Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
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Who wouldn’t want a curly-haired Boxer? The Boxerdoodle combines the obedient and intelligent personality of the Poodle with the handsome facial features and playful nature of the Boxer. As the Boxerdoodle can comprise of any of the three Poodle variants (Toy, Miniature or Standard), this hybrid breed exists in a variety of sizes.

Boxerdoodles generally make fantastic family pets, though can be quite mischievous and headstrong and tend to do better with older children. Both parent breeds were originally kept as working dogs so it should come as no surprise that the Boxerdoodle loves to keep active and has significant exercise requirements.

About & History

The Boxerdoodle is one of a growing number of ‘designer dogs’ that has emerged over the last few decades. Designer dogs are created when two pedigrees are bred together in an effort to create a ‘better’ dog that experiences less health issues and has additional features to offer an owner, such as a hypoallergenic coat or a more relaxed demeanour than one of the parent breeds. As both the Boxer and the Poodle are extremely popular purebreds, it is difficult to determine with any certainty when and where the first ever Boxerdoodle was bred, however, we do not know a bit about the parent breeds.

The Boxer

Boxers are a German breed that were established by breeding the now extinct Bullenbeisser with the Bulldog during the 19th century. A multi-purpose dog, Boxers were used as guard dogs, police dogs and even as messengers during the First World War.

It was after the First World War that they were first exported to America where they are currently admired there for their loyalty and easy-going personality that make them a suitable companion animal.

The Poodle

Poodles are also German dogs and many experts believe that their name derives from the German word for puddle, which is pfütze. They were bred from a range of local breeds that would have included both sheepdogs and hunting dogs. One of the most attractive features of the first Poodles was their love of water, ensuring they were confident to hunt both in and out of water and had the ability to competently pursue waterfowl, such as duck.

For many, the most recognisable feature of the Poodle is their curled coat that can be clipped into the classic ‘poodle cut’, popularised in France several hundred years ago. Those who pay close attention to the canine world will have realised that Poodles contribute their genetics to a huge number of the current available hybrid dogs and this is likely due to their versatile appearance (they come in three distinctive sizes), low-shedding coat and laid-back, confident characters.


Boxerdoodles have a rather unusual appearance and while their body and head are most reminiscent of the Boxer, their fur is typically inherited from their Poodle parent, guaranteeing that sweet teddy bear look. Though the Boxerdoodle can be bred from either the Toy, Miniature or Standard Poodle, it is usually the Standard Poodle that is used meaning they are a relatively tall dog. They are quite well-muscled with long, straight limbs and a lean silhouette. Their skull is in proportion to their body and they have medium-sized pendulous ears that hang close to their face. Their circular eyes are well spaced apart and dark brown in colour. They have a prominent stop and a good-sized muzzle that is dominated by a large, black nose.

An adult Boxerdoodle can be a number of sizes depending on which Poodle variant was used in their breeding. They can measure anything from 40cm to 58cm and will weigh somewhere between 15kg to 32kg. Many find that the fur of the Boxerdoodle is their most attractive feature, setting them apart from other hybrids. They have a luxuriously wavy or curly coat that is often longer on their face and ears. They can be several colours, including white, brown, red, fawn and black. Though solid coat colours are possible many will have white patches of fur on their chest, face and paws.

Character & Temperament

Gregarious and extroverted, the Boxerdoodle thrives when surrounded by people and is particularly fond of its family. Most individuals are kind and patient with children, tolerating them better than other breeds. They have a playful, clownish streak that is generally most apparent when spending time with the kids. Larger Boxerdoodles are best-suited to homes with older children as they can be boisterous, especially when young.

Rarely shy and typically confident in most situations, the Boxerdoodle is a self-assured breed. As they can be protective of both their family and their home, they do make good watchdogs / guard dogs and will bark loudly to make sure their owners are aware of any new arrival.

Undeniably intelligent, the Boxerdoodle does require plenty of mental stimulation to keep them content and prevent boredom. Those whose mental needs are neglected can be prone to developing undesirable behaviours, such as back yard digging or furniture chewing. As these behaviours can be tricky to address once established, they are best avoided by ensuring there is always something interesting for the Boxerdoodle to do.


While smart and inquisitive, some individuals do possess a stubborn streak and Boxerdoodles tend to be harder to train than their Poodle parents. They can be biddable but like things on their own terms, so owners should use plenty of praise during their training sessions to keep them engaged.

Training from a young age is essential as Boxerdoodles have got a reputation for being cheeky and testing their boundaries if firm rules are not established from the get-go. While it can be tempting to spoil a puppy and indulge any mischievous behaviour, implementing a training routine from day one will certainly pay off in the long run.


Cross-breeding is a well-known way to reduce the disease incidence within a pedigree population but it does not always guarantee the health of the progeny. Responsible breeding is advised and should consist of performing the relevant health tests on every breeding parent before they are mated.

Hip Dysplasia

While hip dysplasia is a prevalent orthopaedic disorder in many breeds, it is easily screened for with X-rays so it should be possible to gradually reduce the prevalence as long as breeders carry out screening tests and do not breed from those that are affected.

Hip dysplasia causes lifelong pain and mobility issues that worsen with time. Surgical interventions are available though most are managed with medication and lifestyle altercations.

Aortic Stenosis

An inherited disorder of the heart, aortic stenosis results in a narrow aortic valve, restricting blood flow and forcing the left ventricle to work harder than it should. Over time, this extra strain can lead to heart failure. Initially, dogs will have a heart murmur that can be picked up on clinical exam. As their disease progresses, they can develop symptoms including lethargy and fainting.


An underactive thyroid causes a number of symptoms in those affected including a slow heartbeat, sluggishness and heat-seeking behaviour. Blood tests will reveal a low level of thyroid hormone and dogs may also have high cholesterol levels.

Luckily, this endocrine condition is easily treated with daily medication. Medicated dogs should go to the vet for frequent check-ups to ensure their thyroid levels remain within normal limits and their dose does not need adjusting.

Exercise and Activity Levels

An active breed that likes to be part of the action, most Boxerdoodles will enjoy going on long hikes and swimming. They should be exercised for at least an hour each day and would ideally be brought to different places where they can sniff and explore to their heart’s content. If possible, they should be let off the lead and allowed to explore independently.

Exercise that also involves the brain is the best type for this breed so agility classes, scenting games and obedience training are all good options. Most will tire themselves out even quicker when using their mind!


The curly coat of the Boxerdoodle requires brushing every couple of days to prevent it from becoming tangled, particularly on the abdomen and under the armpits and groin. They should be bathed every couple of months and many owners will choose to have their coat trimmed at the same time.

Most are not heavy shedders though they do tend to lose a small amount of fur seasonally. Claws should be trimmed regularly, particularly in older individuals who tend to have thick claws that grow quickly.

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