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Swimming can be a great low-impact exercise for your boxer. It’s also a great way to keep your pup cool in hot water.
But with a short snout, a muscular physique, and oftentimes no tail to use a rudder, boxers aren’t always the strongest swimmers.
That doesn’t mean your boxer has to be stuck in the kiddy pool but it does mean you need to take a few extra steps to set your boxer up for success and safety in the water.
One of the best ways to do that is with a life jacket!
Not only can a good life jacket make it easier for boxers to keep their head above water, but it can also help keep them warm since their short coat doesn’t provide much insulation. That means your boxer is not only safer but that they may even enjoy swimming more.
We’re going to look at my five favorite life jackets for boxers along with everything you need to know about picking out the right one.
But if you just want to skip ahead and see what made the list you can see them here.
- Best Overall: Outward Hound Dawson Life Jacket
- Runner Up: Vivaglory Dog Life Jacket
- Best on a Budget: Frisco Ripstop Dog Life Jacket
- Cutest Design: Queenmore Dog Life Jacket
- Best High Buoyancy for Timid Swimmers: EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device
What To Look For In A Life Jacket For Your Boxer
Buoyancy refers to how much extra floatation a life jacket will give your boxer, and how high it will hold them up in the water. Because of their big, bulky heads and short noses, boxers need a little extra help keeping their head out of the water while they’re swimming.
That means some extra floating power towards the front of the life jacket is usually very helpful for Boxers the same way that it helps other big-headed breeds like Rotties.
For boxers, the concern is not so much the total buoyancy of the life jacket, which you generally won’t have a problem with, but instead the distribution of that buoyancy. If your boxer is new to swimming, it’s especially important to look for life jackets with extra front floatation.
Your boxer has a short, single coat, which is both a good and bad thing. While their short coats won’t retain water which could slow your pup down, they also won’t keep your boxer very warm. Without much protection from their coats, they can get cold easily, especially if they’re swimming in chilly water or when it’s not very warm outside.
Depending on where you’re swimming, you may want to look for a life jacket that can offer your boxer some extra warmth on top of floating power. If you’re worried about keeping your boxer warm, neoprene life jackets make a great option since neoprene has plenty of insulative properties. Pitbulls have a similarly short single coat and that’s why we also recommend neoprene life jackets for them as well.
Not only is neoprene warmer, but it’s also softer than commonly-used materials like nylon. If neoprene is woven into the padding of your boxer’s life jacket, it will definitely help keep them both warm and comfortable.
Visibility & Style
Your dark brown boxer doesn’t exactly stand out. You may need a little help spotting them in the water or more importantly making sure others see them, especially if they’re swimming in a lake or river.
Consider choosing a life jacket in a bright color to make it easier to see your dog no matter where they’re swimming. Most life jackets actually also have reflective strips and trim that will easily stand out.
All of the life jackets we’ve chosen for our list have bright color options and/or reflective strips to make your dog easily visible in any kind of water or even on land.
Comfort and Ease Of Use
Obviously, you want your boxer to be comfortable in their life jacket. If they’re not, they may try to bite at it or pull it off themselves, which could potentially destroy the life jacket and definitely defeat the purpose of them wearing it. Again, I recommend neoprene material which is generally softer and less abrasive if you want to focus on comfort for your boxer.
In addition, there are a few features that will make you and your boxer’s lives easier while they’re wearing the life jacket.
Look for a strong leash ring, called a D-ring, where you can attach your boxer’s leash. When you’re taking your pup for a swim, it’s usually easier to just clip the leash straight to the life jacket instead of making them wear a collar too.
Finally, check that the life jacket has handles. Boxers are big; they can weigh up to 70 pounds fully grown. Handles will make it easier to help get your boxer in or out of the water or help them if they get in trouble. Make sure the handles are sturdy and built into the life jacket in such a way that you can easily grab them. You’ll also want to consider going for life jackets that have two handles instead of the somewhat standard one.
All of the life jackets on our list have sturdy handles, and all but the Outward Hound jackets have D-rings.
