The Boxer is a medium-sized, strong, and compact dog breed with a distinctive head. The active and fun-loving Boxer is classified as a working dog, but many Boxers today are household pets.
This breed does look imposing with its muscular body and huge, powerful head. It was actually among the first breeds trained to be police dogs in Germany. But it’s naturally not an aggressive breed, and can actually be affectionate and loyal companions.
Learn more about this breed as you read this post, and see if this is the right breed for you.
Boxer Dogs and Puppies | Dog Breeds Journal Feature
What is a Boxer?
The Boxer belongs to the Molosser group of dogs, like the American Pit Bull Terrier and the English Bulldog. Dogs of this group have large heads, muscled necks, and short muzzles.
It’s not very clear why the breed got its name ‘boxer’. Some people believe it’s called ‘boxer’ because of its tendency to stand on its hind legs, and use its front paws in a ‘boxing’ motion when playing.
Where is the Boxer from?
The Boxer was developed in Germany in the late 19th century. This breed is the result of crossing the Bullenbeisser and the British Bulldog.
The now extinct Bullenbeisser, descended from Mastiffs, was used to hunt bear, deer, and wild boar. It was a powerful breed that can hold down a large prey using its jaws and body.
Back in the breed’s early days, Boxers were primarily working dogs. They were used as bull baiting dogs, cattle dogs, fighting dogs, and cart pullers. Later on, they were enlisted as service dogs in the military and served as messenger dogs and guard dogs.
The breed’s popularity didn’t surge in the U.S. and the rest of the world until after both World Wars.
What does a Boxer look like?
The Boxer is physically impressive with its square-like, proportionate, and sinewy but clean build. It typically looks alert, intelligent, and confident. But its head is probably its most unique feature. The breed is brachycephalic, which means it has a broader and shorter skull compared to other dog breeds. This trait is also responsible for the breed’s square muzzle. Another distinctive feature is its underbite.
Breed standards indicate Boxers are (or have):
- Male Boxers weigh 25 to 32 kg, and stand at the withers at 22.5 to 25 inches
- Female Boxers also weigh around 25–32 kg, and stand at the withers at 21 to 23.5 inches
- Sturdy bodies and well-developed muscles
- Skin folds starting from the base of the nose to the sides of the muzzle.
- Wrinkly forehead
- Moderately-sized ears that fold and fall close to the head
- Dark brown eyes
- Broad and black nose set a little bit higher than the base of the muzzle
- Straight, firmly muscled front legs and well-angled, muscular hind legs
- Short and smooth coat (lying closely to the body).
- Coat color comes only in fawn or brindle. There may be white markings (also called flash) on the face, neck, underbelly, and feet.
There are Boxers born almost all white. But breeding nearly all white Boxers isn’t exactly desirable or encouraged because of the genetic health issues associated with this color—like deafness and skin cancer.
Many people have seen Boxers sporting docked tails and cropped ears—both are man-made features. These types of cosmetic surgery are actually flagged illegal in some countries.
What are Boxer dogs like?
Boxers are playful and affectionate around their families. They’re the type that gives very warm and enthusiastic greetings. They can be wary around strangers and can shift to guard dog mode if they feel their family is threatened. Otherwise, they’re polite and friendly.
They tend to give children a special treatment. When they’re with kids, they’re patient, gentle, loving, and protective. Their playfulness is a good match for older children who can withstand their rambunctious antics.
Boxers are slow to mature, and behave like puppies for a relatively longer time. They’re highly energetic as well, and require enough exercise. They usually get along with other family pets, although they have the tendency to chase, or be dominating to other animals outside their home.
In few words, Boxers are:
Are Boxer dogs aggressive and dangerous?
Boxers generally have a pleasant temperament. But they can be headstrong and dominating, which, if not kept in check, may lead to aggressive behavior. There are reasons why Boxers show aggression. It’s possible they’re defending their territory, or acting out their instinct to chase prey. It’s also possible they were mistreated or abused.
Regardless of the reason, owners must be strong leaders, and immediately correct aggressive behavior through firm (but positive) methods.
When do Boxer dogs stop growing?
Boxer puppies may reach full height and weight around 18 to 24 months. But they may still continue to fill out until they’re 3 years old. There are many factors affecting growth rate which may differ from one puppy to another.
When it comes to behavior, Boxers have the tendency to mature slowly. They can behave like puppies for a long time.
What is the lifespan of a Boxer?
Boxers have an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years. The breed is prone to getting health problems as they grow older. Cancer is one of the leading causes of death.