• By Kathy McRoberts
  • 24 Jan, 2013


The Boxer is a medium size, square-built, powerful dog with an intelligent and alert expression. They have a broad, short skull and a square muzzle with an under bite, strong jaws and powerful bite. Their dark brown eyes and wrinkling of the forehead give the Boxer it's unique quality of expressiveness. The ears are either cropped or kept natural and the tail is usually docked. They are instinctive guardians that love and protect their humans. The Boxer's short, shiny coat comes in fawn (ranging from light tan to mahogany) or brindle coloring, often with flashes of white. The Boxer is the 6th most popular breed of dog in the United States according to the AKC Registration Statistics. There are two types of Boxers being bred, the German Boxer and the American Boxer. German Boxers have bigger heads and are generally more muscular than American Boxers.

Around 1904, white was the most common color of the Boxer breed. White boxers are not albinos, they just have white fur. White Boxers are not common today due to efforts to remove the gene which causes white fur from the Boxer line. This may have started in 20th century Europe when Boxers were used as police dogs due to their high level of intelligence. Having white fur was a disadvantage as they could easily be seen at night. Germans began breeding with the purpose of eliminating the white fur gene and even created a law to prevent the registration of white Boxer dogs in the 1920s. Today white Boxers are not recognized by the AKC for show purposes, and every Boxer club in the world prohibits breeding white Boxers.

Tail docking and ear cropping are practices that have been done for many ceturies. Tail docking was thought to prevent rabies, strengthen the back, increase the animal's speed and prevent injuries when ratting, fighting and baiting. In hunting dogs, tails could collect burrs or foxtails or be subject to injury while moving through dense brush or thickets. In guarding dogs such as the Boxer or Doberman Pinschers, docked ears are thought to make the breed look more ferocious rather than the cute droopy puppy ear look. Though personal choice, these practices are controversial, and outlawed in many countries. Without a docked tail and cropped ears, Boxers competing in the show ring are at a disadvantage.


Developed in Germany in the 19th century, the Boxer's history can be traced back to a line of dogs throughout Europe, and it is cousin to practically all recognized breeds of the Bulldog type.

The Boxer is considered a direct descendent of the Bullenbeisser, also known as the German Bulldog. The Bullenbeisser was a large, Mastiff type dog in Europe known for its strength, stamina and agillity, and dates as far back as 370 A.D. The name Bullenbeisser means "bull-biter". The Bullenbeisser's main uses were hunting, guarding and baiting. This type of dog was highly prized for it's instinctive ability to tackle game from behind and hold it without serious injury, until the hunters arrived. The Bullenbeisser breed is now extinct. German breeders, through selective breeding, created a smaller version of the Bullenbeisser that is now known as the Boxer.

The Boxer was originally used for dog fighting, bull baiting (a cruel blood sport in which a bull was tied to an iron stake and allowed to be attacked by dogs), cart pulling, cattle dogs, and to run down and hold large game such as wild boar and bison until the hunter could arrive. When the bull baiting sport was outlawed Boxers were mostly used as butcher's dogs in Germany, and controlling cattle in slaughter yards. During World War I, the Boxer was used for military work acting as a messenger dog, pack carrier, attack dog and guard dog. The Boxer was one of the first breeds selected in Germany for police training.

The breed is known for standing up on its hind legs and batting at its opponent, appearing to box with its front paws, which, according to one theory, is how the name Boxer came about. There are many other theories as to how the Boxer got its name.

The breed was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1904 but it was not until about the 1940s that the American public began to take a real interest in the breed.


The disposition and temperament of the Boxer are what made the breed an American favorite. The Boxer is a dog with a sometimes regal and sometimes goofy disposition. The Boxer is a very affectionate breed and loves the company of humans. They often attempt to be lap dogs despite their size and weight. Boxers love to play and need lots of exercise. This is an intelligent, alert, dignified and self-assured breed, while at the same time a very entertaining dog with his animated personality and playfulness. They may be aggressive towards strange dogs, especially if they feel threatened, but are generally good with other household dogs and pets. Boxers become very attached to their family and will go the extra mile to ensure that you are always safe and sound, keeping watch over you. Don't be surprised if your Boxer stays awake until late hours of the night waiting for your return just to be sure you are safe and sound. The Boxer is friendly with strangers if they are friendly with him, but will exhibit fearless courage if threatened.


The standard size of the Boxer is 21-25 inches tall with a weight between 55 and 70 pounds.


The Boxer breed is prone to cancers, heart conditions such as Aortic Stenosis and Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy ("Boxer Cardiomyopathy"), hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, and degenerative myelopathy and epilepsy. According to a UK Kennel Club health survey, cancer accounts for 38.5% of Boxer deaths, followed by old age (21.5%), cardiac (6.9%), and gastrointestinal (6.9%) related issues. Boxers are also susceptible to bloat.

Boxers do not do well with high heat or humidity, and care should be taken when exercising in these conditions.


Boxers have an average lifespan of 10-13 years.


