Recently, while getting Herb's eyeglasses repaired at a local mall we struck up a conversation with the young man assisting in the repair. He had noticed our T-shirts, adorned with Boxers of course, and inquired whether we had boxers. We advised him we did and he proceeded to ask me to describe what I liked about Boxers and why I felt this breed was so special. He was intent on getting a dog for the family and had heard that Boxers were good with children and usually made good family dogs. Naturally, I agreed with that summary but I added more. Because of the limited amount of time he had to spend with us, I could only give him a brief account of our breeds "special" qualities. I also offered my assistance in locating some puppies for him to go see. As an AKC referral representative on their 900 numbers for our region I try to keep up with reputable breeders who have puppies available in our area.
After returning home, I decided to put my description of our breed down on paper. I hope it will make a good handout when you talk to others interested in being "owned" by our breed.
Boxers are a special breed and until a person has been a companion to such a dog, one cannot really understand the depth of their devotion. They are sincere in their preference for human companionship over the company of other animals. Unlike other breeds of dogs who can fend or entertain themselves for a majority of the day, Boxers require our fellowship. They can exist in a household with other animals but they prosper with human contact. This knowledge is the key to living, and living well with a Boxer. The Boxer is not a breed to be left in the backyard and excluded from the home. They do not thrive well in extreme weather, be it heat or cold. The Boxers temperament is designed to live in the house with the family as a member of the family. A warm bed in winter, a cool spot away from the summer's heat are a basic requirement. A good diet, fresh water, a good health care program, and regular grooming (compared to other breeds the Boxer is truly low maintenance in this aspect) will lead the Boxer to repay you for his/her keep in ways you never would imagine.
Children are especially coveted by the Boxer. I have always believed the Boxers childlike spirit is very much like the "small humans" they so adore. Boxers require the exact same portions of love, discipline and freedom to grow to their full potential. Living in a household with children and boxers is very rewarding. It is also a quest we cannot take carelessly. Remember both our children and Boxers will reflect our failures as well as our triumphs.
A Boxer will succeed in a household without children, as long as the "parent" has the abilities to dispense those necessary portions of love, discipline and freedom. Therefore, just like some people are never meant to be parents, some people are not meant to be boxer owners. A prospective Boxer companion should understand and be prepared for this "parenthood." Like children, the Boxer can adapt to any lifestyle as long as the "parent" in his/her life remain loving and dependable.
The responsibilities for children and dogs of any breed are the same. Animal rights people will probably consider my opinion of our breed as foolish. They believe dogs or other animals do not perceive the human emotions of love, hate, fear, happiness, sadness, shame or guilt. Animals are, in their eyes, meant to walk the earth in their natural state devoid of human companionship. We should simply admire them from a distance. Obviously, they have never lived with a Boxer. One only has to look into the eyes of the Boxer, the mirror of their soul, to know they feel and exhibit all our human emotions. Boxers, like our children, know how to use all of them to their own advantage.
I have lived with other breeds in my 50 plus years, the last 29 years I have spent exclusively with Boxers. The Boxer is by far my favorite. Sporting dogs, hounds, herding dogs, terriers and other dogs have shared my life from time to time - none have strengthened my life like the Boxer. Their uncanny ability to adjust to whatever life sends their way has been my deliverance on many occasions. They can find humor when there is no laughter. They can see heartbreak and offer comfort even when there are no tears. They can sense danger and react with amazing calm. There are times when we must face our fears; Boxers are fearless when they know they are loved and they trust those who love them. The surest way to break a Boxers heart is to break that trust. Only when there is no trust do they allow their fear to show. Take a good look into the eyes of a Boxer coming through a rescue program if you get the chance, you'll know immediately what I mean. The character of the Boxer sets them apart from other breeds in their ability to forgive the most insufferable treatment; they are always willing to give humans a second chance to renew their trust in us.
Boxers are not stupid. Boxers are not slow or untrainable. Boxers are one of the most intelligent breeds I have ever known. Boxers sometimes surmise they are smarter than their "parents." Boxers are frequently right in that assumption. In order to gain your Boxer's respect, you must assume the "alpha" position in the household. You do not gain this position or the respect that comes with it by force. You gain the Boxer's respect with a firm but thoughtful approach. An approach that should be laced with a generous amount of humor. To some the Boxer may appear as the class clown and in many ways they fit that description well. However, as in most cases the "class clown" is simply testing the waters seeking to find his own confidence. A Boxer will do more for a smile than any other breed I have known. A heavy hand only leads to a heavy heart. A heavy heart can destroy the Boxer's spirit.
Give a Boxer plentiful doses of sunshine and fresh air. They enjoy a jog in the park or a swim in the lake. They are an "all around" dog and they can be as active or inactive as you please. A Boxer can lounge on the couch with the best of the "couch potatoes."
The secret is to include them. Being a part of the family is the Boxer's primary goal in life. If you do, you will have less trouble with the excavations in the backyard or flowerbed, the chewed furniture or shoes. Remember a bored Boxer is a "busy" Boxer. Keep your Boxer "busy" in constructive endeavors and the destructive tendency will be better contained. Use a crate when you do have to leave the Boxer alone. They do enjoy periods of solace. The time spent safely in his/her crate are quickly forgotten when he/she sees you. Returning to an unblemished house brings a smile to your face and that's a perfect way to greet the Boxer.
The sex of your Boxer should be a personal preference. Males can be macho and females can be delicate. Their Boxer traits are the same regardless of their sex. A female Boxer protecting her family can be formidable -- a male Boxer cuddling with the kids on the floor can be one of the most incredible sights you will ever behold. Versatility is one of the main ingredients of this dog called Boxer.
Don't consider the Boxer just a dog you would like as a pet. You will be making a new friend and a new family member. The fact that the Boxer is canine is irrelevant. We all know a lasting friendship, like a fine wine, just grows better with time. The Boxer does not deal well with restriction, either in physical or emotional form. The most important thing you can spend on your Boxer is time. The profits you will receive are immeasurable. If you cannot spend the quality time necessary, spend you restricted time and money on another breed.
Having a Boxer in your life results in boundless adventures. Hold tight to the lead and prepare for the journey of a lifetime!
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