The Adolescent and Adult Boxer
Depending on your lifestyle, a Boxer puppy might not a good fit. Instead, consider a young adult Boxer, or a more mature dog, or even an old-timer. (Don't discount older dogs. Often, the older fellow who loses his loving owners and needs another good home to finish out those golden years makes a great companion.)
Here's a closer look at the older stages of a Boxer's life:
- 6 to 12 months: Rebels with (and without) a cause. This stage of Boxer life can be compared to adolescence in humans. When your dog is 6 to 12 months old, anything you can do he can do better — or at least that's what he thinks. Larger breeds of dogs, like the Boxers, grow quickly and mature slowly. So your dog may look like he should behave like an adult, but he's really not much different than a 6-foot-tall 16-year-old boy. His maturity may seem to manifest itself spontaneously, with no rhyme or reason. He may take awkward stabs at independence, only to revert to his puppy ways when he's had enough.
- Some of the male pups become bashful and self-conscious at this stage (reminds you of preteen human boys, doesn't it?). Although this behavior isn't shy, some of the male pups temporarily lose that boisterous attitude that typifies the breed.
- At this stage, you also find that what was cute when your dog was a puppy may be wearing on your nerves if it hasn't been corrected by this age. If those early bad habits haven't been curbed, you may have to deal with variable degrees of rebellion. This stage can be hardest on the males and their owners — what with the raging hormones. But these young rebels must understand clearly who is in charge (remember, that's you!).
- 2 to 3 years: The adult boxer (legal age at last). The well-adjusted adult Boxer is confident and devoted, protective without being rash. If you adopt an adult Boxer who hasn't had the benefit of good training, you have some serious work to do. And if you've let your dog grow up without training her, you're beginning to reap what you've sown for the last few years.
- The geriatric Boxer: Silver threads among the fawn or brindle. Life expectancy for a Boxer averages about 8 to 10 years, and some Boxers live out their lives in a relatively healthy, vigorous condition. So defining when your Boxer will begin to exhibit aging symptoms is difficult at best. When your Boxer reaches this stage, however, she will have become pretty set in her ways — and if you've done your job, these should be wise and reliable ways. The old-timer may be a bit crotchety at times and not too inclined to put up with inconsiderate puppies and children. A Boxer's activity level slows down considerably as she ages, and the older dog may be experiencing the common symptoms of old age: arthritis, digestive difficulties, and bowel and bladder retention.