Boxer

Boxer Facts

  • Breed Type: Purebred
  • Size: Medium
  • Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
  • Temperament: Brave, Bright, Calm, Cheerful, Confident, Devoted, Energetic, Fearless, Friendly, Intelligent, Loyal, Playful
  • Colors: Brindle, Fawn, White
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Related Dog Breeds:

Boxer Dog drawing by Dog Breeds List

Boxers are like clowns. They are goofy, funny, and clumsy. But in an adorable way. Both kids and adults love them because they can make any day the best time of your life. Boxers are all about food and their unique personality won’t leave you indifferent.

You’ll either love or hate them.

Or you’ll see them as scary and evil. But that’s not what Boxers are actually like.

Since you’re here, you likely fall into the first category and are considering adding the clown of the dog world to your household. Well, here’s all you need to know before you do so.

Boxer dog breed information infographic

History

While the modern Boxer originated in Germany about a century ago, its history dates much further back.

The ancestors of Boxers were known to have lived in the ancient Assyrian Empire some 2,500 years ago. That’s currently the territory of southern Turkey, northern Iraq, and the northwest (seriously, why, Kim and Kanye?) of Iran.

Assyria was a rather powerful empire that reached many scientific and cultural advancements, including inventing the first ever written language. An empire of such extent, obviously, went through many wars.

Even the Roman Empire had control over it. For only two years, though.

So, that should put things into perspective.

The Assyrian Empire had large and courageous dogs with a heavy head and a strong built that the empire used in wars to fight lions, tigers, and men.

These dogs were the Mollossus, a breed that’s extinct now.  

This breed spread throughout the continent and lead to the development of many modern breeds, including the English Mastiff and St. Bernard. The Molossus also reached Germany and were ancestors to many breeds including the Rottweiler and Bullenbeisser.

The latter is the one that matters here. The Bullenbeisser, or bull biter from German, were large and powerful dogs that the German used for hunting big game such as wild boars and bears.

However, as the popularity and prestige of the German nobility declined, so did the need for Bullenbeissers. Their status was downgraded to butchers’ and cattle dogs.

Luckily, the breed didn’t go completely extinct. It was bred with smaller Mastiff-type dogs and this resulted in a smaller and more elegant type of a dog.

Ta-da, the Boxer.

Since then, the breed has regained its popularity and has became one of the most popular dog breeds in the world.

Are Boxers a Good Family Dog?

Yes!

Would Floyd Mayweather or Mike Tyson make good nannies?

I have no idea.

But Boxers can most definitely be great family dogs.

They are very playful and active by nature and can even be goofy.

Just like children.

They like spending time outdoors and are great for families that love doing the same. But, this breed may be clumsy and knock children (or your expensive China vase) over.

Oops!

Boxers can also get along with other pets, including cats if they’ve been raised alongside them. However, much depends on how Boxers are treated and trained.

Boxers can be stubborn and strong-willed.

Therefore, they need strong and consistent leadership (and tons of love and affection) in order to get along with family and pets.

Otherwise, they may become aggressive to and display dominance over other pets especially dogs of the same sex. Cats and other small animals can become prey.

Boxers are vigilant and can make great watchdogs.

They will alert you if there is a stranger by the door or if they sense something suspicious.

However, their guard dog abilities vary from one dog to another. They are also likely to let their guard down immediately after they feel there’s no danger. Yet, because of their threatening looks, they can actually keep some people at a distance.

(Hopefully your annoying aunt Bertha doesn’t read this, so, don’t share this article with her. And make sure to take your Boxer to family gatherings. That should do the trick of keeping her at a distance.)

Care

Boxers don’t require lots of grooming, but they do need loads of attention.

With proper nutrition, plenty of exercise, and heaps of affection, Boxers tend to be happy and healthy as well as make wonderful and loving companions.

Nutrition

When it comes to feeding a Boxer, spare no resources.

Here are absolute best dog food for Boxers.

Or consider home-cooked (raw) food and supplement it with equally good treats.

A boxer’s diet should consist of approximately 40% meat, 50% vegetables, and only 10% carbs.

So, when choosing food, take a look at the dog food labels. Meat and veggies should come at the top if the ingredient list.

You can also add fresh fruits and vegetables to your Boxer’s meals. Great options are:

  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries

When it comes to berries, make sure not to give your dog an entire smoothie or a fruit salad. 2-3 berries a few times a day are more than enough.

You can keep the rest.

Stay away from ingredients such as meat by-products, intestines, fatty tissue, vegetable husks, and similar.

If they seem too nasty for you to eat, you shouldn’t feed them to your dog either.

Boxers are prone to gulping when eating or drinking.

As a result, Boxers often have sensitive stomach, gas, or worse yet:  bloat. Deadly bloat.

