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How Boxers Age...

Discussion in 'Choosing A Breeder' started by dbj17, Feb 11, 2003.

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  1. dbj17

    dbj17 Boxer Pal

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    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.
     
  2. JulieM

    JulieM Boxer Insane

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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. :)
     
  3. oz4lines

    oz4lines Completely Boxer Crazy

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    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.

    Jill
     
  4. Debbie Magon

    Debbie Magon Boxer Pal

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    I have lines that seem to stay "young" looking right up till their double numbers.
    Rose who is coming up for 10 and has mamary cancer is starting to show her grey face now but other than that looks very much like she always had.
    She has endured dramas with surgery etc so with the combination of her mamary cancer of nearly 3 years and her age etc I feel she is remarkable!
    Her father , Knight, died at 12 1/2 with barely a grey whisker to be seen.

    Of the pups I have bred some are 12 years now and are starting to show signs of aging and rightly so!
    Wouldnt it be nice if we could all stay young looking forever. :)
    I think one of the truest things I have ever been told was by an old boxer breeder who said:
    " The proof of a well bred boxer is that his head does not change, even in old age"
    Here he was referring to shape etc NOT greying.
    Coat colour such as greying is not an acurate sign of anything other than the boxer is like any human.
    It does not lessen the quality of the boxers life.
    Greying is genetic and possibly environment.
     
  5. Alisha Mobley

    Alisha Mobley Boxer Insane

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    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.:o 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.;)
     
  6. BRIDGIT

    BRIDGIT Completely Boxer Crazy

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    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/photo/index.pl?photo=11535

    Here is a picture of her at the age of 6...http://www.boxerworld.com/cgi-bin/photo/index.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.
     
  7. tanya22

    tanya22 Super Boxer

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    Jasmine live to 13 years. I cannot remember when she started going grey. Trust me you will not notice as they remain puppies ib every other way. Jasmine had a lump removed and lost some muscle tone but her body stayed the same. She did not grow old and cranky like I think some breeds do. She was just slower but always silly and loving.
    Get a boxer you will NEVER regret it.
     
  8. dbj17

    dbj17 Boxer Pal

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    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!
     
  9. alidansma

    alidansma Boxer Booster

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    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?
     
  10. PawPrintBoxers

    PawPrintBoxers Banned

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    Older Boxers

    Okay,

    You wanted to see photos of older Boxers.
    I can accomodate you there. My eldest is turning 10 years old in just 4 weeks. My next is turning 9 years old, soon after. These pictures were taken not that long ago.

    Crystal pictured at 9.5 years old

    Booker T - 8.5 years old - Best Veteran in Specialty

    Personally, I believe it just is an individual thing. And being silver early means NOTHING about overall health. It is not a cause for concern. Actually, it is a sign your Boxer is simply an older kid and should be fully respected for it :)

    _________________

    Christina Ghimenti
    PawPrint Boxers

    Sunny California
    Home of Champion Boxers and Loving Pets
     
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