Boxer

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A Boxer is an athletic dog with a goofy side who is ready to love your family.

Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:
10 to 12 years
Size:

Medium

Maintenance Level:

Medium

Shed Level:

Low

Temperament:
LoyalLife Of The PartyFearless
Coat Color:
FawnBrindle

Best For

Boxers are best for households with active parents, kids and a big yard where they can stretch their legs.

Boxer Traits

What makes a Boxer a Boxer? Let's find out how they stack up.

Boxer Temperament

With their muscular physique and dark eyes, Boxers might seem tough and serious. But don’t be fooled! The ability to make many two- and four-legged friends is one of the Boxer’s greatest strengths. Silly pups at heart, they’re like a kid in a dog’s body, which may explain why Boxers and kids get along so well. They’ll never cease to put a smile on your face with their clown-like antics. You can often catch them sitting with their rear legs out in front of them (like people) and rolling back into a lazy dog position. They’re also prone to zoomies and stopping on a dime to dole out sloppy, wet kisses. If your dream dog is athletic and affectionate, the Boxer’s for you.

Often described as being more human than dog, Boxers are known to be quite sensitive. They’ll work 24/7 to please and protect their loved ones, but their desire to please means they can get their feelings hurt. (Sad puppy dog eyes warning!) Boxers perform brilliantly as guard dogs and service, assistance and therapy dogs and in roles such as drug detection and search-and-rescue. But that protective nature can work against them, too. Some Boxers may not get along well with dogs they don’t know and of the same sex.

How to Care for a Boxer

Exuberant, playful and sensitive, Boxers require a good deal of exercise and training. But the extra effort is worth it thanks to their good nature and charming personalities.

Boxer Health

Boxers have a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years, but they’re also prone to some health issues that can limit their lifespan and mobility. It’s good to know what those potential health problems are in advance, so you can keep them healthier, longer.

  • Heart Defects: Some Boxers are born with congenital heart defects, and later in life, they often develop an acquired heart muscle disease called arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy or ARVC. Regular vet checkups and Holter monitoring (a portable device that monitors heart activity) from middle age onwards to check for arrhythmia can prolong a Boxer’s life.
  • Ulcers: Eye ulcers are a common condition in Boxers. Signs are extreme tearing, squinting and redness. If you suspect your Boxer has an eye ulcer, take them to a vet who can diagnose and treat it.
  • Degenerative Myelopathy: This incurable spinal condition spreads through the central nervous system and can leave a Boxer unable to walk when they get older. Dragging the hind legs is often the first sign dog parents notice. A doggy wheelchair can help improve mobility and quality of life.
  • Hip Dysplasia: Boxers have a predisposition to the skeletal condition in one or both hip joints. If your Boxer has trouble getting up from sitting or navigating stairs, it can be an indication of the disease. A veterinarian can diagnose hip dysplasia with an examination and X-ray. Treatment varies depending on the severity, and may include physical therapy or surgery.
  • Aortic Stenosis: This health condition, which refers to a narrowing at the heart’s aortic valve, is hereditary and occurs in large-breed dogs. It can be found through your vet’s routine exam and is often detected as a heart murmur but is diagnosed through an X-ray, ECG, or echocardiogram. In mild cases, the dog may not need treatment. In moderate to severe instances, medication may be needed. Most often, exercise is limited in Boxers with this condition.
  • Cancer: Unfortunately, Boxers are prone to several different cancers, including hemangiosarcoma and lymphosarcoma, as well as tumors. Having a good vet who is in tune with your dog’s health history is essential.
  • Allergies: Just like in humans, seasonal allergies affect dogs, and the Boxer is no exception. Baths, air filters in the home, and avoiding walks during times of day when pollen counts in your area are highest can help ease Boxer dog allergies.
  • Dental Issues: Sometimes, Boxer teeth do not come in when expected, which can cause painful cysts to form that damage the dog’s jaw bone. Boxer underbite, when the upper jaw is shorter than it should be, can be common. If the upper incisors dig into the lower jaw, teeth will have to be extracted.

Boxer History

The sleek Boxer we know today can be traced back to Medieval Germany—it was bred down from the larger German breed, the Bullenbeisser, or bull biter, whose forte was hunting ferocious game like bear and wild boar. Fun fact: The Boxer’s ancient ancestors were Assyrian empire war dogs and can be traced back to 2,500 BC. The name “Boxer” comes from the breed’s English fans and is a nod to how the breed plays or defends themselves with their front paws, similar to how a human boxer spars.

The American Kennel Club recognized the Boxer in 1904, and the breed’s parent club, the American Boxer Club, was formed in 1935. A jack-of-all-trades, Boxers have been athletes, cattle dogs, police dogs, war dogs (in both World Wars), watchdogs, protection dogs and guide dogs for the blind. Boxers have been one of America’s most popular breeds since the 1950s. That’s when a dog named Bang Away won at the Westminster dog show and became known throughout the country.

If you’re interested in making a Boxer part of your family, cost ranges from $800 to $2,000 for a purebred Boxer puppy. It’s important to check the bloodline and choose a reputable breeder that does health testing. You can also reach out to a Boxer rescue organization to adopt a Boxer or keep an eye out for the breed at your local animal shelter.

FAQs

Are Boxer dogs hypoallergenic?

No, Boxers are not considered hypoallergenic. Even though their coat is short, they do shed. The good news is they require little grooming. Some people are allergic to a dog’s saliva, and since a Boxer grooms themself with their tongue, the saliva can get onto their fur and into the air when they shed.

Are Boxers dangerous dogs?

Boxers are not considered an aggressive dog breed, but they can be dangerous without proper training because of their size and power. Obedience training early on is important to channel their energy in positive ways.

Do boxers drool?

Since Boxers have drooping jowls, they produce large quantities of saliva and, yes, they do drool. Most Boxers don’t drool all the time but expect excess drool after exercising.

What are the most popular Boxer dog names?

Some of the most popular Boxer names are Bella, Luna, Roxy, Rocky, Max, Zoe, Lucy, Charlie, Bailey and Daisy. For more dog name ideas, here are our suggestions for the top dog names.

What are the most common boxer mixes?

The most common Boxer dog mixes are:

  • Boxer-Pitbull mix (Bullboxer)
  • Boxer-Labrador mix (Boxador)
  • Boxer-Husky mix (Boxsky)
  • Boxer-German Shepherd mix (Boxer Shepherd)
  • Boxer-Bulldog mix (Bulloxer)
  • Boxer-Poodle mix (Boxerdoodle)
  • Boxer-Doberman mix (Boxerman)
  • Boxer-Mastiff mix (Boxmas)
  • Boxer-Great Dane mix (Boxane)
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Top Takeaways

While they require a lot of care and attention, Boxer dog traits, including loyalty, protectiveness and goofiness, make it easy to understand why the Boxer is one of the most popular breeds in the US. Boxers are beautiful, friendly and the most loyal companion a human could ask for.

Expert input provided by Guy Fisher, a second-generation Boxer breeder and longtime member of The American Boxer Club, and Dr. Suzanne Cunningham, a veterinary cardiologist and associate professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

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