Boxer Temperament and Personality
Do not be fooled by the worried look of expression on the Boxer dog’s face. Take a look into the eyes of the Boxer dog breed instead, and you will be captivated by a canine companion that has an unlimited amount of affection and loyalty for its adopted family. This dog breed is one of the most sought-after and highly regarded dogs in the country!
Very few pets can compare to the Boxer’s good-hearted temperament and ability to excel in dog sports. This house dog will fit in perfectly with any family as long as its care and exercise needs are fulfilled. Your Boxer deserves the best life ever, so read on further to learn about your new best friend and become the best Boxer parent ever!
The Boxer is one of the dog breeds that are easily recognizable from a distance or in different forms of media. Many people seek to adopt a Boxer because of its distinctive award-winning characteristics. The Boxer is an elegant dog that stays adorable from birth until its late age from head to paw. Here is a physical description of the standard traits shared between purebred Boxers.
When observing the Boxer’s face from a frontal point of view, you will notice the small wrinkles on its forehead, which combine with the dark brown eyes that seem to shine, give the Boxer its unique “worried” look. The Boxer’s ears can be either cropped or uncropped. Cropped ears are purely for aesthetics, and the procedure is normally done during puppyhood.
A cropped ear is altered to stay erect in a slim triangular shape, whereas an uncropped ear has a natural forward flop and reaches the cheek. No matter what side you view it, the Boxer’s wrinkly muzzle is easily distinguishable. Its lower mouth has a slightly upward underbite. Boxers are brachycephalic, which means they are short-headed with a flattened snout.
The head of a Boxer is supported by a lean arched neck that blends into a muscular body. When standing still, the top line of the Boxer can appear slightly slanted. The Boxer’s chest has width yet has a stern and lean appearance. The underside of this dog’s body consists of well-arched ribs and a lower stomach that tucks elegantly into its body.
Both the front and back legs of the Boxer are muscular and lean. The front legs are parallel and firm. Its long legs are attached to long shoulders. When in motion, the Boxer has a powerful yet smooth stride. The muscular back legs are strong with curved thighs. It has compact paws that support its movement.
The tail of the Boxer dog is docked. This procedure is done within two to three weeks after it is born. During this phase of puppyhood, the Boxer’s tail has not yet completed development. The Boxer puppy’s growing tail is made out of cartilage and is easier to surgically remove. Cropped tails are not a requirement, but if you plan to enter your Boxer in official show dog competitions, it can be penalized for not meeting the American Kennel Club (AKC) Boxer breed standards. The standards suggest that the Boxer should have a cropped tail.
If adopted as a puppy, the Boxer might reach physical maturity until between 12 to 18 months. Due to their size, Boxers require more time to achieve their full adult size than smaller dog breeds. Depending on its sex, the Boxer can reach different sizes.
Its parent’s lineage and sex determine the Boxer’s final height. Here is the difference in height between males and female Boxers.
- Male: The male Boxer can reach 22 to 25 inches at full adulthood.
- Female: Female Boxers are just an inch or two shorter. They can reach 21 to 24 inches tall.
Boxer puppies can continue to gain weight even after they reach their full height potential. Genetics, health issues, and diet can all contribute to your dog’s weight.
- Male: A full adult male Boxer can weigh between 60 to 70 pounds.
- Female: Female Boxers can weigh anywhere between 50 to 60 pounds in adulthood.
A Boxer puppy can weigh two to four pounds at birth and undergo a significant weight gain as it transitions from puppy to full adult. It is normal for Boxer puppies to gain a few pounds at the end of each week after it is born. Some dog owners track their Boxer puppy’s weight on a growth chart to see what its final weight might be and to help it stay within its ideal weight.
Boxer Life Span
Boxers can live anywhere between ten to 12 years. Although most Boxers will reach their full life expectancy, some may encounter different health conditions. Unexpected medical issues can occur to any healthy dog. To ensure your Boxer lives a full long life, make sure to plan yearly visits to the veterinarian to check your dog’s health.
Part of the reason why dogs are so lovable is due to their fun personalities. People love the Boxer because of its enchanting personality. Here are some of the reasons why this dog is fun to have around.
