Boxer Dog Breed Information

Quick Boxer Facts 

  • Weight:
    • 65-80 pounds (male) 
    • 50-65 pounds (female) 
  • Height:
    • 23-25 inches (male) 
    • 21.5-23.5 inches (female) 
  • Life Span: 8-12 years 
  • Nature:
    • Smart
    • Energetic
    • Playful 

The Boxer is the American Kennel Club’s 10th most popular dog breed. A member of the Working Group, this breed has been one of the most popular breeds in America for decades. If you think a Boxer might be right for you, here’s what you need to know

A Little History 

The Boxer descended from two extinct central European breeds, the Brabenter Bullenbeisser and the Danziger Bullenbeisser. In the early 1800s, German hunters sought to yield a breed ideal for hunting and bull baiting. The name Bullenbeisser stood for “bull-biter” and loosely translates from German to “Mastiff.” The Germans favored a strong, agile dog with a powerful jaw and short nose. They crossed Bulldogs, Terriers, and Mastiffs to achieve a sizeable and tenacious breed with a streamlined body and a strong grip. Eventually, bull baiting was outlawed, so the offspring were primarily used to take charge of cattle in slaughter yards. However, in 1895, the first Boxer was entered in a dog show, leading to the creation of the first Boxer club. The breed went on to become one of the first police and military dogs in Germany. Then, in 1904, the AKC formally recognized the breed, and by 1940, the Boxer began its ascent to becoming one of the most popular breeds in America. 

What are Boxers Like? 

Boxers are spirited, playful and dedicated dogs with a preference for active lifestyles. They love to learn, and do so quickly, making them excellent household pets. They generally do well with other pets, but may show aggression with unfamiliar ones. They are a bit reserved with strangers, but can be very social with the people they know. They are inherently social and love to spend time with their owners. 

Their bodies are square and muscular, with a broad muzzle and relatively short snout. Their jaw is undershot, which means that their lower jaw extends a bit further than the upper. They have a wide gait, and their coats are short. They often have “flash” markings, meaning their faces, chests, and paws are white in contrast to the rest of their bodies. Their typical colors are among a variety of fawn or brindle. Perhaps most distinguishing is their expression, which is ever-alert (even at rest). 

Caring for Boxers 

Boxers require very little in the way of grooming. You should brush their coats on occasion to strip dead hair, and trim their nails as needed to avoid painful splitting. Check their ears for any unusual waxy build-up or debris, and brush their teeth routinely to prevent dental disease. Boxers love to play and run, so be sure to provide plenty of mental and physical exercise. Because they are so strong and powerful, it’s a good idea to train this breed to interact with a variety of pets and people early. While they generally enjoy the outdoors, they do not like hot climates, and do not do well as outdoor pets. If possible, try to balance their time inside with playtime outside. Lastly, they are a brachycephalic breed, meaning that their noses are quite short. Consequently, it is perfectly normal if they snore. However, monitor your Boxer’s breathing and consult with a veterinarian if anything seems unusual. 

Boxers are prone to conditions such as Boxer cardiomyopathy, canine hip dysplasia (CHD), and degenerative myelopathy1. Visit your veterinarian regularly to monitor your Boxer’s health and identify concerns early.  

The Cost 

Breeders commonly charge between $700 and $1,500 to adopt a Boxer puppy. If you adopt a Boxer, expect to pay another $500 for initial veterinary expenses and general supplies. Each year after, that maintenance care will cost around $400.  

Diagnostic imaging to properly assess CHD can cost between $1,200-$2,500, while surgical intervention can cost more than $4,500. Pet parents with protection from 4Paws Insurance can worry less about the cost and focus more on the care their pets need. 

Sandy Says: Comments from the Chief Pet Officer

Boxers make excellent family dogs. Their cute, expressive faces along with their tendency to bond with your family makes them an excellent addition to your household. Fun fact: some Boxers really can box!  When they are playing around, they lean back on their hind legs, and kick out with their front paws. It is truly adorable.