Boxer Dog History, Health And Care

Introduction Of Boxer Dog

The Boxer, previously called the Deutscher Boxer, the German Bulldog and the German Boxer, is a product of centuries of selective breeding. Today’s Boxer was largely molded by Germans during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and probably is a distant relative of the English Bulldog. Boxers are particularly recognizable by their broad, blunt muzzle and flat-faced head, both of which are unique to the breed. The first Boxer was registered with the American Kennel Club in 1904, and since then its popularity has skyrocketed. It is prized as both a guardian and a family companion, being bold, exuberant, affectionate, alert, self-confident and utterly loyal. Boxers are used in military and police work and as a breed were one of the pioneering guide dogs for the blind. They also are used as sensitive seizure-alert dogs and can succeed in agility, obedience and conformation as well. While playful and patient with its family, the Boxer tends to be wary with strangers and fearless when threatened. In a nutshell, Boxers combine great strength and agility with elegance and style and remain one of the most popular pets in the United States.

Adult males should be 23 to 25 inches at the withers; adult females should be between 21½ and 23½ inches in height. Mature boxers typically weigh between 55 and 70 pounds. Their short, glossy coat is easy to care for, requiring only periodic brushing to reduce shedding and remove dirt and dander.

Boxer Dog Breed Quick Facts

Affection Level4/5
Apartment Friendly2/5
Barking Tendencies3/5
Cat Friendly3/5
Child Friendly4/5
Dog Friendly2/5
Exercise Need4/5
Grooming Needs1/5
Health Issues2/5

Boxer – Appearance & Grooming


The Boxer, a member of the Mastiff family, is a medium sized, energetic powerhouse of a dog. They have well-developed muscles which are visible underneath their tight skin. They have wide, blunt, black muzzles which are the characteristic trait of the breed. Per breed standard, their muzzles should be one third the length of the head and two thirds the width of the skull. They have an arched skull and a slightly indented forehead with a distinct stop at the muzzle. They have dark brown eyes and a black nose. Another distinctive characteristic of the breed is their slight underbite. The Boxer’s ears are usually cropped and the tail is almost always docked. They have a short, sleek coat which comes in shades of fawn or brindle.

Size and Weight

Female Boxers stand between 21.5 and 23.5 inches at the shoulder and the preferred height for male Boxers is between 23 and 25 inches. The average weight is 60 pounds for females and 70 pounds for males. In the show ring, there is no disqualification for size.

Coat and Color

Boxers are muscular dogs, with tight-fitting skin. Their coats are short, sleek and easy to maintain, though they do shed year-round.

Boxers come in two colors: brindle and fawn. Fawn shades range from a light tan all the way through to a deep mahogany. Brindles have a tiger-like pattern of strips against a fawn background. They may appear in solid colors or they may have white markings on the belly and/or the feet. White should not make up more than 30% of the dog’s coloring. Solid colored Boxers are referred to as plain, while dogs with white markings that extend toward the face are called flashy. They should have a black mask across the face and some sport a white blaze on the muzzle.

Boxers with excessive white markings are more likely to be deaf and roughly 18-20% of Boxers are born without hearing in one or both of their ears.

Grooming Needs

The Boxer’s short coat is relatively no-fuss. They are clean dogs who groom themselves, much like cats do. Weekly brushing will keep their year-round shedding under control and occasional wipes with a chamois cloth will keep the coat shiny. Boxers only need to be bathed as needed, which usually means once every three or four months.

It is suggested that Boxers get their teeth brushed on a weekly basis to keep tartar, gum disease and bad breath at bay. Additionally, weekly ear cleaning with a veterinarian approved cleanser can prevent ear infections. Active Boxers tend to wear down their toenails naturally, but if their nails click on hard flooring, it’s time for a trim.

Boxer – History and Health


Boxers are originally a German breed and are cousins to almost all types of Bulldogs. Their distant ancestors are believed to have come from fighting dogs bred in Tibet. Boxers were initially bred to be working, hunting and guard dogs. The Boxers’ predecessors include the Bullenbeisser mastiff (“bull-biter”), a stocky German breed used to chase, catch and hold fierce wild game, including boar, bear and bison. Its short, broad muzzle distinguished the Bullenbeisser from all other breeds of its time and made it particularly well-suited to the job it was bred to do. After 1815, Germany’s grand hunting estates were largely broken up, and hunting began to decline in popularity among the gentry. The last recorded boar hunt reportedly was held in 1865 at Kurhesser Courts; afterwards, most hunting dogs were sold.

