The Boxador dog or Boxer Lab mix is playing, energetic, loyal, and loving. Mix a Boxer and Labrador Retriever breed together and, in theory, you have a family pet that is always ready for an adventure, easy to train, and a great companion. As the popularity of this mix rises, reputable Boxador breeders will be easier to find. So, what exactly can you expect from a Boxer Lab mix?
People Often Ask…
- Are Boxadors good family dogs?
- Are Boxadors aggressive?
- How much do Boxadors cost?
- What is the life expectancy of a Boxador?
What’s In This Guide
- Boxer Lab Mix At A Glance
- In-depth Breed Review
- Boxador Dog Training And Care
- Pros And Cons Of Getting A Boxador
Boxador Dog: Breed At A Glance
- Popularity: Growing quickly!
- Purpose: Family companion
- Weight: Up to 80 pounds
- Temperament: Energetic, loving, loyal
Boxador Breed Review: Contents
- History and original purpose of the Boxer Lab mix
- Boxer Labrador mix appearance
- Boxador temperament
- Training and exercising your Boxador dog
- Boxer Lab mix health and care
- Do Boxadors make good family pets?
- Rescuing a Boxer Lab mix
- Finding and raising a Boxador puppy
Origin of the Boxador
A boxer lab mix, also known as a Boxador, is a hybrid of the Boxer and the Labrador Retriever breeds. The Boxador is an extremely popular cross-breed, which is perhaps not surprising given that its parents are both in the list of America’s top ten breeds. In fact, Labrador Retrievers have been America’s most popular breed for a record-breaking 26 consecutive years!
Compared to its parent breeds, the Boxador mix itself is very new. But, its parents have long histories living and working alongside humans.
Labs originated as working dogs, retrieving game for fishermen in Newfoundland, Canada. Nowadays, they’re seen as working dogs in a huge variety of roles, and as a beloved family pet. When they were first bred in 19th century Germany, Boxers were used as fighting dogs. Over the years, they’ve filled just as many working roles as the Lab, and are very popular as a companion.
What to Expect from a Boxador
It’s important to point out at this point that cross-breeding is never an exact science. If you are opting for a Boxador puppy because you loved your last Boxer Lab mix and want another just like him, remember that the next one could be quite different. Although combining two breeds could give the puppies traits from both parents, it can provide pups who take after one breed or the other instead.
Regardless of the mix of your genes your pup ends up with, a Boxer Lab Mix dog is likely to be a medium to large dog, active, loyal, easy to train and very fond of challenges – of both the physical and mental kind!
With cross breeds it is often hard to predict which parent a puppy will resemble. But with Boxers and Labradors in the mix, it’s a safe bet that your Boxer and Lab mix puppies won’t be small. Boxers can weigh up to 80lbs and reach 25 inches tall. Labradors are similarly large. Boxador full grown tend to be between 23 and 25 inches tall and weigh up to 80lbs. Although females are smaller than males.
Coat and Colors
Labrador coats come in black, chocolate or yellow. Boxers are fawn or brindle. Often with white patches. Their offspring can be any mixture of these! The Brindle Boxador is a very common variety and these often have white markings. If you want a black Lab Boxer mix, your puppy will likely still have some white on them. Your best bet is to mix a black Lab with a dark Boxer. But, even a black Lab Boxer mix can have unpredictable coloring, despite the dominant genes for black fur.
Shedding and Fur Type
When it comes to coat, the Boxer Lab mix usually takes after its Boxer parent. These mutts typically have short, smooth hair that sheds very little and is easy to care for. However if your Boxador dog has more Labrador in its genes you might have to deal with some shedding. Thankfully this is usually seasonal and can be kept in check with regular grooming.
A Boxer Lab mix will fall somewhere between its parents. But, luckily, the Labrador and Boxer breeds have quite similar temperaments. Both Boxers and Labradors are very loving and loyal. So, Boxadors are extremely affectionate and will often behave as if they’re lap dogs. They think nothing of climbing on their people for a cuddle, despite their large size!
Both Boxers and Labradors are usually great with older children. They are considered gentle giants and will eagerly run after little ones. Although they have been known to accidentally bowl over smaller family members in their excitement. It’s therefore important to supervise small children around them at all times.
Labradors also love playing with canine companions, but Boxers are less reliable in this area. Poorly socialized Boxers can be prone to aggression towards strangers and other dogs. Boxers are instinctive guardians and proud to play the role of family protector. But you can reduce this through thorough socialization during the puppy stages and by meeting the Boxer parent and ensuring that they seem happy and confident around strangers.
It’s important that every dog breed is socialized well as a puppy to minimise the risk of behavioral problems and aggression. Even the most friendly breed, like the Labrador, will benefit.
