Pippa Elliott
Dr Pippa Elliott (BVMS MRCVS, University of Glasgow)
Photo of adult Boxador
olleaugust /

The Boxador is a hybrid dog, which is a mix between the Boxer and Labrador Retriever. These large, lively fellows need a lifestyle that gives them plenty of space and opportunity to run and burn off energy in a harmless way. Not to meet this need risks the Boxador seeking their own amusement in ways we consider antisocial, such as chewing, digging, escaping or barking.

That said, the Boxador has a joy for life and a forgiving, loving personality that makes them ideal canine companions for the right people. They are eager to please and love nothing better than being tin their owner’s company (except perhaps for food). Just be careful to keep a Boxador rested after eating, since their deep chest puts them at risk of developing bloat.

About & History

As a relative newcomer the Boxador does not have a distinct history of their own. Instead, their story is that of the parent breeds.

The Boxer

The Boxer’s ancestors can be traced back to bullenbaiser breeds no longer in existence. These German dogs were a combination of breeding between bulldogs, mastiffs, terriers and the Great Dane.

The Boxer itself was developed in late 19th century Germany. Their original purpose was as a bull baiting dog. But over time gentler characteristics were encouraged and they turned their paw to activities, such as herding cattle and pulling butcher’s carts.

The Labrador Retriever

The much-loved Labrador originated from Newfoundland, where they were an offshoot of breeding Newfoundlands with other smaller water dogs. Everything about the Labrador was adapted for a life splashing in and out of water, and retrieving fish. These working dogs were an invaluable aid to the fisherman and helped with tasks from hauling in nets to fetching escapee fish.


Boxador Large Photo
Chris Buckley /

The Boxador is a large dog with a robust but athletic build. They are well-proportioned with long legs, a deep chest, and slightly tucked up waist. The skull may be broader and heavier than a typical Labradors, whilst their snout may be slightly longer than the average Boxers. They have drop ears, which may vary in size from a small fold to the longer velvety flap typical of the Labrador.

They are short-coated, with colours including black with white highlights, brindle, chocolate, or a combination of colours. The Boxador has a tail, which may be straight or slightly curled, but is always wagging.

Character & Temperament

Both Labradors and Boxers have a reputation for being good-natured, people-pleasing dogs. Thus, the Boxador is often extremely friendly and people orientated, to the point of suffering anxiety related disorders if they are not trained to spend time alone.

Another outstanding trait is their energy levels. The Boxer in particular can be very bouncy, which can make the Boxador something of an over-enthusiastic handful to deal with. This may be a problem in a household with young children or the elderly, both of which they may knock over in their enthusiasm to make friends.


Photo of Boxador puppy

The Boxador loves to please and lives to lap up the adoration of their owner. This, along with a deep-seated love of food, makes them good candidates for reward-based training.

The wise owner burns off their dog’s excess energy with a quick game, lets the dog calm down, before the start of each training session. This avoids the scenario of the dog having so much bounce that they can’t concentrate.

Keep training sessions fun, so that the dog regards them as play rather than work. The best results are achieved by regular, short sessions, such as taking five-minutes out to train, several times per day.


As a relative newcomer on the scene, there is no specific data concerning health problems linked to the Boxador. However, both parent breeds are associated with certain concerns, and it is fair to assume these may also prevail in some of the pups.

Hip & Elbow Dysplasia

The term ‘dysplasia’ refers to abnormal development of the joints, in this case the hips or elbows. This is a complex condition where elements of the disease are down to genetics, whilst other parts are due to other factors such as an inappropriate diet and the wrong type of exercise.

Hip or elbow dysplasia can range from mild to severe. The former may just require rest and occasional pain relief, whilst the latter is so debilitating that replacement joint surgery is the only way to regain pain-free mobility.


The deep chest of both the Labrador and Boxer mean their offspring is right up there with a risk of bloat. This potentially life-threatening condition results from the stomach swinging over on its axis which prevents gas escaping. This distended stomach has serious consequences, which lead to shock, collapse, and death if untreated.

Prevention is the best option, which means never exercising the dog immediately after eating, and feeding a good quality diet that is low in fermentable ingredients, such as soy.

Entropion & Ectropion

These are conditions affecting the eyelids, with entropion referring to in-turned eyelids and ectropion to saggy, baggy eyelids. Both cause discomfort and distress, but in different ways. With entropion the eyelashes rub on the surface of the eye, causing pain. Whilst for ectropion, the saggy eyelid predisposes the cornea to drying out, making it itchy and uncomfortable.

Corrective surgery is often the best option, since with the position of the eyelids corrected, the problems should resolve.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Both parent breeds are active dogs that require bucket loads of mental stimulation. Thus, plenty of exercise is essential for both their physical and mental well-being. Regular twice daily walks are a must, with time spent off lead to run and chase. Most Boxadors will enthusiastically engage in a game of fetch or Frisbee, which is a neat way to tire the dog out without exhausting the owner.

Given the breed’s predisposition to joint disease, it is however crucial that they are not over-exerted as a puppy. Avoid jumping from heights or activities that put the joints under stress. Never play to the point of exhaustion, as this can leave the puppy walking awkwardly, which may chip or damage the immature joint surface.


Typically the Boxador has a short coat, which is low maintenance but can be prone to shedding. Depending on which parent the pup most takes after, the Boxador may have an undercoat, as well as a smooth top coat. This coat type is best given a quick slick over several times a week, as it helps to capture the shed undercoat on the brush rather than the soft furnishings.

Daily tooth brushing is advisable to reduce plaque and tartar formation. In addition, the Boxer can be prone to having a crowded mouth, and so minimising the build-up of tartar between tightly packed teeth can reduce the need for dental attention in later life.

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