With ancestors including the now extinct German Bullenbeisser, and the Old English Bulldog, the Boxer was developed in the late 1800’s in Germany initially as bull baiting dogs and later to control cattle in slaughterhouses.
They are a working dog breed and even served in the US military in World War 1 as messenger dogs, carrying packs and as guard dogs.
With their strong, muscly physique and broad chest, the Boxer can strike an imposing figure when alert or barking at a stranger who’s approaching the house. However, you’ll usually find them jumping with excitement looking for some fun and eagerly greeting anyone who comes near.
Boxers are an intelligent and loyal breed with a big need for companionship.
Boxers are one of the tallest Brachycephalic breeds, which are those with the flat, squishy faces making them prone to heatstroke… as well as drooling, snorting and snoring.
Their smooth, short coat and white areas can be prone to sunburn or skin cancer, and also means they need to be kept warm when it is cool, so being allowed indoors with their family is important.
Given their short coats, they are a very easy dog grooming-wise. Boxers pretty much just need a wipe down with a damp cloth once a week, remembering to wipe and dry those skin folds around their face to avoid bacteria forming.
Boxers can have a mind of their own and be quite stubborn, so they need solid obedience training and lots of positive socialisation as puppies, to help keep their exuberant personalities under control and to avoid any issues with other dogs or animals.
While the Boxer is an ideal family dog for those with older children, it is their excitable nature and strength that could be an issue around smaller children and the elderly. They are an intelligent and loyal breed with a big need for companionship.
They are not happy when regularly left home alone and can be prone to separation anxiety, so they need plenty of mental stimulation and daily exercise to help stop anxiety or boredom resulting in a hyperactive or destructive dog.
Particularly, if they get bored, so while the less energetic personalities might be fine with a long daily walk, most will need vigorous daily activities like games of fetch or dog sports to help expel some of that energy – but definitely not in the heat!
A large backyard is recommended if you have a Boxer, but you need to have high fences, as they are notorious jumpers.
Unfortunately, the Boxer breed does have a few health concerns, particularly dilated cardiomyopathy, a progressive condition where affected dogs can show signs of lethargy, weight loss and collapse as well as coughing and other signs of congestive heart disease. An arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat and can result in sudden death.
Cancerous tumours are also common in the breed so make sure you regularly check them over and take them to the vet as soon as you notice any new lumps or bumps.
They can be prone to eye diseases such as indolent corneal ulcers as well as gastrointestinal issues and skin allergies.
That’s why it is so important to research the Boxer breed you are considering so you know what to look out for and take them to the Vet as soon as you suspect anything isn’t quite right.
About the Author: Lara Shannon is a certified dog behaviourist and trainer, pet food nutrition specialist, Executive Producer and Host of Pooches at Play on Channel 10 and editor of Poochesatplay.com. Lara also runs her own dog training business in Melbourne’s Bayside area and is the Author of World of Dogs and Eat, Play, Love Your Dog