Know Your Breed: Boxer

Voted 2015’s 10th most popular dog in the United States and the 9th most popular in the world in 2013, the Boxer breed probably needs no introduction. But did you know that it has the Second World War to thank for this popularity?

The Boxer originated in Germany during the late 1890s and was an established breed by the time of the First World War, when it was used as an attack dog, messenger, pack carrier and as a guard dog. When the Second World War was over in 1945, many of the returning soldiers took the Boxer home with them as a companion dog, which put the breed on track towards becoming one of today’s most popular breeds.


The Boxer is probably best known for its distinctive facial features. It’s got a short muzzle that ends with a large black nose and quite the underbite. It also has ears that droop forward and a large, strong neck that leads into straight, muscular legs.

These dogs are a traditionally cropped and docked breed. However, this practice is less common nowadays, due it being banned by many countries in the world, including South Africa.

In terms of colouration, Boxers come in fawn, brindle, mahogany, tan and black with white markings. White Boxers are also common, but this is seen as a genetic fault and is linked to deafness.


The Boxer is a very happy breed that can be quite playful and a bit of a clown. They love being around their family and are known for their ability to get along with children and other dogs and pets. They are also very intelligent and can be trained easily.

It is said that Boxers get their name from their tendency to use their front paws to do almost anything; they can often be found pawing at their food, toys and loved ones in an almost cat-like way.

These dogs are very energetic and can be quite boisterous. They will need a lot of leadership from a strong, firm owner to ensure they know how to act around people. Boxers also have a natural instinct to protect their family, which makes them excellent guard dogs.

At Home

As mentioned, Boxers have a very high level of energy and are almost always ready to play. This means that they are more suited to homes with a yard for them to run in, but can adapt to apartment living should they be adequately exercised, both mentally and physically.

The breed is very athletic and will need regular exercise coupled with a brisk, daily walk in order to be well-adjusted. It is important not to over-exercise this breed in hot or humid conditions, as their muzzle shape can cause them to overheat.

Due to their short coat, these dogs are also very cold sensitive and will probably need additional protection when venturing out in Winter.


Boxers have a long life expectancy of between 11-14 years, but they can be affected by certain health problems. As mentioned, they are very sensitive to temperature, but can also suffer from cancers (more than most breeds after they’ve reached 8 years of age), heart problems and deafness amongst white Boxers.

These dogs are also prone to snoring, drooling and wheezing, and can also suffer from extreme flatulence if fed something that is not part of their regular diet.

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