Boxers are one of the most popular dogs in the world. Many people love them for their playful, loyal, and quirky personalities. They are the perfect balance between a hard-working dog and affectionate family pet.
People think of Boxer dogs as guard or companion dogs. But, they are also bred for sports and show. They make great competition dogs because of their athleticism and agility.
It is because of their many uses that today there are three different types of boxer dogs.
Every Boxer dog looks very similar and belongs to the same breed. However, each one is a bit different from the other and has their own features.
Keep on reading to learn about the types of Boxer breeds and what makes each different.
Boxer Dog Breed
Boxers are a handsome, working class dog that are a favorite among Americans.
The Boxer skyrocketed in popularity after a Boxer named “Bang Away” became the first dog to achieve “100 Bests in Show”. After his win in the prestigious 1951 Westminster dog show, Bang Away became a celebrity and pushed the Boxer into the spotlight.
Since rising in popularity it has been given many different jobs in America. Athlete, cattle dog, police dog, war dog, watch dog, protection dog and guide dog are just a few of its jobs.
You might think of Boxer dogs as very serious because of their role as guard dogs.
However, they can actually be very silly. You will oftentimes find yourself laughing at this breed because of their quirkiness.
This fun-loving, affectionate and loyal breed is perfect for families. It loves companionship and is very protective of children. Kisses and hugs will be plentiful. There will never be a time where you will feel bored or unsafe when this dog is with you.
Boxers were originally bred in Germany in the late 19th and early 20th century.
They descend from the now extinct Bullenbeisser. The Bullenbeisser was crossed with the Mastiff, Bulldog, and possibly Great Dane, to make a sleeker and more elegant version of the German “bull biters”.
The Bully name comes from when these dogs were used in blood sports like bull baiting.
Bull baiting required bully dogs to be aggressive. But, by nature all Bully breeds are very kind and affectionate. Many people know Boxer dogs are the friendly and quirky guard dog.
In fact, Boxers were originally used for protecting livestock and property, not fighting.
The modern Boxer got its name from the way it spars with its front paws like a boxer.
The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1904.
Boxers are classified as part of the working group. As working dogs they can do many jobs such as guarding, police and military work and hunting.
These dogs are extremely trainable because of their high intelligence and ability to learn quickly. They are also very strong, watchful, and alert which makes them excellent guard dogs.
Boxers were not brought to the United States until after World War I, despite being registered in 1904.
The incredible popularity of Boxer dogs now extends beyond America.
All over the world Boxers are beloved. Though, different countries have a preference for how their Boxer should look. This has led to three different types of Boxer:
- America Boxer Dog
- German Boxer Dog
- English Boxer Dog
This does not mean that there are different breeds of Boxers. Rather, there are three Boxer bloodlines, but only one breed.
All of these dogs come from the same ancestors and have inherited the same genetic traits and temperament.
These three bloodlines were the result of the different breed standards set by the major kennel clubs around the world:
Each kennel club only accepts types of Boxers that are bred according to their standards. This led to the split of the bloodlines.
Though each type of Boxer is slightly different, they all share the same general appearance.
All Boxers have stocky and muscular bodies with short backs and a deep chest. Expect a lot of power and strength from their athletic, square builds.
Over the muscular bodies of Boxers is a short, shiny coat that moderately sheds.
These coats can only be fawn or brindle. The fawn can vary in shade from light tan to mahogany, similar to a red Golden Retriever in color.
The brindle can either be mostly fawn with black stripes or a “reverse brindle” where the fawn is between black fur. The latter is often called a Black Boxer, but in reality there is no purebred Boxer that is entirely black.
All Boxers have a characteristic black face mask. They can also have white on their bodies, as long as it does not cover more than one-third of their body.
The ideal Boxer is medium-sized, weighing between 50 and 80 pounds and standing between 21.5 and 25 inches. Females are usually smaller than males. Other Boxer types can be slightly smaller or bigger but mostly they range around this size.
Their heads are square in shape and they have undershot jaws. Their muzzles are short and blunt, which is what makes them a brachycephalic breed.
Types of Boxer Dogs
The Boxer dog has three different bloodlines, but all bloodlines are considered a single breed.
Boxer breeders around the world have classified this dog into three types because different countries have different breed standards. Breeders will breed Boxers to comply with the standard set by their local kennel club.
1. American Boxer Dog
The American Boxer was the first type to be standardized in 1904.
What makes this Boxer unique from the other two is their lack of wrinkles, this is because of its tight skin. These Boxers are classified as working dogs, so their bodies are meant to be sleek and powerful. Its skin is dense and stuck tight to its well-defined muscles.
They are similar to the English Boxer, but they are slightly taller and stand differently because of their larger paws and smaller knuckles.
The American Boxer also has the broadest nose and muzzle.
If they are going to be used for show rings, then they will have a docked tail and cropped ears (like a pitbull). This is different to the English and German Boxer who have floppy ears and non-docked tails.
In America the Kennel Club does not allow Boxers that have not had their tails docked into show competitions. In many European countries ear cropping is illegal.
You will not find an English or German Boxer with pointy ears.
2. English Boxer Dog (United Kingdom)
The UK Boxer, also known as the British or English Boxer, was the second type of Boxer to be recognized and registered. It was accepted as an official breed by the Kennel Club in 1948.
