Finding Your Next Boxer Puppy

You have heard that you should get your Boxer from a "reputable" or "responsible" breeder, but what does that mean?

It is very unlikely that you will find one in your local newspaper. Most people who must advertise their pups in the newspaper are pet owners who bred their bitch with little to no knowledge of the breed, health (and testing), bloodlines or much else. Their bitch was registered, and they bred it to a registered male, and that's all they needed to know.

No serious breeder would ever contemplate selling their puppies at a retail pet store. Both National and state breed clubs prohibit such behavior.

What about the internet? You can buy many things online, and a puppy is one. But take care not to be misled! Fancy websites can disguise poor breeders, just as "home-made" websites hide great breeders.

How can you use the internet to find a Boxer? Here are some suggestions:

  • Go to a dog show in your area/state. Visit Infodog website to find a list of all dog shows in your state, dates and places where they will be held, and plan to attend.

    When you get to the dog show, visit the superintendant's desk and purchase a show catalog. In the first few pages, you will find a list of the times and rings where the breed you are looking for will be shown. The catalog also lists the name of every dog entered, its sire/dam, breeder's name, and name/address of the dog's owner. When you see a dog in the ring that you like, make note of that dog, the owner's name, breeder's name and the sire/dam. With this information, you will be able to find a puppy who will (most likely) grow to resemble the dog you initially admired.

    Please wait until after the dogs are finished showing to introduce yourself to its owner or handler. Some people are nervous or just too busy to chat before ring time. If you can't talk to them in person at the show, use the information contained in the catalog to contact them at a later date.

    • Visit the American Boxer Club website. There you'll find much information on the breed, as well as links to many individual boxer websites and club websites.
    • Next stop, visit local Boxer club websites - such as the Minnesota Boxer Club. Most club sites have an online list of members, some of whom have websites of their own. 
    • Visit the websites or email members of the local club, then contact them personally to learn about their breeding and placement philosophies. If possible, you should visit the breeder's home in person. Always ask for (and check) references from previous clients, other breeders, handlers and/or veterinarian(s).

      If you find a breeder you feel comfortable with and trust, but they do not have any puppies available, you can:

      (1) Put your name on a waiting list for the next available litter, or

      (2) Ask for references to another breeder. You will have to investigate that breeder as you did the first.

    • Some breeder websites have online applications, which can be forwarded to an online community of boxer breeders with similar interests (showing, health testing, etc.). You must take care to check references and backgrounds of each and every breeder you contact (or who contacts you).

Ear Cropping

Ear cropping is a personal preference. If you choose to have your puppy's ears cropped, the procedure should be performed by a veterinarian experienced with the proper Boxer ear crop. Having attractive cropped ears is 5% surgery and 95% after-care. However, if the surgery isn't performed correctly, there is no amount of after-care that will help poorly cropped ears.

You should discuss the pros and cons of ear cropping with your breeder. They will help you make an informed decision, direct you to an experienced veterinarian and help you with aftercare and necessary "taping" or "posting" that will train your puppy's ears to stand correctly.

A definite decision must be made before your puppy is 8 weeks old, to allow time to schedule the appointment. Most veterinarians prefer to crop between the ages of 7-10 weeks. After 10 weeks, blood vessels in the ears are too big, and the cartilage is trained to lay flat. Cropping after 10 weeks risks not only a poor crop, but your puppy's life.

Directions on post-operative "ear posting" should reviewed in person, and written instructions sent home with you when you pick your puppy up from the veterinarian. If your vet or breeder can't help you with aftercare and posting, the information is available online. It is strongly recommended that posting instructions be followed, in order to complete the process of beautiful cropped ears.

Below is a link to the chart of veterinarians used by boxer people in the U.S. and Canada.

Inclusion is not endorsement.




Housetraining 101

House Training 101

There is no "secret" or shortcut in house training a puppy. It can all be said with just one word, SCHEDULING! Puppies have very predictable elimination needs when you follow a schedule. They have to go every time they wake, eat, drink and every 2-3 hours in between.

Here are some easy steps to follow.

  1. Feed your puppy 2-4 daily meals rather than leaving food available all day. Consistency and timing of meals makes elimination more predictable. Feed the last meal of the day around 5 p.m. and take away water at about 8 p.m. to help your pup make it through the night. DO NOT give inbetween meal treats until your pup is fully and reliably housetrained.

