Boxer Dog Temperament: Is This Dog the Right Fit for Your Family

Boxer Dogs are one of the most popular breeds in the world. They have been bred since ancient times to fight, but they were not always so violent. There was a time when they were gentle companions, loyal friends and even pets. Today’s boxers are descendants of these early ancestors. They may look like their wild ancestor from centuries ago, but today’s boxers are far better behaved than their ancestors ever were!

Boxer dogs are known for being very friendly, affectionate and loving. They love to play, cuddle and snuggle up to anyone they come across. However, there are some things that boxers do not tolerate well; such as other dogs barking at them or strangers approaching them unexpectedly.

There are many different types of boxers in existence today. Some are purebred, while others are mixes of two or more breeds. Most boxers today are purebred, although there are still mixed breed boxes available. A typical boxer is between 12 and 15 inches tall (30 – 35 cm) and weigh between 40 – 60 pounds (18 – 28 kg). Their coat color ranges from white to black, though it does not need to be all black for them to be considered a “black” boxer.

The only real indicator of whether or not a boxer is truly a boxer or not is its physical appearance; if it looks like a boxer, then it’s probably a boxer!


The boxer, also known as the German Mastiff, was originally bred in Germany by butchers to help them herd cattle and pull carts. They were bred in these manners for many years, until agricultural methods replaced their use for cattle driving. The butchers of Germany then bred them for their sense of smell and their strength in order to assist in hunting wild boar. These butchers kept these dogs as pets, and it is from these dogs that the boxer of today originates.

Eventually the German military began using these dogs as messenger carriers and mascots. When the war was over, soldiers who had served in the war fell in love with these dogs’ affectionate personalities and soon bought some of their own. They soon began breeding these dogs and selling them, which is how the boxer made its way to England. The English then began to breed them, initially using some of the old English Mastiff blood in order to give them more size.

The boxer did not gain widespread recognition in America until after World War I. They were first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1904.


The boxer is a very intelligent and obedient dog with a very friendly disposition. They tend to be very loving towards their owners and are rarely aggressive towards other people or animals. This makes them a good choice for families with children, as they will be patient when playing and also tolerant of any accidental knocks and bumps. It is not uncommon for boxers to be slightly wary of strangers at first, but to trust them within minutes of meeting them.

The boxer tends to have a very strong protective instinct. This means that they are very good watchdogs, though they’re usually too friendly to act as guard dogs. They will bark at any suspicious sounds or movements, and many have been known to act as a form of bodyguard for children playing in the back yard.

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The boxer is an active dog, so they require larger amounts of exercise than most other breeds. However, they are also fond of human company, so if they’re going to be kept outside they must have a doghouse or some form of shelter to sleep in.


The boxer is a large-sized breed of dog. The size will vary greatly, from 25 inches (64 cm) to 27 inches (69 cm) in height and 66 pounds (30 kg) to 180 pounds (81 kg).

The boxer’s body is as long as it is tall, with a strong and muscular build. They have a distinctive broad and flat head, which is broader at the top than in the forehead. The boxer has very large and pendulous ears that it can control at will. The boxer’s eyes are commonly dark and their teeth are strong, with a scissors bite. Their tail is traditionally docked.

Coat coloring can vary greatly; the American lines tend towards solid colors, while the European lines commonly have coats containing white markings (the American Kennel Club does not allow white markings).

The skin of the boxer does not have any noticeable wrinkles. The boxer’s hair is quite short and should not obscure the shape of the dog’s body.

Working Roles

The boxer was bred for farm work, but it has become popular in recent times as a companion dog. It has a very friendly disposition, which has endeared it to many families. They also make good guard dogs.

Due to their large size, boxers have been used as service dogs for the disabled and as rescue dogs for natural disasters.

In addition to these roles, boxers are also commonly used as police dogs because of their bravery and independence.

Health Problems

The boxer is a relatively healthy breed, but it is subject to some health issues. Some of these are:

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Bloat: Also known as Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus, this is a life-threatening condition that involves the stomach rapidly expanding until it presses against the diaphragm and other organs, resulting in the inability to breath. This is a common problem for deep-chested dogs such as the boxer. It is recommended that the dog not be fed one or two hours before going to bed, and that you walk them shortly after meals. This condition is treatable if caught early, but can lead to death if left untreated.

