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More than one Boxer

Having More than One Boxer

Overview

There are a lot of misconceptions and straight-out myths about having two Boxer dogs, or even more. 

If you are thinking of adding a new Boxer puppy to your home in which you already have an established Boxer or if you are thinking of adopting two at the same time, this article should be provide you with some solid facts to help you make your decision.

We are going to discuss:
  • The myths about multiple Boxer dog households
  • Reasons to have more than one Boxer dog 
  • What About Boxers and Other Breeds? 
  • Reasons to delay adding another Boxer 
  • Preparations to make when adding a second dog 
  • How to keep both Boxers happy 
  • The Pros and Cons of having two Boxers
The Myths

When we were doing some research for this article, we were quite shocked at the myths and misconceptions that are floating around on the web. Some of the most surprising falsehoods that we read were that two Boxers in the same home would be sure to physically fight each other.

There is also - apparently - tales that two females cannot live together due to both wanting to exert dominance and some go so far as to advise that two female Boxers may fight to the death. Wow.

Some say that there may be problems from the beginning and other sources say that this very violent situation will occur when the younger of the two dogs reaches the 2 year mark.

Perhaps these sources were thinking of the Akita? The Akita is a breed well known for having very low tolerance for other dogs and particularly of the same gender. Two females or two males will generally not be able to live under the same roof. 

And while we do not know of any specific instances of the dogs battling to the death, we are fairly certain that any Akita enthusiast already knows to not have more than one dog in the house unless it is a male and female of appropriate ages.
Paisley and Dexter, photo courtesy of owners Dwayne and Cathy Morman 
Back to the Boxer dog… The truth is that owners CAN have more than one Boxer dog and it is quite common for them to get along extremely well (more ahead).

Reasons to Have More than One Boxer Dog

There are two basic reasons why owners choose to have two or more Boxers:

1) Love of the breed. Once you have a Boxer, that's it. You're in love and he's won your heart over. He makes life so fun, he's so darn amusing and you can't imagine life without him. It makes perfect sense to add another to your family… You are familiar with the breed and you know what to expect. While two may mean a bit more work, it certainly means twice the love.

2) To help the first one handle being home alone and to have a friend. Sure, the Boxer looks all tough and strong, but inside he's a big child. And that child does not want to be home all alone in your home while you're at work. One of the most common reasons for having more than one Boxer dog is to offer a close companion to the established one. This is not uncommon if a Boxer has Separation Anxiety problems.  In some cases, a Boxer may have depression after losing  a canine companion or if a human family member has left the house, etc. 

As long as steps are taken to ensure that they get along well (more ahead) this usually works out quite well. Homes with two Boxers are often happy homes and the dogs are truly best friends.
Two Boxer Dogs Playing Together
Lola (4 months) & Roxy (2 months) 
Owners: Chris and Heather Coffey
What About Boxers and Other Breeds?

While this page mainly focuses on the fun (and hiccups) of having two Boxers, a Boxer can get along well other breeds, including those outside of his size classification. There are some that can do great with Chihuahuas or any other dog. If there will be big difference is size (let's say a toy sized breed), the Boxer should be tested to see how he does with little puppies and dogs.

Elements to Delay Adding another Boxer

There are a few things to keep in mind before adding another dog to the home and some steps to take to help make the transition a smooth one:

1) Keep in mind that older, senior dogs may not have tolerance for a rambunctious, hyper puppy
Extreme age gaps makes it harder for the dogs to see each other as 'friends' and the older dog may not want to put up with all the extra noise, activity and chaos (for lack of a better word) when a new pup is suddenly running all over what used to be a quiet home.

2) If your Boxer is not well socialized toward other dogs, he may have a hard time adjusting. In a case like this, we would recommend spending some time working with him on socialization skills (either in class or simply by introducing him to other dogs in the park). This way, an otherwise isolated dog can have the chance to prove that he does well with other dogs.
3) If your Boxer is having issues such as listening well, following commands, problems with housebreaking, etc., it is suggested to work on that before bringing another dog into the house.

4) When you have two Boxer dogs, one will be the 'leader' of the dogs; even if they appear to be best friends. It is the canine way (more ahead on how to help them with this). But in order for this to happen, both dogs (and certainly the one that is already established in the house) needs to know that the human(s) are the true leaders.

If your Boxer does not seem to grasp the idea that you are in charge, you'll want to work on that first before bringing another dog into the mix.
two Boxer dogs sleeping together
Bruiser (7 months) and Buster (4 years old)
Photo courtesy of Nicole Feig - Durham, NC
Here's some quick tips:
  • Always have your dog obey the 'Sit' command before any snack or any meal is given
  • Work on command training until the dog has a solid understanding of all basic commands of Sit, Stay, Down, Come and Heeling.
  • Humans enter and exit the house, followed by the pets
  • In more severe cases of a dog being very rebellious, owners must keep themselves physically higher than the dog while implementing the above steps. This means that the Boxer does not sit on the sofa and the owner does not sit on the floor with the dog.
Two Boxer dogs side by side
Mazzy and Bruno | Owner: Jessi Ann Goodwin |"The power of a chip"
Preparations to Make When Adding a Second Dog
  
1) Think over your budget and make sure that you can afford double the food and care products.

