The Boxer was developed in Germany in the late 1800s from the combination of early Bullenbeiser dogs (Mastiff type) and English Bulldogs.

Early Boxers were bred to serve a varied purpose – that of a guard, escort and companion dog, full of strength and energy. The Boxer excels in all of these areas, and has an outstanding reputation as a family pet, loyal companion, tractable guard and an impressive show dog.

John P. Wagner, author of The Boxer, says of the breed, “Other breeds have pronounced specialised talents…hunting, herding, trailing and so on, but for a combination of the outstanding virtues of many with the faults of few, our Boxer is the most gifted of canines. For the man, woman or child who wants an all-round dog, he has no equal. No other dog is more individual in appearance, more keenly intelligent or sanely even-tempered.”


The Boxer is a medium-sized, smooth-coated dog, with a sturdy and square frame. It is muscular, yet retains elastic and energetic movement and a distinct degree of elegance. The Boxer’s head imparts a unique stamp in complete balance with the body, with its upturned chin, forward-facing dark eyes and black mask in relief to its attractive fawn or brindle colouring, often with white markings. 


The Boxer is renowned from olden times for its great love and faithfulness to its master and household, as well as its alertness and fearless courage as a defender and protector. The Boxer is docile, but distrustful of strangers; this makes it an equable guard dog. It is bright and friendly in play, but brave and determined when roused. 


With its short, smooth coat and clean ways, the Boxer is a relatively low-maintenance dog. The coat is easy to clean and has no major odour. A regular bath and a quick brush to remove any loose hair is all that is required.

The Boxer is very active, and both requires and enjoys regular exercise with its owner, such as walking, jogging or running loose at a dog-friendly park. A good-sized, well-fenced yard is also essential, where dogs can play with toys, spend time with the kids and wander at will. This breed is relatively easy to house-train and will soon understand where its ‘inside bed’ is. If living outside, an elevated bed in a warm and draft-free place is required. Boxers are generally great eaters and should be fed a healthy, balanced diet.


This breed generally keeps very good health. Responsible breeders will screen for inheritable diseases, particularly for heart diseases such as aortic and pulmonic stenosis as well as cardiomyopathy. Unfortunately, the biggest health issue in Boxers is cancer; tumours are the main cause of early loss. On the whole though, the Boxer is healthy and hardy with a normal life span being between 10 and 12 years of age. 


The Boxer is the quintessential family dog. It has a great temperament and is active, loyal, hardy and clean. You will find its favourite place is by the side of the children, with whom it is intrinsically patient and stoic.

The Boxer also has a great sense of humour and is an intelligent dog that enjoys learning. As such, it is an easy breed to train. It particularly enjoys Agility, where its splendid jumping skills and athletic ability come to the fore.

Words: Brad Santas, on behalf of the Boxer Club of NSW (2014)

Image by Ffire Photography

In Conclusion 

Now you know a little about the Boxer, you may think that this is the dog for you. Before you make a decision, please make contact with the breed club or your State controlling body for purebred dogs. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog shows where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the Boxer and its needs, and whether this breed would suit your lifestyle.