Boxer dog breed characteristics, origin and care

Boxer breed characteristics

  • Size: Large
  • Traits: Active. Lively. Animated.
  • Maintenance: Low maintenance, weekly brush, no/minimal hair clipping required
  • Best Suited To: Active families with older children

Bouncy. Energetic. Silly. Despite their tough name Boxers are light-hearted and lively dogs with boundless energy and big goofy personalities. Great as a family pets and highly trainable pups, Boxers make a terrific addition to an active and fun-loving household.

Bring home a Boxer if you are seeking a high-spirited dog whose bad boy exterior hides a soft, gentle and playful heart.

Where I'm From

Boxers were developed in Germany in the late 1800s by breeding the English Bulldog with the German Bullenbeisser, now extinct, and other unknown breeds. Whilst the Bullenbeisser was known as a hunting dog, the Boxer became popular during World War I and II by serving the military as messenger dogs and pack carriers for army troops.

Boxers subsequently became fashionable as show dogs, guard dogs and companion dogs as well as for police and army search-and-rescue. Today, Boxers remain popular dogs and loyal pets.

What I Look Like

Boxers are unique looking dogs with a square head and squashed-in face that sits on a lean, muscular body giving them a tough-guy look. Their stunted muzzles and upturned jowl further adds to the Boxer's cute yet thug-like appearance. Owners used to shape Boxer ears for leaner aesthetics but this is now rare, with floppy ears framing the face.

Boxers have a short shiny coat that comes in fawn (red) or brindle, often with white or tan markings on the legs, chest or face. Boxers also come in a thick bridle, which appears to be black and an all white variety. Many breeders chose to destroy white dogs due to an associated link to blindness, deafness and sunlight sensitivity. Though this only affects a moderate proportion of white Boxers and some of these claims have been refuted.

How I Act

Boxers are very loving and loyal people pets that consider themselves part of the family. They are often vivacious and active dogs that suit a hectic household with older children to play with. Boxers are social animals and do not appreciate too much alone time, when they could become depressed or destructive. They can also be cautious with strangers and suspicious of visitors to the home, who should be introduced slowly.

Boxers are easy to train and can excel at obedience school with a firm and patient master. Training and socialisation should begin early and be consistent to ensure a well-rounded pet. Boxers respond well to fun, positive reinforcement schooling and not harsh scolding when they do something wrong.

Boxers are energetic and fun-loving pets that require at least 30-60 minutes of outside exercise per day to remain fit and healthy. When playing chase with the kids or catching a Frisbee they are in their element. Boxers can get so overexcited they knock things, including children, down so it is important to ensure they get sufficient daily exercise to curb their immense enthusiasm.

Looking After Me

Boxers are usually healthy dogs but can be affected by a number of medical ailments. Boxers unfortunately have a higher propensity to develop cancer. It is especially important to cover white patches on their fur with sunscreen to avoid developing skin cancer or other skin complaints such as lesions. They also may be affected by heart ailments, hip dysplasia and eye problems.

It is advisable to check the temperament and medical history of a puppy's parents and view veterinarian clearance certificates to ensure you get a healthy dog. Be very wary of uncertified backyard breeders.

Boxers have a relatively short lifespan of 10 to 12 years.

They thrive on a high-quality, high protein diet and should be fed twice a day as according to packaging instructions. They sometimes have sensitive stomachs, which can be upset by doggie treats.

Boxers have a short and smooth coat that needs minimal grooming. Though they shed, especially during seasonal change, a weekly brush down will suffice along with the occasional bath. Boxers are also renown for their extra long tongue, which they use to lick themselves clean like a preening cat.

Am I the pet for you?

Boxers are good dogs for active families with older children. They can suit homes with yards or apartments as long as they get plenty of daily outdoor exercise. Boxers are inside dogs and do not suit an outdoor kennel life.


  • Boxers can be great family dogs that are very patient with older kids. Though like all dogs, Boxers should always be supervised when around children.
  • Boxers are really just big lapdogs that love to cuddle and play.
  • Boxers can be fantastic guard dogs and when well-trained can even be taught to pin down a trespasser!


  • Boxers are not a good fit for younger children. Whilst they do try to be gentle, their boisterous playfulness could injure a young child.
  • Boxers are slow maturing, which means they retain a playful puppy-like demeanor until they are 3 years old. This can be fantastic for entertainment and play, but not so great when they are still chewing on your shoes well into their teenage-hood.
  • Boxers have unfortunate drooling and snoring issues, so might require some cleaning up after and a sleeping area far away from family bedrooms!

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