The Boxer was bred in Germany in the 19th century and was originally used to hunt game as large as a bison. The Boxer was known for its ability to stand on its hind legs and bat at an opponent, as though boxing. This popular breed was brought to the United States after World War I and continues to rank in the top 10 most beloved dogs owned by Americans today.

Common Characteristics

  • Size: 51 to 100 pounds
  • Lifespan: 6 to 15 years
  • Pet purchase cost: $501 to $1000
  • Allergies: Moderate
  • Shedding: Mild
  • Primarily suited for indoors


Common Reasons for Surrender

Rescuers told PetStarter people give up their Boxer because they didn’t do their homework on the breed before they bought the dog. They then find out a Boxer needs exercise, not just let out in the backyard twice a day. Boxers are also surrendered because the owners lost a job, lost their home, or have to relocate and aren’t able to care for their Boxers anymore.


Boxer owners agree that the Boxer is typically goofy and makes you laugh. They like to do what some call “the Boxer burn” where they get excited and race all around the furniture. The majority of Boxers love children, especially if they grow up with them as puppies. They like Boxer Petey 1.jpgsocialization from meeting other people and other dogs. Boxers are dependent and need to be with their people and wiggle and bounce at the door when you come home.


Although typically great with children if they are socialized with them at an early age, Boxers need to be watched closely when interacting with them. They get excited and don’t know where their bums are, and they wiggle.

Boxers are messy eaters and drinkers and can leave behind a bit of “wall art.” They drool occasionally, but mostly over their food and drink. Her short nose makes it difficult for the Boxer to breathe when it’s hot outside, and she will quickly overheat. One Boxer owner said this breed can have “room-clearing gas,” which can be embarrassing when you have company over.


Due to their sensitive stomachs, rescuers recommend premium quality dog food that is grain free and rarely found in a supermarket. The dog food can be based on fish, venison, bison, salmon, and contain flax seed oil. Old Mother Hubbard makes premium dog bones that can be served as treats. Other good food brands for the Boxer include Orijen, Champion, Blue, Acana, Solid Gold, and Merrick. Boxers can have bones, but not rawhide as it can splinter and break off and is not easily digestible.


Boxers are energetic and need a lot of exercise. Walks through a city or a suburban area provide experience in socialization and provide the exercise the dog needs. A tired dog is a good dog.

 Possible Health Issues

The Boxer breed is prone to cancer, cardiomyopathy (heart issues), hip dysplasia, and lumps and bumps. One rescue organization recommends a diet based on fish rather than chicken, which can help a Boxer with some of these issues. Some Boxer owners opt to buy insurance for their dogs or simply lay aside several thousand dollars for possible emergencies and peace of mind.


Boxers are dependent and want to be with their people, whether their owners live in the city, the suburbs, or the country. Raising a Boxer in the country is less desirable unless the owners make the special effort to socialize their dog so he becomes used to the world around him.   


Boxer Trixie 1.jpgBoxers need very little grooming. They keep themselves clean and need a quick brush once a week, nailed trimmed as needed, and a bath once a month. A good oatmeal shampoo can be used.


The Boxer is one of the more intelligent breeds. Boxers like to figure out puzzles and find training a good challenge. As with most breeds, dog obedience training is essential with the Boxer.


Boxers are intelligent and like to play with good interactive toys with their human family. They’ll engage in throwing a ball, and chewing a toy is great fun. The Boxer is fun loving, playful, and affectionate with family members.


Rescuer Barbara Baker recommends subscribing to The Whole Dog Journal.                                          

We want to thank The Boxer Rescue, Inc. and dog trainer and pet owner Meghan Waldon for help with this profile.

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