According to the breed standard, Boxers are either fawn or brindle in color and may or may not have white markings. If white markings cover more than a third of the dog’s body, he or she is referred to as a white Boxer.
Common Misconceptions About White Boxers
Although some dishonest breeders may try to pass off white puppies as “rare” so they can make more money off of them, white boxers actually make up as much of a forth of the Boxer population. These dogs are not albino, but are white because of a gene they carry known as the extreme piebald gene.
The extreme piebald gene is a recessive gene that is passed on from parent to pup and cannot really be avoided when breeding Boxers because a standard colored mother can produce white puppies along with fawn and brindle puppies in the same litter.
Health Problems in White Puppies
White Boxer dogs often have a greater risk of health problems than their standard colored counterparts. The piebald gene that causes their whiteness is apparently closely linked to the gene that controls deafness, so an estimated 18% of white Boxer dogs are born either partially or completely deaf.
The relatively high rate of deafness in white Boxers obviously makes them more difficult to train and so white Boxers are sometimes misconstrued as having worse temperaments or being more aggressive than standard colored dogs. Coat color does not affect a dog’s personality, however, and even deaf Boxers can be trained to be obedient and follow sign language commands if you have a little patience.
Another health concern with white Boxer dogs is an increased risk of certain types of cancer. Just like pale-skinned humans, white Boxer dogs are more prone to sunburn and skin cancers than the darker members of their breed.
The Breed Standard
Because white Boxer dogs are statistically more prone to health defects than fawn or brindle dogs, the breed standard automatically disqualifies them from conformation showing. They are also prohibited from breeding by all national Boxer clubs.
Even though they are excluded from conformation showing, however, white Boxers are allowed to compete in obedience and agility events, and often perform just as well as standard Boxers in these trials. They also make excellent service and watch dogs, just as fawn and brindle dogs do.
Choosing to Get a White Boxer
White Boxer dogs are often sold as family pets with an agreement to get the dog spayed or neutered as soon as possible so they cannot breed. Because they do not meet breed standards, an honest breeder will usually charge less for them than they will for a standard colored puppy. Unfortunately, white Boxers are not as accepted in the Boxer community as standard colored Boxers, and so they frequently end up in Boxer rescues.
If you are considering buying a Boxer dog, please don’t overlook these friendly white pups. Although the health concerns associated with these dogs are something to take into consideration, white Boxer dogs are just as loving, loyal, and protective as any other Boxer, and they still make great family pets.