The Boxer, a proud and confident dog, is a cross between the English Bulldog and the now extinct Bullenbeisser. The name “Boxer” is supposedly derived from the breed’s tendency to play standing on its hind legs and boxing with its front paws. The modern Boxer dog is a medium-sized, square built pup with a short back, strong limbs, and well-developed muscles. According to 2010 American Kennel Club statistics, Boxers are among the top 10 most popular breeds in the U.S. Their suspicion of strangers, alertness, agility, and strength make them formidable guard dogs. In addition to serving as family pets, these highly intelligent pooches have been used as military service dogs, guide dogs for the blind, therapy dogs, police dogs, and occasionally for herding cattle or sheep.
Country of Origin: Germany
Height: 22 to 25 inches
Weight: 50 to 70 p0unds
Color: Usually fawn and/or brindle with white
Training: Boxers are intelligent dogs with sweet and playful temperaments. However, they have earned a reputation for being headstrong at times and can be hyperactive if not properly trained from an early age. Boxers love to jump up, but they can be taught to refrain.
Grooming: Because Boxers have short coats, they have very few grooming needs beyond occasional bathing, brushing, and nail trims. In addition, you can wipe their coat with a damp cloth when necessary. You’ll want to keep actual bathing to a minimum to preserve the essential oils in a Boxer’s skin.
Exercise: Boxers have a high energy level that requires a good dose of daily exercise. Further, their active minds require adequate fitness to prevent boredom-associated behaviors, like chewing, digging, and licking. Interactive games make an ideal form of exercise, so a game of fetch or Frisbee is always a plus. Like many short-nosed breeds, the structure of the Boxer’s head can lead to problems in high heat and humidity. For this reason, it’s important to keep a Boxer cool and not over-exercise him in hot climates.
The Family Factor: Boxers tend to get along very well with children and possess a natural instinct to protect people, making them wonderful family pets.
Health Concerns: Like other very short-haired breeds, the Boxer does not like extreme temperatures and should not be subjected to strong cold or heat. As with other larger breeds, the Boxer is at risk for hip dysplasia, which can result in swelling, reduced mobility, and arthritis. Other things to watch for include skin tumors, digestive problems, heart murmurs, and flatulence. Although infrequent, deafness is more common in the white variation of the breed.
Life Expectancy: 12 to 14 years
Famous Owners: Jodie Foster, Carroll O’Connor, Robin Williams, George Clooney, Lauren Bacall, Billie Holiday, Pablo Picasso