A Complete Breed Guide for Boxer dogs

Last Updated 5 JULY 2022

This article is written by Pet Circle veterinarian, Dr Maree Monaghan, BVSc (Hons)

Boxers are often described as being the eternal puppy due to their fun loving, energetic and outgoing natures. Boxers have been prized for centuries as loyal and dependable guard dogs and will be very protective of their family. They adore attention and make ideal pets for families with children.


Facts about the Boxer



Health Problems

Diet and Nutrition

Related Breeds

Further Reading

Facts about the Boxer

Breed size: Place of origin: Other names:
Large Germany German Boxer, Deutsche Boxer
Breed group: Energy level: Weight range:
Utility High Female: 25-27kg, Male: 30-32kg
Life expectancy: Tendency to bark: Height range:
10 - 12 years Low Female: 53cm - 58cm at shoulder, Male: 56cm - 61cm at the shoulder
Drool factor: Coat length: Colours:
High Short Fawn, brindle and fawn in various shades from light yellow to dark deer red.
Shedding factor: Overall grooming needs: Social needs:
Low Low Fun loving loyal family dog, needs human company and training

How long do Boxers live?

The average life expectancy of Boxers is between 10-12 years.

Do Boxers shed?

Boxers have very short coats and don't tend to shed. They require minimal grooming and a weekly once over with a dog grooming glove will keep their coat in good order.

How much do Boxers cost?

Purebred Boxer puppies vary considerably in price depending on the quality of the parents. You can expect to pay up to $3000 for a puppy from a reputable breeder who has had the parents tested for inheritable diseases.

Are Boxers good pets?

Boxers' fun loving and protective nature make them ideal pets for active families with children. They are an exuberant breed and this trait, coupled with their muscular athletic bodies, means that appropriate training from an early age is essential.

How much do Boxers weigh?

Adult female Boxers can weigh between 25 - 27kg and grow to 53 - 58 cm at the shoulders. Adult male Boxer dogs have an average weight between 30 - 32kg and stand 56 - 61cm at the shoulders.

Do Boxers bark?

Boxers make excellent watch dogs and will bark at strangers, however their overall tendency to bark is low.

How do I know which Boxer breeder to choose?

It is important to choose a Boxer puppy from a reputable breeder who seeks to improve the health of the breed through their breeding practices. For more information on what to look for, take a read through How to Find a Good Breeder.

Boxer History

The Boxer breed originated in the 1800's in Germany when a now extinct breed called the Bullenbeisser was bred with an English Bulldog. They were used for hunting as well as working with butchers and cattle dealers herding stock. Due to their bravery, families began to use Boxers as guard dogs for their homes and this allowed them to become the loyal companions we know today.

Boxer Personality

Boxers are energetic and playful with a loyal and sweet nature. They instinctively protect their family and can make wonderful companions for older children. Boxers are highly intelligent and can be stubborn, so training and socialisation from an early age is critical.They can develop destructive behaviours like digging if they do not receive enough mental stimulation and exercise.

Top toy recommendations for Boxers

Boxers love to play and they can get bored easily so a variety of toys suits them the best. For more tips, take a look at Boredom Busters for Dogs.

Can't decide? Why not let us choose for you with the Curious Box? Each Curious Box contains a selection of two to three engaging toys ( and treats!) Even better, the theme changes every 6 weeks, making it the perfect way to keep your dog's supply of toys and treats fresh, fun, and varied!

Boxer Health Problems

Unfortunately, Boxers are very prone to developing a number of serious health problems. These include:


The Boxer is very susceptible to developing various types of cancers. The most common are mast cell tumours, brain tumours and lymphomas. Boxers with white markings are at risk for developing skin cancers.

Eye Ulcers

Eye ulcers which are very slow to heal are called Indolent Ulcers or Boxer Ulcers so it is no surprise that this is a common problem for Boxers. The signs of a Boxer Ulcer include discharge from the eye, squinting, redness and excessive tearing. Additionally there may be a strange appearance to a normally clear cornea.

Congenital Heart Disease

Boxers can be born with malformation of the valves in the heart that can cause serious problems and may result in death in the first year of their life. Boxers with less severe forms of this problem may find it difficult to exercise, have stunted growth or even faint.

Boxer Cardiomyopathy

This is a disease which affects the heart muscle and causes the heart to beat irregularly. Although dogs can show signs of this disease at any age, it is usually diagnosed in adult dogs. Boxers with this disease may become weak or even faint if their heart beats become so irregular that they do not receive enough blood to their brains.

Hip dysplasia

This is an inherited problem which occurs in many breeds of dog. Affected dogs are born with the genes that cause their hip bones to form abnormally. Rapid growth due to an incorrect diet can worsen the malformation of the hip joint in affected pups. Hip dysplasia commonly leads to arthritis in affected dogs.

