Boxer Breed Information
|Average height||53-63 cm|
|Average weight||25-27kg (females) 30-32kg (males)|
|Average lifespan||Over 10 years|
|Minimum exercise (per day)||2 hours|
|Minimum cost (per month)||£80|
Boxers are entertaining and active dogs who thrive off company. They love spending time with their owners and letting their playful and fun characters shine through. They are eager to please and very loyal dogs.
Originally Boxers were bred to be working dogs, which is why they have such high exercise needs and energy to spare! Now they’re known for their kind and clownish natures which has made them popular family pets.
Common health problems in Boxers
Boxers are intelligent dogs who are very loyal to their families. Sadly, like many other purebred dogs, they are prone to certain conditions.
If you are thinking of buying a Boxer puppy, make sure the parents of your puppy have had the relevant health screening to reduce the chances of your puppy being affected by certain conditions. We’d recommend looking for a Kennel Club Assured Breeder as they meet extra requirements which will benefit your puppy’s health.
Some of the conditions Boxers may develop include:
- Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) – this can cause severe breathing problems in some Boxers with shorter faces.
- Hip dysplasia – where the hip joint doesn’t fit together perfectly, which will eventually lead to arthritis. Before breeding, dogs should be screened by x-rays through the BVA/Kennel Club Hip Dysplasia Scheme.
- Epilepsy – a brain disorder causing seizures.
- Eye problems – such as corneal ulcers due to the shape of their skulls and prominence of the eyes.
- Heart problems – such as cardiomyopathy or aortic stenosis. Before breeding, parents should be screened.
- Skin problems - such as warts, skin tags, skin allergies and soreness in skin folds around the face (skin fold dermatitis).
- Certain cancers.
If you want to minimise the risk of your dog getting problems, you can read our advice on choosing a pedigree dog.
Caring for your boxer
Boxers are fun and active dogs who can be high maintenance due to their exercise needs. If you love getting out and about walking, they could be a good breed for you! A large secure garden is a must if you have a Boxer so they have plenty of space to blow off steam.
As they get so attached to their owners, it’s best to have someone around all day with your dog. Boxers can be very boisterous so do better with an experienced (and patient!) owner.
Boxers and barking
Your Boxer is likely to make noise and how much they do make will be down to their training and personality. Boxers are naturally very good guard dogs and so are more likely to bark to make their owners aware of any comings and goings around the home. This said, they are not big barkers but may become more vocal if they’re bored or left alone. If you’re having problems with excessive noise, we recommend seeking the advice of an accredited behaviourist.
Training and socialisation
Boxers are clever dogs but can be boisterous, so positive, reward-based training from a young age is really important. Boxers mature a lot slower than other breeds, so having a large amount of puppy energy in such a big dog can be challenging for some owners. For this reason, we wouldn’t recommend a Boxer if you are a first time owner. You need to handle your Boxer with a firm but fair attitude and make sure you are patient and consistent. If you need any help with training, we’d recommend taking them to accredited training classes.
Boxers are friendly dogs but do have a natural guarding instinct and can be protective, so it’s important to socialise your Boxer from a young age with lots of different people, dogs and experiences so they grow into happy and confident adults. They can be boisterous so make sure you train them not to jump up at people from a young age.
Boxers love human company so can develop separation anxiety if left alone. If they are alone or bored, they like to chew which means your furniture and belongings will be at risk! It’s best to have a Boxer if someone is going to be around the house with them all day.
Boxers are very high energy, active dogs who love playing and being involved in everything going on. They keep their puppy attitude longer than most dogs so you might find your Boxer rarely has a calm moment at home!
Your Boxer will need a minimum of two hours exercise every day. This should be split into a few walks with plenty of opportunities for sniffing around and exploring. You should also give your Boxer plenty of time to exercise off lead somewhere secure so they can have a good run around.
On top of this, your Boxer will also need regular, short training sessions. They will also need lots of playtime and free time in the garden to do what they want.
Boxers are fairly low maintenance when it comes to grooming. They have short fur which only needs a weekly brush to keep it in good condition. As with any dog, you should expect your Boxer to shed throughout the year, more so in spring and autumn. A regular hoover should be enough to keep on top of it.
Due to the excess skin around their faces, Boxers are at risk of developing a condition called skin fold dermatitis. It’s important to make sure the folds of skin are kept clean and dry so they don’t get infected.
Boxers and children
Generally speaking, Boxers are good around children of all ages given the right training. This said, due to their size and boisterous nature we wouldn’t recommend a Boxer if you have younger children as they could accidentally knock them over. An adult only home or one with teenagers is better for a Boxer.
