Boxer illustration
Working

Boxer

From Germany, lively, strong and family-orientated

Breed characteristics

Size
Large
Exercise
More than 2 hours per day
Size of home
Large house
Grooming
Once a week
Coat length
Short
Sheds
Yes
Lifespan
Over 10 years
Vulnerable native breed
No
Town or country
Either
Size of garden
Large garden

About this breed

The Boxer is a descendant of the Bullenbeisser (meaning bull biter), a German breed which was used to hunt bear, boar and deer in the 19th century. It is thought that this breed was crossed with the Bulldog and this provided the basis for the present day Boxer.

The Boxer, much loved as a family companion for his intelligence and character, is an excellent guard dog and has proved his worth as a tracking dog and worked in the armed forces as a messenger and as a pack carrier. His clean outline, glossy coat and the nobility of his beautiful head and expression have brought the breed many admirers.

Read the breed standard

Images for this breed

The Working breed group

Over the centuries these dogs were selectively bred to become guards and search and rescue dogs. Arguably, the working group consists of some of the most heroic canines in the world, aiding humans in many walks of life, including the Boxer, Great Dane and St. Bernard. This group consists of the real specialists in their field who excel in their line of work.

 

Breed standard colours

Breed standard colour means that the colour is accepted within the breed standard and is a traditional and well-known colour in this breed.

Breed standard colours in this breed include:
  • Black Brindle
  • Black Brindle & White
  • Brindle
  • Brindle & White
  • Brindle Black Mask
  • Dark Brindle
  • Dark Brindle & White
  • Fawn
  • Fawn & White
  • Golden Brindle & White
  • Light Brindle
  • Light Brindle & White
  • Red
  • Red & White
  • Red & White Black Mask
  • Red Black Mask
  • Red Brindle
  • Red Brindle & White
  • Tiger Brindle
  • Tiger Brindle & White
  • White

Other colour/s

'Other' means you consider your puppy to be a colour not currently known within the breed and one that does not appear on either the breed standard or non-breed standard list. In this instance you would be directed through our registrations process to contact a breed club and/or council to support you on identifying and correctly listing the new colour.

Non-breed-standard colours

Non-breed-standard colour means that the colour is not accepted within the breed standard and whilst some dogs within the breed may be this colour it is advised to only select a dog that fits within the breed standards for all points.

Colour is only one consideration when picking a breed or individual dog, health and temperament should always be a priority over colour.

Health

Whether you’re thinking of buying a puppy, or breeding from your dog, it’s essential that you know what health issues may be found in your breed. To tackle these issues we advise that breeders use DNA tests, screening schemes and inbreeding coefficient calculators to help breed the healthiest dogs possible.

More about health

Important health schemes and tests

We strongly recommend that all breeders, both assured breeders (ABs) and non ABs, use the following schemes, tests and advice.

Find out about a particular dog's results

Please visit our Health Test Results Finder to discover the DNA or screening scheme test results for any dog on The Kennel Club's Breed Register.

You can also view the inbreeding coefficient calculation for a puppy's parents, or for a dog you're thinking of breeding from.

Health issues in flat-faced dogs

Dogs with a flat, wide shaped head, are said to be brachycephalic (brachy, meaning short and cephalic, meaning head). This particular skull shape will often give these dogs a characteristic flattened face and a short muzzle. Although the shape of these dogs’ heads can make them look very cute, dogs with a very flat face and short muzzle have a higher risk of developing certain health issues associated with their features, such as:

Breathing difficulties

The soft tissue in the nose and throat of some brachycephalic dogs may be excessive for the airways, making it difficult for them to breathe normally (causing heavy panting or noisy breathing). Some dogs may also have narrow nostrils making it even more difficult to breathe.

More information can be found on:

Skin problems

Some brachycephalic dogs may have an excess of skin, which creates folds, especially around the front of the face. These folds can make a warm, moist environment which is perfect for bacteria and yeast to grow, possibly leading to infection and severe itching.

More information can be found in our article on skin problems in flat-faced dogs.

Teeth problems

Dogs with a shortened skull will often have a shortened jaw, but the number and size of teeth will stay the same. This can mean that the teeth become overcrowded and can cause dental and gum problems.

More information can be found on our advice page on how to take care of your dogs teeth.

Eye conditions

Some brachycephalic dogs may have shallow eye sockets, causing their eyes to become more prominent and at a higher risk of trauma, ulcers and increasing the chance of them becoming dry and painful (due to not being able to blink properly).

More information can be found in our article on eye problems in flat-faced dogs.

Want to buy a puppy responsibly?

Not all flat-faced dogs will have the health issues described, but it is important that if you are thinking of buying a puppy, that you take extra precautions

Have any questions about health in your breed?

If you have any concerns about a particular health condition in your breed then you may wish to speak to your vet or you could contact your breed health co-ordinator.

Breed health co-ordinators are individuals working on behalf of breed clubs and councils who are advocates for the health and welfare of their chosen breed. They acts as a spokesperson on matters of health and will collaborate with The Kennel Club on any health concerns the breed may have.

Contact the breed health co-ordinator for the Boxer.

Breed watch

Category 2        

Particular points of concern for individual breeds may include features not specifically highlighted in the breed standard including current issues. In some breeds, features may be listed which, if exaggerated, might potentially affect the breed in the future.

Read more

Breeding restrictions

There are a number of The Kennel Club rules and regulations that may prevent a litter from being registered, find out about our general and breed specific breeding restrictions below.

More about breeding

In October 2008, our Board agreed to record puppies that are born with naturally bobbed tails on registration certificates. The decision was made in order to help breeders identify which dogs or lines carry the tailless gene. The word bobtail is the only description of the tail which is accepted. The description of any other tail length or tails which are not naturally bobbed, such as full tail or legally docked will not be recorded. Confirmation of the tail status of puppies must be accompanied by veterinary certification (on practice headed paper) and sent with the litter registration form. As veterinary certification is required to record the status, this service is not available online.

More information

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