Sizing Considerations For Boxers
Boxers have a somewhat unique build with a very deep chest but long limbs and torsos. You’ll need a life jacket that’s both long and deep.
Check the sizing charts but it’s always a good idea to double-check your pup’s measurements instead of just eyeballing it. When measuring your boxer’s chest, make sure to measure from the deepest point of their chest. The more accurate the measurement, the better your pup’s life jacket will fit.
If your dog happens to fall between two sizes, always size up. You’ll be able to tighten straps down on the life jacket if it happens to be just a hair too big for them.
Best Life Jackets For Boxers
Now that we know a little about what to look for in a good life jacket for our boxer, let’s go through a few of our favorites!
Best Overall: Outward Hound Dawson Dog Life Jacket
- SIZING BASED ON GIRTH: Dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Whether your dog is short and stout or long and...
- NOVICE SWIMMER-FRIENDLY: Made with high-quality neoprene side panels for comfortable buoyancy in the...
Our best overall pick is the Outward Hound Dawson life jacket which features bright colors, budget-friendly pricing, and plenty of neoprene. I’ve already mentioned how neoprene is not only more comfortable but also provides more insulation than the more common nylon. Even though it’s commonly used for humans products, it’s hard to find this much neoprene on a life jacket for dogs.
That’s ideal for your short-coated boxer since they can get cold even on warm days if the sun is hiding behind the clouds.
I’m a big fan of the handle placement on these and they’re sturdy enough that you can actually get a grip on your big boxer. If you’re doing any kind of boating the handles will make a huge difference when it comes to helping your boxer in and out of the boat.
It’s worth pointing out that this life jacket is a little on the short side in terms of length. That may raise some eyebrows when you consider the boxer’s long and lean body but remember we want as much floatation power towards the front as possible.
In other words, your boxer doesn’t need any help keeping their butt out of the water! Instead, they need all the help they can get to keep their snout breathing fresh air. A shorter life jacket shifts more of the buoyancy towards the front of your boxer where they need it most.
The only downside here is the lack of a D-ring. Despite what you might read on some of the product pages, there’s no D-ring on the Dawson life jacket which is a real bummer.
But if you can live without a D-ring, the Outward Hound Dawson makes a great life jacket for just about any boxer and any situation. Bright colors, front-loaded flotation, and insulating neoprene all at a budget-friendly price…what more could you ask for?
What I Love About It: The neoprene is really what helps this life jacket stand out from the rest. Not only is neoprene generally more comfortable but it’s also warmer.
What I Wish It Had: As mentioned, the only thing that this jacket is missing is a D-ring.
Runner Up: Outward Hound Granby Splash Dog Life Jacket
- SIZING BASED ON GIRTH: Dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Whether your dog is short and stout or long and...
- SPLASH WITH SAFETY: The Outward Hound Granby Splash life jacket for dogs is designed with bright colors...
Our runner up is another life jacket from Outward Hound called the Granby Splash.
Like our best overall, it’s got bright colors, double handles, and plenty of floatation power in the right spot. But unlike our best overall, this life jacket is made specifically for dogs with long torsos and you’ll notice that they’ve picked a corgi to model this jacket!
While I think the shorter Dawson still works well for boxers, the longer Granby offers a more even distribution of floating power across your boxer’s body. For boxers that are new to the water, that may be preferred.
The Granby is also missing the neoprene we saw in the best overall pick and instead focuses on the more budget-friendly nylon and polyester. There’s nothing wrong with those materials when it comes to keeping your boxer afloat but they won’t have the same insulation powers as neoprene.
It also helps that there are more than 1,500 five-star reviews backing this life jacket up so
You can read some of those reviews and check today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best on a Budget: Frisco Ripstop Dog Life Jacket
If you’re watching your money, the Frisco Ripstop Dog Life Jacket is a great bang for your buck.
This life jacket comes in numerous sizes, with a sizing chart that takes into account your dog’s chest, neck, and weight before recommending a size. With that many measurements, this life jacket is sure to be a good fit for your boxer’s build.
