Having two Boxers can be a delight.
But it’s far from a set-and-forget arrangement.
Two Boxers commonly get along very well but there can be issues of dominance and aggression, sometimes severe enough to require separation or rehoming of one dog.
There is a lot to consider when contemplating bringing a second Boxer into your first Boxer’s world.
To evaluate whether you should get a second Boxer dog, consider factors including:
- Age of both dogs
- Gender of both dogs and whether they’re neutered
- Temperament and socialization levels of your existing dog
- Any behavior problems exhibited by your dog
- How much time you have to devote to training and managing pack dynamics
- What you’ll do if there’s a major problem and the dogs are a danger to each other
- How and where the dogs are first introduced (neutral territory and several meet-and-greets are essential if both dogs are adults)
The transition from a single to multiple dog household takes work and planning if it’s to be a success.
It will be a huge change not only for you but most of all for your existing dog, who is used to a certain way of life .. and to having your undivided attention.
There will be a doubling of the time and commitment required of you as the owner.
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Are Boxers Better In Pairs?
Boxers do perfectly well as the only dog in the household.
They have high needs for companionship and connection with their owners.
As long as they’re getting plenty of attention, lots of mental stimulation and adequate exercise, they are more than content to by the sole apple of your eye.
Having said that, Boxers are highly social creatures and love interaction with all creatures great and small.
Two Boxers will get each other like dogs of other breeds never will.
They will have compatible energy levels and play styles.
However, a second Boxer should never be brought home in an effort to solve behavioral problems with an existing Boxer.
In fact, a new dog represents a major disruption to life as your existing Boxer knows it.
Even if it goes well, it will involve a certain level of stress.
The arrival of a new dog can trigger behavioral issues in the first.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can make up for your absence by getting a second Boxer.
If you don’t have time for one Boxer, you most certainly don’t have time for two.
A canine companion for a Boxer with separation anxiety is not a guaranteed fix, because this disorder relates to separation from the owner, not a fear of being alone.
Is Your Existing Boxer Well Behaved And Trained?
Getting a second Boxer because you’re struggling to manage the first is sort of like having a baby in a desperate effort to save the marriage.
There is a phenomenon known as “social facilitation” whereby the presence of one dog influences the behavior of the another.
This can be for good or for ill.
On the plus side, a chilled out dog can sometimes relax a more highly strung dog.
However, when one dog barks it can set off the same behavior in the other.
Fix the problems you have in your first Boxer or see them multiply with the addition of a second dog.
Should You Get A Puppy Or An Adult Boxer?
When considering which Boxers to pair together, age matters just as much as, and perhaps more than, gender.
A Puppy And An Existing Adult Boxer
All things being equal, a puppy will be easier to integrate into the pack.
Your existing Boxer will be less threatened by an eight to ten week old puppy and a pup is more adaptable.
Boxers are typically fantastic with dogs smaller than themselves and that will be the case at least at first.
They’ll have time to get used to each other and to settle in to a healthy dynamic before the puppy is large enough to be perceived as a threat by your first Boxer .. or for there to be any prospect of fighting.
Another plus of getting a puppy is that your adult Boxer will help show the little one the ropes, from potty training to how to behave in the family.
A Rescue And An Existing Adult Boxer
A rescue will be house trained, but may come with emotional and behavioral baggage unknown.
Most importantly, your existing Boxer is more likely to have an issue with the addition of an adult dog.
There is more potential for conflict.
Shelters may allow trial periods to see how the dogs settle in together.
The process will need to be different for bringing home an adult dog.
You will want to organize several meet and greets to introduce the dogs the right way.
Encountering each other first on neutral territory will make your first Boxer less likely to guard territory or be dominant and will set them up for success.
Two Boxer Puppies At The Same Time
It can be done — but it is not a great idea.
Mostly, because of phenomenon known as “littermate syndrome”.
Littermate syndrome develops when pups live together beyond eight to ten weeks old.
According to Canine Behavioral Services Inc, which has an intensive live-in treatment program to correct littermate syndrome, the problem is nearly impossible to prevent.
Littermate syndrome involves:
- One puppy becoming shy and withdrawn, even when both started out confident and outgoing; as a result the shy pup never reaches his full potential
- The puppies developing co-dependency and high anxiety when separated
- Pups failing to bond as well, or at all, with the humans in the household
- Fighting once the siblings reach maturity, often to the point of injury
Even unrelated pups raised together can fall into littermate dynamics.
So, not only should you not get two from the same litter .. you should not get another puppy while your first Boxer is still a pup.
It’s generally best to wait until you first Boxer is 3 years old (but at least one or two) before getting another.
Boxers are a slow maturing breed and don’t reach adulthood until later than other dogs.
The only hope of avoiding littermate syndrome is for the pups to spend more time with you than with each other until they’re grown.
This involves an enormous amount of work as it means feeding them separately, caring for and playing with, walking and training them separately … all of which pretty much negates the benefits you probably had in mind when getting two dogs at once, thinking they’d keep each other occupied and free you up.
Do You Have Time For Two Boxers?
Far from letting you off the hook for playtime, a second Boxer will demand even more of your time in training, food preparation and managing the dynamics between the dogs.
It’s possible the arrival of number two may spark some behavior problems in number one that will need sorting out.
Yes, two Boxers will be great company for each other. But they will still crave YOUR attention.
Having two dogs will require more work on your part, not less.
