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We all love our pets, and our pets love us. But the love between a dog and his human just isn’t the same as the relationship between two dogs.
It might be very beneficial to get your boxer a companion dog in order to make sure all of their social and emotional needs are being met.
So what kind of dog breed should you be looking at as a companion dog for your boxer?
The best companion dogs for boxers are breeds that can match their high intelligence and high energy play style. More obedient dogs are a good choice since they can help offset a boxer’s natural stubbornness. Retrieving breeds are usually a great fit but so are German Shepherds, Border Collies and Springer Spaniels.
With patience, training, and lots of socialization just about any breed can pair well with a boxer so if you don’t see your favorite dog on this list don’t worry. That doesn’t mean they can’t make a good companion for your boxer but it does mean that it could take some extra work to make the match successful.
What Are We Looking For In A Companion Dog For Boxers?
Before we review our favorite breeds, let’s take a closer look at the criteria that went into it. Not only will this list help us understand boxers better but it will also help us narrow down the breeds that will match our boxer or at least compliment them in some way.
Size and Strength
Boxers aren’t huge but with a typical weight of around 60 pounds, they aren’t small either. Boxers also love to play, and like most dogs, can sometimes get a little rough. That means dogs of a similar size and strength pair best. While your boxer could make friends with a chihuahua or smaller breeds, little dogs can quickly get overwhelmed by an overbearing boxer.
Boxers have a well-deserved reputation for being stubborn and while this won’t apply to every individual boxer many are famous for their selective hearing. This can usually be easy enough to manage with one dog, but adding in a second stubborn pup might make things harder than they need to be.
Instead, obedient dogs that are more likely to follow commands the first time can pair well since they’ll add a little more pressure on your boxer to follow your requests.
That means it’s probably best to avoid northern breeds like Huskies and Malamutes. Northern breeds like these are big enough and smart enough to keep up with boxers but they’re also more than willing to ignore you and do their own thing from time to time.
Energetic And Intellegent
With a long history as a hunting breed and all-purpose working dogs, boxers are highly intelligent and have tons of energy. But they don’t just need physical stimulation, boxers also need plenty of mental stimulation too.
That means the best companion dogs are intelligent enough to keep up with boxers both mentally and physically. However, the most important part of the equation is the physical aspect and that means no couch potatoes here!
While a breed like a bulldog may have the sturdiness for rough play, these little bowling ball-shaped pups just can’t keep up with the energy level of a boxer.
That’s also why high-energy breeds like retrievers, herding breeds, and many working dogs are a great match for a boxer.
Knows How To Share The Spotlight
This is one of the factors that will vary the most based on the individual dog and not just the breed but the outgoing boxer will be eager to keep the spotlight all to themselves. While this love of human attention is part of what makes boxers loyal, loving, and protective dogs it can also cause problems when it’s time to share.
Make sure you have a good understanding of how your boxer handles sharing the spotlight, whether that’s with other people or other pets, and find a companion that compliments your boxer’s style.
Similar Weather Tolerance
We already mentioned that we don’t want to match a couch potato with our high-energy boxer but similarly we may have problems matching an artic breed or a highly heat adverse pup with our boxer.
As brachycephalic dogs, boxers have a shorter face that can make it harder for them to swim or endure hot weather for long periods of time. They also have a short single coat that doesn’t make them great in cold weather.
While neither of these are big problems on their own, if you’ve got a big husky who wants nothing more than to romp in the snow then you could end up with split exercise regiments. The same thing could happen if you try to combine a more docile breed like a basset hound with your energic boxer.
This isn’t anything that can’t be managed but it’s still worth considering just to make your life a little easier.
What Are The Best Companion Dogs For A Boxer?
Now that we know what we’re looking for, let’s take a closer look at our favorite companion breeds for a boxer!
1. Labrador Retrievers
Labradors get along well with just about any other dog breed, and boxers are no exception! They have the same playful nature as a boxer, and they have similar energy needs. Although labs may be a little larger than boxers, most boxers won’t have a problem keeping up so despite the size difference they should be evening matched during playtime.
Canine psychologist Stanley Coren also ranks Labrador Retrievers as the 7th most intelligent breed and notes that they will typically follow the first command 95% of the time or more. That means labs can be a great way to balance out a boxer’s natural stubbornness and many boxers will find it hard to resist both your requests and the peer pressure from their canine companion.
Labradors Retrievers are also the quintessential goofy dog and a perfect match for a boxer’s silly personality.
2. Golden Retrievers
Golden Retrievers rank fourth on the list of America’s favorite dog breeds, and that’s for good reason. Golden retrievers share the boxer’s affectionate and people-focused nature are also extremely intelligent and obedient.
According to canine psychologist Stanley Coren, these dogs rank number 4 out of more than 100 other breeds in terms of obedience and intelligence so like the lab they’re a great way to balance a boxer’s natural stubbornness.
