Boxers were originally bred in Germany as hunting companions. They are considered to be a large breed and, although they appear rather ungainly, are great athletes. The Boxer’s intelligence serves them well, and does make them competitive. While they do get along well with children and families, they do angle for attention at every turn.

Boxers are also known as hearing dogs, as they are traditionally alert to act as the family protector. Many Boxers are trained to be guard dogs for this reason. In opposition to this, they are known to be curious and playful, in addition to being loyal companions. 

Boxers do require patience while in training and thrive on praise. An owner who is attentive to their Boxer will be rewarded with affection. They are a perfect family dog.

a boxer looking at something in the distance

Boxer Information

  • Average Height: 21 to 25 inches
  • Average Length: 30 to 35 inches
  • Average Weight: 55 to 70 pounds
  • Coat Type: Short length
  • Coat Appearance: Short, shiny and smooth
  • Coat Colors: Fawn, brindle, and white
  • Grooming Needs: Low
  • Shedding: Moderate Shedding
  • Brushing Requirements: Once a week is enough
  • Sensitive to Touch: No
  • Excessive Barking: No
  • Good tolerance to Heat and Cold: No
  • Good Pet: Yes, they are loyal to the family
  • Safe with Children: Yes
  • Good with Other Dogs: Moderate
  • Good with Other Pets: Moderate
  • Suitable to live in an Apartment: Yes
  • Suitable for First-Time Dog Owners: Yes if given proper house training
  • Training: Patience and firmness is required to train them
  • Exercise Needs: High
  • Weight Gain: Moderate
  • Health Concerns: Cancer, eye diseases, hip diplopia, heart conditions like boxer cardiomyopathy (BCM) and aortic stenosis, hypothyroidism 
  • Allergies: Environment and food-related
  • Average Life Span: 10 to 12 years
a boxer intently focused on something in the distance

Physical Appearance of Boxers

Boxers have a large and muscular build. They have strong legs, short backs, and a deep chest. Boxers are square-headed and often have what can only be described as a curious look on their face. Their face has a black mask which can sometimes have a white stripe that runs a little over from between the eyes up to the snout. 

Its snout has a compact look, short nose with lower jaws having a slightly narrower structure. Ears fold naturally but stand erect when they have been cropped by the owner. They have a short tail which is carried high. 

Their coat length is short and shiny. With tight skin, the coat gives an athletic look to the breed. The coat has two colors, brindle or fawn. The Brindle color has a striking look with black stripes just like a tiger-striped pattern. The fawn color ranges from light tan to mahogany. There can be white patches on the body of the Boxers. They also have white patches on their feet and chest.

Some boxers have a white color but they are not desired as pets. This is because white coloring is associated with deafness.

Temperament of a Boxer

Naturally, Boxers are alert and characterized as hearing dogs. Many Boxers become service dogs, guide dogs or even police dogs for this reason. They are watchful and loyal about their family members and home. Boxers have a distrust when dealing with strangers. If they turn aggressive and bark, this is only because they are being protective of their family. Because of this many regard them as a great guard dog.

Generally, their natural temperament is curious and playful. It can be affected by many factors like training, parenting, and early socialization. Early socialization can help cultivate playful instincts which will make them more approachable to strangers and other pets.

Boxers can hold grudges against other dogs and can get aggressive, especially if they are from the same sex. Once a boxer considers someone an enemy, it is difficult for them to change that perception. When taking out adult Boxers for walks you should be careful with their interactions with other pets.  Unless you know they will listen to your commands it is best to keep them leashed on walks.

Training a Boxer

Boxers are smart and are high energy dogs. Their bouncy and energetic personality can make them jump on people and hurt them if not trained to control their actions. They can also get into trouble when they are bored which makes training important so they know right from wrong. To train them well you need to be a little firm in your approach.

Use praise and rewards in-between the training to make them feel better. Try not to overly discipline them if they misbehave, as they can become angry and might get aggressive.

Boxers can be stubborn at times which means that you must be consistent when training them. If you do not show consistency it will send them mixed messages on what you want and they will continue to display unwanted behavior. 

Patience is needed as you start potty training. Ideally, you can start potty training when they are 3 – 4 months old. Take them outside regularly for potty training. 

You can also send them to a kindergarten puppy class early on. This can help with dogs that are a little bit more difficult to train as Boxers can be.  It is important to note that this training is not only for the dogs, but the owners as well.  They’ll teach you how to best teach your dog, and continue good behaviors long after the class is over.  Praise them when they do well.

They should be exposed to early socialization training. Take your Boxer and meet strangers by taking them out to parks and stores. This will expose them to different people and animals.  Over time it should help the Boxer to be comfortable in their social interactions. 

a boxer laying in grass near a wooded area

Their Compatibility with Children

Boxers love to be around children. They are playful and patient with kids. Occasionally to show their fondness, they might even cuddle with the kids. Their goofy and playful  personality is something that actually attracts the children. 

Boxers love to run, jump, and play outdoors with kids. The breed does not tend to bite or become aggressive with children.  Boxers can sometimes do things that will get them into trouble, and this is one reason why children often love them.

