Typically a white Boxer is pure white at birth, aside from any patches.
It is normal for a Boxer to develop spots as it grows. The markings are caused by the pigment melanin, which makes freckles and birthmarks in humans. In Boxers, the color can be on just the skin, or on the coat as well.
Existing spots can become more prominent with age.
This is similar to the way in which Dalmatians, the ultimate in white spotty dogs, are born with solid white coats and only develop their distinctive markings in the first weeks of life.
Spots are most common on a Boxer’s belly, chest and muzzle, but they can also have spots:
- on the gums
- roof of the mouth
- like mascara on the eye rims
- as inkblots on the bottom of paw pads
Some owners even report finding spots on their dogs’ tongues.
Flashy fawn Boxers (flashy means a Boxer with white markings) will also often have spots on the skin beneath their white markings, and on their bellies.
Heart Shaped Markings On A Boxer?
Speckling, or Boxer dog freckles, can seem to appear almost overnight on a white Boxer. Some owners report being caught so off-guard they tried to wipe off the marks at first, thinking they were smudges of dirt.
Leopard. Spots. We all know the saying. But any Boxer owner can vouch for the fact that a dog most certainly can change.
Spots and splotches are so common on white Boxers that there is a fun belief often bandied about in Boxer owner circles that all Boxers have a heart-shaped marking somewhere on their body.
Sun And Spots On A White Boxer
Spots on a dog’s skin can darken with sun exposure, in much the same way that UV rays affect human skin.
Mostly this is a normal part of ageing, and harmless.
However white Boxer dogs can be more prone to sunburn, just like fair-skinned people.
Parts of the body where hair is sparse can be particularly sensitive. This usually means the nose, the belly and the nether regions of intact males. It’s a good idea to manage your dog’s exposure to hot midday sun.
The American Boxer Club recommends keeping some white pups out of the sun entirely and says white Boxers can suffer from a condition similar to “Collie nose”.
Monitor your dog’s skin so you know what’s normal. Pay particular attention to any change in skin texture.
Spots Are Proof Your White Boxer Is Not Albino
People sometimes mistakenly think white Boxers are albino. White Boxers turn heads because they are less common than fawn and brindle Boxers. But they are not albino.
Albinism involves a total absence of pigment.
Boxers, on the other hand, have plenty of pigment. On their noses. In their eyes. Spots on their skin and fur are just the most obvious color. Many white Boxers will have brindle or fawn patches over their eyes, ears, trunk or base of the tail.
Albinos, of any breed, will have pink eyes. The other thing about albinism is that it’s very rare. White Boxers — though special — are not actually all that unusual.
According to The American Boxer Club, about a quarter of all Boxers born to parents with white markings will be white.
This is just one of several facebook communities for white Boxer owners. It has upwards of 10 000 members.
When A White Boxer Is Not (Technically) A White Boxer
According to the breed standard, a Boxer is defined as white if less than a third of the body is colored.
If your Boxer has so many spots that they cover half of the body, the dog is technically considered “check” or “piebald”.
When A Skin Spot Is Something To Worry About On A Boxer
If you notice a new spot on your dog that looks different to the other markings, take a closer look.
Generally, as long as spots are flat and not raised above the surrounding tissue, and are not causing your dog any discomfort, they are fine.
However, there are a range of conditions that can cause pigment changes in a dog’s skin.
These disorders include but are not limited to:
• black crust skin disease or alopecia X (not to be confused with other kinds of alopecia (baldness) which can be associated with hypothyroidism
• yeast infection in moist spots like groin
• melanoma (rare in dogs)
• demodectic mange
• cancerous changes
• Cushing’s disease
• hyperpigmentation – darkening or thickening of skin that may be velvety or rough and usually affects legs and groin
Among its many and often serious side effects, the drug prednisone can cause light skin to darken and also the reverse phenomenon: a lightening of dark skin.
(When my own white Boxer was on prolonged, high-dose steroids his black spots began to flake off.)
Concluding Thoughts On White Boxers With Spots
Many owners of white Boxers will have fielded the half-joking, half-serious questions from passers-by, intrigued by their dog’s unique appearance.
“Is that a Boxer or a Dalmatian?”
Polka dots. Beauty marks. Dalmatian suits. Whatever you like to call them, spots are just another quirk adding to the appeal of the white Boxer.