Boxers are a high-energy and playful dogs, which explain their consistent popularity among all dog breeds. But when bringing home such a large and active dog into a home with kids, it can be a real concern for parents.
Boxers have a reputation for being great companions for older kids. They’re good dogs that are generally safe to bring in households because they’re both chivalrous and playful. And as long as the dog is properly socialized and well-trained, there should be no problems. Even so, there are things you need to consider and be wary of.
Keeping a Boxer in your home requires you to know a Boxer’s qualities and temperament well. In this article, we’ll dive into a Boxer’s personality and explain exactly how they’re good with kids and what you should be aware of.
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The Boxer’s Temperament for Kids
Considering that Boxers descended from an extinct German hunting dog and the English Bulldog, the modern-day Boxer has adapted well to living in the modern world and serving its role as a family pet.
Boxers surprisingly have a lot of patience when it comes to dealing with humans. In other words, they enjoy playing with kids, making them a dog breed favorite for kids as well. That said, the aggressive dog reputation of Boxers is unwarranted.
Boxers are family dogs, they will protect their families if threatened. However most boxers are friendly with strangers, at least with most of the ones I’ve met, being a vet tech.– Kidneybeandancer (Boxer Forum)
Despite the somewhat ferocious looks of the Boxer, these dogs have a playful nature. You may have never guessed, but they’re quite affectionate and friendly dogs. Spend a day with a Boxer and you’ll know exactly what we mean.
It’s possible that few Boxers still maintain some of their aggression from the past days when their ancestors were hunting companions. However, it’s unlikely you’ll experience a Boxer’s aggression unless they perceive their family to be in danger.
However, being highly intelligent and trainable, Boxers do well in social settings, especially when given wide exposure to different people, environments and animals. Socializing your Boxer may be one of the most important things you’ll need to do.
Reasons Why Boxers Are Good With Kids
Despite popular belief, Boxers are fantastic with kids. If provided the necessary training and socialization, they make excellent companions, playmates and guardians for children. But without it, they may exhibit destructive behaviors.
There are simply so many reasons why these dogs are highly compatible with children. However, we believe these are the best reasons.
Boxer’s Playful Personality is Great for Kids
If you’re a parent, then you already know kids can be highly energetic and playful. It’s not a bad thing because so are Boxers! This makes them a perfect fit for each other. They’ll be able to match their energy.
Keep in mind, Boxers may be a little stubborn to begin with. But if trained with persistence from puppy-hood, Boxers will learn to let their hair (or fur) down. And with children, they’re at their happiest, running around and causing trouble with them.
Both Boxers were such whirlwinds as pups and they truly stay playful pups to the end of their days. Such sweet dogs!– Candydb (Dog Forums)
If your Boxer grows up with your children, you can expect them to be their goofy selves with the kids. It’s all part of their charm and why so many thousands of happy owners bring home a Boxer every year.
A large part of why they’re so playful is because they like to stay busy and active. These dogs need a lot of stimulation, so it’s probably a good idea to keep them busy with the older kids of your family!
Boxers are Patient Dogs
Boxers are unusually very patient dogs which means they will likely tolerate when kids do something which might irritate other dogs. That’s not to say children should rough up the dogs, but in case something happens, they likely won’t get angry.
These dogs will let the kids have the upper hand, so to say. For this reason, many owners have called them great “nanny dogs.” While we never suggest literally having your Boxer babysit your kids, they’re a great second pair of eyes.
One owner tells us about her patient Boxer, saying:
Lucy is sooo patient with the kids. She’ll lie down and let my 3 year old touch her face. It looks very annoying, but she’s fine with it…but only with the kid.– Luceboxer1 (Boxer Dog Forums)
There’s no doubt that Boxers are patient and affectionate dogs when it comes to your kids. But at the end of day, they are still animals. Never let a young child play with a Boxer (or any dog for that matter) unsupervised.
No matter how long you’ve known a dog, you never know what may happen. But with the extra patience that comes with these truly gentle dogs, you can rest better knowing that they’ll treat the children right.
They Can be Protective Dogs
Boxers may look aggressive but they’re not dangerous if properly trained and socialized. People think they’re aggressive, but they’re just highly protective of their family. The fact is, Boxers are top guardians of the family and home.
It’s in their nature to protect and guard. And according to Care, Boxers are one of the 7 best family guard dog breeds! Boxers had many jobs and roles in the past including guard dog duties. Because of this, they still retain their protective instincts.
