Do Labradors & Boxers Get Along? (10 Facts You Must Know)

Both Boxers and Labradors appear to have opposite traits that don’t make them suitable pairs for parent owners but there’s more to this than meet the eyes.

On the flipside, you’d be amazed by how much both of these breeds have in common with each other given how extremely loving, energetic and playful they are by nature.

However, there are subtle nuances between these two breeds that are worth looking into if you’re interested in settling both of these breeds together.

Here’s whether or not Labradors and Boxers get along well: 

Labrador and Boxers possess contrasting traits that generally makes it hard for both of these breeds to get along well. However, both of these breeds do stand a chance in getting along well provided that a Boxer puppy grows up with an existing young Labrador dog and is proper socialized and trained early on. The compatibility between the two also depends on other factors such as temperament, gender, age as well as their sizes. 

Keep reading on to have a better grasp on the detailed factors, reasons and tips behind their compatibility before you ever decide to co-exist these two breeds together. 

Amongst the factors that we’ll dive into are as follows:

  • Breed history
  • Friendliness
  • Level of devotion to owners/Possessiveness
  • Prey drive
  • Intellect and trainability

Note: Our articles are comprehensive and in-depth. Feel free to expand the table of contents below and skip ahead to sections that interest you.

Breed History

These labradors rose to popularity for their extraordinary skills with water, including their diving skills. They are also well versed with waterfowl hunting given their exceptional aptitude for water. And with proper training, labs would make exceptional bird hunting dogs as well.

On the other hand, the Boxers can be traced all the way back to 1800s Germany as the descendants of the Bullenbeisser — a conglomeration of the Mastiff and Bulldog breeds. They specialized in hunting wild animals for their owners but overtime, they leveraged on their versatility by overseeing and guarding cattles for the local farmers. 

As both of the World Wars broke out, the Boxers proved themselves to be one of the most flexible and skilled dogs as they were deployed as military dogs. They served as attack and guard dogs for the troops, and to a much lesser extent they were also used as fighting dogs. To this day, they are still used as police dogs or guard dogs for how powerful their guarding instincts are. 

Despite its rather interesting past, they have then transitioned into an excellent companion dog for how affectionate, friendly extremely loyal they are.

However, their natural standoffish towards other dogs and strangers in particular have remained deeply ingrained within them due to their past. Considering how both of these breeds have contrasting backgrounds, an adult or a young Boxer adult and an existing young Labrador are less likely to form a close bond and get along right away.

It’s best to instead socialize and train a Boxer puppy early on to get along with a second dog in order to tame their natural instincts of aggression towards other dogs. 

Friendliness

Labradors are well known for their good-natured amiability with just about everybody as it’s in their DNA to be loving, affectionate. Hence, they are a top choice for first time owners for how laid back and easy-going labs are for the most part.

Labs are generally extremely sociable dogs as they are highly adaptable and obedient, as long as they were trained well. Any incompatibility with other breeds are rare as it’s in their genes to be predisposed for socialization and bondings with both humans and dogs alike.

Boxers, however, are not as friendly to strangers as labs are. They do have an innate sense to please people and in turn seek their approval but that is always the case with their parent owners and humans in particular. They are typically very wary of strangers and other dogs initially, and they will have no qualms in initiating an attack if they were to perceive any threats.

Despite these negative tendencies, they can be corrected with proper training and constant socialization early on with an already existing dog. 

Also, Boxers aren't as adaptable as labradors are in terms of sociability and it may take some time for these German Boxer dogs to be accustomed to changes. Therefore, socialization training and exposure to various social settings is crucial to growing up a well rounded Boxer. 

With that said, both of these breeds are highly unlikely to be cordial to each other if they introduced as adults. For better compatibility, Boxers should be raised as a puppy together with an already existing Labrador for a harmonious home. 

Read also: Do Labs & German Shepherds Get Along Well? (A Complete Guide) (9 Factors)

Loyalty 

Both Labradors and Boxers are immensely loyal to their parent owners as they are natural pleasers and affectionate by nature. Their ease of bonding coupled with their ingrained lively and goofy tendencies do make them easily devoted to their owners.