A Boxer’s compatibility with children also depends on how they have been raised. If they have been raised in a family with kids, they will be comfortable spending time with them. If they were not raised with children, they might shy away from children.

a regal looking boxer laying in some leaves

Due to their strong build and active personality, boxers could accidentally jump on the children while playing. To avoid any accidents, you should supervise the interactions between your children and the Boxer until they know how to play together well.

Best Climate for Boxers

Boxers are most comfortable in a moderate climate. As they have short coats they cannot stay out in the cold for long. If you plan on taking them out in chilly weather you should consider getting them a coat. 

Likewise, they do not handle hot weather very well. Boxer bodies with their shorter snout do not have an efficient method to prevent them from overheating. Make sure on hot days that they have water to drink and a nice cool place in the shade to rest and try to keep cool. 

They should not stay in hot weather for more than 30 minutes without a cool place to rest.

You should not leave the boxer outside during extreme temperatures. They really need to be inside your home to make them feel comfortable and relaxed. Puppies handle extreme temperatures even less than adult Boxers.

The Attention a Boxer Needs

Boxers tend to be affectionate towards their owners and do not like being alone. They require plenty of physical exercise and running which means if this is a dog you want, you should also be an active person.

They are an athletic breed and love physical activity. They love physical activity. Try to take them out for walks or let them play in the backyard or at the parks, twice a day. They want to be around family members and other dogs. Having other dogs in your house can help keep them busy.

Health Issues

Though Boxers are considered healthy, they also have certain health issues just like other breeds. The most common health complication in Boxers is cancer. Mast cell tumors are usually what will develop if they get cancer. Other forms of cancer include brain tumors and lymphoma. 

Boxers with white patches can easily become sunburned which may cause cancer. As strange as it sounds, you should apply sunscreen to them when taking them out as a precaution.

Cardiovascular diseases like Aortic/subaortic stenosis (AS/SAS) and Boxer Cardiomyopathy (BCM) are also found in Boxers. Both of these are inherited conditions that can cause severe weakness in the Boxer. Other diseases include hip dysplasia, intestinal problems, and epilepsy.

Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) or Bloat is another condition that some Boxers can have. When the dog is excessively fed it can cause the stomach to stretch due to excessive air mass. This can be life-threatening if not treated immediately. 

A large proportion of white boxers, roughly 25-30% will lose their hearing a few weeks after birth. This is why white color boxers are generally not desired as pets.

a boxer resting in a lushes green field
a boxer running through a grassy field

Bathing, Coat, and Cleaning

Boxers require minimum grooming as they take good care of themselves. They have short coats that should be brushed once a week. You can use a bristle brush to groom them. Boxers have shiny coats that can be enhanced by rubbing it with a chamois cloth.

There is no set rule as to bathing them weekly or monthly, but less often is better for their skin. If they tend to play and get dirty, you can also give them weekly baths. 

As with all pets, you should not use human products on Boxers. Instead use a canine shampoo and conditioner. Frequent baths can make their skin dry and itchy. This is why it is important to use shampoo designed to clean their fur as it will be much more gentle on their skin.

To keep good dental hygiene, you should get their teeth cleaned every six months by taking them to your vet. You can try to brush your dog’s teeth yourself, but many owners find it much easier to have the vet do this.  This will help prevent any tooth damage that plaque buildup can cause.. 

Since they have a bouncy personality, you should regularly check their nails to keep them short. It should be trimmed twice a month. This will prevent the nails from hurting you, or scratching up any hard floors in your home. 

Check the skin, eyes, ears, and feet for infection. The eyes should not be red and ears shouldn’t have any type of smell. You should carefully examine your Boxer once a month. If you feel they are not well, you should head to your vet. 

Feeding A Boxer

The standard diet for adult Boxers is 4-5 cups of dry dog food which should be split into two meals a day. You can also feed them a treat but it should be small. To make sure they have proper digestion of their food, try to allow two hours between feedings and exercise or sleep. 

You should avoid feeding people food to them as the calorie content of these is high. It might cause bloat or digestion problems in the Boxer. To keep your Boxer’s weight in check, try looking at his ribs. If you can count the ribs, it means the dog is underfed.

You should be able to feel the ribs when gently rubbing over it. Adjust the amount of food you feed your dog accordingly. 

Related Questions:

What is ear cropping?

Ear cropping is considered to be a cosmetic surgery where a cut is made into the ear and a piece removed and then stitched together in a way that the ears remain standing.  There are several reasons why this might be done, however recent trends favor letting the dogs ears remain natural without this procedure.  Many people (staff here included) do not support pet modification for cosmetic reasons.

Can you crop the ears of Boxer?

Though the Boxer has naturally curved ears, some pet owners crop their ears to give them the desired personality trait. It is subject to the laws of the country. In the United States, pet owners can crop the ears of Boxers. However, you should check your state laws to check whether it is banned.

a pile of multi colored dog food

Are all White Boxers deaf?

No, only 25-30% white boxers tend to be deaf. This is because of the lack of pigmentation in the inner ear cells. Even with only 25-30% being deaf, white puppies are less desirable because many people don’t want a deaf dog.

Can deaf Boxers be trained?

Yes, Boxers are intelligent and have excelling learning skills. Though they will not be able to learn voice commands, they can be trained using signals and gestures.

Are Boxers a popular breed?

The American Kennel Club (AKC) has them ranked the 11th most popular dog breed.

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