He would always put his back leg right up next to me in between the person and I, unless I give him the OK. Then he still stands guard until he senses everything is all right.– Nancy (Boxer Dog Forums)
Again, Boxers are smart dogs and can usually sense the “danger” levels of a stranger. They don’t just protect you, but everyone in the pack, including your children. As long as they get to know each other, they’ll protect them at all cost.
With their medium-large size and muscular build, it’s easy to wonder if Boxers can attack and actually harm members of the family. Yes, they could, but as long as Boxers are bought from responsible breeders and properly trained, they will be safe.
Boxers are Durable and Sturdy
Boxers are not small dogs. In fact, that’s the reason why many parents are cautious in the first place. In addition, they are muscular dogs with a lean frame.
While many can make the argument that their size actually poses a danger to children, I’d argue the other way. It’s because of the durability of the Boxer than they can handle all the rough play that comes from kids.
Smaller dogs, such as the Chihuahua, may not take the rowdiness so well. As such, it’s not unusual to see smaller dogs snapping back at children for it. In reality, these fragile breeds are just trying to protect themselves from injury.
Potential Dangers of Boxers With Children
With all their positive aspects, there are still some issues you need to keep in mind if you are raising kids with a Boxer. However, these minor pitfalls are far from deal breakers when it comes to the overall decision.
Boxers Can Be Physically Big
A Boxer cannot help being a Boxer. They’re a medium to large-sized dog, though it’s not an extra-large dog breed that can grow well over 100 pounds. Still, a Boxer male can grow up to weigh as much as 80 pounds and as tall as 25 inches.
This means Boxers may inadvertently cause harm to infants and smaller kids in the home. Thus, Boxers are not recommended or the most ideal for households with toddlers, babies and smaller children.
However, if you do own a Boxer and also happen to have infants or toddlers, just make sure to be present and have some parental supervision during all interactions. Watching your toddler and Boxer playfully interacting is a beautiful moment, but requires caution.
Boxers May be too Energetic & Lively
Apart from their large-ish build, Boxers also possess an seemingly unlimited amount of high energy. After all, they were bred to be working dogs.
In our busy lives, if we fail to make sure the Boxer gets its daily dose of exercise, that pent up energy may be released while the Boxer is playing with a kid. And unfortunately, this may lead to mishaps.
For example, a Boxer may accidentally run into and hurt the child. Or, a simple swipe of the thick tail can hit the kid’s face. Have you ever heard of dog zoomies? That’s when the dog runs uncontrollable around the house, likely due to a lack of exercise.
An overly active Boxer may be great for older children. But at the same time, it can be the quickest way to scaring your child from ever wanting to play with the dog. Boxers still need to be kept in check.
The Boxer’s Barking Can Scare Smaller Kids
Do Boxers bark? Well, yes they do – like nearly every other dog breed. Fortunately, Boxers are not excessive barkers. Then again, they are very vocal dogs and will communicate with all types of sounds.
Instead of the traditional dog bark, Boxers make a deep growling sound. Actually, it’s this dog breed’s way of talking to you!
Why do Boxers bark? That could be because of a few reasons:
- Because Boxers were originally bred to be guard dogs, they have an instinct to bark. It’s an asset that makes Boxers great watchdogs. If they see something or hear something that’s off, expect some barking.
- Because your Boxer is bored! Just make sure to give your Boxer an adequate amount of exercise every day.
Though Boxers are considered “low barkers,” they still bark. Plus, they have quite a deep and fierce-sounding bark. If your infant is sensitive to loud noises, as many are, then the Boxer may not be a good fit for your household.
How to Prepare the Family For a Boxer
There is somewhat a “learning curve” involved in bringing a dog home and getting him adjusted to the environment. Indeed, the same can be said about bringing home any pet.
With Boxers, the learning goes both ways. You need to train your kids to show some the Boxer some respect. Additionally, you’ll need to train the dog to tame its stubbornness to become a more social and friendly companion.
Teaching Kids to Respect a Boxer
Boxers can be goofy, playful and amazingly patient as numerous gifs, pictures and videos will attest to. However, they may react aggressively if they need to sustain long periods of constant rough play from kids.
Even before you bring the Boxer home, it’s important to teach your children to respect the dog. They still need to learn to tame it down with the Boxer. Teach your kids not to tug on the Boxer’s ears. They should never attempt to “ride” the dog too.
