Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica and BioMed Central.

Open Access Open Badges Research

A survey of dystocia in the Boxer breed

Catharina Linde Forsberg1* and Gunilla Persson2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Reproduction, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences, P.O Box 7054, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden

2 Regional Animal Hospital in Helsingborg, PO Box 20097, SE-250 23 Helsingborg, Sweden

For all author emails, please log on.

Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 2007, 49:8  doi:10.1186/1751-0147-49-8

Published: 21 March 2007



Dystocia occurs more commonly in some breeds of dogs than others. The Boxer breed is one of the highrisk breeds for whelping problems. The aim of this study was to document some reproductive parameters and the frequency of dystocia in Boxers.


Two questionnaires were sent to the breeders of Boxers in Sweden during 1994 to 1997. Data from 253 whelpings and 1671 pups was received, which constitutes 56.5% of all Boxer litters registered with the Swedish Kennel Club during these years. Data was analysed using Chi-square test, and Fischer's exact test.


Dystocia occurred in 32% of the individual bitches, and in 27.7% of all the whelpings. Caesarian section was performed in 22.8% of all the whelpings and in 80.1% of the cases of dystocia. Medical treatment was tried in 20 cases but was successful only in 5 (25%). The dystocia was of maternal origin in 68.6% and of fetal origin in 28.6% of cases. The most common reasons for dystocia were primary uterine inertia (60%) and malpresentation of the fetus (26%). Dystocia increased with increasing age of the bitch from four years of age. Average litter size was 6.6 (± 2.2) pups born, and 5.0 (± 2.1) pups registered. Pup mortality was 24%. Stillbirths accounted for 6.1% of the pup deaths and 1% died in the neonatal period, while 15.6% of the pups were euthanised, the majority because they had disqualifying white coat colour. Cryptorchidism was observed in 9.8% of the male pups born and in 13.4% of the male pups that were registered.


The Boxer suffers a high frequency of dystocia, mainly due to uterine inertia, but also fetal malpresentation. Breeders should be adviced to include easy whelpings in their breeding program.