Boxer dogs are extremely active, high-energy canines. They need at least one hour of energy-burning activity a day, but more is preferred!
If your pup doesn’t get enough playtime or exercise to release their pent up energy, they could become destructive and develop behavioural issues.
The Boxer dog originated in Germany, where they were initially used for bull-baiting and as guard dogs. These days, their playful and affectionate natures, loyalty and adaptability make them ideal family pets, therapy dogs, even military and search and rescue dogs.
This high energy breed prefers an active lifestyle and needs vigorous exercise to release pent up energy. However, as many boxer owners know, they’re happy to snuggle up with their humans on the sofa once they are done.
In this article, we’ll look at how much exercise does a Boxer need, depending on age and general health, some activities to try if you can’t go for walks and how mental stimulation can help tire out this boisterous breed.
Why is Exercise Vital For Your Boxer?
Regular exercise for dogs is important because it keeps them fit, prevents obesity, builds muscle tone, increases circulation, releases pent up energy and strengthens muscles. It also helps with digestion and can prevent diseases like arthritis in older dogs.
If you have a Boxer dog, regular exercise will help strengthen their back legs which are the breed’s most powerful asset.
Boxers are known for being energetic, but they need to be exercised regularly, or they might become destructive (you can say goodbye to your best shoes).
They also love to play fetch! So get out there and play catch with your Boxer today! And don’t forget about those daily walks! Your Boxer will thank you later.
How Much Exercise Does a Boxer Need?
Most Boxers are happy with between 1-2 hours of exercise daily; for active dog breeds like the Boxer, this should include physical exercises like walking, playing with other Boxers and games. However, it should also include an element of mental challenge to keep your dog occupied.
Boxers are a brachycephalic breed, which means they don’t do particularly well in extreme temperatures; this is important as it can make breathing difficult in very hot or extremely cold weather. Their exercise needs may need to be adjusted.
Dog owners should consider a winter coat for this breed and ensure they don’t have too much strenuous exercise in the summer heat.
Best Types of Exercise For Boxers
Boxers love to play and be with their humans, so the activities below will not only guarantee a happy dog but also makes sure they stay healthy even if you are stuck indoors:
The critical thing to remember is this working breed gets bored easily, so mix things up
These are strong dogs who usually love a good game of tug and the good news is that this is one of the most intense forms of exercise that can help keep your Boxer healthy.
It provides mental exercise as well as physical activity, strengthens the bond between dog and owner, increases impulse control and helps build your pup’s confidence if you let them win.
And, no, it doesn’t make your dog aggressive or dominant in fact, it can help with basic obedience training and curb destructive behaviour.
Boxers are active dogs that can do very well in agility because of their natural eagerness to please, their owners and energetic personality.
However, their goofiness and sometimes stubborn natures can make them more of a challenge to train than, say, a Border Collie.
It can still be great fun though, and provides mental stimulation in spades. Why not set up a few low jumps in the back garden or build your own obstacle course, you probably won’t have a future champion on your hands, but it’s a good way of giving your adult Boxer more exercise and you’ll undoubtedly enjoy some laughs.
Brighten up your day with this video showing Boxers doing agility
Without mental stimulation or enough exercise, Boxers can be a nightmare, especially if left alone for long periods. However, sometimes, long walks and visits to the dog park aren’t feasible, so a flirt pole is a great exercise for their whole body.
A flirt pole has a long handle with a lure or toy at the end, you move it in circles and different directions as your pup chases it. Just make sure your Boxer dog has a good understanding of the “leave” command before you start.
This is also an excellent activity to improve impulse control, something many Boxers struggle with. You can also buy spring poles which can be attached to a tree branch when you’re not around!
Whilst Boxer puppies shouldn’t have too much exercise; an adult Boxer can make a good hiking companion, as long as the weather isn’t too hot or cold. Most dogs can cope on the trail. Just be sure to take plenty of water, keep to the shade where possible and stop for plenty of rest breaks.
A tired Boxer is a well-behaved Boxer, so the occasional trek may help your rambunctious pooch calm down a little.
A Boxer has a thin short coat, so investing in a lightweight waterproof jacket is wise and always keep an eye on your best friend for signs of fatigue or injury.
Hide and Seek
As we’ve already mentioned, a Boxer dog needs more than just physical activity; their brains need to be challenged too; there are lots of puzzle toys available on the market which are ideal for this breed. However, nothing beats a game of hide and seek.
Incorporating this fun game into their daily exercise routine will help with obedience training, build confidence, develop the bond between dog and owner and channel a dog’s natural instinct. Best of all, it’s fun.
Can Boxers Have Too Much Exercise?
I’ve had three Boxers and when you see them playing together, it’s hard to believe, but yes, a Boxer dog can have too much exercise.
Unfortunately, this breed can suffer from a multitude of health problems, especially as they get older, including hip dysplasia, heart problems and of course, Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), which can result in serious breathing difficulties for Boxers which shorter faces.
If you are unsure how much exercise your Boxer should be getting, always consult your Vet, who will be able to advise you and recommend a proper exercise routine.
How Much Exercise Does a Senior Boxer Need?
As your dog gets older, you will need to change up its routine. Unfortunately, Boxers have a relatively short lifespan compared to other dogs 9-12 years and they are considered to be a senior at around 7-8 years. At this point, it’s a good idea to limit running, jumping and high impact activities.
Of course, they will still enjoy a couple of daily walks and mental stimulation is still important but sadly, that puppy energy will begin to wane.
How Much Exercise Does a Boxer Puppy Need?
When you bring your Boxer puppy home, they will be full of beans and you might think they need lots of exercise but that isn’t the case. In puppies under a year old, growth plates are not fully formed and excessive exercise can cause serious damage to their joints.
Puppies under six months
Aim for 5 minutes of exercise per month of age, so 15-30 minutes walking a day under 6 months and include lots of obedience training and fun games to avoid unwanted behaviours such as chewing and excessive barking.
Exercise can be increased once they are about a year old, but high impact activities should be avoided until they are about 18 months of age.
Owning a Boxer dog is a privilege. They are funny, playful, and incredibly loving; they usually get on well with other dogs and make fantastic family pets with the proper training.
They are an active dog breed and can be extremely boisterous, so the right amount of exercise is essential if you want to avoid destructive behaviours.
Mental stimulation is just as important as daily walks for your dog, so puzzle toys, interactive games and training should be incorporated into their daily routine.
Your dog should have between 1-2 hours of activity a day minimum, which should include a couple of on-lead walks; always use a harness with your Boxer rather than a collar as they are prone to breathing issues. You may be interested in our guide on the best harnesses for a Boxer.
Your Boxer will also appreciate some free-play, fun games and mental challenges, so mix it up, set up some obstacles in the back yard, spend a few minutes obedience training each day, even take your dog swimming if they enjoy the water.
Variety is the key with a Boxer and when exercising most dogs. If you get it right, you will be rewarded with a happy, healthy dog that makes each day a joy!