- Silly Sense of Humor: Some dog owners have described this dog as having a clownish personality. As a puppy, this dog is highly energetic and full of curiosity, which it keeps as it reaches adulthood. Boxers have been known to jump around in what is referred to as the kidney bean dance when they see their families come home.
- Family Guardian: The Boxer develops a deep bond with their family and is a very loyal dog. It can alert its family if there is an unwanted intruder in the home. Although it may act reserved around strangers, it will quickly become friendlier when it notices a person providing it with praise.
- Intelligent: Boxer puppies do not reach emotional and mental maturity until two to three years after birth. By the time they are three months, a Boxer puppy can begin its basic obedience training. One way to stimulate its intelligence is by providing it with dog puzzle toys.
As puppies, Boxers are energetic and extremely playful. When it becomes an adolescent dog, the Boxer undergoes puberty and can be more hormonal than an adult Boxer dog. During this phase, your Boxer may act rebellious and test its boundaries. Its teenage phase is only temporary, and Boxers will always be friendly. They will always remain attached to their owners.
One character trait all Boxers share is their playful attitudes. The Boxer’s fun-loving personality means it needs to meet its exercise needs to stay healthy and happy.
The Boxer may have moments where it likes to relax with you on the couch, but this dog breed has high energy levels. The Boxer’s overall exercise needs change as it transitions from puppyhood to adult to senior dog. All dogs require some exercise to provide them with an outlet to expend their energy. A Boxer that is not receiving enough physical and mental stimulation may indulge in unwanted behavior.
Your Boxer may develop any of the following symptoms due to a lack of exercise.
- Excessive Barking
- Sluggishness or restlessness
- Weight Gain
- Destructive Behavior (Chewing, disobeying, Rough Play)
Part of the responsibility of being a dog owner is devoting time to making sure your doggy friend remains active each day. Here are some ways to help you keep your Boxer in shape:
One of the easiest ways to exercise your Boxer is by taking it for walks. Studies have shown that walking your dog is beneficial for both dog owners and their pets. Adult Boxer dogs require at least one hour of exercise a day, splitting up into different sessions throughout the day. If you have a fenced yard, you can have your Boxer run around during a game of catch.
Another popular game to play with your Boxer is tug-o-war by using an old shirt converted into a rope. Overexerting a puppy through too much physical activity can harm their developing bones. It is best to let your Boxer puppy run around on softer surfaces like grass. When Boxers reach the senior years of their life, their movement may become a little bit restricted.
Although they may not run like they used to, senior Boxer dogs can still sustain a long walk or participate in a chase game.
Dog sports are a great way to hone your Boxer’s skills and compete in friendly competitions or impress party guests. You can practice any dog sport with your Boxer, or you can enroll it into a dog sport training session too. Here are some of the sports your Boxer can excel in.
- Agility courses
- Show dog pageants
- Tracking and Herding
- Lure coursing
When training your Boxer in any sports, it is important to use praise and treats to encourage and reward your pet during dog sports practice. Your Boxer will not only meet its exercise needs through dog sports, but it might also start a collection of trophies and awards from all the competitions it can win at.
It is important to keep the Boxer’s mind as active as its body. Pet stores offer a variety of dog puzzle toys to help keep your Boxer mentally stimulated. The Boxer dog breed has a great sense of smell which they can use to perform all kinds of nose work. Puzzle toys are a great way to keep your Boxer puppy entertained too. A simple activity like hiding a treat and having your senior Boxer dog seek it out is a good way to keep it mentally sharped.
Training is essential when it comes to owning a Boxer dog. With plenty of practice, patience, and persistence, you and your family will benefit from having a disciplined and fun-loving Boxer. Dog training resources are available for free online. Some Boxer owners invest in dog training sessions where a professional dog trainer works with you and your dog to achieve different types of training.
Always use positive reinforcement, praise, and treats when training your Boxer. Boxer owners should be strict and firm but also calm and confident with their tone. Dogs have a packing mentality and will respond easier to training when their owners establish themselves as the pack’s alpha.
Here are some types of training to consider for your Boxer dog.
Socialization is key to ensuring your dog is well-behaved in different group settings and locations. Training your dog to mingle properly can start as early as a couple of weeks after Boxer puppies are born. Boxer puppies become familiarized with the people living in the house and mimic their littermates’ behaviors.
