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Home »  Dog Breeds »  Boxer Dog

The Boxer is a popular dog used as a guard dog, as a working dog and as a family pet. It is intelligent and strong and quite versatile. It is ranked 10th most popular dog, which is a drop from previous years.

Here is the Boxer at a Glance
Name Boxer
Other Names Boxer dog, German Boxer, Deutscher Boxer
Nicknames None
Origin Germany
Average size Medium to large
Average weight 50 to 70 pounds
Average height 21 to 25 inches
Life span 10 to 12 years
Coat type Smooth, shorthaired
Hypoallergenic No
Color Fawn, brindle, white. black (but not solid black)
Popularity Fairly high, 10th most popular according to AKC
Intelligence Very good – it is one of the more clever dogs
Tolerance to heat Low – this is not a good dog to have in very hot climates, care should be taken it does not overheat
Tolerance to cold Moderate – It is also not great in cold climates either!
Shedding Average – expect some hair around the home and on clothes despite being short haired
Drooling High – it is known for being a big drooler
Obesity Above average – diet and exercise will need to be monitored
Grooming/brushing Good – the coat is easy to brush and should be done so daily
Barking Occasional – it only barks on occasion so is not overly noisy
Exercise needs Quite high – it will need active owners
Trainability For someone with experience fairly easy but for the rest its stubbornness can make it harder
Friendliness Very good – it is friendly most of the time
Good first dog Not especially, needs experienced owner
Good family pet When well trained and raised it is very good
Good with children Very good with socialization, will play and be affectionate
Good with other dogs Good – needs socialization though
Good with other pets Can be good with socialization but may see smaller ones as prey
Good with strangers Very good – Quite an approachable dog
Good apartment dog No – too large and active
Handles alone time well No – needs company around it
Health issues Can have several health issues so make sure you get it from a breeder who checks the health of the parents
Medical expenses $485 a year including pet insurance
Food expenses $270 a year including treats
Miscellaneous expenses $230 a year including license, toys, training as well as other misc expenses
Average annual expense $985 plus
Cost to purchase $900
Biting Statistics Attacks doing bodily harm:64 Maimings: 31 Child Victims: 19 Deaths: 7

The Boxer's Beginnings

In the late 1800s German breeders developed the Boxer using the Bullenbeisser, a now extinct breed descended from the Molossus, and the Bulldog who's origins are in England. The Bullenbeisser worked as a hunting dog for hundreds of years, helping to hunt large animals like deer, wild boar and bear. It's job was to grab hold of the prey and hold it down until the hunters came. It was a strong and fierce working dog but disappeared when demand for faster dogs increased. The Bulldog was a dog bred in England to bait bulls as part of a spectator sport.

In Belgium the Brabanter Bullenbeisser was developed, smaller and faster. Three German breeders in 1894 wanted to stabilize the breed and put it in dog shows. This led to the development of the Boxer. The first Boxer in dog show happened in 1895 in Munich and a year later the first Boxer Club was formed there also. A standard was published for the breed in 1902 which remains mostly unchanged to this day.

It is part of the Molosser group of dogs and is a member of the Working Group. At the same time it came to the rest of Europe. It did not come to the US until the early 20th century and was registered with the AKC in 1904.

New Lease on Life

During the first world war the Boxer was used by the military for a lot of important work like pack carrier, messenger dog, guard dog and attack dog. But it was not until after world war two that it became more popular after it served in the same manner. Soldiers returning home brought Boxers with them and they soon became a favored family pet, guard dog and show dog.

The Dog You See Today

The Boxer Dog is medium to large in size and is powerful and compact. Both front and back legs are very muscled. It is known to be brachycephalic so it has a short but broad head. The muzzle is squared and it has very powerful jaws with a very strong bite. The black nose is large and has nostrils that are wide open. Its head is in proportion to the body. There are folds that run down its muzzle. The lower jaw should protrude more than the upper jaw creating an underbite. It has dark brown eyes.

When first bred Boxers were commonly docked and cropped (ears and tail) and this is something still done in some countries. Others have banned these practices so it is possible to find both types. In the US and Canada cropped ears are still common in show Boxers. Docking is done on puppies that are only 3 to 5 days old when no cartilage has formed fully yet and as a result no anesthesia or sutures are needed. Ears are high set and when cropped stand up and taper but when left alone, being thin, they fall forward.

In the UK breeders actually developed a Boxer with a real short tail as they knew the docking ban was coming there. These are known as Bobtail Boxers but the FCI ruled that such dogs cannot take part in shows.

The Boxer has a smooth, shiny and short-haired coat with usual colors of fawn, brindled, white and mahogany. The white markings are referred to as flash. Fawn can cover a variety of tones from light tan, reddish, dark honey to yellow. You can get get white Boxers but not solid black ones. White boxers are more at risk of deafness, sunburn and therefore skin cancers. In the past they were often euthanize when born though today some breeders have become reluctant to do so.

The Inner Boxer



Boxers are a good family dog when raised well and given the right training and socialization. It is intelligent but can be headstrong and needs an owner who is clearly dominant. It is playful and energetic and will be protective of the family.

If bored it will lick, dig, chew and bark so make sure it gets enough exercise and stimulation. It bonds very closely to its family and those protective instincts can lead to aggression if it feels they or it is threatened. It uses its front paws a lot to paw at things and can be very playful and likes to clown around. It also is alert and watchful and very confident.

With known visitors it is welcoming but may be more stand offish until it has gotten to know strangers. Boxers need to be working or active and they need strong leadership. It can be boisterous and without training it will jump up at people and can accidentally hurt them.