  2. Select one area for your puppy to eliminate. Take your puppy to that spot at times he is likely to need to go such as immediately upon waking, right after eating or drinking and so on. In the beginning, you will want to "take a potty break" about every 2-3 hours.

  3. When you get to this area and your pup starts sniffing around, encourage him to go potty. Develop a "key phrase" for this action that will eventually elicit elimination.

  4. Praise your puppy for going potty in this area!

  5. Supervise your puppy at all times! Keep him confined in a crate or ex-pen when you cannot watch him or you are not home.

  6. Accidents will happen. Remember, your puppy is just an infant! If you catch him in the act, clap your hands to startle him into stopping and rush him outside to his spot to finish. Praise him for pottying in his area. DO NOT yell, spank or rub his face in it if he has an accident. While this certainly will instill fear, it will be of YOU, not the act for which you are punishing him. This will cause your puppy to hide his future 'calls of nature'.

  7. It might be helpful to keep a record of your puppy's elimination times to develop a pattern. You can use this record to predict when he most needs to go.

Remember to neutralize any odors when cleaning up indoor accidents to help your pup avoid  mistaking that area as his potty area.

Most importantly, remember to be patient. Every dog can be house trained, even if it is at his own pace. Between 4-6 months of age, your pup should be able to control his urges. If your previously house-trained pup should begin to have accidents, visit your vet to rule out any medical causes (such as urinary tract infections).

Invisible Fencing & Boxers

I have never used invisible fencing, and will not recommend it to anyone. Invisible fencing is contraindicated for boxers, because of the following, as eloquently put by breeder Theresa Garton, of Oklahoma:

"Boxers are stoic about pain. I tried regular electric fencing once, to back up an area of my stockade fencing I was having problems with. The bitch that was getting out of this area definitely felt the pain, I saw her jump straight up many times as she touched it. She STILL wouldn't leave it alone, and tested the wire all up and down the length of it.   She didn't go through the hole I couldn't seem to fill for about a day, and then, I guess she decided the shock was worth the fun of getting through to the other side. She apparently would just grit her teeth and hurry. "

I also put electric fencing around the top of my 6 ft wooden fence, as my smallest bitch was escaping. I watched her one day bounce high enough to catch her front legs on the top and she then pulled herself over. After installing the electric fence, I watched her pull her trick again. The electric fence shocked her (in more ways than just physically), but didn't deter her from trying again and again to jump over. As stated above, she determined that the fleeting pain was worth the thrill she found on the outside of the fencing.

The signal is temporary and fleeting.  If the dog has momentum (and/or motivation- see above) as they are running the line, they can miss the signal, end up on the other side of the electric fencing, and then not be able to get back in without receiving a shock. 

Electric fencing doesn't keep other dogs (animals) out of your yard. This means aggressive dogs can still come in and challenge your Boxer, and smaller dogs can come in and be injured, with resulting problems with neighborly relations.

The fence only works if you are absolutely sure your batteries are fresh and working.

The flags used to train for the invisible fencing are similar to those used in tracking to mark the trail during training. It has been reported that some dogs show fear of the tracking flags because they have electric fencing at home. 

In summary, invisible/electronic fencing is not recommended for boxers (or any pet really). Regular physical barrier fencing protects your dog and your property by keeping him in and everyone else out.

Do not leave your dog unattended outside for long periods, regardless of your containment system. Even in my rural area there are reports of missing/stolen dogs--the only common denominator was that they were left outside unattended.



Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of Heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing: they each miss someone very special, someone who was left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; his eager body begins to quiver. Suddenly, he breaks from the group, flying over the green grass, faster and faster. You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into those trusting eyes, so long gone from your life, but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together...

*Author Unknown*


Toxic Foods - Pets Beware

Chocolate is known to be an aphrodisiac; some people can't turn down an order of onion rings; and what winter holiday is complete without a can of mixed nuts?

But pet owners shouldn't assume that every human food is safe for their furry companions! What may be a simple "food obsession" to you, can spell certain death to your pet! Here are foods you should keep safe from Fido.


If your 50-pound dog snatches a single chocolate-chip cookie, it probably won’t cause him serious problems. However, if he gobbles up more — a pan of brownies, you should be alert for trouble.

Why? Because chocolate contains theobromine, a cardiac stimulant and diuretic. But not all chocolate is equally toxic.  Cocoa powder and cooking chocolate are the most toxic, containing up to ten times more theobromine than milk chocolate.  Semi-sweet chocolate and dark chocolate are second on the toxic meter, with milk chocolate being the least dangerous.