To make sure your Boxador mingles well with other dogs, it’s important to socialize them from a young age to other dogs too. Finding them puppy friends to play with will encourage them to be calm and docile with other dogs when fully grown. Attending puppy classes is a great way to do this. But, make sure you also socialize them to unfamiliar people, children, cats, other animals, and more. This will ensure your Boxador dog is as friendly outside the home as he is inside.
Training and Exercising your Boxer Lab Mix
Given its parentage, a Boxer Lab dog is happiest with active humans. They require a lot of exercise and enjoy running around with the family or playing a game of fetch. If they don’t get enough exercise every day, Boxadors can become depressed, bored, and stressed. This can result in unwanted behaviors like barking, digging, or chewing. But, be wary of a shorter snout in a Boxador. Boxers suffer from a conformity issue called brachycephaly, which can cause trouble breathing and overheating when exercising.
Both Boxers and Labradors are eager to please, so training shouldn’t be too difficult. Use positive reward techniques for best results. Keep training sessions short, consistent, and engaging to keep your Boxador’s attention. You could even take your mix to a puppy training class, or attend an online dog training class.
Boxador Health and Care
Genetic diversity is improved in a cross breed compared with the parent breeds and the coefficient of inbreeding (COI) is much lower. Put simply, the COI of any mating describes how closely related the parent dogs are. Higher COIs are associated with an increase in health problems.
Many dog diseases are recessive which means that they won’t affect your dog unless he gets two faulty copies of the gene, one from each parent. The risk of this happening is lower if the puppies parents are not closely related. There are however, some health issues that are not recessive and can be passed on from just one parent. And there are common ancestors in some of our dog breeds that mean some diseases are present in both breeds.
For that reason it is still possible that a cross bred dog could inherit genetic health problems. So it’s important to be informed about health conditions in the parent breeds and especially about common ailments affecting both Boxers and Labs.
Labradors are not without their issues. This breed can suffer from hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. This is a painful condition where the joint doesn’t form properly. It can cause lameness and severe arthritic pain.
Another issue to be aware of in Labs is eye disease. Retinal dysplasia was first noted in the breed in 1959. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a degenerative eye disease that is common in Labs.
Only buy your puppy from a breeder who health tests the parents for all the potential problems their respective breeds could suffer from. And remember, your puppy’s care is important to avoid issues like obesity.
A 2017 study found that Boxers are one of the most likely breeds to get cancer. According to Petplan, mast cell tumors are the 5th most common illness in Boxers.
This breed is unfortunately also associated with heart disease. Aortic Stenosis is the most common major problem in the breed. Fortunately there is a screening programme for this condition and if you are buying a Boxador pup, it’s very important that your puppy’s Boxer parent has been tested
Boxer Cardiomyopathy (ARVC) can cause heart failure and/or sudden death in dogs. The causes are not known but it is genetic and passed along certain bloodlines. ARVC affects males more than females and is most common in dogs older than 10. Symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing and weight loss.
Boxers can also suffer from Canine Degenerative Myelopathy. This is a neurodegenerative disease that can cause paralysis.
One problem that is on the rise in Boxers is brachycephaly or ‘shortened skull’. This is due to breeders trying to exaggerate the breed’s characteristic facial features. Unfortunately more is not necessarily better and brachycephaly causes breathing difficulties and overheating
It may be that being a Boxador rather than a purebred Boxer offers some protection against these diseases. It certainly reduces the skull shortening we see in brachycephalic breeds. This is a bit of a two edged coin because while the Boxer physique may benefit from a longer muzzle, the Labrador physique is unlikely to be improved with a shorter one.
Boxer Lab Mix Health
There’s always a risk that your Boxador puppy will inherit these problems, but that risk is massively reduced if your breeder health tests their dogs. Reputable breeders will only breed from dogs that have been tested and cleared of these serious hereditary health problems. To give your pup a long and healthy life, make sure he gets plenty of exercise, a balanced diet and regular vet check-ups.
Boxador Life Expectancy
Labrador Retrievers have a lifespan of 11-12 years. And, on average, Boxers live around 9-10 years So in theory you can expect Boxer Labrador mix puppies to reach anywhere between 9 and 12 years old.
Do Boxadors Make Good Family Pets?
Only you can decide if a Boxer Lab mix is the right fit for your home. These are large dogs with big hearts that will give as much as they take. Boxadors love being part of a family. They are great with children and enthusiastic playmates for families with school age children and up. But this cross breed needs lots of exercise. So, if you’re not prepared to be active then perhaps it isn’t for you.
It’s also a large breed that doesn’t do well in confined spaces. They are fiercely attached to their people and dislike being left for long periods of time. Boxadors who don’t get enough exercise or attention can display destructive behavior such as chewing or scratching.