The Boxer's short coat requires little grooming. Brush with a firm bristle brush and bathe only when necessary. This breed is an average shedder.


The Boxer is very energetic and playful and needs exercise and mental stimulation to keep it from becoming bored and destructive. Left to his own devices, a Boxer can get into trouble. Boxers are great and patient with children and have a sense of knowing just the right amount of roughness they can display while playing. Boxers will do ok in an apartment if they are sufficiently exercised.

Boxers are temperature sensitive due to their blunt muzzle, becoming easily over-heated in summer and chilling quickly in winter. It generally does not do well living outdoors.


Boxers tend to be headstrong and stubborn and require a dominant owner. It is important to establish yourself as the clear pack leader or your Boxer can become sneaky, demanding, boisterous and hard to control. Training should start young and be consistent. They will respond better to positive reinforcement rather than punishment-based training. Boxers have a high prey drive.


The Boxer is a dog that is both a clown and an intellect. They are perfect as a family dog, great with children, love the company of others and become very attached to and protective of their humans. Though not aggressive, they are confident and self assured, and make good guard dogs. They are not shy, aloof or hyper but can be stubborn and destructive without proper training and exercise. The Boxer is prone to several health issues including heart conditions and cancers, is easy to groom, intelligent, athletic and faithful.

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Cincinnati Dog Knowledge Center

By Pets in Need 08 Jan, 2018

Education is the first step  in pet poison prevention

Pet owners should take the time to educate themselves on the various, sometimes unexpected, pet poisons in their environments. The  Pet Poison Helpline  provides an extensive list of poisonous items for pet owners to be aware of, but here are a few of the most common items seen by veterinarians:

By Pets in Need 11 Dec, 2017

Outdoor Animals:

Many people believe certain dog breed, such as huskies and malamutes, are capable of living outside all of the time because of their thick coats. However, no dog breed should be consistently left unprotected outside. According to the City of Cincinnati, when the temperature is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, a pet owner should not leave their dog outside for longer than sixty minutes without adequate shelter. For outside dogs, owners should provide a warm, dry, draft free shelter with fresh, unfrozen water. Heated water bowls are a great option to ensure consistent access to unfrozen water. Owners should also feed their outdoor dogs more during the winter because their bodies use more energy trying to keep warm. In 2016, the City of Cincinnati passed an ordinance with further restrictions and shelter guidelines for dog tethering and weather conditions, which can be found by  clicking here

A common winter hazard that vets encounter consistently with cats is engine belt injuries. Cats will climb into cars to keep warm, and without knowing they’re there, people will start their cars and harm the cats. Before starting your car in the winter, it’s advised to give the car hood a few raps to make sure there are no cats cozied up inside.

By Pets in Need 27 Nov, 2017

Pets start an estimated 1,000 fires per year. While this isn’t a huge number, it’s easily preventable. Pet owners should identify the risks in their home and make sure they’re contained from pets. Risks to consider include, open flames such as candles, space heaters, stovetops, fireplaces, and frayed wires chewed by puppies.

Even if all fire hazards are contained from pets, there’s still always a chance of a house fire. According to the   National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) , there’s a home fire reported every 86 seconds in the United States. So while the hope is that you and your pets never have to face a fire, it’s important to have a plan.

In case of a fire, pet owners should hang window clings that let firefighters know there’s a pet in the home. The   ASPCA offers a free Pet Fire Safety Pack   that includes a window decal. When leaving home, pet owners should know where their pets are and keep them close to exits if possible. Pet owners should also consider investing in monitored smoke detectors that alert homeowners of a fire when they’re not home and automatically dispatch firefighters.

By Pets in Need 14 Nov, 2017
First, let’s learn a bit of information about pet diabetes. Just like in humans, there are 2 types or diabetes in pets, which veterinarians typically refer to as insulin dependent and non-insulin dependent. One is caused when the body doesn’t make enough insulin, which is a hormone created by the pancreas that allows glucose (or sugars) to move from the blood stream into cells to create energy. With non-insulin dependent diabetes, the body is making enough insulin, but it can’t utilize the insulin efficiently. This can be caused by high body fat content, chronic cortisone administration, and/or certain hormones such as progesterone (produced during a pet’s heat period).
By Pets in Need 30 Oct, 2017

Getting your dog microchipped is an easy and relatively inexpensive procedure that drastically increases the odds that your pet will find its way home if it’s ever lost. A microchip is a tiny chip that’s about the size of a grain of rice and contains a unique identification number. It’s injected into a pet’s skin between the shoulder blades on their back. When scanned with an electric scanner, the chip will show the unique identification number and manufacturer of the microchip. This unique identification number will be linked to the pet owner’s contact information in the microchip manufacturer’s database.

If a stranger ever finds your dog, a shelter or veterinarian can scan your pet for a microchip. Once they have the identification number and manufacturer from the chip reading, they will call the manufacturer in search of the pet owner’s contact information.  Therefore, if a dog owner moves or changes their contact information, it’s extremely important for them to update the contact information associated with their pet’s microchip identification number.

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