There are also a handful of happy boxer parents backing this jacket up and one Chewy reviewer happily wrote, “We purchased a large vest, to fit a 60lb boxer. It is GREAT! Hugs her chest and fits her narrow belly.”
Another reviewer confirms that the large is the best bet for most boxers when they write, “Feels very durable and the handles feel strong and my boxer loves it. I got a size large and I think that was the perfect size for her.”
But just because it’s the budget pick doesn’t mean it’s low quality! This Frisco life jacket has plenty of flotation power, bright colors for visibility, and even a D-ring to attach a leash to.
This Frisco brand life jacket is only available from Chewy and you can check out today’s price and read more reviews on Chewy by clicking here.
What I Love: It’s hard to beat the price of this jacket but it’s not just cheap it also fits boxers really well.
What I Wish It Had: I’d love to see a metal D-ring for added strength. As it stands, the plastic does a good job but I wouldn’t count on it if your boxer likes to pull.
Cutest Design: Queenmore Dog Life Jacket
- DOG LIFE JACKET WITH HIGH BUOYANCY - The shark dog life jacket is made of the ripstop oxford cloth fabric...
- CUTE SHARK FIN DOG LIFE VEST - The dog life jacket is eye-catching with the cute shark fin standing...
I can’t imagine anything cuter than a big goofy boxer bouncing around the water with a shark fin.
Thank goodness, we don’t have to imagine and this canine life jacket from Queenmore features a prominent shark fin along with all the other features you’d expect in a quality life jacket. That includes a strong secure handle, although there’s only one, along with plenty of flotation power and even a D-ring to attach a leash to.
Even though it’s very cute, I’d suggest skipping the gray design in favor of something brighter. Even though it’s not exactly shark-like, they also offer a green and pink version that will make your boxer more visible. But if you want to take things even further, you can also consider the mermaid version which will equip your boxer with a mermaid tail!
If you’re doing any kind of serious swimming, I’d suggest our best overall pick for the extra visibility and sturdier handles. But if you’re just hanging out at the beach or lake the Queenmore life jacket makes an absolutely adorable choice.
You can read more reviews and check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
What I Love: I’m a big fan of the green shark! How could you not love a boxer with a shark fin?
What I Wish It Had: I’d love to see two handles added onto this life jacket to accommodate heavier breeds like boxers. The single handle is good, but you might need two handles and hands to really help your boxer out.
Best High Buoyancy for Timid Swimmers: EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device
- BEST HIGH-PERFORMANCE FLOTATION DEVICE DOG LIFE VEST JACKET: Combining advanced manufacturing techniques...
- ADJUSTABLE DESIGN WITH 50% MORE FLOATION MATERIAL: Adjustable neoprene straps form an ergonomic, secure...
If your dog is just now learning to swim, we recommend the EzyDog Doggy Flotation in order to give them the extra buoyancy they’ll need. This life jacket has up to 50% more buoyancy than your average doggie life jacket according to the folks at EzyDog. That buoyancy is well-distributed around the life jacket so that your pup won’t feel nervous or afraid of sinking in the water. It’s a great way to safely get your boxer more used to the water and swimming.
This life jacket comes in two colors and multiple sizes. You’ll measure your dog’s girth and length, and you’ll need to know their weight. Multiple measurements like these will help the life jacket fit your boxer’s unique build perfectly.
What I Love: In addition to its great buoyancy, this life jacket is partially made of neoprene, which will help keep your dog extra warm while they’re swimming. Plus, the neoprene belly straps will be way more comfortable for your boxer than the average nylon straps.
What I Wish It Had: The colors are a bit limited and I’d love to see some other options.
When you’re choosing a new life jacket for your boxer, pay attention to the buoyancy, comfortable fit, and style of the life jacket. With a well-fitting life jacket, your boxer can have a safe, enjoyable time swimming in any kind of water.
Not only will a life jacket keep your boxer safe, but it will also make swimming more enjoyable for them!