At a glance
Boxer dogs are mid-sized dogs of German and English origin. Along with mastiffs, pugs, and bulldogs, the breed belongs to the Molosser group. Known mostly as a companion dog, they have also been widely used in search and rescue, police work and military work, and were recognized as part of the working class by the American Kennel Club in 1904.
- Names – German Boxer, Deutscher Boxer
- Group – AKC: Working Group; KC: Working
- Size – medium
- Life expectancy – 9 – 15 years; an average of 12 years
- Cost of ownership – medium
- Ease of ownership – medium
- Aggressive tendency – medium
- Amount of Exercise – high
- Amount of Grooming – low
- Ease of Training – high
- Obedience level – high
- Suitable for Children – high
- Amount of Care Required – medium
- Susceptibility to Health Problems – medium
The boxer is a medium sized dog. When still relatively young, he tends to look lean. However, a fully grown dog looks sinewy, sturdy and deep chested. As is usual with most Molosser group members, the breed has a short muzzle and a slightly upturned chin. The head and muzzle have wrinkly skin, which furthers their unique appearance. His long legs allow him to cover more ground quickly. Their refined gait shows great energy in the powerful looking legs. The Boxer is built to cover many types of terrain.
- Bitch: 25kg (55lbs) to 27kg (60lbs)
- Dog: 30kg (66lbs) to 32kg (71lbs)
- Bitch: 53cm (21″) to 59cm (23″)
- Dog: 57cm (22″) to 63cm (25″)
- Color – fawn and brindle, both with or without white flashing on underbelly, chest, and all four feet; black mask
- Coat – shiny and compact shorthaired coat.
- Shedding – medium
- Allergies – medium
- Causes Allergies – medium
Boxers are lively, strong, intelligent and extremely loyal. They have a near-explosive energy level that untrained dogs would not hesitate to unleash on owners walking through the door after a tiring day. Their noble gait is very proud but high self-esteem is not observed in most dogs.
- Separation Anxiety – high
- Barking tendency – medium
- Aggressive tendency – medium
- Compatibility Other Animals – high
- Suitable for Children – high
- Watchdog suitability – high
The Boxer is patient, dignified and self-assured. They exhibit curiosity but are wary of strangers. This breed is fearless and courageous if threatened. They are keenly alert and have a heightened sense of hearing, which make them excellent guard dogs. The Boxer adores children and other pets they have been raised with. They have an inordinate need for human companionship and do not like to be alone for extended periods of time. They are not well suited for a two career family. Insufficient attention may lead them into “bad” behavior in an attempt to be noticed.
With proper training, Boxers are top family pets, agility competitors and show dogs. Despite their generally non-aggressive nature, they can be easily trained into good guard dogs. Every Boxer responds to strangers differently. Some are friendly and sociable, others come across as reserved and others are aloof. In regard to specific training strategies, Boxers, like other animals, typically respond better to positive reinforcement techniques, such as clicker training. Lastly, a meek and inconsistent owner of a Boxer will have an extra-stubborn Boxer on their hands that will be difficult to command.
- Obedience – high
This breed is happiest living in a house with plenty of people, children and various exercise options. They love charging around wide open spaces, chasing balls and Frisbees and going on long walks.
- Energy – high
- Amount required – more than 2 hours per day
Aside from coat grooming, a Boxer requires monthly nail trimmings and weekly ear cleanings. Something that cannot be overemphasized is the proper way of clipping the nails. They should be clipped only at the hooked end of the nail. Anything closer to the base can result in a painful cut through the vein inside the nail called the quick. A solution to any bleeding is the application of styptic powder to the wound.
To clean the boxer’s ears, use a cotton ball dipped in mineral oil. Cleaning should not go beyond the outer area. In other words, never stick anything into the dog’s ear canal. To foster clean teeth, use dry dog food and certain chew toys that help to deter tartar accumulation. Brushing the teeth with canine toothpaste and a soft toothbrush can also be helpful. However, keep in mind that tartar removal can be entrusted to a veterinarian.
Owners can keep their Boxers in tip-top shape by feeding them twice daily. Boxers are known for their delicate digestive systems, which means their diet needs to be simple, with no treats. A puppy should eat a minimum of three meals a day until about six months old, when meals can be reduced to two meals daily. Note: small puppies (8-16 weeks) will usually do better on four or even five small meals a day.
Puppies can either be fed a high quality kibble (dry food) or raised on a natural raw diet. To check what qualifies as quality kibble for a boxer, try checking the top 5 ingredients of the pet food you tend to buy the most often. The ingredient list will layout the fractional shares of the food from the highest down to the least volume. The first ingredient that should be there is a named meat source such as chicken, beef or lamb, however, chicken meal is also a serious alternative. At least two or more named meat sources may indicate that this is a good brand. On the other hand, an ingredient that needs to be kept to a minimum as much as possible is grains, which are common allergens.
