Is the boxer dog breed the best one for you? Did you know boxers need early socialization and obedience training to make the best pets?

Did you know that if you work long hours or dislike long walks, the boxer may not be the best breed for you because they may develop some negative traits that will make them quite unlovable? 

Boxers are extremely high maintenance in the area of needing human interaction and lots of daily exercise to help them use up all that pent-up energy they stored while waiting for you to return home.

These are just a few of the many interesting facts you will discover about boxers. While I cannot help you make up your mind about whether the boxer is the best dog for you, I will give you enough facts to help you make an informed choice.

Socialize Your Boxer Early in Life for Best Results

Boxer Dogs Make Awesome Pets
Credit: Jan 71, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons,

The Pros and Cons of Owning a Boxer

Your boxer is very likely to display undesirable behaviors such as problem barking, digging or chewing if he or she does not receive frequent loving attention from you. Daily walks to allow them to expend their excess energy are important and so are active games or agility training to exercise their intelligent minds.

Give your dog jobs to do like getting the mail from a mailbox or carrying items for you to provide some mental stimulation. If you do not find ways to keep your boxer busy, it is a given that the dog will find ways to amuse himself that you may or may not like.

On the other hand, a boxer may be just right for you if you are looking for a gentle tempered yet devoted watchdog to share your active lifestyle. Boxers are territorial with a highly developed instinct to protect their perceived property.

Perceived property could be their humans, the front yard, or even another family pet. Their self-confident fearless nature combined with this intense need to protect means they will not back down from any danger, real or perceived.

The Boxer's Backstory

Boxers originated in Germany. While believed to be the result of bulldog crosses, the boxer is related to many other Molosser root-stock canines such as Tibetan mastiffs, Dogues de Bordeaux, and Brittanic mastiffs, to name a few. When you look at the early uses for this breed especially as war, guard and police dogs, their working dog history paints a picture very like today’s boxer. These dogs are courageous, fearless, strong and agile.

Harvey the Boxer Puppy Tries to Find His Owner

Boxer Dogs at a Glance

If you are wondering if a boxer dog breed could be your perfect pet, consider these basic facts:

  • Origin: Germany
  • First AKC registration: 1904 – Arnulf Grandez – dog number 78043
  • Group: Working
  • Original use: Bull baiting, dog fighting, hunting, police and military work
  • Lifespan: average of 14 to 15 years
  • Height/weight: 22 ½ to 25 inches - 50 to 70 pounds
  • Color and Coat: red, yellow, or brindle, with white markings permissible; black mask on face and muzzle
  • Personality: Sweet-tempered and eager to please
  • Grooming: Almost nil because of the short dense glossy coat
  • Need for attention: Extremely high. They may bond to one person, demand attention, or suffer separation anxiety if left for long periods
  • Known Health Problems/heritable diseases: hip dysplasia, heart disease, progressive axonopathy, bloat, and spondylitis
  • Intelligence: Extremely smart and quick to learn
  • Interacts well with children and other pets, but suspicious of strangers

The overall appearance of the boxer is one of a powerfully built square dog with heavy bones and a deep bark. The short back proportionally balances the body and reinforces the square look. They should have a wrinkled forehead, broad muzzle and an undershot jaw; the dog should appear to be smiling. The dark brown eyes are alert, the ears high set—cropped or natural—and the tail docked.

Why You Must Socialize and Train Your Boxer

To overcome their natural bent for protection and to ensure the development of good habits and manners, boxers need early socialization to acclimate them to many different environments, situations and other humans.

Obedience training prevents any dominance attempts, and ongoing training provides the mental stimulation required by a working dog. Giving them tasks to perform such as fetching the newspaper satisfies their need to work. Interactive dog toys that challenge their intellect prevent boredom.

Boxers Have Special Needs

Boxers are a slow-maturing breed, so a puppy exhibits puppy-like behavior long after one feels he should be grown-up. Couple that immaturity with his inbred predatory instincts and the need to keep him leased when he is outdoors is apparent. In addition, leashing this larger size dog is the best way to control him and prevent unwanted behaviors. For instance, boxers are known for jumping up and batting their front paws just like a boxer—hence the name—and could very well jump at a stranger or small child if they are not kept under control.

Boxers should be kept indoors because their short coat does not give them enough protection to be an outdoor dog. They can be intolerant of the heat and should have a shady spot for resting if they are left outdoors even for a short time.

Is the Boxer Dog Breed Your Perfect Pet?

While boxers are affectionate, loving companions, they are not for everyone. Families with small children may want to think long and hard before adding such a large dog to the family. Seniors may have trouble controlling such a powerful dog if obedience training is not made mandatory. Workaholics could come home to find the home in shambles from the antics of a bored dog.

However, if you are willing to make the commitment to a life time of training, exercising, loving and caring for a large dog breed, this may be the best companion for you. If you aren't sure that the boxer is the right fit for your family, some other excellent working class dogs that make good pets are Bernese Mountain dogs, Doberman Pinschers or Rottweilers.