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 in size 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
- 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.
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 successful.
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.