Symptoms that your dog is in danger include:

  • restlessness
  • hyperactivity
  • muscle twitching
  • increased urination and/or excessive panting

If left untreated, your pet could lapse into seizures, and possibly die. Please make sure your Boxer is safe during "high chocolate" holidays such as Valentine's Day, Easter and Christmas.

Onion and Garlic

Onions and garlic will do more than give your dog (cat or livestock) bad breath, they are potentially fatal!

Both foods contain thiosulphate (onions more so than garlic), which affect the red blood cells which carry oxygen to the body, causing a condition known as haemolytic anaemia. In essence, the red blood cells burst, thus depriving the entire body of oxygen.

All forms of onion are dangerous, including dehydrated, raw or cooked onions, whether eaten alone or as ingredients in other dishes. Pizza, Chinese dishes and some commercial baby foods have toxic concentrations and should be avoided.

Symptoms usually do not appear until days after ingestion, and may include:

  • Gastroenteritis with vomiting and diarrhea
  • Little to no interest in food
  • Overall dullness and weakness
  • Pigment from the ruptured red blood cells will appear in the urine
  • Breathlessness (from the lack of oxygen circulating throughout the body)

Poisoning can occur from a single meal of large amount, or with repeated over several days ingestion of smaller amounts of onion (garlic is less toxic and requires larger quantities), and anemia is likely to develop. The condition improves once these toxic food items are removed and kept from the dog.

Macadamia Nuts

Raw or roasted Macadamia nuts can be a danger to your pet as well. Not as a choking hazard, but because an (as yet) unknown toxic compound has been shown to cause locomotory difficulties (muscle tremors, paralysis/weakness).

Symptoms include:

  • Tremors of skeletal muscles
  • Hindquarter weakness or paralysis
  • Swollen and painful limbs

As few as 6-40 unshelled nuts have been known to affect pets, as well as feeding Macadamia butter.

While a painful condition, resulting muscle weakness/paralysis seems to be short in duration and all dogs known to have ingested these nuts have recovered. (Paper by Dr. Ross McKenzie, Veterinary Pathologist, Department of Primary Industries)

So, be sure to put that Valentine's box of chocolates up where your pet can't reach it; keep your dog from garbage surfing for last night's sausage/onion/mushroom pizza; and pick up any macadamia nuts if you have a tree in your yard.

The Half-Breed

They call me a BOXER,
But I'm a Half-Breed.
Part BOXER of course,
and part people indeed.
Anyone who owns me knows it's true.
We're so close to being people,
we're like part of you.
"He's one of the family,"
you've heard people say.
"Don't know how we'll manage when he passes away."
But they'll get another BOXER,
a purebred at first.
Not the most well-behaved puppy,
but far from the worst.
Then the change will take place,
the same as before.
They'll end up with the same human
HALF-BREED once more

--Author Unknown


Boxers at Westminster Kennel Club

Boxers have a long history in the U.S. and have been very successful at our premiere dog show, the Westminster Kennel Club dog show - the second longest continuously running sport in the country (second only to the Kentucky Derby).

Here are some Westminter Boxer statistics. For more cool Westminster facts, visit that site at .

The Boxer competed in the Non-Sporting Group from 1924-1935, before being moved to the Working Group in 1936.

Boxers hold the most Westminster records of any breed in the Working Group.

Most Group wins - 23 - Boxer 

Most consecutive Group wins - 5 - Boxer (1954-58) 

Most Group placements - 47 - Boxer 

Most consecutive Group placements - 19 - Boxer (1940-1958) 

Current streak of Group placements - 6 - Boxer (1998) 

Hello, World!


There is a drug commonly used in anesthetic protocols that should NOT be used in the Boxer.  That drug is acepromazine, a tranquilizer, that is often used as a pre-anesthetic agent.

In the Boxer, it tends to cause a problem called "first degree heart block," a potentially serious arrhythmia of the heart.  It also causes a profound hypotension (severe lowering of the blood pressure) in many Boxers given the drug.

Recently on the Veterinary Information Network, a computer network for practicing veterinarians, an announcement was placed in the cardiology section entitled "Acepromazine and Boxers" describing several adverse reactions to the drug in a very short time span at a vet teaching hospital.  The reactions included collapse, respiratory arrest, and profound bradycardia (slow heart rate, less than 60 beats per minute).  

Be an advocate for your Boxer and tell your vet NO ACE and make sure a notation is made on his or her file.