Characteristics of the boxer
Average height: Male: 57 to 63 cm; Female: 53 to 59 cm
Average weight: Male: 30 to 32 kg; Female: 25 to 27 kg
Average lifespan: 10 to 12 years
Colours: Brindle, fawn, and white
Group: Working group
How the boxer came to be: A history of the boxer dog
Boxers are descended from the Bullenbeisser (“bull biter”), a German breed that was used to hunt large animals like bears, deer, and, yes, bulls. By the 1800s, breeders bred Bullenbeissers with mastiffs and bulldogs, resulting in a smaller dog with a muscular build, a square head, a short muzzle, and an alert stance – the boxer.
In the following decades, boxers went through a variety of jobs, from cattle-herds to attack and messenger dogs in the first and second World Wars to police dogs from the 1950s onwards.
Did you know?
According to the American Kennel Club, boxer dogs were given the name because of the way they put their paws out when they’re playing or fighting with other dogs. Their stance resembles that of a boxer.
The boxer’s temperament: Giant puppies-at-heart
According to Dog Time, boxers are sometimes considered as the “Peter Pan of the dog breeds” because they can take up to three years to mature. Over these three years, boxers often remain their energetic, ecstatic, and silly selves – meaning these giant puppies-at-heart need constant exercise. While generally considered indoor dogs, daily walks or playtime at the dog park are part and parcel of maintaining a boxer’s wellbeing.
Though this personality requires a lot of patience, would-be owners can rest easy knowing that boxers are intelligent and easy to train given an early start and the right methods. And in any case, even if your boxer dog puppy isn’t quite ready to follow commands yet, you’ll always find yourself in stitches over his antics, from his “boxing” moves (yes, they really do box) to the “kidney bean” dance they tend to do when they’re really excited.
Boxer puppies are loyal and affectionate creatures who make great snuggle buddies and even playmates for little kids. In fact, they can get rather clingy. But for those who want to cuddle up to a boxer, heed our warning: these dogs drool and snore a lot.
Care and health concerns
Despite their size, boxers should be kept indoors, as their bodies aren’t built to tolerate extreme weather very well. When playing outdoors, make sure your boxer has an ample supply of water nearby and access to shade when they’re tired.
Although boxers are short-haired dogs that don’t require much grooming, these pups often shed throughout the year. While you can’t stop your pup from shedding, you can control how much fur your not-so-little one leaves around the house by brushing his coat weekly.
Boxers are susceptible to several diseases, including certain cancers, heart conditions, and hip dysplasia. Because they have deep chests, Boxers are also prone to bloating, which can result in a life-threatening illness called gastric dilatation volvulus. To avoid this, owners should monitor feeding time and ensure that boxers take small, frequent meals instead of one to two heavy meals.
FAQs about the boxer breed
Do boxers make good service dogs?
Yes. According to the American Kennel Club, boxers’ “innate attachment to humans and intelligence” make them excellent service dogs for the blind, therapy dogs for people who suffer from panic disorders, agoraphobia, depression, and the like, and alert dogs for epileptics.
Are there miniature boxers?
Yes, but they are rare. Miniature boxers are either a product of mating purebred runts or cross-breeding small dogs that have similar characteristics to boxers, such as Boston terriers, pugs, rat terriers, and fox terriers.
Sadly, there isn’t a lot of documentation on the exact process that results in mini boxers, so it’s difficult to determine a miniature’s exact sizing, characteristics, temperament, and health concerns. While some of these minis may closely resemble their larger counterparts, they may not act similarly.
Are boxers hypoallergenic?
Unfortunately, boxers are not hypoallergenic. As we mentioned, boxers shed all year round, albeit in small and often tolerable doses – especially if you’re meticulous about brushing. However, boxers’ propensity to drool can pose a problem to those who are allergic to dogs’ saliva.
If you’re dead set on getting a boxer or similar breed, you might want to consider finding a “boxerdoodle” breeder.
In Australia, you can adopt a boxer from the Boxer Rescue Network Australia (BRNA), a charity that re-homes boxers in need of new families.