Ingredients that should not be listed include: any corn products in the food (corn, corn meal, corn gluten meal, corn syrup, etc), as this is a very common allergen in boxers; wheat products/fragments; beet pulp or molasses (sugar); animal by-products.
Most Boxer owners go beyond giving the dog’s coat a brushing with a sturdy brush. In order to impress on the dog the good benefits of grooming, some people complement their brushwork with a grooming glove. These are available in a variety of textures, like durable latex, poly-grass, slicker and sisal.
Brushing three times a week will be sufficient for the dog. Also, unless the Boxer has a particular liking for rolling in mud or in some really smelly dirt, he will seldom need a bath.
- Ease of grooming – high
- Amount of grooming – low
If you wish to get in touch with a breeder, inquire around for one who breeds properly health-tested Boxers. Not carefully selecting a reputable breeder can result in you obtaining a puppy susceptible to several serious genetically-inherited health conditions. Testing for specific diseases, such as corneal dystrophy, will help strengthen the breed. On the other hand, a dog that has developed generalized mange must not be bred. Screening substantially reduces the risk of passing illness to future litters. You can be sure with the breeder that makes available copies of the satisfactory test results for both parents. Your breeder should provide copies of all health tests related to the sire and dam of the litter, as well as offer a minimum of 1-year written guarantee against genetic health conditions.
Up-to-par breeders also become competitive in presenting their breeding stock at conformation, which is an effective way of promoting potential breeding stock.
If you wish to breed a boxer, you need to realize your intentions and determine if you can really contribute better traits and qualities to the stock. A good start is to have x-rays taken of your dog (whether male or female) in order to detect hip dysplasia, thyroid tests, immunizations, and a heart health certification that is certified by the board of cardiologists. A stud fee can be worth around $1000, but in any case it is sensible to pay a lot if only to ensure a good reputation for your litter.
Other things to consider include planning how your costs and your probable returns stack up (e.g., a female boxer will need weekly checkups at the vet as the delivery date looms, with each visit costing $50; and, aside from the near-countless costs associated with the litter, tail docking and ear cropping costs $ 500 per puppy). Register your boxer puppies with AKC in order to make it official that they are purebred boxers. Sellers will need an AKC registration and a health record.
- Litter size – 2 to 10 puppies; Average of 6
- Puppy cost – $ 690 to $ 1,100
- Other expenses – The average cost of a puppy is between $690 and $820 and can be as high as $ 1,100. Once the dog is settled in your home, you may want to actually obtain some pet insurance since anything can happen.
Boxer health can be a matter of concern. From age eight and onwards they are more likely to get tumors than other breeds. Some Boxers may catch allergies, may drool, may snore and may have excessive flatulence. Some white Boxers are prone to deafness. When purchasing a Boxer discuss any concerns with the breeder and get to know more about the breeding lines.
- Susceptibility to illness – medium
- Common health problems – Lymphoma, Heart murmur, Inherited epithelial dysplasia
The Boxer is an athletic breed that will thrive in a busy household, and is best suited to an owner and/or family that leads an active lifestyle and shares his energy. In return, a patient and consistent owner can expect a very entertaining and clownish, family guard dog.
Living conditions – Boxers can thrive in an apartment as long as they obtain sufficient exercise. They can be active indoors but will energetically take advantage of an average-sized yard. Boxers are happiest in temperate climates since their short muzzles make them sensitive to cold and hot temperatures.
- Good with Children – Very loving and playful with children.
The boxer’s roots lead back to the Bulldog and a mastiff type dog that was used for hunting in the middle ages in Germany. These ancestors of the Boxer were also utilized for bull-baiting when this became a sport. In the 19th century these two breeds were crossed to make the Boxer. The Boxer has been very popular in Europe since the early 20th century; however, the first Boxer to be registered with the Kennel Club in Britain was in 1933.
- County of origin – Germany
- AKA KC name and group: Mastiff/ Working
- FCI, AKC, UKC, KCGB, CKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, CCR, CKC, APRI, ACR
Did you know…
- Many celebrities have boxers, some of whom include:
- Singer Justin Timberlake: Buckley, Brennan
- Actor Humphrey Bogart, whose Boxer was even present during his last days: Harvey
- NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Killer
- Joel Madden and Benji Madden of the rock band Good Charlotte: Cashdog
- Jazz musician-singer Nat King Cole: Mr. Pet
- English novelist Emily Bronte: Keeper
- Artist Pablo Picasso: Jan
- Writer and critic Dorothy Parker: Flic
- Tennis professional Steffi Graf: Ben
- Actor Sylvester Stallone: Gangster
- Singer Jordan Knight of the New kids on the Block: Shane
- It’s impossible for a Boxer to stay black and be considered purebred at the same time.
- The Boxer’s short muzzle has pro’s and con’s. It gives the dog a bite packed with power, but on the other hand it is a hindrance to the dog in very hot or very cold climates.