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Choosing A Breeder Get tips and support about finding the right breeder for you.

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Old 11th February 2003, 09:20 AM
dbj17's Avatar
Boxer Pal
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Austin, TX
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How Boxers Age...

I hav a question about boxers as they age. I hope that this is the right area, and I hope that I don't offend anyone.

I have met with a few breeders, looked at a bunch of websites and have been researching boxers since last fall. Yesterday, I was looking at a breeder's website that showed pictures of their prize winning boxers standing proud winning dog shows a few years back, and then they have more current picture of the dogs. In the more current picture, I would not have recognized them if they had not been labeled. They had aged so much that they really looked old and completely different. Not only had they turned almost completely white in the face, their colors looked lighter and even their body shape changed dramatically.

Now, before everyone just points out that dogs are like humans and get old too, let me explain why I bring this up...

The book that we bought on boxers says that at age 7 the boxer will enter into old age, which will be accompanied by an increase in white/grey color. The book even showed a picture similar to the one on this website. So this all makes perfectly good sense. However, my wife grew up with a boxer who lived to be 12 and never showed any of the physical signs of aging (other than slowing down a _little_). The same was true with some boxers that her uncle had. Also, during our research, we have come across just a couple of boxers (in person or pictures) that really look different as they get older.

So my real question is this: do _all_ boxers eventually look differet as they age or is this a characteristic of certain blood lines? Is it a general warning sign? Or is it more of a thing where some boxers age better than others just as people do? I just wonder why we have not seen more pictures of boxers that look so different as they age. Are they just not photographed as much when they are older?

I hate to ask this because we are talking about your babies here, but I would like to see some more pictures of boxers that are "older", say over 9 or 10. Can some members with pictures of older boxers posted on this website tell me their user name and their dog's age? I really, truely don't mean to ridicule or criticize anyone's boxer. I have looked through the member galleries and you all have beautiful dogs. I did not see any that showed these signs of aging. However, I did not know their ages either. I just want to get a general idea of what is "normal" aging. Perhaps these dogs I saw on the web are normal and I am just an idiot!

Sorry to ramble. I just want to make sure that we get the best quality, healthy puppy we can. If this breeder has dogs that don't age well, I want to be able to take that into consideration when selecting who I deal with. I would hate to be years down the road and have someone say, "Why didn't you look closer at the grandparents?"

Thanks. I appreciate any help.
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Old 11th February 2003, 09:50 AM
JulieM's Avatar
Boxer Insane
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: My own little world....
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I think different dogs show their age differently. I also think it's hard to tell from pictures whether a dog has "aged well" or not. All dogs are going to look different as they get older - and often those living with the dog won't really notice it. Also, stud dogs who are used more than occasionally do tend to "thicken up" in the neck and chest area, so in a well-used stud you'll see those changes.

Pat Hastings recommends scissoring faces instead of shaving, because she feels shaving causes premature greying, especially in dogs with black masks. So perhaps in general - and I've never really looked into it to compare - dogs that are shown are greying earlier than dogs that aren't shown.

But - I think greyness and changes in appearance are minor issues in the overall scheme of things. A friend has a nearly 12-year old reverse brindle bitch, who is "matronly" in build and basically silver on her head, legs, and much of her body these days - but she's 12, she's healthy, she's active, and she's still full of herself. That's more important, IMO, than her greyness. And she's still just as loved as she was when she was a black-masked baby - if not more so.

Old 11th February 2003, 11:08 AM
oz4lines's Avatar
Completely Boxer Crazy
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Western New York, USA
Posts: 794
There's a picture of my Adolf when he was 12 in my gallery.
He was flashy, but his mask was black when he was younger, but almost completly white when he passed on.
Also check Debbie Knowles gallery, Goliath is 12.
The creator of Boxer World, Olly, has beautiful pictures of his boy Bismarck.
I love the look of an older grey boxer.
As long as they are healthy and happy.

As far as body changes, as they slow down and are less active, weight gain can become a problem.

Julie, I enjoyed the comment on the "thickening up"
Interesting and makes allot of sense.

Sonji -"Sonj" Plain Dark Brindle, Female- Nov 10 2001
Cassius- "Ca$h" Fawn Male-Jul 30 2001

Old 11th February 2003, 12:00 PM
Alisha Mobley's Avatar
Boxer Insane
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Ellettsville, Indiana, USA
Posts: 2,971
I agree that health and longevity are most important but I must admit I am not looking forward to my dogs' black fur being replaced with grey. I'm sure there are far too many Boxers out there that don't live long enough to experience this so I should be happy if mine do...but I'd rather have a 12 y/o that looked like a 3 y/o.

Old 11th February 2003, 12:39 PM
BRIDGIT's Avatar
Completely Boxer Crazy
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Northen California
Posts: 929
We got Bailey when she was 5 and she did not have any grey hair. She is turning grey and showing signs of aging now. She is about to be 8 years old. Here is a pic of her now...http://www.boxerworld.com/cgi-bin/ph...pl?photo=11535

Here is a picture of her at the age of 6...http://www.boxerworld.com/cgi-bin/ph....pl?photo=1783

You can see that on the pic of her at age 6 the lines on her face are clearly defined. Now the white on her face has blended in with the grey that used to be black. Although I don't LOVE the fact that she has started to turn grey it is obvious that she is getting older. We sometimes call her the "old lady" because she has that look about her. I will feel grateful if she is here with me now and hopefully for years to come as she has blessed my life.
Bailey-female born 5/14/95 went to the bridge 5/2/04
rescued 11/00
Jasmine-female born 7/2/2001

Old 11th February 2003, 04:05 PM
dbj17's Avatar
Boxer Pal
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 9
I truely appreciate all the information. Thank you all for sharing. I have really enjoyed this forum. I appreciate the pictures and the ages too. It helped give me a better understanding of things. Plus, I just enjoyed looking at all of your beautiful boxers.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, my primary concern was whether or not this could be a warning sign. Like, if I posted and said, "well all the ancestors seem to have hip problems," you would all say "RUN!" However, no one seems to consider it a warning, which is good!

I'm sure that we will love our boxer unconditionally should it be so fortunate to reach its teens. We just want to take every precaution to help it get there!

Old 4th March 2003, 11:24 AM
alidansma's Avatar
Boxer Booster
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: California
Posts: 192
lack of copper

my husband told me that hair turns grey when there is a lack of copper in the diet so maybe soem older dogs don't metabolize copper as well as young ones. I think also that stress interferes with mineral absorbtion. Could be?