5 Things to Know About Boxers

Boxers are affectionate, playful dogs who are great for families with children. Learn more in this Boxer breed profile.

boxer breed profile
Boxers are patient and affectionate, making them potentially good dogs for children. Photo: iStock.com/Alona Rjabceva

1. Key Characteristics of Boxers

  • AKC Group: Working
  • Height: 23–25 inches (male); 21.5–23.5 inches (female)
  • Weight: 60–70 pounds (male); 50–65 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 10–12 years

Boxers are medium-sized dogs with well-developed muscles.

They have unique, chiseled heads and a smooth coat appearance over their toned muscles underneath. They’re also said to have the longest tongues of all dog breeds.

Boxers have dark brown eyes and coat colors that come in fawn, brindle, black or white. The tails are usually docked, a practice that is increasingly seen as cruel and unnecessary.

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2. Where Boxers Came From

The Boxer likely descends from a line of different dogs, mostly from Europe, dating to the 16th century. One of these ancestors may have been a fighting dog from Tibet. Boxers also carry lines from bulldogs and terriers.

Boxers were originally used for dogfighting and bull baiting, until those practices were outlawed. Boxers were also used in hunting, with the dogs pinning down large animals until the hunters arrived.

The breed was refined in Germany in the 19th century and exported to the United States after World War I. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the breed in 1904.

Boxers were exported to England in the 1930s in limited numbers. A breed club was formed, which in turn heightened the dogs’ popularity.

boxer breed profile
Boxers are protective, courageous and intelligent. Photo: Kristy May/Petful

3. How Friendly Are Boxers?

Boxers are patient and affectionate with adults and children. They are also protective, courageous and fearless, and these qualities lead to the desirability of the breed.

They are intelligent dogs who are easily trained. Boxers are also energetic and playful dogs with a natural curiosity.

Properly socialized Boxers can live with cats, but you shouldn’t leave your Boxer alone with small animals.

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4. Is This the Right Dog for You?

Exercise Needs

HIGH: Although Boxers are active indoors and do well in apartments, they also need a long, brisk walk every day at the very least. Note that they’re sensitive to temperature extremes (both hot and cold).

To be happy, these dogs need a ton of interactive play. In other words, you can’t just put your Boxer outside and leave them alone.

Boxers who aren’t socialized, trained or allowed to expel energy regularly can become stubborn and difficult.

Grooming Needs

LOW: Shedding is average for this breed. A weekly brushing is usually sufficient.

Bathe your Boxer as needed, but not too often — doing so would strip the coat of its natural oils.

Clip your Boxer’s nails regularly, brush the teeth and clean the ears. Some people report that their Boxers clean themselves like cats by self-bathing.

Health Problems

HIGH: Unfortunately, the Boxer is susceptible to a host of health problems, some of which include:

This is a daunting list, so remember that superior healthcare and regular vet visits will help keep your Boxer healthy.

Check out why Boxers are such beloved pets:

5. How to Adopt a Boxer

If you are considering getting a Boxer of your own, please check rescues and adoption resources first. Even purebred animals can end up in shelters. Try Petful’s online adoptable pets search.

Finding a Boxer through adoption resources may be difficult. You can also check with rescue groups and breeders. If you do choose to go to a breeder, make sure the breeder is reputable and doesn’t exhibit any of the puppy mill warning signs.

Additional Resources

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