Not only are Goldens a good match mentally, but they’re also a good match physically with plenty of energy and a sturdy build that can keep up with an active boxer.
3. Australian Shepherds
While they’re usually a little smaller than boxers, Australian Shepherds are hiding a good amount of muscle under that fluff and usually weigh within 10 to 15 pounds of a boxer which makes them a good match from a physical perspective. With a long history of herding, Australian Shepherds have a seemingly endless amount of energy that’s more than enough to keep with an active boxer.
In terms of affection, Austrian Shepherds are in the middle of the road which can work well to balance out a lovey-dovey and affectionate boxer.
Like many other herding breeds, Australian Shepherds are well known for their intelligence but they can be a little more stubborn and mischievous than some of their other herding cousins. Make sure both dogs are well trained in order to set these pups up for success!
4. Border Collies
Borders Collies are typically considered the smartest dog breed on the planet which means they’re more than a mental match for your boxer. They’re also some of the hardest working dogs on the planet and always ready for the next job which is again a good match for a high-energy boxer.
The only downside here is that Border Collies can be a little on the small side weighing in at an average of around 40 pounds compared to a boxer’s roughly 60 pounds. That doesn’t mean Border Collies are too small to play with a boxer but you should pay closer attention during play sessions.
5. German Shepherds
When it comes to size, German Shepherds are almost the perfect match for a boxer. Both dogs have a similar weight and similar height although a German Shepherd’s thick coat often makes them look a bit heavier than they are.
As with the other dogs on this list so far, German Shepherds are highly intelligent. They’re also quick to follow commands which is one of the many reasons you see them so frequently used in protection work. Again, a high level of trainability and obedience will go a long way in balancing out your Boxer’s natural stubbornness.
The biggest concern in this match is whether or not these dogs can share the spotlight of their favorite human. According to the AKC, German Shepherds are almost off the charts when it comes to affection or as they say “being lovey-dovey”.
German Shepherds may be even more affectionate than boxers which means you’ll need to make sure you balance your attention out evenly and avoid dogs feeling like they have to compete with each other for their time in the spotlight.
6. Springer Spaniel
Spring spaniels have more than enough energy to keep up with an active boxer companion and with a long history as gun dogs, they’re well known for following commands. That makes them a great yin to a boxer’s stubborn yang.
As with the German Shepherd, Springer Spaniels have a reputation as lovey-dovey dogs which means you’ll need to be prepared to give out plenty of attention to your needy pups!
Springers are a little smaller than boxers with a weight of around 50 pounds but that’s unlikely to be enough of a difference to cause problems even during rough play.
7. Boston Terrier
Maybe you want a smaller dog to go along with your big boxer?
While a big dog/little dog combination is usually best avoided, a Boston Terrier can still be a great match for a boxer. These little pups may only weigh around half as much as a boxer, but they’re still stocky enough to handle playtime with an enthusiastic boxer. Unlike some small dogs, Boston Terriers don’t have especially small limbs that can easily break.
These little dogs aren’t couch potatoes either and will be more than happy to run around with your boxer. Since both breeds are brachycephalic, they’ll also be equally matched when it comes to heat tolerance and exercise. That can make exercise time a little easier to manage!
Besides the size difference, the only other concern comes in the brains department. Both Bostons and boxers can be a little stubborn and may seem a little slow compared to brainiacs like Border Collies. While that’s not a deal-breaker, it will increase the importance of proper training!
Beagles make some of the best companions for just about any breed of dog. Sadly, the docile and friendly nature of beagles has made them a popular choice for underground research labs. Organizations like the Beagle Freedom Project help rescue these types of beagles and could be a good place to start if you’re looking to bring a beagle into your home.
Beagles may be a little on the smaller side compared to boxers weighing in at only around 25 pounds but they’re stocky and sturdy enough to keep up. As I’ve already mentioned, beagles are legendary for their friendliness to people and other pets which means they’re likely to fit right in.
The only downside here is that these pups aren’t always the brightest bulb in the pack and again training will be critical to make sure you don’t end up with two stubborn dogs.
If you aren’t convinced about this match already, just check out this beagle and boxer combo having the time of their lives:
9. German Shorthair Pointers
Pointers of either variety make another great match for boxers but the German Shorthair Pointer is probably a better fit. These dogs are comparable in weight and energy levels but score much higher in terms of intelligence and obedience. They may not be as reliable as a border collie, but according to canine psychologist Stanley Coren, the German Shorthair Pointer will follow commands roughly 85% of the time.
That’s a big difference from the boxer’s 50% rating and can go a long way to maintaining order at home.
The only downside is that pointers can most certainly outrun and outlast boxers so when it comes to exercise so you’ll need to make sure your pointer gets the activity they need even when your boxer is tuckered out.