Once your boxer puppy has completed its vaccinations, you can enroll it in a puppy kindergarten class or take it to the dog park to meet other kinds of dogs. Socialization as a young dog will lead to an adult Boxer acting calmer around the presence of strangers. Even in its old age, it helps to expose your Boxer to different places and people.
House training is necessary for your Boxer, or it can lead to unwanted accidents all over your home. As puppies begin to depend less on their mother, they leave their sleeping area to use the bathroom. Puppy training pads are a great way to introduce your Boxer to potty training. As it gets older, set up certain types of the day where you take your Boxer outside to relieve itself.
To make grooming an easier task, teach your dog to remain tranquil when handling its paws, brushing its coat, or cleaning its teeth. Dog crates help create a safe space for your dog to retreat to. Crate training can make traveling with or transporting your dog a trouble-free experience.
A disobedient Boxer will make be more difficult to handle at home or in public areas. Start training your Boxer to adhere to basic commands such as “stay,” “stop,” and “come.” Even your older Boxer dog can benefit from obedience training. Dog owners have peace of mind knowing their dogs can respond to their commands and remain calm around people.
The Boxer is not an ancient dog breed, but it has been around for over one hundred years. Scientists and dog researchers have traced the Boxer’s lineage back to Bullenbeisser, a now extinct dog developed in Germany. The Bullenbeisser dog breed was around the 16th and 17th centuries and descended from the Bulldog and Mastiff dog breeds.
Here is a breakdown of the Boxer’s history.
- Origins: The foundation for the modern Boxer dog breed was established in the late 19th century where dog breeders in Europe bred a female Bullenbeisser with an unknown dog. That dog’s descendants were then bred further with other dogs, which included the English Bulldog. German dog breeders then established the first Boxer club in 1896.
- A rise in popularity: Although the Boxer was registered with the American Kennel Club as early as 1904, they did not become popular until after World War II, when they served as military dogs. These dogs were brought home and became an instant favorite dog in many American homes.
- Present-day: The American Boxer Club was founded in 1935. Since then, the Boxer has remained one of the most popular dog breeds in America. Today, aside from being family dogs, the Boxer also serves as a guide dog for the blind, a therapy dog, and a police dog.
Boxer Health Problems
Although Boxers can live up to at least a decade, they may be prone to or experience health problems along the way. Trying to manage an unexpected medical issue with your Boxer is not easy, so becoming informed about the common health conditions can give a dog owner an advantage.
Another way to stay on top of your Boxer’s health is by getting annual checkups with a vet. Vets can perform tests and have the right equipment to properly diagnose a dog. Here are some of the common health problems Boxers can face.
- Breathing Issues: Boxers are prone to Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome, breathing problems due to their flat noses. They have a harder time cooling off in warm weather than other dog breeds. Their flat faces also cause them to snore or breath heavily.
- Bloat: Also known as Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), bloat is a life-threatening condition where a Boxer’s stomach fills with gas or fluid and then flips itself. Symptoms include vomiting and difficulty breathing. It is best to take your dog to the animal hospital emergency room so veterinarians can surgically correct the stomach and prevent bloat from occurring again.
- Heart problems: Boxers can develop arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), also known as Boxer cardiomyopathy. This genetic heart disease causes the heart to experience irregular heart rhythm. Once it is diagnosed, a vet can prescribe medication to help your Boxer manage its issue easier.
How to Care for Boxer
Understanding and becoming informed about the different health issues your Boxer may face is one way to provide the ultimate care for your pet. There are other ways to ensure you are providing the best care possible for your dog.
Before you bring your adopted Boxer home, make sure to have the following items:
- Dog Toys
- Dog Crate
- Feeding Bowl
- Drinking Bowl
- Vaccine Shots
- Sleeping bed or mat
- Dog nail clipper
- Dog toothbrush
Your puppy will go through teething phases where it might chew up household items. Having some chew toys provides your Boxer with a way to ease the discomfort from its growing teeth. A dog crate can not only house your dog, but it can serve as mini storage for all of your dog’s toys. Make sure to obtain a big crate for your Boxer to walk around a bit and stretch its legs.