The most common thing children do is the pulling of the dog’s tail. It’s very painful having their tails pulled and they could sustain serious injuries. All of these actions are a big no, as it may hurt the dog and cause a dangerous reaction.
Train the kids not to shout loudly within close range of the Boxer. It’s possible loud noises may irritate or frighten the dog. So, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Before letting your kids play with the Boxer, they need to understand and abide by these rules. Of course, there will be more rules as you see fit. If they’re too young to understand, then it’s best to wait until they’re old enough.
Boxers are stubborn by nature, which can make their training a tricky affair. Still, it’s not too difficult to accomplish with a few tips in mind. You need to show your Boxer who’s the boss, but not in a fearful way.
If you want, you may also opt for a professional dog trainer. But you need to be the alpha of the pack and gain their respect. Training with care, consistency and patience is the key to commanding respect from the dog.
While training, make ample use of rewards and positive reinforcement to let your Boxer know what makes you happy. Never physically scold your Boxer! If you’re happy, the Boxer will learn what he needs to do to make you happy again.
Teaching a Boxer commands such as sit, down, come, stay and no is essential. With these commands engrained, it will be much easier to control your Boxer, especially while they are playing with the kids.
Because Boxers have lots of energy, they will generally behave better when they are well-exercised. By eliminating the excess pent-up energy each day, they’ll be more calm, docile and friendly dogs.
With that said, they need about 2 hours of physical exercise each day. Yes, it’s a lot and not all owners have the time to provide this. It’s why we highly recommend giving these dogs a big enclosed backyard to play around in.
Just don’t let your Boxer remain stuck in a crate or small enclosure throughout the day. Also, don’t stick them in a tiny apartment with little options for self-exercise. Instead, you can find better apartment dogs here.
Mental activities may be just as important as physical activities. Needless to say, failing to provide your Boxer with sufficient mental stimulation may result in a destructive dog. These behaviors can include tearing up the couch or rough-playing the kids.
No parent wants their children to be around a “destructive” dog. This types of behaviors are what commonly leads to aggressiveness and potentially, dog attacks. And according to the statistics, Boxer attacks do happen, though not often.
Mental stimulation can be achieved in many ways. The most common is obedience training. However, it can also be through dog puzzles, smart toys, hide and seek and more! Even a stroll through the neighborhood could work.
Not all owners have the time to provide mental stimulation every single day. So, I highly recommend getting them some puzzles.
Here are just a few of my dog’s favorite puzzles:
- Nina Ottosson Dog Puzzle – This classic dog puzzle has a slight twist. Simply hide your Boxer’s favorite treats and let them figure out how to get to it.
- StarMark Bark-A-Lot – This bobble toy is a slow food dispenser for your Boxer. It provides mental stimulation by making your dog work for its food!
- Outward Hound Hide & Seek Plush – The Outward Hound plush is my dog’s favorite toy. Dogs love this and the reviews show it!
Dog puzzles and interactive toys are very important for every dog. Unless you want your dog begging you for attention, destroying your favorite pair of shoes, or being aggressive towards the kids, get them something.
Boxers love and require constant attention and care, which makes them ideal family dogs. However, Boxers also need socialization training to become the easygoing animals that we often get to see.
Boxers love being around other people and other dogs. So, introducing your Boxer to other dogs and humans in the dog park may be a good idea. Also, you’ll want to start early. The best time for socialization is between weeks 3 and 12.
At this stage, Boxers need to meet as many people as possible. Only then will they be able to differentiate the “good” from the “bad.” If your kids have friends over, bring out the dog for some play time!
The more kids your dog gets to meet, the faster they’ll fall in love with them too. Just make sure that you go over the rules with any kid that interacts with your dog. Always supervise the encounter very closely too.
Is a Boxer For Your Family?
Boxers are an affectionate and intelligent dog breed with a strong work ethic. Train him well, show him loads of love, and he will show ample love in return. As such, always do research on Boxers before you purchase them.
When making the final decision, it’s important that the dog’s personality matches yours. With consistent leadership, your Boxer will shine as the vigilant guard dog that he is meant to be – instead of the “dangerous dog” people make them out to be.
And with sufficient training, your Boxer will be plenty good with your kids in no time. Before your very eyes, you’ll be able to witness a beautiful relationship develop between the Boxer and your child.
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