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Box Heeler Hybrid Description
The Box Heeler is not a purebred dog. It is a cross between the Boxer and the Blue Heeler. The best way to determine the temperment of a mixed breed is to look up all breeds in the cross. It is possible you can get any combination of any of the characteristics found in either breed. Not all of these designer hybrid dogs being bred are 50% purebred to 50% purebred. It is very common for breeders to breed multi-generational crosses. Please review individual breeds for potential health issues.
Boxer Breed Description - Cross #1
The Boxer is a medium to large, short-haired dog breed of mastiff-type, developed in Germany. The coat is smooth and tight-fitting; colors are fawn, brindled, or white, with or without white markings. Boxers are brachycephalic (they have broad, short skulls), have a square muzzle, mandibular prognathism (an underbite), very strong jaws, and a powerful bite ideal for hanging on to large prey. The Boxer was bred from the Old English Bulldog and the now extinct Bullenbeisser, which became extinct by crossbreeding rather than by a decadence of the breed. The Boxer is a member of both The Kennel Club and American Kennel Club (AKC) Working Group.
The first Boxer club was founded in 1895, with Boxers being first exhibited in a dog show for St. Bernards in Munich the next year. Based on 2013 AKC statistics, Boxers held steady as the seventh-most popular breed of dog in the United States for the fourth consecutive year. According to the AKC's website, though, the boxer is now the 11th-most popular dog breed in the United States.
Boxers are a bright, energetic, and playful breed and tend to be very good with children. They are patient and spirited with children, but also protective, making them a popular choice for families. They are active, strong dogs that require adequate exercise to prevent boredom-associated behaviors such as chewing, digging, or licking. Boxers have earned a slight reputation of being "headstrong", which can be related to inappropriate obedience training. Owing to their intelligence and working-breed characteristics, training based on corrections often has limited usefulness. Boxers, like other animals, typically respond better to positive reinforcement techniques such as clicker training, an approach based on operant conditioning and behaviorism, which offers the dog an opportunity to think independently and to problem-solve.
The Boxer by nature is not an aggressive or vicious breed. It is an instinctive guardian and can become very attached to its family. Like all dogs, it requires proper socialization. Boxers are generally patient with smaller dogs and puppies, but difficulties with larger adult dogs, especially those of the same sex, may occur. Boxers are generally more comfortable with companionship, in either human or canine form. They are very patient and are great to adopt as family dogs because they are good with children and people of all kinds.
The Boxer can make a good house dog, but he must be given a considerable amount of exercise. His short coat requires little care.
Leading health issues to which Boxers are prone include cancers, heart conditions such as aortic stenosis and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (the so-called "Boxer cardiomyopathy"), hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, and degenerative myelopathy and epilepsy; other conditions that may be seen are gastric dilatation volvulus (also known as bloat), intestinal problems, and allergies (although these may be more related to diet than breed). Entropion, a malformation of the eyelid requiring surgical correction, is occasionally seen, and some lines have a tendency toward spondylosis deformans, a fusing of the spine, or dystocia. Other conditions that are less common but occur more often in Boxers than other breeds are hystiocytic ulcerative colitis (sometimes called Boxer colitis), an invasive E. coli infection, and indolent corneal ulcers, often called Boxer eye ulcers.
About 22% of puppies die before reaching seven weeks of age. Stillbirth is the most frequent cause of death, followed by infection. Mortality due to infection increases significantly with increases in inbreeding.
According to a UK Kennel Club health survey, cancer accounts for 38.5% of Boxer deaths, followed by old age (21.5%), cardiac (6.9%) and gastrointestinal (6.9%) related issues. The breed is particularly predisposed to mast cell tumours, a cancer of the immune system. Median lifespan was 10.25 years. Responsible breeders use available tests to screen their breeding stock before breeding, and in some cases throughout the life of the dog, in an attempt to minimize the occurrence of these diseases in future generations.
As an athletic breed, proper exercise and conditioning is important for the continued health and longevity of the Boxer. Care must be taken not to overexercise young dogs, as this may damage growing bones, but once mature, Boxers can be excellent jogging or running companions. Because of their brachycephalic heads, they do not do well with high heat or humidity, and common sense should prevail when exercising a Boxer in these conditions.
Blue Heeler Breed Description - Cross #2
The general appearance is that of a strong compact, symmetrically built working dog, with the ability and willingness to carry out his allotted task however arduous. As the name implies the dog's prime function, and one in which he has no peer, is the control and movement of cattle in both wide open and confined areas. Always alert, extremely intelligent, watchful, courageous and trustworthy, with an implicit devotion to duty making it an ideal dog.
The female Blue Heeler measures approximately 43–48 centimetres (17–19 in) at the withers, and the male measures about 46–51 centimetres (18–20 in) at the withers. The dog should be longer than tall, that is, the length of the body from breast bone to buttocks is greater than the height at the withers, in a ratio of 10 to 9. An Blue Heeler in good condition weighs around 18–25 kilograms (40–55 lb).
