We do not advise you to wrap your knuckles and spar with this dog. Not because he will bite your head off, but because the name “boxer” does not come from this breed’s propensity to stand up and fight. The modern-day Boxers are descended from German hunting dogs, who were generally and indiscriminately called boxers, or words very close to that.

The First Boxers

The early hunting dog that the Boxers were bred from, the Bullenbeiszer, was bred for speed and strength. Unlike the hounds used in British hunting, their job is not to flush out game. Neither are they retriever dogs for wild geese shot over wide lakes. The Bullenbeiszer was used to run down gigantic game, including bears, boars, and deer. They would catch the tired animal and hold them until the hunters arrived. This breeding is seen in the dogs’ broad chests and medium-length legs.

How Boxers Became Popular

One good thing that came out of the World Wars was this new widespread addition to the species known as man’s best friend. The Boxers were already named and spreading as a breed in Europe by 1895, as reliable cattle and guard dogs. During World War I, they took on another duty, functioning as military attack dogs, messenger dogs, and even as pack dogs.

It was inevitable that they would reprise their role in the Second World War, and equally inevitable that soldiers would bring home the boxer pups left without homes or purposes at the end of the war. They brought them as far as across the Atlantic, and former military families raised their children with Boxers. The breeding and spread of Boxers continues to this day.

What Are Boxers Like?

Boxers are perfect family dogs, even when the family has very young children. They are full of energy, which means they can play for hours–just like children can. At the same time, their breeding has made them exceedingly patient–a dog who holds down large prey for his hunters can absorb a whole lot of playful wrestling.

Boxers make brilliant guard dogs for the same reason. They are extremely loyal and protective of their charges, but not to excess. They may keep a wary eye on strangers and others they have not met yet, but they will not attack unless they feel a direct threat towards those they are protecting.

Boxers are housedogs through and through, a funny fact considering they are great big hunting dogs. The main reason for this is the thickness of their coats–lack of thickness, rather. It’s not enough to keep them warm, but their heavy-set muzzles are terrible at keeping them cool. They need even temperatures to keep healthy.

How Big Do Boxers Get?

Boxers can stand 21 inches to 25 inches at the shoulder, and weigh anywhere between 60 to 70 pounds. Because of their broad heads and muscular chests, boxers always look bigger than they really are. Their strength makes them perfect to play with for owners with extremely active lifestyles.

Boxers: Hunting Dogs Turned Family Protectors

The unique breeding of the Boxers shows them off as strong and patient, fun-loving and cheerful, watchful and loyal. When trained and cared for with that knowledge, they can become the best companions anyone could ask for.