And that alone facilitates the compatibility of these two breeds together if the Boxers are properly socialized, and trained together from early on with a Labrador Retriever.

Raising a Boxer with another existing dog is key to planting a seed of loyalty to one another or otherwise, it will be harder for either party to come to terms with each other.

Both breeds almost always tend to have a favourite person who dedicates the most time with it, though they may appear devoted to every family members on a surface level.

For a Labrador however, It’s important to note that their casual interactions and exceeding friendliness with strangers should never be taken as a sign of their dissatisfaction or disloyalty because they’re social butterflies and curious creatures by nature. They’ll only follow your commands and stick by your side after all. 

With that said, both of these breeds will usually perceive each each other as a part of the pack when completely socialized and raised together early on – and will in turn be loyal to one another and to the family as a whole. Boxers would in turn be a protector to their dog counterparts and to the family as a whole if all conditions for compatibility are met. 

Recommended reading: Why Are Labradors So Loyal? (Explained)

Prey Drive 

Boxers have an overall higher prey drive than a labrador does. This is because these Boxers’ hunting, attacking, guarding and fighting instincts are deeply embedded in their genes and the remnant of these tendencies are prevalent to this day. 

These Boxers are infamous for their natural inclination to take their guarding duties seriously. And there had been numerous instances where improperly trained Boxers would chase or prey after smaller animals. 

Labradors on the other hand have a much lower prey drive than a Boxer does because the latter hunting instincts are deeply embedded in their genes and they are born to hunt and guard, so to speak. Unlike a Labrador who may have a relatively dormant high prey drive but they require an extensive training to be efficient in hunting.

These polarizing characteristics are generally not a suitable match for both Labs and Boxers when introduced for the first time as adults. 

This is because both of these breeds are likely to fight each other for dominance as Boxers will see the other dog as a threat and a fighting competitor, not unless they are properly trained and socialized from young. 

Read also: Do Labs and Pitbulls Get Along? (Complete Guide)

Intellect & Trainability

Labs are generally smarter and sharper than Boxers because of their superb innate instinctual intelligence which is contingent upon their obedience, as well as their brilliant adaptability skills.

Meanwhile, Boxers are known to be extremely tenacious, hard-headed and are inclined to have an independent streak at times.

Thus, they have a much lower intelligence than a lab does due to their stubbornness which explains their substandard trainability track record. Training these Boxers require patience, consistency and firmness and they don’t do well with harsh reprimands. 

They also do have a knack for thinking independently and aren’t as susceptible to adaptability as labs are. Hence why it can be quite a challenge to train these Boxers, as opposed to a Labrador. 

Thus, their breed intelligence levels are complementary and conducive for a harmonious home. The last thing you’ll ever want is two highly intelligent dogs trying to constantly outsmart one another for attention and treats. With proper training and socialization of the Boxer early on, coupled with patience; they will get along just fine over time when you introduce a second Labrador. 

CC – Andrew Bone

Upon affirming each of the breed’s general characteristics compatibility, further scrutiny on the factors of individual temperament and personalities are of paramount importance.

Check out also: Do Labradors & Rabbits Get Along Well? (4 Factors Explained)

This is due to the fact that are outliers within a breed, and a dog may or may not bond well with other suitable breeds based on their:

  • Individual Temperament
  • Gender of the breeds
  • Size
  • Age

Additional tips will also be included in these factors to facilitate the bonding of both Labrador and Boxers.

Temperament & Energy Levels

Adult Boxers are typically averse to bonding with dogs of other breeds, especially with dogs that are of different size than them. But with proper socialization and training early on as a puppy alongside an existing dog at home, it can be manageable. 

Labradors on the other hand are laid back and sociable with just about any breed thanks to their exceptional adaptability skill, and hence it wouldn’t be a hassle in training labs for a faster bonding. Labs are hands-down a neutral compatible breed for the most part.

It’s advisable to only pair up a Boxer puppy with an already existing Labrador. One of the metrics you can use to determine the compatibility of a future Boxer dog together with an existing Labrador is to observe the Boxer puppy behavior in its litter.

