Recommendations For Health Screening Of Boxers In Breeding Program

Testing and Reporting Guidelines

ABC Health & Research Committee

The American Boxer Club recommends these tests only apply to dogs in an active breeding program and each dog must be identified with a microchip.

Use and interpretation of tests should be in consultation with your veterinarian or veterinary specialist. These guidelines will be updated as further knowledge is gained.

Condition Tested Test Used Minimum Age Frequency Reported As
Hip/Elbow Dysplasia Radiograph
2 years
6 mos.
OFA# or
Hypothyroidism Thyroid Panel2 2 years Annually for Breeding date tested**
Aortic Valve Disease Auscultation / Doppler1 None None date tested**
AS / SAS Auscultation & Doppler Echocardiogram1 24 mos. Once by Echo date tested**
Boxer Cardiomyopathy1 Holter Monitor 12 mos. Annually for Breeding date tested**
(ARVC Only)
DNA None Once A/A, A/N, N/N
Degenerative Myelopathy
DNA None Once A/A, A/N, N/N


Heart disease can be inherited or it can be caused by bacterial, viral or parasitic agents these are NOT inherited. The damage appears the same in some cases. A screening program can help determine the origin.

All hearts should be ausculted at each veterinary visit. This is particularly important prior to any surgery, including ear cropping. If a murmur is detected the dog should be evaluated to determine the cause and significance of the murmur. Murmurs may be innocent (“flow” murmurs) or may be an indication of structural heart disease such as aortic stenosis, sub aortic stenosis, septal defects or defects of the mitral, tricuspid or pulmonic valves. Echo with Doppler measurements can accurately find and diagnose the origin of murmurs which cannot always be heard or reliably pinpointed by auscultation alone.

1. Maximum flow values have recently been reevaluated and raised to 2.4 IF there is no evidence of structural causes. The cardiologist should determine if the flow value for an individual Boxer is of concern. Current information is that AS/SAS may develop upon sexual maturity in dogs that were previously tested clear, thus the new recommendation for 24 mos. minimum age. Boxer Cardiomyopathy is a complex condition that is still under study.

2. Thyroid panel must include the following tests: TGAA (Thyroglobulin auto antibodies), Total T4AA, Free T4AA (by equilibrium dialysis), cTSH. (Optional tests include T3 and free T3)

3. Because these results can change over time, or because the age at testing may be significant, it is essential to list the date of the most recent test in each case. There are no normal values for some of the recommended tests, and there can be differing opinions between experts in the field.