Skin conditions in boxer dogs

Updated February 21, 2017

Boxers, like many large purebred short-haired dog breeds, are susceptible to a variety of skin disorders, including allergies, mange, dermatitis and some benign tumours. Boxers are especially prone to seasonal alopecia, which causes hair to temporarily fall out in patches.


Several mild to severe skin conditions commonly affect Boxer dogs, including demodex (a type of mange mite infestation), benign fatty tumours known as hot spots, allergic reactions and seasonal flank alopecia, which causes hair to fall out and leave large bald spots during the spring when the dogs shed, according to Florida Boxer Rescue. All of those conditions can be treated with topical and oral medication prescribed by a veterinarian.

More serious conditions also may affect some purebred Boxer dogs, including cutaneous asthenia, an inherited disorder that causes skin to become tender and tear at the lightest scratch, leaving open wounds and scars, according to Go Pets America.

Additional Conditions

Boxers, like some retrievers, bulldogs and terriers, often develop benign skin tumours called histiocytomas, according to Go Pets America. The small, red, hairless bumps can rupture but are not painful. Histiocytomas generally appear on the dog's head, neck, back and sometimes feet. They are most likely to appear in young dogs.

Boxers also are prone to atopy dermatitis, a predisposition to environmental allergies. According to Go Pets America, the most common sources of those allergies are dust mites and pollen from trees, grasses and weeds. Mange infestations also can result in allergy development in dogs.

Food-related allergies are prevalent in Boxers, according to Boxer World. Boxers do best on foods that have a low percentage of grains such as corn, wheat or beet pulp. Food and environmental allergies result in itchy, scaly, sometimes infected skin.


Many Boxer dog skin conditions can be avoided or minimised by adding omega fatty acid vitamin supplements, flax seed oil or salmon oil to the dog's diet, and brushing the dog regularly to keep shedding to a minimum and stimulate the skin, according to All Pets America.

Serious conditions such as mange, alopecia or tumours should be diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian who can prescribe ointments, washes and oral medications.


Boxers are muscular, short-haired, short-muzzled dogs that often do not tolerate extreme cold or high humidity, according to Bark Bytes. They require daily exercise to maintain muscle tone, which can promote healthy skin and hair.

Boxers are intelligent dogs that do well in obedience, agility and therapy work as well as being loyal household pets, according to the Dog Owner's Guide. They have served as war dogs and police dogs.

In addition to some skin conditions, Boxer dogs can develop other health problems, including hip and joint disease, bloat and cancer. Getting a dog from a reputable breeder can eliminate or reduce many health issues.


Male Boxers are between 22 and 25 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh about 31.8 Kilogram. Females are slightly smaller, standing between 21 and 23 inches tall and weighing around 27.2 Kilogram. Their tails are docked, or cut short. Ears are generally cropped to stand up, but some owners leave them uncropped and hanging down, according to the Dog Owner's Guide.

Boxers range from light tan to mahogany in colour, many with a black brindle pattern and a black mask on the face. Some have white markings on their chest, face, feet or neck.


Boxers trace their lineage to Germany and are related to other large, square-head breeds used for hunting and warfare, including mastiffs and bulldogs, according to the Dog Owner's Guide. How the Boxer got its name is unclear, but the two most common explanations are that it was named either for its boxlike head or for the way it plays, often using its front legs in a boxing-like way.

The first Boxer dog club was founded in 1895 in Munich. The breed came to the United States in 1903 and reached the height of its popularity in the 1940s, according to the Dog Owner's Guide.

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About the Author

Jan Day’s career as a writer and editor started in 1978 in Tennessee and continued through her work with major news organizations, including "The Denver Post" and Bloomberg News. She now focuses on travel, fitness, wine and food writing. She holds a Master of Arts in journalism from Pennsylvania State University.