In the 1850s, a Bulldog (which actually resembled a small Mastiff) was exported from England to Munich. Years later, early Boxer fanciers used descendants of that Bulldog and the German Bullenbeisser to form the foundation of the modern breed, which was developed to be smaller and lighter than its predecessors. For a period of time, European Boxers probably were used in bull-baiting – a betting-man’s “sport” that eventually was outlawed. In 1894, three Germans took steps to stabilize and exhibit the breed, which they did in Munich in 1895 for the first time and thereby brought Boxers to widespread prominence. The following year, the first German club devoted to the breed was founded as the Deutsche Boxer Club of Munich. The initial German breed standard was adopted in 1902, but was vigorously debated for several years by rival Boxer breeders and clubs.

Boxers were used to carry messages, ammunition and supplies during both World Wars. Returning soldiers brought some of these dogs to this country, where their popularity grew. The first Boxer was registered with the American Kennel Club in 1904; the first AKC championship was earned in 1915; and the American Boxer Club was founded in 1935. Since then, Boxers have continued to rise in popularity as guardians, watch dogs, show dogs and family companions.

The source of the breed’s name is uncertain, although some fanciers speculate that it was coined by an Englishman in reference to the characteristic sparring gestures made with its front legs during play, that remain a hallmark of this breed. Other theories concerning the origin of the name “Boxer” include: 1) that it is a corruption of “beisser,” which means “biter”; 2) that it is a corruption of the word “boxl” or “boxeln,” which were nicknames for one of the Boxer’s ancestors, a now-extinct breed called the Brabanter; and 3) that it was coined simply because the dogs were “prize fighters.”


The average life span of the Boxer is 11 to 14 years. They are not particularly well-suited to living in climates with temperature extremes. Boxers historically had cropped ears and docked tails, although the AKC standard permits both cropped and natural ears without preference. Undocked tails are still severely penalized in the American breed standard. Breed health concerns may include allergies, bloat, Boxer cardiomyopathy, sick sinus syndrome, pododermatitis (especially on the front feet), canine follicular dysplasia, brachycephalic syndrome, ear infections, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, insulinoma, pyloric stenosis, histiocytic colitis, congenital elbow luxation, melanoma, cutaneous histiocytoma, sensory neuropathy of Boxers, entropion, ectropion, “cherry eye”, corneal ulceration, cryptorchidism, sarcomas and subaortic stenosis. Boxers are particularly predisposed to having adverse drug reactions to even small doses of Acepromazine and other phenothiazines.

Boxer – Temperament & Personality


Boxers may look like imposing figures from afar, but up close and personal they are playful and loving family companions. Often dubbed the Peter Pan of dogs, Boxers are highly energetic, and as they grow into adulthood, they never lose the desire to romp and play like a puppy. Perpetual cuddle bugs, Boxers will try to wriggle into even the smallest spaces possible to get close to the ones they love. They love to be the center of attention and make a sound unique to their breed that some owners call a “Woo Woo.” When they want something they will make this “woo woo” sound to attract an audience.

Protective of their family, Boxers are alert and reliable watchdogs, sounding the alarm that strangers are approaching. Their menacing, muscular appearance will deter anyone whose intent is not above board. Boxers get along well with other pets, including cats and make a loving and loyal addition to any active family.

Activity Requirements

Boxers require a lot of vigorous exercise. Long daily walks and plenty of time to run are crucial to keeping a Boxer physically and mentally fit. They should not, however, be exercised too heavily in hot weather as they are prone to heatstroke. They can live in condos or apartments, as long as there is a daily commitment to exercise.

Like children, Boxers need to be constantly entertained. If not engaged in physical activity, they should have plenty of mental stimulation as well. Plenty of chew toys will keep them busy throughout the day.


Like the Peter Pan of children’s stories, the Boxers are eternal kids and take direction about as well as any adolescent child. Training should be consistent, and leadership should be shown with confidence. Boxers will take advantage of anyone who gives them even the slightest bit of leeway. Positive reinforcement and treats are the best method for training this breed, and harsh tones and discipline should be avoided.

Once leadership roles have been established, Boxers can excel in advanced obedience and often benefit from agility training.

Personality Traits

While Boxer generally tend to get along well with family pets, they can be aggressive toward other dogs, especially dogs of the same sex. They should be socialized from puppyhood on to accept doggie visitors as friends.

Because Boxers feel deep attachments to people, separation anxiety can develop. Proper levels of physical activity and mental activity can keep anxiety from being a problem.

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