Screening tests for Boxers

In this section I’m going to explain the various tests carried out by boxer breeders, which you can of course do yourself.

You should check these parameters before choosing your puppy from the breeder.

Hip dysplasia

As with all large and medium-sized dogs, coxofemoral dysplasia is a recurrent problem. In LOF boxers, most breeders have their dogs screened before breeding, by X-ray under general anaesthetic.
The dog should be placed on its stomach, with the hind legs positioned in line with the body, stretching them out and ensuring that they are parallel. The pelvis should be positioned symmetrically. Once the shots have been taken, you must send them to the breed club's official reader, Mr Goyenvalle.
There are 2 ways of doing this: Send the silver x-ray, Your vet sends the radiograph via the website -In all cases, you must send the payment and the documents relating to the request for screening. The fee for a reading of the dysplasia radiograph is : 44 €.
Once all this has been done, you must wait for the x-ray and the results to be returned.

Stages of dysplasia.

Once your X-ray has passed under the eyes of the official reader, he or she will assign a ‘stage’, ranging from A to E.

Here are the stages in detail:
A: no signs of coxofemoral dysplasia (angle 105° and above)

B: more or less normal condition.
A hip is classified as B if everything is normal (good congruence or imperfect congruence) with a NO angle of between 100 and 105°.

C: mild coxofemoral dysplasia

NO angle between 100 and 105°, with onset of subluxation (the femoral head tends to protrude slightly from its cavity, the acetabulum).

D: moderate coxofemoral dysplasia (angle NO between 100 and 90°)

E: severe coxofemoral dysplasia (NO angle less than 90° with significant subluxation and very often signs of osteoarthritis).


So you understand that it is not recommended to breed dogs with a D or E stage.

Dysplasia: is it genetic?

Dysplasia has a genetic factor, but it’s not the only one!

With a growing puppy, you should limit long walks lasting more than 1 hour, and avoid making him jump, go down or climb steps, for example.


Your puppy will need to eat a healthy, balanced diet, with a sufficient intake of calcium. If he doesn’t need it, it could be worse and have the opposite effect.

Aortic and pulmonary stenosis

About ten years ago, boxers (even LOF) were prone to heart murmurs, ranging from simple physiological murmurs to severe heart murmurs.
The boxer was at the top of the top 10 dog breeds with heart problems.Thanks to the work of breeders and the systematic screening of boxers, this is now a thing of the past... Despite this, we must remain vigilant and continue to systematically screen all boxers intended for reproduction.Screening is carried out using a detailed ultrasound doppler, without anaesthetic and painless for the dog, who just needs to remain calm in an upright position.
As with dysplasia, the test should be sent to the breed club's official reader, Professor Valérie CHETBOUL.
Don't forget to pay €51 for the reading and the documents requested by the breed club.

Stages of aortic and pulmonary stenosis.

As with dysplasia, there are ‘stages’ ranging from 0 to 4.


AS0 and PS0: the heart is healthy with no leaks, etc. The higher the number, whether for aortic and/or pulmonary stenosis, the worse the result. A dog that comes back with a screening result of as3/ps0 or as0/ps3 should absolutely not be bred.


I won’t go into more detail about the different stages in relation to leaks, etc., as this is a more complex screening procedure. Because this is a more complex screening procedure, only the vet who carries out the examination will be able to tell you more.


This is osteoarthritis of the vertebral joints. An inflammation that will gradually lead to ankylosing spondylitis (stiffness of the spine).It often affects large-breed dogs. Boxers have a genetic predisposition. The preferred site is the lumbar vertebrae, sometimes the thoracic vertebrae. The lumbosacral joint is also sometimes affected. Bony outgrowths form at the ends of the vertebrae, forming the famous ‘parrot beaks’ and eventually forming a bridge by connecting to each other, gradually making the spine fixed.

Stages of spondylosis.

The examination is the same as for screening for hip dysplasia; an X-ray is required, although sedation is not compulsory. The dog should be placed on its side with its back straight.

There are 4 stages:

Stage 0: the joint is normal with no ligament problems and no bony growths.

Stage 1: the ligament is slightly enlarged and small bony outgrowths form at the edges of the joint.

Stage 2: the ligament is thicker and the bony growths are larger and more distinct.

Stage 3: the bony growths almost form a bridge, but are not yet fused.
The ligament is very thick.

Stage 4: a complete bridge has formed. The 2 vertebrae no longer have any mobility; they are rigid.

Est-ce héréditaire ?

La dysplasie a un facteur génétique, mais pas que ! Sur un chiot en pleine croissance, on limitera les grandes balades de plus d’1 h, on évitera de le faire sauter, descendre ou monter les marches par exemple.


Il faudra que votre chiot ait une alimentation saine et équilibrée, avec un apport suffisant en calcium, sans le complémenter en calcium, s’il n’en a pas besoin, cela pourrait être pire et avoir l’effet inverse.

Radio faite sur un chien de 7 ans. radio dite "normale" pour son âge
spondylose sévère
Radio faite sur une chienne de 4 ans.
radio d'une colonne vertébrale saine
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The X-ray on slide 2 shouldn’t even exist!

In this case, your dog is deprived of a significant part of its mobility (running, jumping, range of movement, etc. virtually impossible).

That’s why I’m committed to screening my dogs for spondylosis and choosing my breeding stock wisely.

Nota bene

Spondylosis is not osteoarthritis, but a separate health problem (formation of bone bridges between vertebrae).

What’s more, dogs don’t die from it!
Spondylosis is simply painful and considerably reduces the flexibility of the spinal column over the years.

When the vertebrae are completely fused together, the pain disappears.

I explain this because, obviously, some vets tell their ‘clients’ that it’s osteoarthritis and others even go so far as to say that the animal will die.

In such cases, I recommend that you consult a specialist.

Renal dysplasia

Renal dysplasia is a ‘new’ disease in the boxer.We don't know much about it at the moment, we just know that it affects very young dogs, even puppies, and that unfortunately they rarely reach 3 years of age.

What is renal dysplasia?

According to my research on the net, renal dysplasia in dogs is a congenital malformation of the kidneys.


Certain functional parts of the kidney are immature and do not fulfil their purification role.


Renal dysplasia is most often hereditary, i.e. passed on genetically by the parents to their offspring.

The boxer is a breed predisposed to this disease.


Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do when the symptoms appear, other than to put your Boxer on medication to make life easier and hopefully slow down the disease.


Recently, the Boxer Breed Club has been encouraging breeders and Boxer owners to have their dogs tested. All that’s needed is a kidney ultrasound between 9 and 12 months of age.

There’s no need to sedate your pet. This examination will enable affected dogs to be targeted and excluded from breeding.
Unfortunately, an ultrasound scan cannot identify ‘healthy carrier’ dogs.

Common sense would dictate that breeders should exclude a male or female who has given birth to puppies with DR disease from breeding, but not everyone has ‘common sense’.

*Page translated by DeepL

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