Remember to make sure you can recognise your dog’s body language so you can put a stop to any potentially stressful situations before they escalate. Always supervise your dog with children and vulnerable adults.
Boxers and other pets
Boxers have a strong guarding instinct so it’s important to socialise your Boxer with other dogs from a young age. Puppy socialisation classes are a great way to get your pup used to new dogs. Early socialisation will help your dog get along well other dogs as an adult.
Boxers do have a very high prey drive, so we wouldn’t recommend keeping them with smaller pets. They may get along OK with a cat they have grown up with, but you should always supervise your Boxer with smaller pets.
Your vet will be able to tell you how much your Boxer should be eating. You should feed them a good quality, commercially available, complete dog food. We usually recommend splitting their daily allowance into two meals. If you give your dog the occasional treat or use treats for training, remember to take this into account and reduce their daily allowance. Treats shouldn’t make up more than 10% of their daily calorie intake as this can unbalance their diet.
Try to feed your dog at similar times every day as they like routine. Remember to leave a gap between eating and exercising.
The cost of owning a Boxer
You can expect your Boxer to cost you a minimum of £80 per month after purchase and set-up costs and over £13,000 across their lifetime.
Costs you’ll need to think about include:
Adopting an adult Boxer from a rescue centre may be a more cost-effective option, with the added advantage of giving a home to a pet without one – check if the rehoming centre you’re looking at asks for a donation for rehoming.
If instead you’re buying a Boxer puppy from a breeder, you’ll need to factor in this cost. Beware unusually cheap puppies as they could come from a puppy farm. If you’d like to buy a pedigree puppy, we recommend looking for a Kennel Club Assured breeder. These breeders must do extra health tests and meet higher standards.
- Puppy vaccines – if you rescue a dog, reputable centres will often vaccinate them for you. Remember that ongoing booster vaccinations will be needed to continue their immunity.
- Neutering – you should usually arrange for your dog to be neutered at around 6-12 months old, though your vet will be able to advise you exactly when is best. Check prices at your local practice as these will depend on your vet and where you live. Some rescue centres will neuter any dogs they rehome, saving you this cost.
- Equipment – including a collar and tags, lead, harness, dog beds, dog bowls, pet-safe toothpaste and toothbrushes, grooming brushes and toys. Keep in mind that all these will need to be replaced with wear or damage or if your dog outgrows or damages them!
- Preventive healthcare – budget for routine vet visits to help stop your dog getting ill and catch any problems early. They need annual check-ups, vaccinations and regular flea and worming treatments. Check if your vet offers a health care plan as this can help spread the cost throughout the year.
- Vet bills* or pet insurance – if you don’t have pet insurance and your dog needs veterinary treatment for an injury or illness, costs can rapidly mount up. Check what’s covered and what isn’t when comparing policies.
- Accessories – including lots of poo bags, replacing worn toys and grooming accessories, buying doggy toothpaste and any other extras they might need.
- Training – basic training is very important and dogs can benefit from formal classes. Some dogs may have, or develop, behavioural problems which might need professional management.
- Boarding – you may also need to budget for boarding or dog sitting costs if you are planning to go away from home on holiday.
- Dog walkers/day-care – you might consider a professional dog walker to keep your dog happy and healthy if you’re unable to get out with your dog enough yourself, or to look after them during the day if you need to be out for more than four hours.
* It’s always better to plan ahead and budget or get pet insurance in case your pet gets injured or unwell. If you are having difficulty with veterinary costs, you can check if you are eligible for treatment at PDSA here.
If you’re considering pet insurance, our PDSA Pet Insurance could be a great option for you and it’s quick and easy to get a quote online.
- Boxers were previously used to hunt wild boar – this is probably why they have such a high prey drive.
- Get ready with the ear plugs, because Boxers are known for loud snoring!
- There’s no such thing as a black Boxer, just ‘reverse brindle’.
- Boxers originated in Germany in the 1800s so are considered a fairly new breed.
Getting a Boxer
Do plenty of research before getting a Boxer. These playful and lively dogs keep their puppy ways well into their adult years so need an understanding owner with plenty of time and patience! Boxers can be really loving in the right household and will love spending time with you.
There are plenty of rescue centres across the country where you may find a Boxer. Breed-specific rescues that specialise in Boxers are also out there. You’ll need to ask any rescue centre about the dog’s history to make sure they will be comfortable in your home. Good rescue centres should let you know of any health and behaviour problems.
If you buy from a breeder, make sure your puppy will be well socialised and have all necessary screening tests, health checks and vaccinations. It’s really important that Boxer puppies from a breeder get the right early socialisation so always ask the breeder about how they go about this. We recommend looking for a Kennel Club Assured breeder as they meet higher standards. We’ve put together some advice to help you find a good breeder.