You might assume that because of their size and their energy, Boxers are out of the question unless you have a huge yard.
Boxers can do perfectly well in apartments providing they are sufficiently exercised and taken out and about as part of their owner’s daily lifestyle.
Having a dog of any breed in any size home takes dedication. That goes double when you have a dozen neighbors within earshot to complain if things get rowdy.
But, with a bit of thought and planning, you can most definitely live successfully in an apartment with a Boxer.
The key is to ease your dog into a good routine.
1. Boxers Are Quiet Dogs
Boxers are very vocal dogs with an expressive range of groans and growls.
But they rarely bark. Certainly nuisance barking is not common in the breed.
If a Boxer is barking, there’s usually a good reason.
All the same, Boxers are very alert and highly attuned to sound. Your dog will hear every knock and bump from apartments above and below. It’s important to teach your Boxer from the get-go to ignore these noises.
Smoke alarms and buzzing intercoms can be a steep learning curve but your dog will take his cues from you and, if you stay calm and reward when he does the same, soon he’ll be barely batting an eyelid.
Teach a strong “Quiet” command so you can silence barking when it does happen. (It’s generally effective to teach “Quiet” by pairing with its opposite, “Speak”.)
Pro tip: invest in a wifi-connected camera so you can monitor what happens when you go out. You’ll be able to view a live stream through an app on your phone. Most devices even have a speaker function so that you can deliver a well-timed “Ah-uh” to interrupt any misbehaving.
See also: How To Stop A Boxer Dog Barking
2. Boxers Need To Be Close To Their People
Boxers are the opposite of a backyard dog.
They like to be close — real close. Preferably on top of you.
For all their muscled physique and athleticism, Boxers are just oversized lap dogs at heart.
Small space? No problem. Your Boxer is more than happy to share.
The breed can be excitable, especially when young. (And they stay forever young.)
There will be zoomies and your puppy will make a racetrack or obstacle course out of the available space.
Tail injuries from wagging and whacking against coffee tables and walls are a real thing. So, encourage calm behavior at home and be especially careful to manage enthusiasm when guests come over.
Cluttered spaces are not ideal. Minimalism works best when you’re sharing your space with a Boxer.
3. Boxers Are Highly Trainable
If you can teach it, your Boxer can learn it.
This means you can easily train your dog how to live well in an apartment.
Set your Boxer up for success by:
- dog proofing your apartment (make sure all hazards are picked up and put away)
- practicing low key exits and returns (no wild hellos or pained goodbyes, nothing to see here)
- easing your Boxer into the routine of being home alone and prevent separation anxiety by leaving first for just a few minutes and gradually lengthening your absences
- using pee pads during potty training and whenever you might be out longer than expected
4. Boxers Are Short Haired (But…)
With their short hair and soft leathery bellies, Boxers are very clean dogs.
Their coat is low maintenance, requiring next to no grooming. A brush down with a rubber-bristled mitt once or twice a week will keep your Boxer in good shape.
Having said that, Boxers do shed quite a bit. Year round. The amount of hair that comes off a Boxer takes many owners by surprise. White Boxer dog hair is particularly noticeable on dark materials.
Invest in a good cordless vacuum and get used to giving the place a quick once-over every day. A side benefit of daily vacuuming is that you’ll quickly desensitize your dog to the appliance. A Boxer pup might be inclined to nip at a vacuum head the first few times you push it around, but the novelty quickly wears off.
Another advantage to frequent vacuuming is that city apartments also accumulate a lot of dust and grime that blows in the window. As you suck up the shed hair you’re also removing those potential irritants, which is healthier for you and your dog.
Bathe your Boxer only about four times a year to avoid stripping essential oils and causing itchiness and skin problems.
5. Boxers Crave Mental Stimulation
Boxers are a thinking dog’s dog.
They don’t just love to clown around. They like to use their heads too.
This means Boxers take readily to canine enrichment activities which can be a godsend in small spaces. They come in particular handy on cold, rainy days when your outdoor time is curtailed.
Snuffle mats, puzzle toys, “find it” games, nose work and tricks are all good to have in your toolkit for keeping your Boxer occupied indoors.
Tasks that require problem solving — especially if they involve sniffing — will tire your Boxer out much faster than physical exertion alone.