GDV or "Bloat" - Gastric Dilation and Volvulus

Bloat is a life-threatening condition in which the stomach swells and can twist which cuts off the blood supply. The spleen can also be affected by this twisting and have its blood supply cut off. This condition usually affects deep chested dogs like Boxers and Pointers however it can affect any size or breed of dog.The main symptoms to watch for are the stomach suddenly swelling, drooling and trying to vomit without bringing anything up. This condition is an emergency with the dog being distressed, anxious and in pain. You must transport them to your nearest veterinary hospital or emergency clinic immediately for urgent treatment. Do not attempt to give them anything by mouth.

In breeds with a high risk of bloat, a preventative surgery called a prophylactic gastropexy can be performed at the same time as desexing. The surgery involves securing the stomach to the inside of the abdomen to prevent it rotating. For more information about bloat and preventative surgery, we recommend speaking with your regular veterinarian.

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

Brachycephalic means 'short nosed', and the Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome involves a combination of one or more upper airway defects which ultimately get in the way of normal breathing and panting behaviour. These conditions are seen in as a consequence of selective breeding, particularly for the Boxer's flat face.

Their likelihood to have some degree of brachycephalic airway syndrome means that Boxers are highly prone to heat stress. This comes about because dogs are unable to sweat except on the footpads and nose, instead using panting as their main means of cooling down. When the airways are compromised and dogs are unable to breathe properly, panting becomes much less effective, increasing their risk of overheating which can be fatal.

Top health and supplement recommendations for Boxers

Because Boxers are susceptible to bloat and orthopaedic diseases, the following joint supplements and products are recommended to support the health of your Boxer.

Boxer Diet and Nutrition

Boxer Puppies

Boxer puppies require a diet that is formulated for large breed puppies because these are less energy dense than a standard puppy food. Overfeeding and an overweight body condition are important risk factors for the development of orthopaedic disease. These diets also contain an appropriate amount of calcium and phosphorus with a lower overall calcium content than a regular puppy diet. Puppy diets should be fed in controlled amounts to promote a slow rate of growth and a lean body condition score.

Boxers are highly intelligent and Boxer puppies learn quickly and thrive on training. Training treats are a must to have on hand for obedience training, toilet training, crate training and clicker training.

Best food for Boxer Puppies

Our Vets recommend the following premium foods to ensure your Boxer puppy not only grows appropriately, but thrives as well.

Royal Canin Boxer Puppy

Designed specifically for Boxer puppies up to 15 months of age, this diet is highly digestible and formulated in an exclusive kibble size and shape.

Advance Puppy Large Breed

An Australian made diet to support the unique nutritional requirements of large breed puppies. Added green lipped mussel to support joint health.

Instinctive Bite Large Breed Puppy

Natural, Australian made dry food for large breed puppies. Free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives.

Hills Large Breed Puppy

Contains optimal levels of calcium, phosphorus and energy for controlled bone growth and to minimise the risk of developmental bone and joint problems.

Best foods for Adult Boxers

With adapted calorie levels to help prevent weight gain in large breed dogs, and beneficial ingredients to support bone and joint health, we recommend the following diets for your adult Boxer.

Advance Triple Action Dental Large Breed

Australian made, high quality adult food which promotes dental health via a larger kibble size and sodium tripolyphosphateto bind calcium within the saliva to reduce tartar formation.

Hills Healthy Mobility Large Breed

A premium diet containing glucosamine, chondroitin and optimal levels of omega-3 fatty acids for joint and mobility support.

Royal Canin Adult Boxer

Suitable for adult Boxers from 15 months of age. Contains highly digestible ingredients and nutrients to support bone and joint health.

Instinctive Bite Large Breed Adult

This Australian made kibble contains chicken as the number 1 ingredient, with no soy, wheat, tapioca or corn, offering a completely gluten free diet.

Related Breeds

Boxers are part of the utility group of dogs, along with breeds such as the Alaskan Malamute, Doberman, Rottweiler and St Bernard.

Alaskan Malamute

This is one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs and is a powerful and substantially built dog with a deep chest and strong, well-muscled body. It is an affectionate, friendly dog that is a loyal and devoted companion.


Dobermanns are intelligent and alert and make excellent guard dogs. With the correct training from an early age, the Dobermann has an even and good natured temperament, making it an ideal pet.


Rottweilers are a large powerful dog that were originally bred to herd and guard cattle. They can be happy go lucky clowns or serious and aloof, however they are very loyal and protective of their families.

St Bernard

There are two varieties of St Bernard - the short-haired or smooth coat, and the long-haired or rough coat. Originally from the Swiss Alps, the St Bernard was used by farmers to pull carts and guard property and livestock. Although they were used by the monks of the St Bernard hospice to seek out and rescue lost travellers, they never wore brandy kegs around their necks!

Further Reading

Complete Beginner's Guide To Puppy Care

How To Spot A Good Pet Food

Heavy Duty Toys for Power Chewers

Which Flea and Worming Product Does YOUR Dog Need?

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