To avoid that, use a slow feed bowl or a portion pacer for both your dog’s meals and water.

Grooming

You’ll be glad to hear that a Boxer won’t require much grooming.

Their coat is short and tight-fitting and has very little odor. Boxers also tend to keep themselves clean, similar to cats.

So, a weekly brush with a rubber curry brush is enough to remove loose dead hairs and keep your home (almost) hair-free. Bathe your Boxer once every 3 weeks and wipe it off with a wet cloth if it gets dirty in between baths.

Excited about relatively low maintenance? Not so fast…

Boxers shed.

Ha!

They obviously won’t require as much grooming as Huskies or Samoyeds, but you will need to brush your Boxer daily when it blows its coat.

Regularly trim your dog’s nails and brush its teeth daily. With dog toothpaste, of course. Colgate should remain fully yours. ;-)

Clean its eyes and ears to prevent infections. You’ll also need to pay attention to its wrinkles and clean in between them with a wet Q-tip. Dirt and debris in between them can be fertile ground for bacteria and infections.

Exercise

Boxers love spending time with their humans and will gladly watch an episode of your favorite TV show on Netflix.

Or a few.

However, don’t forget that Boxers are a working class of dogs. So, they need exercise. And they need it daily.

Their energy levels will make you envious at early morning hours before you head off to work. And they don’t even need coffee…

Seriously, don’t give your dog coffee. That, too, should only be for you.

Boxers require daily walks and exercise.

Boxer puppies need up to 20 minutes of exercise every day. Adult dogs will need 30. Games, jogging, cycling, and hikes together are excellent, too.

If you want your Boxer to behave well, there is one golden rule:

Make sure he’s tired!

Training

Boxers are intelligent and quick learners, but they can also be strong-willed and stubborn. Therefore, you should be firm, yet kind to them.

Positive reinforcement training works best with Boxers.

Yelling or punishing them can act as a strength potion for their stubbornness. So, instead of obeying you, they’ll just keep doing the opposite of what you want them to do.

When getting a Boxer pup, make sure they’re at least 8 weeks old. Otherwise, they can have socialization issues if they are taken away from their mom too early.

Once your pup is vaccinated, take it outside so that it gets used to other people and animals. Puppy kindergartens are a great option too if you have those available in your area.

Boxer Health Issues

Boxers are prone to a number of hereditary health issues. When left untreated they can cost a small fortune.

However, you can avoid many health issues by choosing a reputable breeder and taking good care of your dog.

Here are the most common Boxer health issues that you should be aware of:

  • Adverse reactions to different medications
  • Allergies
  • Bloating
  • Boxer cardiomyopathy
  • Brachycephalic syndrome
  • Canine follicular dysplasia
  • “Cherry eye”
  • Congenital elbow luxation
  • Corneal ulceration
  • Cryptorchidism
  • Cutaneous histiocytoma
  • Ear infections
  • Ectropion
  • Entropion
  • Epilepsy
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Histiocytic colitis
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Insulinoma
  • Melanoma
  • Pododermatitis
  • Pyloric stenosis
  • Sarcomas
  • Sensory neuropathy
  • Sick sinus syndrome
  • Subaortic stenosis

Things to Know About Boxers

1. Heads and Tails

Boxers are one of the breeds that used to have their tails docked and ear cropped.

It’s believed that historically this practice ensured that wild animals would have a harder time grabbing onto them while hunting.

Nowadays, as an increasing number of people are concerned about animal cruelty, it’s becoming less common.

The AKC, however, still includes cropped ears and docked tails in the breed standards.

2. Muhammad, Hold My Beer

Muhammad Ali may have been the greatest boxer of all times, but the Boxer may well be the greatest boxer of all dogs.

Obvious, isn’t it?

Well, actually no one really knows. There are no records or strong evidence to why the Boxer dog breed has such name.

Perhaps, they were simply good at opening boxes?

What we do know, though, is that Boxers are really good boxers.

When playing the dogs of this breed tend to get on their hind legs. Then, they kick out their front legs just like boxers do.

I know you wouldn’t believe it, so here’s proof:

3. Boxers Are Secret Peter Pans

Puppy lovers rejoice! Boxers are one of the dog breeds with the longest childhood.

They take about three years to grow into fully mature dogs. So, it takes them about three or even up to four years to settle down.

Hope you have lots of shoes that you don’t mind to get chewed on and plenty of energy to keep up with your dog.

4. Celebrities Love Them, Hollywood … Not So Much

You would think that the Pug would be popular with celebrities. Well, it is. But so is the Boxer.

Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds, Kim Kardashian, and Cameron Diaz have owned Boxers at some point. Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel are owners of three.

However, they are one of the least represented dog breeds in Hollywood.

Despite being one of the ten most popular breeds in the United States, Boxers have appeared in very few movies.

