Boxer Dogs

A Playful, Curious Breed That Lives Up to Its Name

Boxer dog outside

The boxer dog, a muscular, short-coated breed with a distinctive square head has had a place in the hearts of owners for decades. The boxer’s strong body and gentle, playful spirit are a great combination.

The boxer got his start in Germany; his ancestors are the Bullenbeizer and the Barebeizer, both powerful breeds. Later, the boxer was crossed with ancestors of the mastiff and the bulldog. The boxer was a popular “working” dog, often used to round up livestock. Today, the boxer still shows his ability to work by serving as a police or military dog.

And what about his name? It is said that his moniker is a testament to his playful and curious side. You’ll notice that your boxer uses his front paws for just about everything. He’s likely to paw at his toys and food in a cat-like way. He also likes to jump up and motion with his front paws, making him look like he’s actually boxing, and hence the name.

Boxers at Play

Boxer dog running outside with ball in mouth

Boxer dogs might look tough, but in actuality they are good-natured, loving, highly intelligent and inquisitive. Perhaps more than anything else, the boxer is known for his playful nature. He is always ready to play — even if his owner is not! The boxer’s happy, outgoing temperament works well with children and other animals, so he is well-suited for families.

Boxers are also extremely loyal pets and bond closely with their human families. This loyalty manifests itself in the boxer’s talents as a guard dog.

Though boxers do need lots of exercise, they do just fine in a small house or apartment, as long as they are walked and allowed to play outside frequently.

Taking Care of Your Boxer

Boxer are very boisterous, which means dog training needs to start early in order to break your pup of some potential bad habits. Because he loves being around you and your friends and family, your boxer is likely to want to jump up to greet you. In fact, he loves jumping. A good trainer will let him know when it is appropriate to play around and jump, and when he needs to be a bit more reserved (such as when guests visit your home). Boxers tend to respond well to training and usually display an eagerness to work for your approval.


Boxers are very boisterous, which means training needs to start early in order to break your pup of some potential bad habits.

Boxer Health

Boxers are predisposed to the following health problems:

Boxer dog
  • Hereditary and congenital cardiovascular defects including boxer cardiomyopathy.
  • Cancer of the skin and other organs of the body.
  • Ulceration of the eyeball, including ulcerations of the eye that heal very slowly (indolent ulcers).
  • Gingival hyperplasia, an overgrowth of gum tissue around the teeth.
  • Difficulty breathing: Boxers are known as a brachycephalic breed. Brachycephalic breeds have short wide heads with “pushed in faces”. Their short faces predispose them to snoring and upper respiratory problems. Stenotic nares (small nasal openings) an elongated soft palate (excessive tissue in the back of the throat) and laryngeal defects cause upper airway obstruction in brachycephalic breeds. Surgical correction of the defects often relieves the respiratory distress suffered by the breed.

Fun Facts about Boxers

  • Boxers are known to snore.
  • At one time, boxers were popular circus dogs.
  • The American Kennel Club categorizes the boxer as the largest breed (50-70 pounds) in the “working dog” category.

What’s Not to Love?

The boxer makes a terrific family dog. His smarts, strength and sensitivity appeal to a wide-range of dog lovers. The boxer will play with you, protect you and provide you with devoted companionship throughout his lifetime.


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