Here at Boxer Welfare Scotland we realise that a rescue boxer is not suitable for everyone. We would love for all of you to consider adopting one of our dogs but if it’s really not suitable for you or your circumstance we are more than happy to give advice about how to find a happy health puppy.
Things to consider before getting a puppy…
Can I afford a dog?
Being a responsible dog owner can be a costly business. Beyond the cost of buying a puppy you need to factor in routine vet care (vaccinations, worming, flee & tick treatment), pet insurance, cost of food, cost of neutering & microchipping, the damage to your house that a puppy may cause, the cost of kennels for your dog when on holiday, etc. It’s really not that cheap! You will have this cost for up to 14 years, with increasing vet costs and insurance premiums as the dog gets older.
Do I have the time?
This is a very important consideration when getting a puppy. We realise that people need to work to make a living but you need to think hard about how it will affect a dog being left at home for long periods of time alone. Most rescues have a rule where they won’t rehome to a home where the dog will be left for more than four hours a day. This is a very good rule to bear in mind when thinking about a puppy. If the dog is going to be left from 8am to 5pm for five days a week, is this really fair on them? Boxers are very social animals that love human company. Trust us, if you leave a boxer alone all day when you are out at work you will soon come home to a very stressed out dog and a destroyed house. It’s just not fair. Boxers will also need at least two x one hour walks a day as adults. Do you have the time for this? Again, this is a commitment that you are taking up which could last up to 14 years.
How well do I know the breed?
As much as we adore boxers here at BWS we know they can be a right handful. Think beyond the cute tiny pup to the large powerful dog bursting with energy that they will become. Puppies don’t stay puppies for long; within months they will be getting big. A boxer can weigh anywhere between 24kg and 40kg. That’s a big strong dog! Boxers are full of energy and they love nothing better than being out on a long walk. If you don’t give a boxer the exercise it needs, they can be a right pain to live with. Boxers are very sociable dogs and love being part of family life. They will follow you from room to room just to see where you are. Lay down on the sofa to watch TV and they will creep up to lay on top of you, whether you want them to or not! A boisterous boxer is not for everyone so please do your research before getting a boxer pup and if possible offer to look after a friend or family member’s boxer for the weekend to see what life is like with a boxer in the house.
How will my family circumstances change over the course of a dog’s life?
You really should consider how your life will change over the course of a dog’s life. Are you planning on having children further down the line and do you think you can cope with both the pressure of looking after a new born and a dog? Are your work commitments likely to change? Here are Boxer Welfare Scotland we find the vast majority of dogs we get in are due to a change in family circumstances; mainly family members having to work longer hours or a new baby in the family. So please think about this and how this will affect your ability to care for a dog.
Is a rescue dog a real alternative?
Why not give some consideration to rescuing a boxer? Most dogs we get in are due to family circumstances changing, not because they are ‘bad” dogs’. The boxers that come into our care are of all ages and, to be honest, a boxer never really grows up; they are always puppies at heart. You get the added bounce of helping out a dog in need and with a Boxer Welfare Scotland dog you will get lifelong support.
Where to get your puppy?
This is where things get tricky. There are a lot of unscrupulous people out there breeding dogs purely for money; these people vastly out number responsible breeders. As a rescue we won’t recommend individual breeders. Never buy a puppy from a shop or a puppy farm (which will usually be selling a variety of different breeds of dog). Be wary of people advertising on the internet or in newspapers who are breeding their family ‘pets’. You will often find with these people that they haven’t done the vet checks for hereditary conditions and will also lack the proper knowledge for breeding a dog. If you buy from any of these places you run the risk of a dog that could suffer from any of the numerous conditions that are becoming more and more common in boxers such as heart problems, hip problems, allergies, epilepsy, etc. You also run the risk of behavioural problems being passed from unstable parents or that can arise from poor early socialisation.
So what does that leave you with?
Reputable breeders. There are breeders out there who care deeply for the breed and who breed their dogs in a responsible manner. To find them however will take some work on your behalf. One way could be to ask your vet. Another is to use a scheme such as the Kennel Club Accredited Breeder. Please do not take these breeders at face value; you need to be just as carefully with them as any other breeder. You will also find breed clubs throughout the UK with information on breeders.
When going to a breeder for a puppy here are some good points to bear in mind:
- Make sure you see the puppy interacting with the rest of the litter and its mother. A puppy is not ready to leave its mother before it is eight weeks old.
- Make sure you see the puppy with the rest of the litter. The breeder should allow you to handle the puppies. Visit the breeder at least twice before making the final collection. The breeder should allow you to handle the puppies each time you visit.
- Check that the puppies have regular access to human contact – it is better that the puppies are being raised in a home environment, rather than a kennel, so that they become familiar with everyday sights, smells and sounds.
- Check whether the facilities appear clean and the puppy seems alert and healthy.
- There should be no discharge from its eyes or nose or any sores, bald patches or scabs on the skin. The puppy should be alert and show no obvious signs of illness such as coughing.
- Find out whether the puppy has been wormed and vaccinated – some breeders will vaccinate puppies at eight weeks of age before releasing them to their new owners.
- If possible, request a written agreement that the purchase is subject to a satisfactory examination by your vet within 48 hours of purchase. Ask if the puppy will be covered by insurance for any illness during the first few weeks in your care – most good breeders subscribe to this scheme.
- Check that the puppy’s parents have been tested for hereditary diseases. If no certificates are available, go to another breeder. If you need help understanding the results, ask your vet.
- Ensure all the relevant paperwork is available for inspection when you visit the puppy. This should include a vaccination certificate, a health check report from a vet and a Pedigree or Kennel Club certificate. Remember, a Pedigree or Kennel Club certificate does not guarantee a perfect puppy – it’s up to you to carry out the appropriate checks above. If your puppy appears unwell on collection, do not take it. Arrange with the breeder to return another day. If you have any doubts, choose another breeder.
Please stick to the above points, any breeder worth talking to will be happy to help you follow the above guidelines. The breeder should also be interested in your boxer experience, your working hours etc. they will want to know that their dogs are going to a good home. If the conversation is simply about how much money they want walk away.
Some words of warning:
Just because a breeder is on the Kennel Club Accredited Breeder Scheme, a member of the regional boxer club or has done well at dog shows does not mean that they are a reputable breeder. Trust us, we have come across many dogs from the biggest show kennels in the country that are racked with health problems. Vet these breeders as carefully as you would any other breeder. Please do not settle for the first puppy you see. We know it’s so hard not to fall in love straight away but you really should follow the above advice and walk away if something doesn’t seem right, no matter how cute the puppy is.
A final word:
Ok all the not so nice things out the way…
We really hope that you make the right choices when choosing a puppy and end up with a happy healthy boxer. We would love it if you and your new addition would become part of the Boxer Welfare Scotland family, whether that is through joining our Facebook group, by coming along to events to introduce yourself, becoming a volunteer or rescuing one of our dogs in the future. First and foremost, we are boxer lovers; we don’t care if you have rescued or if you have bought a puppy. If you have a passion for boxers we would love you to be part of our world.