Breed Group: Working
Temperament and Behavior
Although they vary, Boxers are generally energetic, playful dogs that are active both inside and out well into adulthood. Always excited to greet family members, they often do the “Kidney Bean” wiggle of their bodies back and forth in excitement to compensate for their lack of tails. Though too exuberant for toddlers, when taking into account their exceptionally high marks in being both gentle with and protecting children you have an ideal companion for an active family. Although Boxers may be aggressive toward strange dogs, they can be socialized to live peacefully with household dogs and other pets. Intelligent, playful, and active, Boxers need daily mental and physical exercise. A fast agile dog, he needs a good run in a fenced area. Also a jumper, fences should be 8 feet high. But he loves his family far too much to be kept outside. He is a good all-around watchdog with an imposing presence but when tested, he is only an average guardian. He’ll go from a roughhousing children’s playmate to an imposing, cleanly chiseled work of art at the snap of a finger and swipe of a brush. Very clean dogs, they groom themselves like a cat. They tend to snore as well as drool but this trait is frequently exaggerated. However, their tendency toward flatulence is cannot be exaggerated and is made worse by rich food.
Physical CharacteristicsThe Boxer’s large body combines strength and agility. Male Boxers grow to be 22.5-25 inches tall and weigh 65-80 pounds at maturity. Females are slightly smaller, growing to be 21-23.5 inches and weighing about 50-65 pounds. They have a shiny, short coat that takes virtually no grooming to keep shedding within an average range. Coat color can be either fawn or brindle with white markings. A Boxer’s unique chiseled head has a broad, blunt muzzle and black mask. They tolerate neither hot nor cold temperatures well. Their short hair requires that they be indoors during cold periods, and their shortened muzzles make hot humid weather uncomfortable.
Trainer's NotesEarly training should include special attention to socialization, plus basic obedience. They are not the easiest dog to train but training methods must be kept positive to help him develop confidence. They are “leader-sensitive” dogs that become depressed if they fail to please and negative training methods are then used. Boxers are frequently trained for agility, obedience, tracking, search and rescue, and as therapy dogs.
Boxer, brindle color with both natural and cropped ears
HealthThe Boxer’s regrettably short lifespan of 8-10 years is often caused by Bloat or one of several cancers breeders are working to overcome. Hip Dysplasia and Autoimmune Thyroiditis each affects about 10% of the breed. The heart ailments Cardiomyopathy, SAS, and Aortic Stenosis are also concerns with the breed. Beware of the approximately 20% of Boxers that are born white; some of these are born deaf in one or both ears. Request a BAER test showing normal hearing in both ears if you have an interest in one of these pups.
PopularityAccording to the American Kennel Club, Boxers rank 7th in popularity with between 35,000 and 40,000 registrations every year.
Breed History“Boxer” is an English name that appropriately describes this dog’s original punchy fighting style. Boxers descended from two extinct central European breeds similar to Mastiffs. Hunters used them to grab large game which required a strong but agile dog with powerful jaws and a recessed nose that enabled it to breathe while holding the hunted animal in its jaws. Through the years Boxers have been used for guarding, hunting, police work, military work, and search and rescue. They have also proven to be popular family dogs who are equally comfortable either playing or cuddling with family members.
Additional InformationThe long list of famous Boxer owners includes Nat King Cole, Humphrey Bogart, Diane Fossey, Jodi Foster, Billy Holiday, Charlton Heston, Rocky Marciano, Steffi Graf, Carroll O’Connor, Sylvester Stalone, Pablo Picasso, Robin Williams and Andy Williams. The AKC recognized Breed Club is the American Boxer Club, Inc.