This dog breed is meant to be inside the home instead of spending its whole day outside and alone. Make sure your yard is fenced appropriately to prevent it from running away. The Boxer dog breed can also adapt to living in an apartment as long as it receives plenty of exercise.
Nutrition and Feeding for Boxer
Boxers, like people, can benefit from eating and maintaining a balanced diet. Boxers should be fed all-natural dog food made with wholesome ingredients combined with some type of grains like oatmeal, quinoa, and rice.
Plenty of food brands have feeding charts based on dog weight. Weigh your Boxer to find the appropriate amount of food to feed. A Boxer’s eating habits might change as it transitions from puppy to adulthood.
- Puppy: For the first few weeks, a puppy will get its food and nutrients from its mother’s breast milk. As it gets older, it will wean off the milk and will seek out other available food. Your Boxer puppy undergoes plenty of growth, so it should have a constant supply of puppy food catered to big dogs.
- Adult: Once your adolescent Boxer dog has grown its full set of adult teeth, you can slowly change its food source. Feed your Boxer dog two to three cups of dry dog food split into two servings.
- Senior: As Boxers get older, they experience limited movement and benefit from dog food that supports joint health and is softer to chew.
Make sure your Boxer never eats certain human foods like chocolate and onions. Consult with a professional animal nutritionist to see which human foods you can safely share with your Boxer.
Coat Color And Grooming
Boxers have short coats that either fawn or brindle colored with or without white markings. The brindle coats resemble tiger stripes. White is another common color for Boxer coats. Grooming can be an easy-to-accomplish task, especially if your Boxer was introduced to grooming as a puppy. Dedicate some time during the week to brush its coat with a bristle brush.
Aside from coat brushing, bathe your dog every few months. Prevent overgrown dog nails by trimming your Boxer’s nails once a month. Dental and regular hygiene is important, so make sure to check and remove any dirt or debris from this dog breed’s eyes and ears. Prevent dental diseases by brushing your Boxer’s teeth regularly.
Children And Other Pets
Boxers are great playmates for kids and are known to get along with other pets too. Their friendly nature allows them to tolerate smaller children. Socialization plays a huge part in helping Boxers behave properly around pets and kids. Families who seek to adopt a Boxer should also take the time to inform their children on ways to properly handle a dog.
It is best to not leave your infant children and smaller pets like hamsters unattended with your Boxer. Boxers hate being alone, so they enjoy having company, whether it is people or other pets.
For some families, purchasing a puppy can be expensive, so it is best to adopt a Boxer from plenty of reputable rescue groups around the country. Many Boxers are rehomed since their previous owners can no longer care for them for whatever reasons.
Here is a list of Boxer rescue groups that may be located near you.
- American Boxer Rescue Association
- Boxer Rescue L.A.
- New Jersey Rescue
- The Boxer Rescue of Oklahoma
- Lone Star Boxer Rescue
One of the best ways to locate a Boxer rescue is using Google to search for Boxer rescue near you. Rescue groups are also very professional and provide plenty of advice for caring for a Boxer.
There are different breed organizations located around the country that are transparent and offer healthy puppies ready to be paired with a loving home. Before you seek a Boxer breeding kennel, make sure to save enough money since some Boxer puppies can cost thousands of dollars.
When meeting a Boxer dog breeder, do not hesitate to ask questions about the puppy’s parents’ medical history and temperament. Before you adopt a puppy, request the medical history from the breeder. Your puppy should have the following health clearances.
- Proof of deworming
- Vaccination shots
- Certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)
- Brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) test
- Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF)
If the breeder is not willing to share these documents with it is best to look elsewhere. If you do not know where to start your search, start with the American Boxer Club or American Kennel Club.
The American Boxer Club is the leading organization for people seeking to learn more about the Boxer dog breed and connect with other owners. This organization also provides plenty of resources on their website to address any questions or concerns a new Boxer owner might have. The American Kennel Club also has a network of breeders who they have certified and trust.
More About This Breed
Trying to find the right dog breed for you and our family can be a hassle. If you haven’t considered a Boxer before, it may just be the perfect fit for your home. Boxers are always into playtime but can also chill with you as you rest on the couch. If you already plan to adopt a Boxer, this guide will help you navigate owning and caring for this breed.
If you want to learn more about dogs, check out the rest of our in-depth articles in the Blog section!