Boxer dog walking along a beachThe Boxer dog is medium to large, 50 to 80 pounds depending on sex, and developed in Germany. It has had many jobs over the years, including hunting, farm, police and military, and guide dog.

 

 

Today, it is a very popular family pet that usually ranks in the top 10 most popular dog breeds in the United States. It gained popularity after Word Was II when returning servicemen brought dogs home.

The Boxer dog may have gotten its name for using its front legs and paws when playing. It sometimes stands on its back legs and “spars” or boxes with its front legs. This theory has its detractors but is probably here to stay. However, it looks like the dog has taken a few punches to its face. Despite its pugnacious name and appearance, the Boxer is a gentle, playful, and affectionate family pet and is great with children.

History of the Boxer Dog Breed

Boxer Dog sitting on grass outside.Many years ago, Alexander the Great (356 BC to 323 BC) had a dog named Peritus. The dog’s breed is uncertain but may have been a Molossus of Epirus. Peritus was a brave and powerful dog and had the reputation of having killed a lion. The dog proved its courage in battle when it saved Alexander’s life by attacking the enemy. Alexander was saved, but Peritas was fatally wounded and died in Alexander’s lap. Heroic Peritas had given his last full measure of devotion.

 

 

Whether Peritas sired any offspring is a fact lost to history. But the Molossus dog breed is believed to be an ancestor of the Mastiff breeds, including the Boxer. The Boxer has several other dog breeds in its DNA, including the now-extinct breeds of Old English Bulldog and Bullenbeisser. The Boxer is a brave dog who will defend its family without regard for its safety. So just maybe, they have some of Peritues’ blood coursing through their veins.

Boxer dogs are part of the AKC’s working group and were used for hunting and guarding livestock. They also served as military and police dogs and as guide dogs. Boxer owners will say they are part of the working group, but their main job now is to play. And they are very good at that job.

 

 

 The first Boxer registered by the AKC was in 1904.   The breed became popular in the United States in the 1950s after a Boxer named Bang Away won at Westminster.  It is included in the AKC’s Working Group.

What Boxers Look Like

Boxer Dog and its ownerThe Boxer dog has a unique face with a pug nose and a lower jaw that protrudes, so it has an underbite. It has a serious expression that may lead one to think the dog might be aggressive, but that is far from the truth. The Boxer is serious, most of all, about having a good time.

 

 

Are Boxers Healthy

Boxers have an expected lifespan of 10 to 12 years. This is about average for medium to large dogs. Boxers, like other purebred dogs, are prone to several ailments. For good information on their health concerns, visit the American Boxer Club website.

Boxer dogs do not tolerate either hot or cold weather very well. This dog should be a family member and be allowed to stay inside except when it is time to play or to take care of business. They are not outside dogs but need plenty of room to get the exercise they require to keep in good health.

The hair of their coat is short and usually either fawn (color) or brindle. A white variety is discouraged as these white-coat dogs are more likely to suffer from deafness.

The Boxer’s ears were frequently cropped, and the tails docked. The practice of surgically modifying dogs has become increasingly criticized and is now unlawful in many countries.

Where to Get More Information

The American Boxer Club website has comprehensive information on the Boxer dog. They also publish a club flyer. Other good resources are the American Kennel Club and The Kennel Club.

Other Dog Breeds to Consider

BreedHeight (inches)Origin
Boxer
Height (inches): 21-25
Weight (Pounds): 50-80
Life Expectancy (Years): 10-12
Popularity (AKC): 11
Group (AKC): Working

Germany
Great Dane
Height (inches): 28-32
Weight (Pounds): 110-175
Life Expectancy (Years): 7-10
Popularity (AKC): 16
Group (AKC): Working
Germany
Doberman Pinscher
Height (inches): 24-28
Weight (Pounds): 90-100
Life Expectancy (Years): 10-12
Popularity (AKC): 17
Group (AKC): Working
Germany
American Staffordshire Terrier
Height (inches): 17-19
Weight (Pounds): 40-70
Life Expectancy (Years): 12-16
Popularity (AKC): 85
Group (AKC): Terrier
United States
Beauceron
Height (inches): 24-27.5
Weight (Pounds): 70-110
Life Expectancy (Years): 12-12
Popularity (AKC): 124
Group (AKC): Herding
France