Friendly, playful, and intelligent, boxers are often dubbed “lifelong puppies”. Find out the facts before deciding if this is the dog for your family.

Although ancestors of the breed which would later become the boxer go back to the 16th century or earlier, it wasn’t until the 19th century in Germany that the boxer began to be bred into a more similar version of the dog we know today. Ancestors of the boxer include different types of mastiffs, and later the bulldog, also a descendant of the mastiff.

Boxer Temperament

Boxers’ friendly, playful personalities make them perfect family dogs. They are active and exuberant, loving playtime with their family. Boxers tend to be lifelong puppies and need both physical and mental outlets for their energy. Their intelligence and enthusiasm makes them very trainable for agility and obedience competitions. They have also been trained successfully as service dogs, therapy dogs, and police dogs.

Because of their intimidating appearance, some consider boxers good guard dogs. Although some boxers can be trained to be guard dogs, and most will bark to announce a visitor or a stranger, most boxers would likely just wag their tail and lick an intruder.

Why are Some Boxers White?

White boxers are a product of a mother and father who both carry the gene that creates a white coat. Though many believe white boxers are rare, around one-quarter of boxer puppies are born with an all white, or almost all white, coat. White boxers may not be seen as frequently as some breeders choose to euthanize white boxers since they do not meet breed standards. Although deafness, and sometimes blindness, is more common among white boxers than the fawn or brindle colored, they are like other boxers in all other ways.

Health: What to Expect

Most dogs have health concerns specific to their breed and boxers are no exceptions. The most common boxer health problems include:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Bloat
  • Cancer (this may account for over 30% of all boxer deaths)
  • Boxer Cardio-myopathy”
  • Heat sensitivity

Life span

The average lifespan of a boxer is between 9 and 11 years. With proper healthcare and good breeding some may live to be 12 or 13.


Male boxers typically weigh between 65 and 75 lbs, while females are smaller, generally between 55 and 65 lbs.

Adopting a Boxer

Adoption is a less expensive, more humane way to bring a boxer puppy or adult dog into your family. Most boxers released to rescue agencies are not strays and often you can obtain a wealth of information about a specific boxer including a health history and what the dog is like with children, other dogs, and other animals. Sometimes shelters and rescue agencies foster their dogs for several weeks or months before they are adoptable to ensure they are socialized and do not have aggression problems.