Last Updated on 9 months by Mike Ramsey
The Boxer is a large and muscular short-haired breed of dog.
Their imposing size and square-heads make them seem intimidating at first glance. Look into their eyes, however, and it’s easy to see that Boxers just want to love you and have fun.
Officially recognized by the AKC (American Kennel Club) in 1904, the boxer was bred from the English Bulldog and Bullenbeisser breeds. They were initially bred as hunting dogs.
The Boxer got its start in Germany during the late 19th century. The dog’s job was to chase down wild game including bears, wild boar, and deer. After catching the animal, the Boxer was to grab and hold the prey with its powerful jaws until the hunters arrived.
The breed quickly caught on in popularity. Boxers soon transitioned from being used as hunting dogs to winning countless awards as show dogs. It wasn’t until the turn of the 20th century that the breed was introduced to the rest of Europe as well as the United States.
Thanks to their intelligence and physical build, Boxers were used in several military roles during World War I, World War II, and other wars. Chief among their roles were their use as messenger, pack-carrier, attack, and guard dogs.
It was the breed’s role in the war that helped boost their popularity. Returning soldiers took the dogs home with them. Boxers soon became one of the most loved family dogs in the world. Today, they rank well within the top ten most popular purebreds in the United States.
Common Characteristics of the Boxer
There is more to Boxers than first meets the eye. Tough and strong from a physical standpoint, the dogs are actually sweet and gentle at heart.
Boxers are known for their love of mischief. They are incredibly playful dogs with near boundless energy. For these reasons, they’re best suited for active homes. Fail to provide enough exercise and mental stimulation for your Boxer and you’ll likely find your home in ruins.
According to the American Kennel Club, Boxers have one of the longest puppyhoods of any dog breed. They aren’t fully mature until they are at least three years old. Their lengthened puppyhood means that their energy and playfulness as a youngster lasts a lot longer than normal.
Yet Boxers aren’t all fun and games. They’re also incredibly intelligent. They love to learn new things and pick up training fast.
The breed’s intelligence is also highlighted through their alertness and loyalty. They love their families to pieces and are very protective of them. However, this dedication to their families is highlighted through distrust rather than aggression.
Despite their protectiveness of their families, Boxers are great with children. They are famously patient and gentle with all children, even toddlers and infants. If you want a tough dog breed you can trust with kids, the Boxer might very well be a good choice for you.
Boxers tend to think of themselves as lapdogs, despite their large size. Their need for affection in addition to their clownish behavior adds to their high-spirited and happy personalities. The exuberance and love of a Boxer is sure to bring a smile to your face.
Boxer Health Issues
As with any breed of dog, it’s important to understand the specific health issues associated with Boxers. Of course, not all Boxers will develop these, but it’s essential to be aware of them.
The American Boxer Club states that most common health issue associated with Boxers is cancer, especially skin cancer. If your Boxer is white or has white markings, it’s very important to apply sunscreen to these areas for outdoor playtime.
Other health issues that commonly plague the breed include aortic stenosis, Boxer cardiomyopathy, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, corneal dystrophy, allergies, and deafness.
Buy your Boxer puppy from a reputable breeder to minimize health risks. The dog should have health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF).
These clearances will ensure your new dog is at the smallest possible risk for developing a serious health issue.
Boxers are a big and strong breed of dog. Males typically weigh around 70 pounds, sitting between 22 and 25 inches tall at the shoulder.
Females typically weigh around 60 pounds, sitting between 21 and 24 inches tall at the shoulder.
Boxers have complex and varied personalities. No two boxers will behave exactly the same. Yet there are a few personality traits that the majority of Boxers share.
At the top of the list is that Boxers are alert and watchful. This stems from their history as guard dogs, work dogs, and hunting dogs. Whenever they hear a suspicious noise, their ears immediately perk up.
Boxers are also dignified and self-assured. They’re confident and fearless in all situations. Yet don’t let their sometimes serious demeanors fool you. Boxers are playful clowns at heart.
Another benefit of the Boxer personality is their politeness. These dogs are polite with almost everyone they meet, although they’re often wary until they know you better. The breed is also known for its love of children. Boxers are playful and incredibly patient with kids.
Early socialization is important for Boxers. While all dog breeds need this, new experiences as a puppy help Boxers become well-rounded dogs. It helps ensure they’ll be friendly and outgoing in all future circumstances.
Finally, you’re sure to notice just how exuberant your Boxer is while playing. Play is the number one love of this breed. Jumping, twisting, even somersaulting in the air are common when a Boxer is running off leash.
If you’re looking for an energetic big dog that loves to cuddle, the Boxer is a great choice for you. Keep them mentally and physically stimulated and you’ll have one of the best family dogs imaginable.
Boxers love to play. They require at least an hour of exercise per day. While two 30 minute walks each day will cut it, two 30 minute chunks of vigorous playtime is best.
Pet Assure suggests that the favorite play activities of Boxers are widespread. They enjoy walking, hiking, and playing fetch. Many Boxer owners have found their dogs love dog sports like agility training or flyball.
Though Boxers love the outdoors, they are not outdoor dogs. They are housedogs and need to be kept inside. Sure, they’ll appreciate a fenced yard for play, but their short noses and short coats means they need to live indoors.
The short coat of Boxers means minimal grooming is required. On top of this, the breed has been known to clean themselves like cats. With that said, weekly brushing can still help with shedding.
Dental and nail care is also important. Brush your Boxer’s teeth a couple of times per week. Trim their nails once every month if they don’t wear down naturally.
Common Coat Colors
Boxers come in a variety of colors, though their coat is always sleek and short. It shows off their athletic and muscular bodies.
The two most common coat colors for Boxers are fawn and brindle. Dogs of either color come with or without white markings. These markings occur primarily on the belly and feet. It sometimes extends to the neck or face.
Most Boxers have a black “mask” on their face. This sometimes also consists of a white stripe running vertically between their eyes.
You’ll sometimes see Boxers that are primarily white in color. While they make great family dogs, their white coats make them more susceptible to skin cancer. It’s important to take special care to keep your Boxer out of the hot sun if they are mostly white in color.
The temperament of your Boxer depends on a variety of factors. These include heredity, training, and socialization. If you’re buying a puppy, meeting the parents and siblings is a good indicator of what the grown up dog will be like.
As we mentioned above, Boxers are generally energetic yet well-behaved dogs. They need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation, but act like they’re lapdogs. They always want to be next to their family.
Loyalty and love for the family is a major part of the Boxer temperament. While normally friendly and mellow dogs, they easily become wary and protective if their family is in danger.
Improper socialization or abuse can sometimes even lead them to violence and aggression when they feel a family member is threatened.
The Boxer is a delightful dog that will soon become an important part of your family. They interact well with children, other pets, and the elderly.
The most important thing to keep in mind is the Boxer’s need for exercise. They are high-energy dogs and need at least one hour of exercise per day. Make sure that you’re up for the challenge before getting a Boxer of your own.
On top of this, early training is critical. Socialize and train your dog from the start. Be sure to get your dog from a reputable breeder so you can ensure it has a calm temperament and a healthy history. Do all of these things and you’re sure to have the Boxer of your dreams.