Weimaraners are another great match for boxers thanks to their size, intelligence, and energy levels. Even better, according to the AKC Weimaraners can’t get enough playtime which is perfect for a goofy and outgoing boxer.
Similar to pointers, you’ll need to take extra precautions to make sure your Weimaraner gets all the exercise they need since they’re likely to have more left in the tank long after your boxer has called it quits.
Because they’re a bit rarer, I had to put these dogs lower on the list but if you’re able to buy or adopt a dalmatian they could make a great companion pup to a boxer.
Dalmatians have a bit of a larger size range than boxers but you should expect them to be pretty close to the same weight. According to the AKC, these dogs have a similar energy level and playfulness to boxers as well. On top of that, canine psychologist Stanley Coren ranks these dogs as above average in intelligence with a 70% likelihood of following commands the first time.
That means dalmatians check pretty much all the boxes we’re looking for when it comes to finding the perfect companion…the hard part is finding one!
Other Companion Dogs
Please keep in mind that these are just a few options for companion dogs for boxers!
With the proper socialization and training, boxers have the potential to get along with just about any other breed. However, any of these 11 breeds will give you a head start to finding the perfect match!
Differences Between Male And Female Boxers
Even though most characteristics are widely shared among boxers, you’ll see a few differences between male and female boxers. Although the differences are subtle, you’ll want to pay attention to them before you get your boxer a companion dog.
Females typically are smaller in stature; they are shorter and weigh less than the average male boxer. Females are very loving and affectionate, and they usually are easier to train than males because the “eager to please” characteristic really shines in females.
Males also are usually a little more dominant or aggressive than females. Although male boxers might be more likely to guard and protect because of their dominant natures, they’re also more confident and more likely to engage in play with new dogs.
Keep all of these factors in mind when you’re choosing a companion dog. We recommend getting an opposite gender than your boxer. That way you’ll be less likely to see the dogs competing for your attention or playing too roughly with each other.
What About Just Getting Another Boxer?
This is absolutely an option and a great way to increase your chances of finding a matching personality. Assuming it’s a good gender match, most breed pairs can do well since they will of course have a good deal of similarities.
Having two boxers can mean that everything good about your current pup will be magnified, but it also means that everything that’s not so good will be too.
For most owners, that’s the boxer’s stubbornness and that’s why the majority of the dogs on our list are high intelligence and high obedience, especially compared to the boxer.
So it’s really up to you- do you want to double down on everything boxer or try to find a complimentary breed?
How Can I Help My Boxer Get Along With Other Dogs?
So now you’re ready to get a second dog! Let’s talk about how to prepare your boxer for their new buddy.
Socialize, Socialize, Socialize
The number one key to a successful doggo relationship is to make sure both dogs are well-socialized. When it comes to socialization, the earlier the better.
Teach your boxer how to respond well to new dogs, people, and situations. They need to know what your expectations are when they’re confronted with something unfamiliar (such as a new dog in the house!)
Make Sure Your Boxer Is Well-Trained
On top of making sure your boxer is well-socialized, make sure you have them trained in all the basic commands, such as sit, stay, come, and heel. Your boxer should be able to follow your commands quickly the first time you give them, even in new situations.
Don’t let your boxer’s stubbornness get in the way while you’re training them. They’re smart, and they most likely know what you’re asking, even if they don’t act like it. Use lots of positive reinforcement, and make sure they know you’re in charge.
These basic commands are a must before you introduce your dog to a new friend.
Introduce The Dogs On Neutral Territory
After both dogs are well-socialized and well-trained, it’s time to introduce them! You’ll want to do that on neutral territory, so neither dog feels the need to get territorial. Parks are a great option for this first meeting.
No matter what, keep both dogs on leashes. You’ll want to slowly walk them around separately and then together. Pay attention to your boxer’s body language. If they’re showing signs of anxiety, it might be time to take a break from the meeting.
After both dogs are comfortable with each other in neutral territory, it’s time to take your dogs home.
Keep A Close Watch On The Pair
Over the first few weeks together, make sure you keep a close eye on them. If the dogs are going to fight over anything, it will most likely happen within the first few days, as they’re adjusting to each other. Make sure both dogs have ample resources (like food, water, or your attention), and don’t leave them unmonitored.
Every Dog Is Different
Even if the typical breed profile says a dog will be playful and outdoing it doesn’t mean they will be!
After all, every dog is different and there can be a lot of variation even between breeds. Make sure you’re not making too many assumptions about how your boxer, or their future companion, will act and always recognize that every dog is unique.
It’s hard to not want a companion for your boxer when you see just how much they enjoy playtime with a friend.
While throwing a ball is great, it just can’t compare to the joy a dog experiences when they get to play with a canine companion!
With enough training and patience, you can make just about any match work but the eleven dogs on this list will set you well on the way to canine companion success!