like the Cold - Even good sized dogs like the Boxer can have cold intolerance. Since daily exercise is very important, you'll want to take steps to encourage your puppy or dog to stay outside with you. 
Jumping Up on People - If your Boxer is way too enthusiastic and leaps up to greet you or guests, this is common; but, there's some effective ways to train your puppy or dog to curb this behavior. 
Why do Boxers Drool - Some drooling can be expected. How much is normal and how much is considered excessive. 
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