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Life Span

Boxer Dog Lifespan / Life Expectancy

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). This fact alone of being a large sized dog cuts down on expected life span.

However added to this is the fact that cancer is the #1 leading cause of death with this breed. This makes the average Boxer life span between 9 and 12 years, which is considered relatively short. 

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. Very prone to cancer and neurological disease, for many Boxer dogs medical issues will develop before the 10 year mark. 
Boxer dogs resting after exercise
Peyton (left) & Eli (right) taking a rest after running around with a tennis ball.  Daily exercise is essential for maintaining muscle and good health.  Photo courtesy of Arnold and Margaret Billings.
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 and an orthopedic dog bed, etc is needed. Temperament often changes as a dog matures.
Boxer Dog Leading Causes of Death

In a 20 year study by the University of Georgia that looked at 82 dog breeds with at least 100 dogs of each, totaling over 70,000 in all, it is very clear what causes the most deaths with the Boxer dog breed.

#1 Cancer at 44.3%.  The Boxer is the 5th breed most likely to die from cancer. This includes lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes), mast cell tumors (skin cancer), mammary gland and breast cancer (can be greatly reduced with spaying early), soft tissue sarcomas and bone cancer.  Boxers are the #1 purebred dog most likely to develop mast cell tumors. 

#2 Neurological at 18.2%. This includes diseases of the brain and spinal cord, such as intervertebral disc disease that can lead to paralysis, strokes; seizures, degenerative myelopathy, encephalitis; laryngeal paralysis and tumors of the brain and spinal cord. 

#3 Trauma at 7.0%.  This includes automobile related trauma of both being hit by a car and also fatal injuries received when a passenger in a car that has been involved in an accident. For puppies, this includes being stepped on, dropped or otherwise injured during handling. 
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. With cancer being the #1 cause of death for Boxer dogs, this is an important step to helping a dog live the longest life possible. When done early enough to a male, it eliminates the chances of testicular cancer, when done early enough to a female, it eliminates the chances of ovarian cancer and decreases the chances of mammary cancer. In addition, both genders, 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 and fillers (the equivalent of a human ingesting cardboard) are found in many manufactured foods.

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 raw baby carrots (excellent for the teeth, full of rich nutrients and low in calories). In addition, we highly suggest not allowing a Boxer to drink unfiltered water. The cancer causing agents found in the tap water of many areas in the U.S. add up over the course of a dog's life. 

Exercise. This also adds up over a life time and can add years to your Boxer dog’s life. Regular exercise 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.

Car restraints -  Back in the 60's and 70's it was unheard of for kids to be buckled up. Many cars didn't even have safety devices. Whether children were crawling around the back of a Station Wagon or bouncing around in a pickup, it just wasn't done. In 1977 President Carter mandated that by 1983, all cars needed to have air bags and seat belts.  In 1989, only children under 14 had to wear them. So for a dog to wear one? Unheard of.  But since those laws were passed, almost 300,000 human lives have been saved.  But dogs are dying every day due to being injured in a car, not only by being hit by one. 

They receive massive head injuries from air bags, are thrown out of the beds of trucks and are fatally injured both when their heads are out of the window or not. If a car is traveling 15 mph and is hit, a dog that is not restrained will be thrown.  Use a canine safety belt for your Boxer dog and you will be protecting him from the 3rd leading cause of death: trauma. 

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 plaque, 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, x-rays 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 leads to 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 every aspect of care.
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