A puppy whose colored hair has not yet developed will grow through the puppy's white coat as it matures. There are two accepted coat colors, red and blue. Blue dogs can be blue, blue mottled, or blue speckled with tan on the legs and chest and white markings and a black patch or "mask" on one or both sides of the head. Red dogs are evenly speckled with solid red markings and similarly to the blue dogs can have a brown (red) patch "mask" on one or both sides of the head and sometimes on the body.
Both red dogs and blue dogs are born white (except for any solid-colored body or face markings) and the red or black hairs show from around 4-weeks of age as they grow and mature. The distinctive adult coloration is the result of black or red hairs closely interspersed through a predominantly white coat. This is not merle coloration (a speckled effect that has associated health issues), but rather the result of the ticking gene. A number of breeds show ticking, which is the presence of color through white areas, though the overall effect depends on other genes that will modify the size, shape and density of the ticking.
In addition to the primary coloration, an Blue Heeler displays some patches of solid or near-solid color. In both red and blue dogs, the most common are masks over one or both eyes, a white tip to the tail, a solid spot at the base of the tail, and sometimes solid spots on the body.
The mask consists of a black patch over one or both eyes (for the blue coat color) or a red patch over one or both eyes (for the red coat color). Depending on whether one or both eyes have a patch, these are called, respectively, "single" (or "half") mask and "double" (or "full") mask. Dogs without a mask are called plain-faced. Any of these are acceptable according to the breed standard. In conformation shows, even markings are preferred over uneven markings.
When on home ground, the Blue Heeler is an affectionate and playful pet. However, it is reserved with people it does not know and naturally cautious in new situations. Its attitude to strangers makes it an excellent guard dog when trained for this task, and it can be socialised to become accustomed to a variety of people from an early age as a family pet. It is good with older, considerate children, but will herd people by nipping at their heels, particularly younger children who run and squeal. By the time puppies are weaned, they should have learned that the company of people is pleasurable, and that responding to cues from a person is rewarding. The bond that this breed can create with its owner is strong and will leave the dog feeling protective towards the owner, typically resulting in the dog's never being too far from the owner's side. The Blue Heeler can be the friendliest of companions although it is quick to respond to the emotions of its owners, and may defend them without waiting for a command. The ACD was originally bred to move reluctant cattle by biting, and it will bite if treated harshly. The Blue Heeler's protective nature and tendency to nip at heels can be dangerous as the dog grows into an adult if unwanted behaviors are left unchecked.
While an Blue Heeler generally works silently, it will bark in alarm or to attract attention. It has a distinctive intense, high-pitched bark. Barking can be a sign of boredom or frustration, although research has shown that pet dogs increase their vocalisation when raised in a noisy environment. It responds well to familiar dogs, but when multiple dogs are present, establishing a pecking order can trigger aggression. It is not a breed that lives in a pack with other dogs.
The Blue Heeler carries recessive piebald alleles that produce white in the coat and skin and are linked to congenital hereditary deafness, though it is possible that there is a multi-gene cause for deafness in a dog with the piebald pigment genes. Around 2.4% of Cattle Dogs in one study were found to be deaf in both ears and 14.5% were deaf in at least one ear.
The Blue Heeler is one of the dog breeds affected by progressive retinal atrophy. It has the most common form, progressive rod-cone degeneration (PRCD), a condition that causes the rods and cones in the retina of the eye to deteriorate later in life, resulting in blindness. PRCD is an autosomal recessive trait and a dog can be a carrier of the affected gene without developing the condition.
Hip dysplasia is not common in the breed, although it occurs sufficiently often for many breeders to have their breeding stock tested. The Cattle Dog has a number of inherited conditions, but most of these are not common. Hereditary polioencephalomyelopathy of the Blue Heeler is a very rare condition caused by an inherited biochemical defect. Dogs identified with the condition were completely paralysed within their first year. Based on a sample of 69 still-living dogs, the most common health issues noted by owners were musculoskeletal (spondylosis, elbow dysplasia, and arthritis) and reproductive (pyometra, infertility, and false pregnancy), and blindness. A study of dogs diagnosed at Veterinary Colleges in the United States and Canada over a thirty-year period described fractures, lameness and cruciate ligament tears as the most common conditions in the Blue Heelers treated.
"Don't Shop ... Please Adopt"
If you can’t find the pet you’re looking for on Petfinder, don’t give up. Some shelters maintain waiting lists for specific breeds, so don’t be afraid to ask! There are also breed-specific rescues for just about every breed, and most of them post their pets on Petfinder. (Petfinder can even e-mail you when a pet that fits your criteria is posted — just click “Save this Search” at the top of your search results page.)
Jeff Gold, Founder, Rescue Me! Animal Rescue Network
Jeff Gold lives in Watkinsville, Georgia on the same property as Rescue Me's Animal Rehabilitation Center, with 18 rescue animals. Shown with him in the photo to the left are Maggie, Izzie and Cortez. In 2003, after learning there was nobody doing boxer rescue work in Georgia, Gold founded Boxertown, an organization which helped find homes for over 500 boxers during its first two years. Based upon this success, Gold came up with the vision for Rescue Me! ― a network which helps all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals find good homes, anywhere in the world. RescueShelter.com is also a free service of Rescue Me! and provides the world's largest and most up-to-date directory of animal rescue organizations for all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals, including a comprehensive directory of wildlife rehabilitators in over 150 countries.