If the boxer breed were to become human, clowns around the world would be out of business. Boxers are fun-loving and energetic and love to play. They do well with children but make excellent guard dogs and are even used by law enforcement services and the military as service animals. The breed has come far from its cattle management and hunting roots to become one of the most popular breeds in the United States for home pets.

Breed History

The German-bred boxers are one of many breeds to have come from the Mollossian hound, an ancient Greek dog known for its fighting, herding, and guarding abilities. Boxers were bred from an ancestor of the Mollossian and the English bulldog and were registered as a breed towards the end of the 19th Century. Before then, these dogs were working as herding dogs for cattle or in hunts but have even been known to work as actors in the theater in the late 1700's. The name “Boxer” has two likely sources. Their box-shaped head may have inspired some, but most likely the name comes from their method of fighting and playing using their front paws.

Physical Description

Boxers have very short coats that don't require much more grooming than a regular wipe down and the occasional bath, making them one of the easiest breeds to keep well-groomed. Their coats are traditionally a fawn color ranging from light tan to a darker, almost red color, and often have a “brindle” pattern (dark gray or brown streaks or patches). According to breed guidelines, boxers shouldn't have more than one third of their bodies covered in white, but the breed can be found in many different colors including all white. Boxers are not found with all black coats and dogs sold as all black boxers are likely another breed or have been bred with another breed.


Before you bring a new boxer into your home, make sure this is the right breed for you. Boxers are very playful and high-spirited dogs that need a lot of attention. They need to exercise, physically and mentality, to work off all of their excess energy or they'll get very destructive and chew on anything and everything! Boxers will usually do very well with children, but very small children could get scared or knocked over from the size of the dog. Boxers also will usually do well with other pets.

Health and Care Considerations

Choose your new boxer from a reputable breeder if you decide to get a puppy, or rescue an adult from a shelter or rescue group. Boxers are vulnerable to several different health conditions that might not begin to appear until adulthood, like hip dysplasia, heart disease, digestive problems, or tumors. If you buy a puppy from a breeder, make sure you check the parents for signs of any hereditary conditions like hip dysplasia. Boxers are not well suited for temperature extremes as well. Their short coats don't insulate against cold weather, and the short muzzle can cause breathing trouble in some dogs, especially in extreme heat. For the winter it might be best to invest in a sweater for your boxer and for the summer a cooling vest can help!

Boxers are fun and energetic dogs that are also content to sleep the day away at your side. They want to be the center of attention and will try to cheer up their owners whenever possible. They do well in fun situations, like obedience and agility competitions and as therapy animals, but are loyal and determined enough to make excellent guard and law enforcement animals. If you'd like to add an energetic new member to your family, a boxer may be for you.