Hip Dysplasia: This is a genetic disease which results in the poor development of the hip joint. It causes pain and lameness in the joints, which can severely impede the ability of the dog to move. This disease can usually be managed through painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicines.

Elbow Dysplasia: This is another genetic disease which causes the elbow joint to develop improperly. It is very similar to hip dysplasia in terms of treatment options, though it does not cause as much lameness or pain.

Eye Diseases: The boxer is prone to two eye diseases which both affect the eyesight severely. These are known as progressive retinal atrophy and cataracts. Both are untreatable and will eventually lead to blindness.

Digestive Problems: The boxer is prone to digestive problems, especially as it gets older. It suffers from a condition known as Gastric Torsion, in which the stomach twists upon itself, leading to death of the stomach tissue and sometimes the rest of the digestive tract. This requires immediate surgery if it is to be cured.

Obesity: Since the boxer’s main function on the farm was to catch rats, it does not need to be as aerodynamic as other dogs. This has led to it having a tendency towards obesity if it is not kept on a strict exercise schedule and diet.

Cancer: Like most animals, the boxer can suffer from cancer. Signs include lumps or swelling, pain, unexplained deterioration and excessive bruising. If any of these occur, take your dog to the vet immediately.


Despite its somewhat lazy appearance, the boxer is an energetic dog that enjoys exercise. It should be taken on a long walk or jog every day. In addition it can participate in agility and obedience competitions. It is important, when purchasing a boxer puppy, to find a dog that has a lot of energy as well as one that is easily trained.

Due to its short coat, the boxer does not have as much protection against cold weather. It does not fare well in extreme heat either. It is therefore recommended that it only be taken for walks or jogs during the cooler morning or evening. If it is necessary to take the dog out during the hot part of the day, it is important to make sure that it has constant access to shade and water.


The boxer is an intelligent breed whose gentleness and calmness make it easy to train. Though it can sometimes be willful and may require some persuading, it is generally easy to teach it tricks and obedience. It is important to train the dog when it is a puppy, as an adult boxer is much more set in its ways and harder to train. It is also important that the owner be firm; though the boxer is a gentle breed, if it perceives weakness in its trainer it may become dominant and unwilling to follow orders.

The boxer, due to being used for hunting rats on farms, can be an excellent guard dog. It is generally very alert and aware of its surroundings. Though it will rarely initiate a confrontation, if someone is detected it will let out a loud bark to frighten them away. If the threat does not go away, it will attack with its powerful jaws.

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Exercise and Training

It is important when training a boxer to start early. They are very intelligent dogs who learn new commands easily; however, if they do not learn them in a structured manner, they can develop very bad habits that will be more difficult to unlearn later. The boxer is often willful and persistent when it doesn’t want to do something; therefore, it is important that the owner be just as persistent in making it obey. The boxer should be kept on a leash or in a fenced area; it is an excellent escape artist and will take every opportunity to run off and explore if it is able, especially if it senses that it is not wanted somewhere.

Boxers are very playful animals. As puppies they will often chew on everything, including a lot of things that they know they’re not supposed to, like shoes or electrical wires. Because of its strong jaws, it is important that you keep anything like this out of your boxer’s reach. In addition, if your boxer is one of the floppy eared varieties, it may go deaf early in life. It is important to be aware of the signs; if your dog seems very deaf, take it to the vet to get it checked out.

The boxer has a tendency towards being overweight. The best way to combat this is to exercise it daily and make sure it eats a healthy diet. Obesity will shorten your boxer’s life span as well as cause health issues in the short and long term. Talk to your veterinarian or a professional trainer about how much and how often you should feed your boxer.


The boxer has a smooth, short coat that is simple to care for. It only requires a weekly brushing and it will keep its coat clean of any dead fur or skin. It is important not to bathe the dog too frequently as this can remove the natural oils in its skin and cause dryness. As the boxer sheds heavily at certain times of the year, it may be necessary to vacuum or sweep more often, however, daily grooming is not required.

The boxer’s ears are prone to yeast and bacterial infections if they are not kept clean. The ears should be inspected weekly for problems. If the ear flap is too long, it should be trimmed periodically so that it does not drag on the ground and get dirt in the ear. This can cause infections. If the ear appears red or there is a foul smell, take your boxer to the vet; this is the time to act before the problem becomes serious.

Common Health Issues

Boxers are generally a very healthy dog, but they are prone to certain health issues. The most common include:

Miscellaneous Issues

Because of their personality and physical traits, boxers may be more prone to certain issues than other breeds.

