When well bred, the boxer is gentle, fun loving and energetic, and gets along well with adults and children. Boxers are often wary of strangers which makes them excellent watchdogs. They are often used for police and guard work. Playful and spirited, boxers are good jumpers and need lots of daily exercise.

Breed-related concerns

Every dog breed carries a distinct set of genetic advantages and health risk factors. The following are the most common diseases found in the Boxer breed. Hopefully, your boxer will not face these problems. However, early detection and preventive healthcare can make all the difference in helping your dog live a longer, happier life (see breed-related disease descriptions below).

Puppy (birth to 1 year)*

  • Sub-aortic stenosis
  • Developmental bone/joint disease

Adult (1 to 6 years)*

  • Colitis
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Corneal disease
  • Cataracts
  • Hypothyroidism

Senior (7 years and older)*

  • Cancers

Breed-related disease descriptions

Listed in alphabetical order *Please note that these common diseases can occur earlier or later in the dog’s life.

Cancer. An abnormal and uncontrolled growth of any cell type in the body. Signs caused by cancer of internal organs depends on which organ is affected but may include coughing, difficult or rapid breathing, sneezing, nasal discharge, difficulty eating, excessive drooling, bad breath, decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty going to the bathroom, weight loss, convulsions, weakness and collapse.

Cataracts. Opacity (loss of clearness) of the lens of the eyeball. Signs may include cloudiness in the inside in the center of one or both eyes, poor vision or blindness.

Colitis. Diarrhea resulting from disease affecting the large intestine (colon). Causes include dietary indiscretion (eating garbage), ingestion of bones, ingestion of toxins, intestinal parasites, intestinal infections, intestinal inflammation (enteritis), inflammation of the pancreas and intestinal cancer. Signs include straining to defecate, blood and mucus in the stool and increased frequency of bowel movements.

Corneal disease. The cornea is the front, clear window of the eye. A variety of diseases can affect the clearness of the cornea and also cause eye pain. This breed is more predisposed because they have “bug eyes” that stick out more than other breeds. Signs may include squinting or frequent blinking, rubbing eyes, excessive tearing or discharge from the eyes or bloodshot eye.

Developmental bone/joint disease. Affects predominantly young, large-breed dogs (It starts in young dogs, but a lot of the time it is not evident until the dog is older). Dogs may show no signs or may show pain, lameness, and reluctance to exercise. With hip dysplasia, there may be muscle wasting in the hind legs.

Dilated cardiomyopathy. Disease of the heart muscle. Early signs are a decrease in ability or willingness to exercise. Later signs may include abdominal distension, variable appetite, weight loss, coughing, fast or difficult breathing, and even episodes of collapse or fainting. In some cases, sudden death may occur.

Hypothyroidism. Insufficient thyroid hormone production caused by disease of the thyroid glands. Symptoms include hair loss, obesity, lethargy, cold intolerance and skin infections.

Sub-aortic stenosis. Birth defect resulting in narrowing of the aorta (main vessel leaving the heart) where it exits the heart. Signs may include sudden death at early age and a murmur may be heard during a physical exam.

Help your dog live a longer, healthier life. Ask your veterinarian about a breed-related preventive health plan.

Note: Pet owner information provided in this article and more available through the Pet Health Library at Copyright © American Animal Hospital Association

Print Friendly, PDF & Email