2) It is a good idea to test the two dogs before making a commitment. If you have chosen a puppy or are thinking about adopting an older Boxer, bring your Boxer to meet him/her at least 3 times. Never push for playful interaction. That can come later. You will only want to look for tolerance.

3) Ensure that you have good chosen spots for each of them for sleeping and eating. Once they fall in love and are best friends, two Boxers will often sleep right on top of each other. They will rest together as if they are glued and you'll wonder if they became conjoined twins. Until that time, each dog should have his own sleeping area.
In addition, even Boxers that are shadows of each other will most often want their own dining space. If your current Boxer already eats in the available corner of the kitchen, you should move things around so that the 2nd puppy or dog will have his own spot too.
How to Keep Both Boxers Happy

There is typically a transition time in which the dogs will have to get used to having the other permanently there. While they may have gotten along nicely when meeting, now that they are in the same house, they will be feeling each other out and needing to get a few things straight.

Who's the Leader - The most important element (touched on above) is that while the human must be seen as the one true leader, among the two Boxer dogs, there will also be a leader. One Boxer will be more dominate than the other.

It may make sense at first to assume that the established one will be in charge. However this is not always the case. Also, some assume that the male - no matter his age - will take dominance over the female; this is also not always true.

In most cases, the Boxer that was there first - and especially if he is older - will be the one.

Most dogs will figure this out on their own. There may be a transitional time when one tries to take a toy and the Boxer that really wants to be in charge will put the other in his place with nudging or a snap in the air. Only intervene if it appears it will endanger one of them. With most, there will be a bruised ego and nothing more.
two white Boxer dogs
Boom Boom (1 year) & J.J. (7 years)
Photo courtesy of Dee Dee
You can help quite a bit by knowing which one should be the Alpha and helping to establish this. For example, if you have a 4 year old male Boxer and are bringing in a one year old (female or male),the 4 year old will take leadership.

With two dogs of the same age, it can get a bit tricky. You may or may not notice either stepping forward as they may work it out among themselves.

Once you know which dog is the leader, make him be first in regard to any food given, treats handed out, greetings when you enter the house, putting on leashes, and all other elements.

Separate Spaces for Twins - Once the issue of hierarchy is complete (this usually happens within just a week or two), you will now have two dogs that are inseparable. Despite this, there may be times when they do want their own space. It could be when a female is in heat and is feeling a bit moody… or an older dog may do well with a younger Boxer until he reaches a point of just needing a break.

For this reason, have two separate dog beds or other comfortable area for either puppy or dog to retreat to if they wish.
The Pros and Cons of Having Two Boxers
 
There are many more benefits of having more than one Boxer than there are negatives. Let's touch on the 'cons' to get them out of the way:

Cons

1) Two dogs mean twice the food and twice the care costs. This includes grooming supplies, medications, toys, leashes, vet visits and more. Hopefully owners plan this well in advance and only obtain a second Boxer if there is plenty of room in the budget.

2) Time Management - While you will walk them at the same time, play with them together and prepare the meals at the same time, there are other ways in which having two Boxers can take a bit of your time away.
Vesta and Sienna | Owner: Nancy
This can include house training a puppy, both dogs will need to be bathed and brushed separately and dental care including the teeth being brushed. Most owners find that once they fall into a good routine, there is plenty of time; but time-stressed individuals may struggle with this. 

3) During the shedding season (and even year round), you'll have much more fur around if you are not right on top of things in regard to brushing the coats and vacuuming up the hairs.

Pros

Now we get to the fun stuff! The benefits of having two Boxers are aplenty!

1) You have given each dog the gift of having a best friend. Sure, you interact with your dog and do as much as you can but there are plenty of times when your pooped out or too busy to play and bingo!, your Boxer has his buddy right there to interact with and play with.

2) It greatly helps with Separation Anxiety. Dogs that suffer with this stress out when owners are gone for the day. Having another dog almost always helps. The dogs will keep each other occupied and distracted. Remember that just having another dog is not enough to keep boredom away…. Always leave an abundance of toys, fill up Kongs with peanut butter, leave plenty of water, and have them in a big enough area so that they can move around and not feel confined. With that in place, they will have a companion to keep the blues away.

In fact, that dog that was so distressed that you left him home alone may have you wondering who he loves more now, you or your other Boxer.

3) It gives you an automatic smile each day. Just looking at your two Boxers sitting on each other and resting in funny ways adds amusement and laughter to any household. Multiple Boxer dogs homes are often filled with joy. You'll get a kick out of watching them play, run around and wrestle. Life is never boring when you have two Boxers.
Summary

If you are considering adding another Boxer to your family, do think it through and make sure that it is the right choice for you and all other members of the household.

If you have two Boxers and there are issues, be sure re-read the sections on establishing yourself as leader and helping the two dogs understand hierarchy.

It all really boils down to this: The benefit of having two Boxers is really a reflection of your love as an owner. You give each dog the gift of having a friend, the joy of having you as their owner and you receive that love back ten-fold.
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