It would also help in figuring out who their ancestors are from a reputable breeder and what they specialized in to get a better grasp on how these Boxer puppies would turn out as an adult. 

Be sure to pick the middle-of-the-road pup that is neither aggressive or weak in its litter. 

Also it does help a lot in observing the behavior of its mother dog just to get a rough idea on how it will turn out as an adult later. 

Nevertheless, these breeds will bond quickly if they are properly socialized and well trained together with patience in accordance to your labrador’s temperament. The temperament of any kind of puppy can easily be molded from an early age and it’s advisable to train the pups to complement the behavior of the existing Labrador. 

That is because Labradors thrive on having a company dog that is well-mannered as well as with the one that shares the same vibe as it does — rather than having mismatched energy levels where they wouldn’t enjoy each other’s presence.

Also, it’s always crucial to never grow a Boxer puppy together with a Labrador puppy as their individual temperaments may conflict with each other in their adulthood – more so with a Boxer as they are well known to be highly energetic, and tenacious and are prone to aggression and dominance when temperaments don’t match.

Gender

As far as the genders are concerned, Labradors and Boxers of the opposite sexes are your best bet for a harmonious home.

According to the experts and from my anecdotal experiences, neutered breeds of the opposite sexes tend to get along much better compared to breeds of the same gender. A combination of two female would incite more violence compared to two males.

The presence of two males would inevitably lead to the need of forming a stable pack order — an establishment of dominance and submissiveness between the two.

Fights will always erupt if neither one decides to cave in, and it may permanently change their personalities. This is because your pooch may become more overtly dominant than it could have otherwise been, and the same applies vice versa in terms of submission. This may lead to distress over time.

On the other hand, two female dogs would lead to a much more brutal fight that would sometimes lead to death. This is due to the fact that neither female dogs would usually compromise to form a stable pack order as they are slightly more independent in nature.

Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, and some female dogs have formed amicable life-long bonds with one another but exceptions aren’t the norm.

Size

As for the size, you’ll have to keep in mind what size of a dog your pooch naturally gravitates to. Most Labradors are familiar with their own breed of any size, but they can form extremely close bonds with other breeds of the same size as well. 

Labradors and Boxers stand at roughly the same height in their prime years. This in turn facilitates a closer bond between the two as you don’t have to necessarily supervise their playtime for fear of either party getting hurt or knocked down due to size disparity. 

Given how energetic and playful both of these breeds are, coupled with a similitude in height and weight — they will make a lifelong close companion for each other provided that the Boxer has been properly socialized early on. 

You might also be interested in why Labs can get clumsy at times, hence why it’s necessary to monitor their playtime together.

Age 

It’s highly advisable for you to get a second Boxer puppy once your current Labrador is fully grown at minimum 2~3 years of age. This is because this is the age when your existing pooch is physically mature and coincides well with the development of dog selectivity, reactivity and aggression.

That way you’ll know your current dog’s temperament like the back of your hand and you’d be wise enough to pick a second companion that matches your dog’s breed and personality. Or you could easily train a second puppy to get along well with your current dog which always works out great.

Hence, you shouldn’t get both Labs and Boxers as puppies as they might grow up to be total opposites and not get along despite being close as puppies. They may also suffer from littermate syndrome if raised as puppies together.

Furthermore, it will be best for you to fully train and socialize your current dog in order for it to be well mannered and friendly for a second Boxer dog later.

Fully trained dogs are more likely to bond well with other dogs of different breeds, and plus they have many more good habits to teach young dogs. As a result, that is little less high maintenance if you ever decide to get a second puppy.

However, you should never introduce a second young dog/puppy to a current old Labrador that has past its prime years. Senior dogs and young puppies don't get along well in the slightest. Those rambunctious pups will be too much for an old dog with health issues to handle.

Other Articles You’ll Enjoy:

Sources

AKC: Boxer Dog Breed Info

Your Purebred Puppy: Boxers – What’s Good & Bad About Them

Animal Wised: Best Labrador Companions

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