6. Boxers Need Mild Temperatures
Inside in the air conditioning is where a Boxer belongs.
As a brachycephalic (short nose) breed, Boxers are prone to heat stress. They don’t cope with extremes of temperature, hot or cold.
Far better for a Boxer to be right where you are, than left outdoors. Happily, when you live in an apartment, this is the only option.
7. Boxers Can Be Delicate Flowers
There is more than extreme heat and cold that can harm a Boxer outside.
Boxers that spend a lot of time outside don’t always fare so well.
Sunburn can be a problem with white and flashy Boxers.
If social media feeds are anything to go by, suburban Boxers end up stung by bees with alarming frequency. The swelling that results is no joke. It can lead to airway obstruction and anaphylactic shock.
An apartment Boxer is spared these dangers.
However, be aware of other hazards posed by the indoor environment. Everything from off gasses from painted walls to cleaning products and deodorizers, hair sprays and scented candles can expose your Boxer to toxins.
Go for natural products in the home (citrus and vinegar for cleaning, for instance) and only use them in well ventilated spaces.
To minimize chemicals in the home you can steam clean your floors rather than mopping with store-bought products. Consider an air purifier to filter volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other contaminants out of your air.
8. Boxers Are Very Inquisitive And Benefit From Supervision
Boxers are exceedingly curious and they are very scent-driven.
Which can get them into trouble when left outdoors unattended. Boxers are known escape artists and can scale extremely high fences.
Apartment living puts your dog in a very controlled environment and takes many of these problems entirely out of the equation. (Make sure you secure your windows when you go out though.)
Even better, living in close quarters allows you to supervise your dog’s every move, which is very helpful when training a puppy. You can catch your dog in the act and reward good choices while nipping undesirable behaviors in the bud.
9. Boxers Play Well With Other Pets Like Cats
Boxers are big softies.
They get along beautifully with cats, birds, goldfish and any other creature that shares their home environment.
Just make sure you introduce your Boxer to other pets gradually and ensure supervision until your dog can be 100 per cent trusted.
It’s a matter of familiarity. As soon as your Boxer gets used to it, and learns what’s expected, you’ll find him a gentle companion for your moggie. Truth be told, kitty will undoubtedly have the upper hand.
10. Boxers Love To Observe
Boxers love to keep abreast of what’s going on and be involved in everything you do.
Living in a small space means your Boxer will probably be able to see what you’re doing without moving from his bed. What’s more, he might have a vantage point from which to view the neighborhood.
Don’t be surprised if he takes up a regular position in the window, surveying his kingdom below.
11. Boxers Relish Adventures
Apartment living means, by necessity, your dog’s exercise will always involve outings.
This suits a Boxer pretty well as they thrive on exploring new locations, sniffing new smells. Parks, beaches, car rides.. they delight in it all.
12. Boxers Are Super Friendly
Boxers are gregarious characters who will make it hard for you to avoid your neighbors.
They are magnets for passers by and attract clutches of ooh and aahing strangers.
Too bad if you’re not wanting to be sociable. Suffice to say people will always be glad to pass you in the hallways and elevators.
Boxers can pave the way for good relations within your building.
More Tips For Apartment Living With A Boxer
Slippery floors like tiles or floorboards can be rough on a dog’s joints. Use mats and save running for outside as much as possible.
Too much lying on hard surfaces can also cause large fluid-filled sacs called hygromas to form on the elbows. Avoid this by providing a good orthopedic dog bed for your pup.
When dog proofing your apartment, be sure to get a self-closing bin to make sure your Boxer never has the chance to get into the habit of raiding the trash. Items like fatty offcuts and corn cobs can wreak havoc on a dog’s gut, even causing intestinal blockage in the case of corn.
Close the bathroom door or the toilet lid and cupboards where medication is stored.
And, remember: just because you live inside it doesn’t mean you can’t feed raw meaty bones. A waterproof bed cover will do the trick.
Rest assured you don’t have to get a miniature poodle just because you live in an apartment.
You can still have the dog of your dreams.
Your Boxer will fit in well with your apartment life, as long as you don’t skimp on training, he’s not left alone for interminable stretches and you ensure he gets plenty of mental and physical stimulation.
Boxers need to run and leap and play in open spaces. But they also appreciate creature comforts and will happily while away the afternoon reclined on your sofa, given half a chance.