This is a dog that suits a family with an active lifestyle and lots of love to give. As long as they’re well socialized, they have a very happy and content disposition and will be the perfect partner in crime and cuddle buddy.
If you’re thinking about bringing home a Boxer Lab mix, you may also love the following breeds.
Rescuing a Boxador
Adopting a shelter dog always comes with risk. Without documentation about the dog’s parentage and health, it’s hard to know what kind of pup you’re getting. But Boxadors in shelters need homes and rescuing puppies or older dogs can be very rewarding.
If you’re looking for a rescue Boxer Lab mix, inquire with your local humane shelter, or get in touch with the Humane Society of the United States. Labrador and Boxer breed rescues also sometimes have crossbreeds available. Dogs from adoption centers are usually much cheaper than puppies. But, remember you may need to spend lots of time helping them work through behavioral issues from past experiences.
Boxer Lab Mix Breed Rescues
You can start your search for a Boxador rescue with the following centers and societies.
- USA: Across America Boxer Rescue, Save A Lab Rescue
- UK: Boxer Dog Rescue, Labradors in Need
- Canada: Boxer Rescue Canada, Lab Rescue
- Australia: Boxer Rescue Network, Labrador Rescue
Boxador specific rescue centers aren’t that common. But, many centers dedicated to the parent breeds will accept this mix. If you know of any others, let us know their names in the comments so we can add them to this list.
Finding a Boxador Puppy
Never buy a dog from a puppy mill or pet store. Or from the back of a vehicle. Always visit the puppy in his own home in the presence of his mother, who should be relaxed, healthy and friendly. Sadly with any very fashionable breed, or breed mix, there are many out there who are just looking to make a quick buck.
As with all puppies, Boxadors shouldn’t be taken to their new home until they are at least eight weeks old A knowledgeable breeder will be able to give you some idea of the puppy’s personality, appearance and size once fully grown.
Socialize your Boxador very thoroughly, exposing him to all kinds of fun experiences and making sure that he meets many different types of people, places, machinery etc. Given Boxadors intelligent nature and working history, get started on training your dog right away.
It can be challenging to find a responsible breeder of cross breeds as there is currently quite a stigma against mixed breeding in the dog world.
A good breeder will have documentation on the puppy’s parentage and health checks. You must ask to see those certificates – they are very important. The parent dogs must have been screened for any genetic diseases and the breeder should be very forthcoming with any questions. There should also be a ‘waiting period’ after you get your puppy for you to take it to your own vet to confirm that it’s in good health.
Boxador Products and Accessories
If you’re already waiting for your Boxer Lab mix puppy to come home, you can start to prepare by getting everything they might need. Here are some guides that will help:
- Memory Foam Dog Beds
- Dog Bed For Chewers
- Moving Dog Toys
- Dog Toys For Large Breeds
- Escape Proof Dog Harness
Is a Boxador Dog Right for Me?
To summarise, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of getting a Boxer Lab mix.
- Won’t suit low energy homes
- Risk of many health issues, including unavoidable conformation ones
- Can be aggressive if not well socialized
- Quite a high shedding mix
- Wonderful temperament when well socialized
- Takes well to training
- Will enjoy going on hikes and walks with you
- Gets along well with kids
Your Boxador Dog
Do you have a Boxer Lab mix? We’d love to hear all about them in the comments below.
- Labrador Retriever
- History Of The Labrador
- Online Dog Training
- Hip Dysplasia
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
References And Resources
- Gough, A. (et al) ‘Breed Predispositions to Disease In Dogs and Cats’, Wiley Blackwell (2018)
- O’Neill (et al) ‘Longevity and Mortality of Owned Dogs In England’, The Veterinary Journal (2013)
- Adams, V. J. (et al) ‘Results of a Survey of UK Purebred Dogs’, Journal of Small Animal Practice (2010)
- Schalamon (et al) ‘Analysis of Dog Bites In Children Who Are Younger Than 17 Years’, Pediatrics (2006)
- Duffy, D. (et al) ‘Breed Differences in Canine Aggression’, Applied Animal Behavior Science (2008)
- Packer (et al) ‘Impact of Facial Conformation On Canine Health’, PlosOne (2015)
- Baioni, E. (et al) ‘Estimating Canine Cancer Incidence: Findings from a Population-Based Tumour Registry in Northwestern Italy’, BMC Vet Res (2017)
- Harpster, N. ‘Boxer Cardiomyopathy’, Current Veterinary Therapy VIII (1983)
- Shelton, G. D. (et al) ‘Degenerative Myelopathy Associated with a Missense Mutation in Pembroke Welsh Corgis and Boxers’, Journal of the Neurological Sciences (2012)
- Barnett, K. C. (et al), ‘Hereditary Retinal Dysplasia in the Labrador Retriever in England and Sweden’, Journal of Small Animal Practice (1970)
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website