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Dog Breeds: Boxer—A High-spirited Companion

Don't judge a Boxer by its cover. These medium-large guard dogs are muscular, fearless and fierce-looking. But their expressive eyes are full of friendly mischief and delight. Despite the Boxer reputation as a fighter, this dog would rather engage in fun and games. Loving and loyal to the family and patient and gentle with children, a Boxer will enthusiastically greet you, want to hang out together at parks and pet-friendly spots and even want to sleep on your lap.

Peter Pan of dogs

This energetic clown remains playful most of its life, retaining its sense of puppydom. Be sure to exercise, toss balls and Frisbees, walk the neighborhood and engage in other physical activities with your Boxer. She will happily run, jump and roll around, even do a twisting "kidney bean" dance in a semicircle. Boxers express excitement with a unique "woo-woo!" sound.

Keeping up appearances

With a warm fawn-colored or brindle coat, the shorthaired Boxer requires minimal grooming to stay clean and shiny. Traditionally their ears were cropped erect and their tail docked. Now people are foregoing these practices to let the ears hang. Watch out for their enthusiastic wagging tail!

The Boxer is a house dog and shouldn't be left outdoors for long periods, especially unattended. They need to be with people. Because of their short nose, this breed can't endure summers in the heat and during winter their short hair doesn't keep them warm. Also, that muzzly mouth will drool so kisses can be messy.

German origins

Standing 21 inches to two feet tall and weighing 60 to 70 pounds, the Boxer is a mix of Bulldog and Bullenbeisser (related to the Mastiff). Originally from Germany, the Boxer became popular in the U.S. in the 1940s, after World War II.

Smart, alert and easily trainable at an early age, Boxers are up for learning and performing. But if you're tough, you'll encounter a headstrong streak. Boxers bark at and can restrain intruders if they detect a threat. This courageous dog is used for search and rescue work and by the military and police.