They’ve starred in Homeward Bound 2 and Kevin of the North.

Sadly, the list pretty much ends here.

5. There Are White Boxers

While fawn and brindle are the two standard colors, there are also white Boxers.

They aren’t albinos, and they aren’t that rare:

About one in four or five Boxers is white.

White Boxers aren’t a new variation of the breed either.

They’ve been around since Boxers have been around. That’s because they are born to flashy parents. “Flashy” is a term that describes the white markings that regular fawn or brindle Boxers have on their bodies.

You may have not seen many white Boxers around because of a few reasons:

  • Firstly, Germany had banned them in the early 1920s. This breed used to serve as police dogs, and the white ones simply stood out like a sore thumb. Just like any police officer would if they were wearing a neon uniform.
  • Secondly, white isn’t included in the AKC’s breed standards. Therefore, in the past, breeders used to put down white Boxer pups despite them being perfectly healthy. Nowadays, the practice is slowly changing and more white Boxers are finding loving homes instead of ending up in puppy heaven.

White Boxers also aren’t completely white. They have some pigmentation spots on their body.

White Boxers aren’t that much different from regular Boxers. They’re just white.

Yet, white Boxers are more prone to sunburn and deafness. The latter happens because white pups lack pigmentation in their inner ear. Because of that, nerve endings atrophy. So, white pups lose hearing shortly after birth.

Deafness in white Boxers isn’t as common as some may believe.

Only, about one in 20 pups is deaf in both ears. More frequently, they tend to be deaf only in one ear. So, it doesn’t drastically affect their quality of life and often goes unnoticed.

6. But, There Are No Black Boxers

You probably want to interfere now and say that you did a search on Google and most definitely saw black Boxers!

Nope!

There are still no black Boxers.

At least, no purebred black Boxers. The gene that is responsible for the black color simply does not exist within the Boxer breed.

But how then?

Black Boxers simply appear black. In actuality, they are very dark brindle or reverse brindle. The fur that makes up the dark stripes is much thinker than the fawn. So, you simply can’t see the fawn.

Doing another Google search? Will wait for you to come back…

Ready?

Yeah, I know they’re gorgeous. But, they are still not black.

7. Boxers Snore

Surprise, surprise!

While not all boxers snore, most do. And many Boxer owners compare the sound of their dog’s snoring to that of sawing logs.

Lovely!

Most of the times, snoring is completely normal and natural. That’s because Boxers are a brachycephalic breed. That’s a term for dogs with a short and flat face like the Pekingese and the Bulldogs.

So, their snout anatomy is to blame.

Get your dog a round bed or a pillow. These normally help to put a Boxer into a better sleeping position and help keep its snoring in check.

Yet, if you notice that the snoring interferes with your dog’s sleep, your dog makes choking or gasping sounds while awake or has trouble breathing during exercise, please schedule an appointment with the vet.

8. They Drool, Too

Not all Boxers are the same. Yet, it’s not uncommon for them to drool. Some will drool less, some will drool more, but there will be at least some slobber in your life.

And on your clothes

The shape of your dogs head, jaw, and lips will determine how much (or little) your Boxer will drool. It’s more common for dogs whose lips curl outward.

Most of the times, slobber is absolutely normal.

You may notice some changes in its amount and frequency as your dog grows and develops.

However, if you notice a sudden change in the amount of drool, this may indicate a more serious underlying health issue.

It’s a good idea to keep a box of wipes in the kitchen (and anywhere else you may have food).

Boxers tend to drool more at the sight of food (dah!) and, since they tend to get overly excited about it, this can cause quite a mess.

9. Tongue Champion

A Boxer named Brandy holds the Guinness World Record for the longest dog tongue ever.

It measured 1 foot 5 inches or 43 cm, almost the size of a newborn baby.

Sadly, Brandy passed away in 2002, but no other dog has yet beaten the record.

10. Average Intelligence

Boxers are generally considered a very intelligent breed of dogs.

People even thought that they were one of the most intelligent breeds in the world.

That’s until Stanley Coren, a professor of canine psychology, published a book called The Intelligence of Dogs.

It has become a sort of a bible of dog intelligence.

Stanley Coren discussed different aspects of canine intelligence such as their working and instinctive intelligence. He also ranked about 80 breeds according to their intelligence. He based this on a very lengthy survey of 199 dog obedience jungles.

How did the Boxer rank?

48th.

Along with the Great Dane, who, by the way, also originated from the Bullenbeisser.

This caused a massive uproar among Boxer breeders and owners who fought against the writer for incorrectly describing the intelligence of the breed.

Boxer Up

Regardless of whether Boxers’ intelligence was accurately assessed or not, they are still incredibly loving, devoted, and loyal companions.

That’s what ultimately matters.

So put your boxer gloves on and …

No, no, put them down. And go pet a Boxer!