Dogs

5 Things to Know About Boxers


Boxers are patient and affectionate, making them great dogs for children. Photo: iStock.com/Alona Rjabceva

1. Key Characteristics of Boxers

  • AKC Group: Working
  • Height: 21.5–23.5 inches (females); 23–25 inches (males)
  • Weight: 50–65 pounds (females); 60–70 pounds (males)
  • Life Expectancy: 11 to 15 years or more

Boxers are medium-sized dogs with well-developed muscles. They have unique, chiseled heads and a smooth coat appearance over their toned muscles underneath. They’re also said to have the longest tongues of all dog breeds!

Boxers have dark brown eyes and coat colors that come in fawn, brindle, black or white. The tails are usually docked, a practice that is increasingly seen as cruel and unnecessary.

2. Where Boxers Came From

The Boxer likely descends from a line of different dogs, mostly from Europe, dating back to the 16th century. One of these ancestors may have been a fighting dog from Tibet. Boxers also carry lines from the bulldog and terrier.

They were originally used for dog fighting and bull baiting until the practices were outlawed. The dogs were also used in hunting; Boxers would pin down large animals until the hunter arrived.

The breed was refined in Germany in the 19th century and exported to the United States after World War I. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the breed in 1904.

Boxers were exported to England in the 1930s in limited numbers; a breed club was formed, which in turn heightened the dogs’ popularity.

boxer breed profile
Boxers are known to be protective, courageous and intelligent. Photo: Kristy May/Petful

3. How Friendly Are Boxers?

Boxers are patient and affectionate with adults and children. They are also very protective, courageous and fearless, and these qualities lead to the desirability of the breed.

They are intelligent dogs who are easily trained; Boxers are also energetic and playful dogs with a natural curiosity. Properly socialized Boxers can live with cats, but don’t leave them alone with small animals.

4. Is This the Right Dog for You?

Exercise Needs

HIGH: Although Boxers are active indoors and do well in apartments, they also need a long, brisk walk every day at the very least. Note that they’re sensitive to temperature extremes (both hot and cold).

To be happy, these dogs need a ton of interactive play; in other words, you can’t just put them outside and leave them alone. Boxers who aren’t socialized, trained or allowed to expel energy on a regular basis can become stubborn and difficult.

Grooming Needs

LOW: Shedding is average for this breed; a weekly brushing is usually sufficient.

Bathe your Boxer as needed, but not too often — it will strip the coat of its natural oils. Clip the dog’s nails regularly, brush the teeth and clean the ears. Some people report that their Boxers clean themselves like a cat by self-bathing.

Health Problems

HIGH: Unfortunately, the Boxer is susceptible to a host of health problems, some of which include:

  • Cardiomyopathy and other heart problems
  • Thyroid problems (hypothyroidism)
  • Skin and other allergies
  • Epilepsy
  • Tumors (more common after 8 years of age)
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Back and knee issues
  • Excessive flatulence
  • Deafness (more common in white Boxers)

This is a daunting list, so remember that superior healthcare and regular vet visits will help keep your Boxer healthy.

Check out why Boxers are such beloved pets:

5. How to Adopt a Boxer

If you consider getting a Boxer, please check rescues and adoption resources. Even purebred animals can end up in shelters. Try Petful’s adoptable pets search.

Finding a Boxer through adoption resources may be difficult. You can also check with rescue groups and breeders. If you do choose to go to a breeder, make sure the breeder is reputable and doesn’t exhibit any of the puppy mill warnings.

Additional Resources



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