Lifestyle Needs



The Boxer is a big, strong and usually confident dog.  He can be a good guard dog, usually has plenty of stamina but needs a firm hand.  He can be a good family dog.  He needs plenty of stimulation and exercise and an owner who is prepared to commit to this.  An owner would also need to be tolerant of his possible drooling and flatulence.  An advantage is his short coat which does not need a huge amount of grooming. Average lifespan 9 years.

Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)

The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 7.1% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'

Effective Population Size - EPS


EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.

Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)

  • Brachycephalic upper airway syndrome due to facial abnormality (short nose) (causes breathing difficulties, an inefficient cooling system, exercise intolerance)
  • Gastric dilatation volvulus (Bloat/Torsion) (stomach fills with air and may twist)  A serious problem associated with deep chested breeds
  • Deafness (associated with white coat colour)

BVA/KC Health Schemes:

  • Hip dysplasia (malformation of the hip joints causing pain and lameness):  breed mean score 14.4 (parents should be lower)
  • Elbow dysplasia (malformation of the elbow joint causing pain and lameness): ideally 0:0

Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:

DNA Tests Available

  • Degenerative myelopathy (DM) (spinal cord degeneration, causing weakness and eventual paralysis of hind limbs)
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC)

Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes

Heart Disease: aortic stenosis

Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.

Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)

  • Cardiomyopathy (degeneration of the heart muscles)
  • Aortic stenosis (heart disease)
  • Corneal ulcerative disease
  • Juvenile kidney disease (a devastasting disease which attacks young dogs, and can lead to death)
  • Cancer: brain tumors; thyroid; hyperadrenocorticism; histiocytoma; lymphoma; mast cell tumors; glioma
  • Atopy (a hypersensitivity to pollens and other particles, causing intense itching and skin damage)
  • Epilepsy
  • Cruciate disease (rupture of cruciate ligaments in hind limbs)
  • Pulmonic stenosis (narrowing of the pulmonary valve, causing exercise intolerance and risk of heart failure)
  • Polyarthritis/meningitis syndrome (autoimmune disease)
  • Polymyositis (autoimmune disease) (excessive drooling, swallowing problems, muscle wasting)
  • Muzzle furunculosis (abscesses around the mouth)
  • Colitis ( inflammatory bowel disease)
  • Osteochondrosis (degeneration of bone and cartilage in shoulder and other joints)
  • Eye Disease: Entropion/Ectropion (inverted or everted eye lashes causing irritation, pain and eye damage); ulceration of the eye
  • Panosteitis (painful bone inflammation)
  • Lumbar sacral disc disease

Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents.  Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.

Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.

You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP):

You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding:

Or the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders Scheme Standard and Guidance:
Standard PDF | Guidance PDF

List of Dog Breeds