Destruction: Boxers, especially when young, can be very rambunctious and may try to eat things they’re not supposed to. This can include anything from furniture to your house plants. These items are not only bad for a dog’s digestive system, but also very costly to replace. In an effort to save money, many owners choose to be more lax in their boxer’s rule training. Rather than spending time and effort on training their boxer to not eat your favorite sofa, some owners will simply resort to harsher punishment.

Although this may deter the problem in the short term, it will not help in the long run. Boxers are very intelligent dogs that learn from positive reinforcement much more effectively than negative. By using punishment, a dog feels attacked and will often try harder next time as revenge. It is always better to reward your boxer for good behavior rather than punishing it for bad behavior.

Housetraining: Housetraining can be a long and difficult process with a boxer. Because the boxer has a tendency towards chewing, it is important to keep anything that could be edible out of its reach. In addition, because the boxer is a very intelligent dog, for housetraining to be successful it must be taken out on a frequent basis. It also must be taken out immediately after eating or drinking. A dog will not want to go outside if it just ate, so it is important to get in the habit of taking your dog out on a consistent basis.

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If you do not have time to properly housetrain your boxer, then perhaps a different breed would be more suitable for you.

Energy: Boxers need a lot of exercise. If left to their own devices, they can and will get into a lot of trouble if they aren’t provided with enough mental and physical stimulation. With this high energy dog, walks will only keep it happy for so long. Many owners choose to enroll their boxer in agility classes or even dog sports such as lure coursing.


Boxers are very intelligent dogs and are therefore quite easy to train. Early socialization and training, as well as a firm yet positive approach, will result in a well-adjusted and happy boxer. The breed is very eager to please their owners, thus they are eager to learn. Although intelligence is not a guarantee against behavior problems, it does make things easier. Dogs with measured difficulty in training include Basenjis, Beagles, Border Collies, Bull Terriers, Doberman Pinschers German Shepherds, and Rottweilers.

The easiest to train are Basset Hounds, Golden Retrievers, Siberian Huskies, and Whippets.

Life Expectancy

The boxer, like most dogs, is prone to certain health issues as it ages. Not all dogs will experience these problems, but among similarly bred dogs there are common issues. The boxer has a shorter than average lifespan for a purebred dog of its size. It lives an average of 10 to 12 years. This is a result of musculoskeletal and skin problems that become more prominent as it ages.

Some common problems include hip dysplasia, degenerative joint disease, and cancer.


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The boxer does not need extensive grooming, just a quick wipe down every now and again with a damp cloth will do the trick. This should be sufficient to keep the coat clean and free of tangles. Ears should also be cleaned regularly, as for most dogs this is essential. Due to the boxer’s short muzzle, care should be taken when trimming nails, as it is easy to accidentally clip the blood vessel that runs through the center of them. As with all dogs, the boxer sheds.

The amount of hair that is shed is dependent on the individual dog, some shed very little while other sheds a great deal.

General Description

The Boxer, as it is known today, was originally bred by shopkeepers in Germany in the 1800s to serve as a watch dog, and it continues in that role today. The Boxer is an intelligent dog that is both courageous and friendly. These dogs are natural athletes who love to play, but they are serious when work is required of them. Boxers were bred to have powerful jaws and a strong urge to bite, and they will not hesitate to use these abilities when necessary. This strong jaw makes the boxer an excellent choice for those with experience in handling strong dog breeds, but a terrible choice for those who do not have the experience or knowledge to handle such a strong minded dog.

One of the most noticeable qualities of the boxer is its colorful and distinct markings. On its face, the boxer has a bold black stripe that extends from each eye, across the cheek, and over the muzzle. The ears are also black and border the sides of the face. A white stripe extends from the neck, over the shoulders, and down to the waist. The to is also white, and the legs are shaded from black on the feet, over the cannon bones, across the front of the thighs, and along the stifle, to no darker than the belly.

The back is black, as are the tip of the tail and the ears. Boxers have bold figures that are unmistakable.

Boxers are often compared to the greyhound, mostly because of their similar appearance. However, boxers are stocky and powerful, whereas greyhounds are long, thin, and elegant in appearance. The boxer is muscular and compact, while the greyhound is lean and lanky. Other dogs that resemble the boxer include the rottweiler and the mastiff, but the boxer is easily distinguished by its white chest markings.

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