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Boxers: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

What’s it like to own a Boxer? In this comprehensive guide, you’ll discover all you need to know about this popular breed's playful personality, common health concerns, and origins.

A happy boxer with his owner sitting in the grass


The Boxer is a working breed with a history tracing back to 19th-century Germany. These dogs were first bred for hunting and prized for their tenacity and strength. As time passed, the Boxer's friendly and loyal nature made them increasingly popular as family pets and companions.

There are many theories about how Boxers earned their name. Some believe it is inspired by how they play-fight, “boxing” with their front paws while standing on their hind legs.


Boxers are also known for having a muscular build, strong legs, and a broad, powerful chest. They have a short, smooth coat in various colors, including fawn (a light brown), brindle (a solid coat with dark stripes), and white.

Similar breeds

If you like boxers, you might also be interested in similar breeds like Bulldogs, Doberman Pinschers, or German Shepherds.


Boxers are affectionate dogs with playful, intelligent, and often silly personalities. They are not big barkers and are generally gentle creatures. However, they will be sure to alert their owners when protecting their homes and family.

Boxers love to stay active and busy, so a Boxer might be the perfect fit if you're looking for an athletic companion.

Are Boxers hypoallergenic?

Boxers have short, shiny, single coats that shed moderately year-round. They are not considered hypoallergenic and can cause discomfort for those sensitive to dog allergies.

They may benefit from regular grooming to manage shedding and maintain their coat's health. Weekly brushing and occasional baths can help keep their coat clean and healthy.

Looking for an allergy-friendly dog? We've got you covered with our guide to hypoallergenic breeds.

Health concerns

Boxers may be prone to certain genetic health issues, including hip dysplasia, heart disease (including cardiomyopathy), bloat, and certain cancers. Consistent veterinary care and preventative measures can help manage these risks.

How big do Boxers get?

Boxers can reach up to 25 inches in height and weigh between 50 and 70 pounds.

A dog’s age, whether they’re male or female, and their activity levels can affect their size in adulthood. If they’re a mixed breed, this can be a bit more complex to estimate.

Life expectancy

You can expect your Boxer to live about 10 to 12 years. That’s plenty of time for to play and hang out with your soulful sidekick.

Expected lifetime cost

The lifetime cost of a boxer can vary, but you can anticipate spending around $20,000 throughout your dog's life. On average, that’s about $1,800 per year.

Plan for other expenses like routine vet visits, preventative medications, grooming, and other standard pet care.

Estimated cost to insure

Insuring your pet is a fantastic way to manage unexpected medical expenses. The cost of pet insurance for a boxer can vary based on age, health, and location. You can expect to pay around $30-$80 per month for their coverage.

The good, the bad, the ugly

On the fence about getting a Boxer? These are some traits and health factors to consider when making your decision:

  1. High energy: Boxers are known for their high energy levels and need regular exercise and playtime. Training them to understand when their enthusiastic running and playful jumping is appropriate, especially around small children is also important.

  2. Dilated Cardiomyopathy: A common health condition for Boxers is cardiomyopathy, a heart disease common in large dogs that causes an irregular heartbeat.

  3. Cancer: Boxers are known to develop several common cancers, like mast cell tumors and canine lymphoma.

  4. Joint problems: Boxers can develop degenerative joint conditions like hip dysplasia and the breakdown of their cranial cruciate ligament, which destabilizes the knee area.

  5. Trainability: Boxers are intelligent and trainable, making them great candidates for agility and obedience training.

Keep in mind these Boxer traits and characteristics as you consider bringing one of these lovable pups home with you.

So you want a Boxer...

Have an active lifestyle and an appreciation for goofball pups? This breed makes for an affectionate and playful addition to any dog-lover’s home. With such playful personalities, this breed is a great choice that's sure to bring boundless joy to your life.

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