Here are some attributes: extrovert, energetic, loyal, fun-loving, lively, flatulent and slobbery. Recognise any? You may have ticked all these boxes – with the possible exception of the last two – when you recently upgraded your Internet dating preference file for your ideal partner. Surprisingly, however, these are actually characteristics of Boxer dogs as listed by the United Kingdom Kennel Club.
According to this definitive work, Boxer owners can look forward to their pet slobbering its way through a fourteen year lifespan. Yet despite this guaranteed droolfest and what that might mean to a generation of soft furnishings, Boxer owners abound. They will happily accept drooling when surely they’d be better off with a Flemish Fog-hound or some such – a dog with a track record of keeping spit inside its head.
To the lay person, sticking to one breed despite its shortcomings doesn’t make sense. And it isn’t as if slobbering is the only off-putting Boxer behaviour. Boxer owners run the same risks as any dog owner that their precious pooch will overnight convert their French sleigh bed into a futon by chewing all the legs off it while they slumber on oblivious.
Some dogs, for reasons best known to themselves, may become entranced with the whimsical notion of eating their way through their owner’s Jimmy Choo collection starting with the most expensive pair and working their way down to the bargain rack stuff. Worse, this crime may be commissioned while owners are out earning the money needed to afford top-of-the-range footwear in the first place. If so they just have to suck it up – pointless bringing this up with the offending pooch; dogs don’t do irony.
Boxers also like chasing cats. But do Boxer owners despair when they discover that their dog and the next door neighbour’s Munchkin cat, Fluffy-pants, are both missing? No. Even if it took six hours on www.wheresmydoggie.com/munchkinpursuit to locate their dog (via its GPS collar transponder) in the next shire but one, there’d be no despair. In fact, confronted with Google Earth images of the pair frolicking contentedly on a hillside in rural Wales, they’d be more likely to utter an ‘attaboy’ than throw a hissy fit.
Perhaps the less pleasant characteristics of any breed are never enough in a dog lover’s opinion to outweigh the overwhelmingly positive effects that owning a dog can bring. Interestingly, according to the Kennel Club, Boxers have a quality that is both positive and negative – bounciness. Here’s how they describe it:
“… young Boxers romp and jump with vigour, and things can go flying, including small children or elderly…people. This is an athletic working breed in need of regular exercise.”
Wow! Imagine this scenario: Your under-stimulated Boxer – let’s call him Hercules – senses that your nana – let’s call her Maud – is about to open your front door to start her weekly visit. Because you haven’t bothered taking Hercules out for a walk much lately he decides that a bit of exuberant ‘bounciness’ is the plat du jour and thunders off down the hall as if in pursuit of a hare in full flight.
As the front door swings open, Hercules launches himself over the handle bars of Maud’s Zimmer frame, thumping into her formidable bosom with the force of a fourteen pound bowling ball fired from a cannon.
The force of the impact drives Maud back down the very same garden path she has just spent twenty painstaking minutes negotiating, arms windmilling in a desperate attempt to regain balance. She is finally, rudely and swiftly upended over the garden gate and dumped back into the bucket seat of her mobility scooter. Here she will stay in an advanced state of befuddlement until the paramedics arrive.
What’s my point? Simple. Choose a dog you can adore for the rest of its life. Love it mightily and take care of it despite its shortcomings. Everything else, from flatulence to bounciness will fall into place.