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Temperament

Boxer Dog Temperament

Overview

The Boxer dog temperament is one that is unique and special and it gives us a dog with tons of personality. 

When someone owns a Boxer, they will see that they have a dog that is quite amusing, full of life, loving....

And at the same time an excellent guard dog, one who will stop playing to stand up, ears trained on any strange noise that may be perceived as danger to their human family members.

The personality does change with time. Puppies are quite different than mature, adult dogs. 

So let's take a look at what to expect at certain ages.

The Puppy Years

One of the traits that holds true to medium and large sized breeds, as opposed to toy or small breeds, is that the puppy years last longer. This can be a pro or a con, depending on what a person is looking for in a canine family member. 

Owners will tell you that while it can be a challenge at some times, it is absolutely wonderful that their Boxer has more time as a puppy. And it can be very fun to have a big, strong looking dog behave with so much enthusiasm and energy.

We all know that the life span of canines are so much shorter than ours, it is often refreshing to have a dog that acts young and has tons of energy for play time for as long as possible. A Boxer will be deemed an adult at the age of 2 years, as opposed to 1 year for many other breeds.
Boxer puppy behaving nicely
The Boxer temperament during this time can be described as happy, energized, hyper, playful, loving, curious and amusing. 

Many will purposely try to make their human family members laugh by performing silly antics. They are very sensitive to how they are perceived, reading both body language and paying close attention to the tone of a person's voice. 

When they see that a certain action produced happy attention, they are smart enough to repeat the action to produce more of the pleasing results. 

Unless they are sleeping or hungry, many will continue on for quite a while, trying to gain interaction and praise.
All types of training, including command and house training, may take a bit longer than some owners expect....However, the Boxer breed is intelligent and when guided correctly they will learn what is expected of them.
One element to keep in mind is the teething phase...With a strong jaw structure, the Boxer pup is capable of ripping a soft toy into pieces in a short amount of time. One must remove any personal items from reach and then offer strong, durable dog teething toys. 

It can also help to offer ice cubes, particularly if they can be put on a hard surfaced floor such as tile or linoleum....This will cause the cube to slip and slide, offering fun while cooling off the gums. Read more about nipping and biting.
Nice adult Boxer dog

The Adult Years

As this breed becomes accustomed to their family, a fierce loyalty grows. An owner does not need to question if their dog loves them back, the answer is an obvious "Yes!". During both puppy and adult years, this breed does well with children....

And usually does excellent with other pets as well. Two Boxer dogs generally get along very well and multiple-Boxer households are usually fun, amusing and happy environments.  This breed can also get along well with even toy breed dogs. 

While we know of many who get along very well with cats, one should take caution with other small pets such as hamsters, etc. 

If an adult is brought into a new household, it will take some time for the dog to adjust to his or her new surrounding, to accept the environment as their own and to feel comfortable with their new family. 

This is normal and expected. Introductions to those outside of the immediate family should take place once he or she has settled in nicely.
It is easy to want to show him or her everything and do everything....However, it can be very overwhelming. Therefore, space things out....The dog park one day....exploring the back yard the next, etc. 

Adults are more serious, they are not as hyper and rambunctious as pups, however they do love exercise and will thoroughly love to go for walks, runs, play Frisbee and do other activities. Many owners find that this is a perfect breed to bring for trail running. 

A mature dog left home alone for the day will be very happy to be brought outside for a brisk walk. He will be very happy to lay and watch television with the family, be brought to the park for picnics and is now able to keep himself occupied with toys and/or chews.

Many will unintentionally take over the sofa, spreading their body across the furniture to relax....However, they are more than happy to share. You will want to make sure to keep all nails trimmed short to prevent any accidental tearing of your chairs, etc.

If a new pup is brought into the mix, they will most often quickly move to establish that they are the alpha dog and this is normal and expected.

The Senior Years

The age that a dog is declared to be a senior varies from breed to breed. This is because there is no set age and most veterinarians will make this determination based on the dog's health, abilities and a breed's expected life span (9 to 12 years for the Boxer). For these reasons, this will be between the ages of 7 and 8 years old. 

Many owners do not like this term and often do not agree with the label, as their pet will seem as strong and vibrant as ever. One must keep in mind that when a canine is declared to be a senior, this means that it is roughly the equivalent of the dog entering into his 5th decade of human-years. 
Though the changeover from adult to senior is a blurry line... behavior will alter incrementally and physical limitations will slowly creep in.

Dogs will gradually slow down. An owner may notice that it takes a bit longer for their pet to get up from a lying down position and have a slower gait when being walked. It must be noted that an 8, 9 or 10 year old will, in general, be strong and have plenty of energy.

By the teen years, one will notice that a Boxer dog's temperament may change in regard to tolerance. He or she may be bothered loud noises or having children run around them after a certain amount of time. 

They may spend more time napping and resting in quiet areas. Some may have hearing loss and this should be evaluated by a reputable veterinarian as well as having complete checkups as recommended.

Appetite may decrease a bit, however exercise, albeit at a slower pace, should still be offered on a daily basis as long as the vet agrees that the dog is able to do so without over extending themselves.

More quiet, reserved, but still loyal, loving and protective, the Boxer dog's temperament will be steadfast through their whole life....making this breed a wonderful family pet.
Fun photo of Boxer dog
Roxy, 13 weeks old
Photo courtesy of Luc & Amber
See Also: Boxer Dog Senior Care - Changes to make as your Boxer transitions. Diet, exercise, health issues and more.
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