It is a great watchdog and guard dog and has been used successfully in the police and military. It prefers not to be left alone for long periods, but companionship can be human or animal in form.

Living with a Boxer

Training needs

Training and early socialization are essential for all dogs but as a large, boisterous, energetic and dominant dog, for the Boxer it is especially true. Because of its playful side the Boxer will not take training seriously unless it is done be someone with experience, who establishes themselves firmly as the pack leader. Use positive methods and be consistent. It will often attempt to push the rules or your boundaries and you have to be prepared for it and let it get away with it.

A Boxer that has not been trained or not trained well can be stubborn, hard to control, aggressive and sneaky.

How active is this dog?

The Boxer is not a yard dog though having a yard to play in is best for it, as a place to let of steam when it is not being trained or exercised. It does better in a house with room and that yard than an apartment. It is an active dog and should have at least two half hour, vigorous walks a day. It should also be taken to places where it can go off leash and run and play dog sport and games. A well exercised and stimulated Boxer is a lot better behaved. Just avoid too much exertion when the weather is hot as Boxers do not do well in the heat and can actually be more susceptible to heatstroke.

Caring for the Boxer

Grooming needs

With a short coat it is easy to brush but the Boxer does shed an average amount so daily brushing is possible. A bristle brush or grooming hard rubber mitt should do the job. To keep its coat shiny give it a rub down with a chamois. Only bathe as needed as owners who bath too frequently find the skin dries out and problems can occur. It is not a good dog for people with allergies.

Its teeth will need to be looked after and given a brush at least twice a week. Keep an eye on its nails and get them clipped by an expert when they become too long. Ears should be inspected for infection signs and then given a wipe clean once a week.

Some Boxers groom themselves like cats and so keep themselves clean but some have an unfortunate enjoyment of rolling themselves in the feces of other animals so they may need more care than normal!

Feeding time

If feeding dry dog food use a high quality brand as it has less fillers in it and more nutrients. Boxers will need 2 to 3 cups or more of this a day, split into at least two meals. Because they are active they need more calories than dogs who are lazier so their diet should be high in lean protein. How much it eats will vary depending on size, health, how active it is and its metabolism.

How are Boxers with other pets and children?

Boxers that are raised properly are very good with children, though are more suited to older children just because their rambunctiousness can be too much for toddlers and accidents can happen. Children should be taught how to approach and touch it in a way it does not mind.

When raised with them or well socialized Boxers can get along well with other pets, even other dogs. However some can still be aggressive to other dogs if they are the same sex or dominant. Some also still chase cats. With animals like farm birds while they can be taught to leave them, they cannot be trusted to be left alone with.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

There are some health issues that the Boxer is more prone to. They include cancer, heart problems, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, eye problems, epilepsy, bloat and allergies.

Almost a quarter of Boxer puppies die before the age of 7 weeks from infection and stillbirth is a common occurrence. This is more common in poorly bred lines of Boxers.

In the UK a health survey by the Kennel Club there states that over a third of Boxer deaths are caused by cancer. The most common form being mast cell tumors, which affects their immune system. It is important therefore that breeders be responsible in their screening.

When a Boxer is still young it is important not to over exercise it. This is a time when bones that are still growing can be damaged.

Biting Statistics

When looking at data for attacks on people by dogs over the last 34 years there have been 64 attacks that did bodily harm (meaning medical attention was needed). Out of those 31 were categorized as maimings where a limb was lost, permanent scarring and disfigurement occurred. 19 of those victims were children and there were 7 deaths. One of the attacks that lead to a death was a Rottweiler and a Boxer with a 3 week old baby.

Though this puts the Boxer in the top 10% of dogs responsible for attacks on people this can be avoided when owners and breeders are more responsible. Breed dogs honestly and weed out aggressive line, buy a dog that you can honestly handle, train, exercise and care for. Any dog can become aggressive given certain situations or conditions.


Your Pup’s Price Tag

The purchase of a Boxer will vary in amount depending on where you buy from. Some sales are backyard breeders, puppy mills or just accidents owners are getting rid of, and subsequently the cost will be lower to reflect that, around $300 to $500. You could alternatively adopt a Boxer from a rescue or shelter and that will be even less though you are more likely to find adult dogs needing homes than puppies. If you want to buy from a breeder you should do some research to ensure you find one that is reputable. A good breeder can charge upwards of $900.

Along with getting the puppy there will be initial costs to pay for. Medical costs for a veterinarian check up, getting it spayed or neutered, vaccinations, deworming and blood tests. Micro chipping is also a very good idea. These come to about $290. Non medical essentials like a crate, collar and leash will be needed too coming to $160.

Now we move on to yearly costs. Very importantly you need to have your Boxer trained and socialized. You can use professionals for this but it is vital that you yourself establish yourself as dominant and pack leader to maintain control. Training can start at about $120 but can go up depending on what you opt for.

Other annual costs include a license for around $20, basic medical needs like flea prevention, shots and flea prevention for about $260. Emergency medical savings or pet insurance for around $225.

Then of course there is feeding it. A boxer is a medium to large dog who is also quite active so it will need good quality food and quite a bit of it. Expect to pay at least $235 a year plus $30 to $40 at least for dog treats.

This means a grand total annual cost of $985 plus.


Looking for a Boxer Puppy Name? Let select one from our list!

This is a lively dog, a popular one for guarding purposes as well as being good companions. It can be formidable and headstrong though and needs experienced and firm handling. As a puppy it is curious, energetic and charming. It grows into a powerful, mischievous and still energetic large dog. It can perform well in obedience and agility trials and also does well with the military and the police.

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