The Essential Guide to Raising a Miniature Boxer
Has your dog-loving heart been captured by the miniature boxer? This mixed variety has many fantastic traits that endear it to individuals and families all over the world, but as with other breeds, the miniature boxer may not be right for everyone. To better prepare yourself for potential boxer ownership it would be a good idea to research and carefully weigh the pros and cons of this breed before committing yourself to a dog.
First, you might want to mull over the fact that the miniature boxer is not an “official” breed, although it is recognized by the American Canine Hybrid Club, or ACHC. The reason that the American Kennel Club, or AKC, and other major worldwide kennel societies do not recognize the miniature boxer as a standalone breed is that this type of dog is not purebred. The standard or full-sized boxer is considered a purebred canine because its bloodlines can be traced back many generations to dogs with specific physical characteristics. Unlike a lot of other miniature or toy varieties, mini boxers are not bred by selectively pairing the smallest specimens of separate litters. Instead, a purebred boxer is bred with a smaller breed like a terrier or a pug. The boxer and Boston terrier mix is the only one officially recognized as a mini boxer by the ACHC. The idea behind using a hybrid combination such as this is to make the dog look as close as possible to a full sized boxer dog only on a smaller scale. Terriers are preferred for this purpose because they tend to have a less profound influence on the musculature and facial features of the puppies while providing the compact size necessary for a compact body structure. These facts may not affect your decision to raise a mini boxer, but it’s always good to know ahead of time in case you had any designs to register the dog or breed it as a purebred, as this would not be possible.
A responsible owner should have a good idea of a canine’s temperament before inviting the animal into his or her home. Although temperament and personality can differ among individual dogs depending on their blood lines and the way that they are raised, most breeds have a basic set of temperament traits that are common to their specific variety. The temperament of a mini boxer will primarily depend upon whether the pup has been the result of a boxer-terrier pairing or a pug-terrier pairing.
A puppy that has resulted from a boxer-terrier union will likely have an active and inquisitive personality. Terriers and boxers alike are smart and love to be around people, so be prepared to have an always-near companion. Individuals who aren’t used to being followed around by a dog may initially find this behavior difficult to adjust to and some are even annoyed by it. Be sure that you can handle a potentially needy and attention seeking companion. You may find that this particular mix is closer to the true fun-loving and people pleasing boxer personality but it may also take on a stubborn streak from the terrier parent. Boxer-Boston terrier mixes tend to have a goofy or clownish disposition but don’t be too surprised if you end up with a pooch who has a calm and almost regal disposition, as this sometimes happens when a puppy’s parents were both in possession of placid personalities. Depending on which parent’s personality the dog seems to have taken to most, your miniaturized pooch could be polite but standoffish around strangers or he could be an excitable pup who instantly accepts newcomers. This crossbreed generally does well with other dogs but socialization early in life is paramount. If you have a cat in the home then you may have to prepare yourself to handle some cat-chasing activity from your mini boxer. Where mixed breeds are concerned, predicting a pup’s temperament can be a bit of a gamble unless you know both of the parents well or have, on good authority, a valid description of the parents’ and grandparents’ personalities. Delving back into the third generation (grandparents) is a good idea because traits can definitely skip a generation and temperament characteristics possessed by the grandparents could crop up in the grandpups even though the parents show absolutely no trace of such traits.
Boxer-pug crossbreeds can be a bit more laid-back than boxer-terrier mixes, but they are equally eager to please their human family members. This type of dog can be expected to handle the heavy-handed petting that often occurs with children and will likely be a very affectionate and loving companion. The pug personality is typically charming and comical, if a little needy when it comes to gaining attention from humans, especially family members. While showing affection to your boxer-pug puppy is encouraged, it is important that you take measure to avoid spoiling the dog. “Giving in” and bending the rules for your little guy could cause him to become excessively needy and naughty, although pugs rarely get into serious mischief. That being said, if your pup has taken more to his boxer nature then he could definitely get into some trouble if you don’t keep a careful eye on him, particularly during puppyhood. This miniature canine variety is smart and needs to be kept entertained in order to avoid restlessness behavior such as chewing on non-toy items and general rowdiness. Socialization with dogs and other animals early on in the pup’s life will be a definite benefit as it will override some instincts that might otherwise cause your dog to be suspicious of or aggressive toward other dogs, which is sometimes seen in the boxer.
The physical traits of your crossbreed dog can vary quite a lot depending on several factors. One factor is the dog’s bloodlines. Breeders will often mix three or even four different dog breeds over a long line of generations in order to weed out traits that look too dissimilar to the boxer and to enhance the traits that are desired. These dogs tend to be smaller and often have a very genuine miniaturized appearance. If the pup that you’re interested in is the first generation result of a crossbreed then it will likely be much larger at maturity than you might expect – probably closer to the 50 pound mark in weight. The longer a breeder has been working on the bloodlines of his or her dogs, the smaller each generation of pups will become. Realistically you could expect a fully grown specimen to weigh between 20 and 40 pounds as an adult.
In general, you can expect your dog to have a fairly solid bone structure, a short nose, and broad forehead. The “bug eye” trait is more common in dogs with a greater percentage of the pug breed in their genetics. Your pup should have short hair that is smooth and easy to care for, requiring only a light brushing every week. This particular mixed breed is going to have a high level of energy, especially for the first six years of its life. This means that you will have to be able to accommodate his need to expend this energy each day with vigorous physical activity. A long walk, a few short but brisk walks, or a short run each day will suffice to spend your pooch’s pent-up energy. Fun activities like throwing a ball or Frisbee around will not only help your dog to get rid of excess energy but it will also strengthen your master-dog bond.
Potential Health Issues to Prepare For
As a responsible dog owner you will need to be aware of some of the potential health risks that you may have to deal with in the future. Both the boxer and pug breeds are at a much higher risk of suffering from heat stroke than most other breeds. It is important that you limit your dog’s outdoor activity during the hottest months of the year. When your pooch is spending time outside try to offer him an activity that will prevent him from overheating, such as swimming in a local lake or splashing around in a sturdy kid-sized pool. Offering your dog the option to play in a shady area will also help to reduce his chances of suffering a heat stroke. Respiratory issues run rampant in almost all of the breeds commonly used to create a miniaturized boxer. Hip dysplasia, cardiac diseases, hypothyroidism, deafness, cornea injury, cataracts, knee dislocation, and sensitive skin are serious conditions that have a good chance of popping up in the future. These conditions can often be prevented by taking good care of your dog through regular grooming, careful play, and regular veterinary checkups.
Lifestyle Impacts to Consider Before Getting the Dog
Many first-time boxer owners underestimate the impact that this breed can have on one’s lifestyle. You should prepare yourself for the reality of caring for another living creature – one that has a tendency to be sensitive to your actions and behavior. As mentioned earlier, this mixed breed has a fairly high need for attention and after the newness of the animal has worn off, some owners find this trait to be difficult to handle. You will need to be able to include your dog in everyday activities and set aside time that you can devote to one-on-one training, play time, or cuddling with your companion. Obedience training will be an important aspect of owning this type of dog, therefore you should be able to commit yourself to being a steadfast but fair leader. Heavy handed tactics and impatience will get you absolutely nowhere with this breed; instead, consider using incentive-based training techniques. You should also be prepared to uphold a solid routine for your pooch which includes reliable meal times, potty trips outside, and exercise. This crossbreed has an energetic nature that needs to be catered to with lots of physical activity. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle then the mini boxer may not be a good breed for you. However, if daily walks, trips to the dog park, and playful romps around the yard sound nice then you will likely enjoy the companionship of a miniature boxer.