Helpful Gear You Own Two Boxers
You may like to equip yourself with:
- A double dog leash like the Mighty Paw Dual Lead with Climbers Rope Comfort Handle and Tangle-Free 360° Swivel Hook
- An extra large dog bed like the Casper Plush Memory Foam Sleeper because you know they’ll choose to pile up together even if you get them separate beds
- A baby gate like the Regalo Easy Step for those times when your Boxers need some time apart
- A sturdy yet well-ventilated crate like the MidWest ICrate to help keep your male-female pairs separated when one is in heat
- A car backseat cover like the Active Pets Waterproof Protector because it’s going to be a full dog zone back there
- Toys for two — tugs like the K9 Dog Bite Tug Toy with 2 Strong Handles or the LOOBANI Bungee Interactive Hanging Toy are particularly amenable to joint play time
Be aware that resource guarding can be triggered by toys (as well as food) and this may well happen at some stage when you have two Boxers.
What Will You Do If It Doesn’t Work Out?
In all likelihood, things will be just fine.
But it’s worth giving some thought, however brief, to what you will do if it doesn’t work out.
Will you rehome the incoming dog?
Do you have a family member who could step in if that’s required?
Are you willing, and does your home allow you, to set up a segregated household with gates in between rooms if the dogs just cannot get along safely and need to live permanently separated?
Can You Afford To Double Your Expenses?
It goes without saying but … two dogs eat twice as much.
Boxers need high quality food in the form of a fresh, raw biologically-appropriate diet.
While feeding correctly does spare you vet bills later, it’s not necessarily cheap.
Far better to do right by one Boxer than to have to cut corners on the standard of care you give to two.
Is Your Existing Boxer Going To Cope Well?
Know your dog.
Understand how they respond and interact with other dogs and how other dogs respond to them.
Let this guide your judgment on whether they will enjoy having a full-time, live-in canine companion.
Is your Boxer in good health?
A dog that’s living with degenerative health problems that cause chronic pain may not do well with a young ball of energy thrust in her face.
If your Boxer is sick or recovering from serious illness, now is not the time for the upheaval of a new dog.
Temperament-wise, Boxers age well, but if your Boxer is old, she may not have the energy to cope well with a full of beans puppy.
Even a relatively healthy senior Boxer may be prone to crankiness when faced with the 24/7 exuberance of a pup.
Be cautious of extreme age gaps between the two dogs.
Will Two Male Boxers Fight?
The conventional wisdom is that it’s best to have a male and a female dog, rather than two dogs of the same gender.
There is potential for two male dogs to vie for dominance.
Fights are not inevitable but aggression is a possibility and will need to be effectively prevented or corrected if it happens.
A struggle for dominance can sometimes be amplied if one or both dogs are intact.
However, there are owners who have two unneutered male Boxers together with zero problems.
Much depends on how the dogs are managed.
Every dog requires their human to provide good leadership.
With two dogs, this becomes even more important.
If both dogs accept you as the alpha, or “pack leader” .. relations are likely to be much more harmonious as they both know their status as follower dogs.
However, even if you are the leader and they knw it … one of the two dogs will always be more dominant, the other more submissive.
This only creates a problem when the dogs don’t accept their roles and struggle to both be the dominant one.
As pack leader, there’s a lot you can do to make it clear what behavior you expect of the dogs.
Will Two Female Boxers Get Along?
According to integrative vet Dr Karen Becker, two female dogs thrust together can struggle to establish a stable pack order.
To make matters worse, Dr Becker says females are more likely than males to fight to the death.
But many owners have multiple female Boxers and they happily cohabitate.
How it’s done and the leadership shown by the owner can make all the difference.
Can You Have A Male And Female Boxer Together?
A male and a female is the typical combination recommended when having a pair of dogs.
However, it can pose challenges if your Boxers are intact, rather than neutered.
Leaving your Boxers intact is much healthier for the dogs, but managing dynamics when your girl goes into heat will require vigilance and planning.
Dogs typically only go into heat once or twice a year, so it won’t be all the time.
But, you will need to closely supervise your dogs at all times during the heat cycle, and quite possibly keep them physically separated in different parts of the house and yard.
Even when owners successfully achieve this, there can be issues.
Some males get frantic, stop eating and remain in a state of agitation for the duration.
The First Boxer Must Be Shown Respect
The existing dog should be given deliberate priority in daily life so that it’s clear to both him and the new arrival that he is secure in his position, higher up the pecking order.
If things are left unclear, you are forcing the dogs to work it out themselves, which can lead to conflict.
The main way to signal the dominance of the established dog is by always feeding him first.
Give him first dibs on all things in life — brush him first, put on his leash first, let him jump in the car first.
It’s your job as pack leader to make the roles clear.
This is not being in any way unkind to your new Boxer.
Quite the opposite.
All dogs are more comfortable and can relax when they’re clear on where they fit.
Will A Second Boxer Fix Separation Anxiety In The First?
A second dog will provide company, and if the two get along well this will be soothing to both.
Keep in mind that in the case of true separation anxiety, the trigger can be separation from YOU.
Even though your first Boxer will no longer be alone, he will still be separated from you at times.
So, the separation anxiety may well still happen — especially if other things aren’t done to break the pattern.
A happily bonded pair of Boxers is a beautiful thing .. and a lot of fun to watch play.
As much fun as it can be to have two of these majestic, sweet-natured, hilarious creatures in your life .. think carefully before leaping in.
Honestly appraise your motivations and expectations for wanting to get a second Boxer.
If everything checks out, and you know what you’re in for, enjoy!