Breeding Your Boxer

Common questions received at Kaboom:

Q. I have recently purchased 2 females and am just starting my own kennel so these will be my foundation lines, and am in it for the love of Boxers. How do you allow the breeding to take place? Do we come to you?

Q.  I am writing to you because you are experienced with breeding Boxers. I have a 2 year old female who will be going into heat in a week or two. I am very interested in breeding her but don't know where to start. I am willing to give the pick of the litter to the parents of the male. She is such a wonderful dog with a great temperament, so sweet and loving. I know she will make a wonderful mom and I believe she is ready.


Being "in it" for the love of the breed is wonderful - but not enough. Many many people "love" dogs, and Boxers specifically, but don't have enough knowledge, or dogs of superior quality that will be good representatives of the breed in future generations. It takes many years of research (reading, looking at internet sites with photos and information, talking to and learning from old-time reputable breeders, taking notes when learning from reputable breeders) to learn about the Boxer breed, all of the ins and outs of the pedigree matching, health testing, the breeding itself, stages of and requirements during pregnancy, positive and negative events during whelping, and the puppy-raising process: growth & development, feeding, socializing, selling.

If you don't know where to start, and haven't started researching yet, a week or two is not nearly enough time to find a suitable stud. If you don't already have owners waiting for these pups, you need to start advertising and screening potential buyers. Not all people who "want" Boxers are good owners of Boxers. If just any stud dog or puppy-buyer will do, you are NOT in it for the true genuine love and concern of the future of the breed, as you would otherwise be giving very careful consideration to which stud and bloodline will bring superior quality (health, temperament, bone structure, ancestry) to the puppies you are about to create, who may one day create their own puppies, and so on. And with so many unwanted Boxers in the world, puppy-buyers must be very serious about their purchase. If they are impulsive and won't wait a few months for the right dog, then are they still going to be keeping that dog through all stages of their life? You are about to create the future of the Boxer - for the dogs and the people. Do it wisely.

If you have a desire to be a painter, would you just go and buy a piece of canvas and throw some colours at it? Or just use whatever you could find around the house? No. You would look into the various types of canvas, weigh your options carefully about the quality you want to portray in your work, choose the colours and quality of paint after studying other painters' work and learning what you like and dislike, and choose the quality of the brushes with utmost precision after more research. You would then apply each colour painstakingly to the canvas, stepping back and assessing each new colour and detail as you go. This is also a "true" breeder's world.

Generally, breedings are planned many months, sometimes years, in advance, with careful consideration given to the merits and pitfalls of line-breeding, out-crossing, and in-breeding, as well as the merging of completely different "types" of Boxers (European Boxers are very different than North American, and even different lines within the same country have different looks). And potential buyers are screened using written applications, phone or personal interviews, reference checking, and paid deposits upon acceptance by the breeder to guarantee their commitment.

I'm not talking ONLY show dogs, either. This process should be considered even when breeding "pets" that your friends and neighbours will be buying from you. There are MANY really good quality bloodlines in Canada, many on Vancouver Island, across BC, as well as Alberta, Ontario, and the East Coast. Even if you don't want to travel or ship your girl, you may be able to contact a breeder of dogs you like, and ask if they have sold any good quality specimens to owners in your area that they would consider to be of breeding quality. Lots of show quality dogs end up in pet homes, so just because a dog doesn't have a show title doesn't mean it isn't of good quality. Some people just want to buy the best and can't be bothered with the show scene. But some buyers also buy a puppy when their lives are not able to fit one in. Do your homework on the stud, and the potential puppy buyers - it'll be worth it.

You also need to have all the health testing completed (that you should be doing, and/or the stud owner should be asking for). Plus you as the owner of the female need to make sure the stud is health tested, and is of good quality. This will take a long time to research - internet, talking to breeders, going to shows, etc. Stud owners who are reputable will want to ensure their boy's puppies are of utmost quality, so will not accept just any female for breeding. A stud's career is based on what he can produce. If being bred to low quality females and producing less-than-standard puppies, very few breeders will consider using him in their breeding programs. Studs are only as good as the puppies they have made. A few bad litters means the end to the stud's career, even if he's been a top winning dog in the ring and is from really good bloodlines.

Heart conditions are a HUGE problem in Boxers all around the world, so if you are serious about being a part of the solution and not a part of the problem, PLEASE get your Boxer's heart certified clear before breeding. Not just a vet listening to it - cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is a huge issue (some say it is in 60% of the breed as a whole - meaning we could wipe out the breed entirely within the next few decades if we don't start screening out those who have it). This is not detectable through listening, only by using a holter monitor which tests the electrical activity of the heart. Holters are available for rent from various breeders and vets. See my Health page or do a google-search for Holter Monitor and/or Boxer Heart Conditions. Sub Aortic Stenosis is also a big problem, can cause soft or loud murmurs which are detectable by experienced vets...and further testing is usually done via ultrasound to diagnose it. Both of these heart conditions can (and do) cause sudden death, and are genetically passed on to puppies. I wouldn't wish this on unsuspecting puppy-buyers, and on the precious puppy. Why would you?

I have also heard from some breeders about the high rate and devastating effects of degenerative mylopathy. This is also a huge problem in Boxers all around the world, but I've been lucky so far and not had to deal with this. You DO NOT want to breed to a stud who has this in his background. It's a devastating disease like multiple sclerosis in people.

Boxers are the 5th highest rated breed for Thyroid conditions as well - a simple blood test can rule that out.

Also, doggie STD's are a concern. Brucellosis tests need to be done prior to breeding (blood sample). Having Brucellosis (also called Brucella) can cause infertility, so most people (stud owners particularly) are very careful about requiring this test on dogs being bred to theirs as a stud dog's career ends abruptly once Brucellosis is acquired.

A question I have for you is: where did you get your female from? The breeder (if reputable) should be willing (actually, insisting) to help you locate a suitable stud who will compliment your female's bloodlines, health, and structure, as well as mentor you throughout the entire process.

When it comes time to the actual physical mating, once you have been in contact with stud owners and determined which stud you want to use, and talked about the contract and payment details (cash fee? One or more puppies back to the stud owner?), the rule of thumb is that the FEMALE GOES TO THE MALE. 99% of the time, stud owners will NOT let their boy of out their sight, as in past times, some studs were bred to multiple females without the owner knowing when sent away for stud service. The only exception is if the breeders trust each other or are in co-ownership agreements. Especially when dealing with strangers, as in when shipping dogs for breeding, it is the female who must be the traveller (and the owner trusts the stud owner to use the stud agreed on - not a replacement).

If you have questions on breeding your Boxer, e-mail them to me at and I'll be happy to answer you directly. Names & specific details are not posted to my site, but more commonly asked questions will be added in the future.



About Joanne, KABOOM Boxers

Links to Other Reputable Boxer Breeders

Why be a responsible breeder? - ROSIE'S STORY