English Boxers are considered to be the most elegant. English breeders bred a Boxer that is more handsome, agile, precise, and graceful.
These dogs have the most sleek and athletic body type of all the Boxers. This thin body structure makes British Boxers excellent show dogs and competitors, especially for agility. These dogs are meant to move fast, which makes them smaller and less muscular than all the other types of Boxer breeds.
The most distinctive feature of English Boxers are their high knuckles on small feet.
3. German Boxer Dog (European)
German Boxers are also called European Boxers.
The German Boxer is considered to be the most traditional type of Boxer, it is also the oldest.
German Boxers have bigger and denser bones. They are the stockiest of the three Boxer types, so they look most similar to the Bullenbeisser. Their giant bodies are a nod to their ancestors’ origin as hunting dogs.
The German Boxer must always have a 1:2 ratio between the length of its muzzle and skull size. The other two types of Boxer dogs must have a 1:3 ratio so have shorter muzzles.
American vs German Boxer Differences
The biggest differences between the American and German Boxer are its size and wrinkles.
American Boxers are taller with no wrinkles. German Boxers are stockier and their coats are a bit looser which makes them have more wrinkles.
Interestingly, the Federation Cynologique Internationale classifies the German Boxer as a part of the Molossian type group. Molosser dogs are the ancient ancestors of the Bullenbeisser. They were huge dogs with dense bones, muscular bodies and short muzzles.
The American and English Kennel Club classify Boxer dogs as part of the working group.
No matter the classification, all registries agree that Boxers are meant to be used as companion, guard, and working dogs.
|American Boxer||German Boxer|
|Height||21.5-25 inches||20.9-24.8 inches|
|Color||Fawn, brindle and reverse brindle||Fawn and brindle|
|Coat||Tight to skin and shiny||Less tight fitting|
|Tail||Docked||Natural, normal length|
|Ears||Pointy and set high||Natural, flop forward|
|Breed Registry Recognition||American Kennel Club||Federation Cynologique Internationale|
|Purpose||Working, guard, and companion dog|
Boxer Dog Colors
There are only two Boxer colors that are considered standard by the Kennel Club. These are brindle and fawn.
However, there are other colors that Boxers are known for such as the black and white.
All three types of Boxer bloodlines have the potential to have one of these four coat colors. Though each Kennel Club has a slightly different descriptions of the colors and shades of colors they allow.
Fawn is the standard Boxer color.
This color can range from a light tan/fawn to a dark deer and even mahogany.
The Federation Cynologique Internationale considers fawn shades in the middle that are closest to a red fawn, as the most attractive.
Boxers with a fawn coat may have white in their coat too. However, this white cannot exceed over one third of their body.
The white markings “should enhance the dog’s appearance.” Any white markings on the side or back are not desired. An entirely white head or white on one side of the head is an unattractive marking too.
Boxers can have white markings on their face, but it should not cover the black face mask in a way that diminishes the Boxer’s true expression.
Brindle is a coat color pattern made famous by the Dutch Shepherd.
Boxers with brindle coats can come in two varieties:
- Fawn with black stripes
- Reverse brindle
The most common Bridle is a fawn background with sparse, but defined black stripes. The black or dark stripes must run parallel.
There is also a reverse brindling. This happens when the black stripes are so thick that the fawn background is barely visible, though it is clearly there.
In German and English Boxers the black stripes must contrast distinctly with the fawn background. English Boxers cannot have stripes that are too close, nor too thinly dispersed.
Some breeders may advertise Black Boxers as a rare dog breed. This is done with other breeds, like Blue German Shepherds, to try and increase their price.
It is impossible for a purebred Boxer to be black. They do not carry the gene for a full black coat.
There are two possible explanations for why someone has a Black Boxer.
They either have a Boxer mix or they have a reverse brindled dog. A mixed Boxer might look like a Boxer, but these dogs are never purebred so they are not really Black Boxers.
For Brindle Boxers, sometimes the black lines can be so thick that the dog appears entirely black. However, that is just an illusion, a fawn color will be underneath.
Reputable breeders will not sell their Boxers as black. They are not recognized as standard.
White Boxers have a nearly completely white coat.
These types of Boxers are not albino, but have a type of marking called a “flash”. This flash can appear on any purebred Boxer. This flash is due to a lack of pigmentation in their skin, but unlike albino dogs, they do not completely lack pigmentation all over their body.
A flash white marking on a Boxer is not rare. About 20 to 25% of all Boxers are born white.
The White Boxer can have some fawn or brindle spots on their skin and coat. They also do not have the characteristic black mask of the other Boxers.
White Boxers are not recognized because kennel clubs state that less than one third of the Boxer’s coat must be white.
Types of Boxer Dogs: How To Identify Them
Sometimes it can be confusing to spot one type of Boxer from the other, especially if you do not have them side-by-side. Luckily, what really sets them apart is their physical attributes of size, paws and coat color.
However, before you can identify a Boxer bloodline, you need to know if you have a Boxer.
A Boxer is easy to spot as it is a medium-sized, brachycephalic breed with a deep chest.
Boxers can only be fawn or brindle and should have a characteristic black mask on their face. Be sure to look closely at its chiseled, muscled body and face to make sure it is a Boxer.
Once you know you have a Boxer, you will then want to identify its bloodline.
Each type of Boxer has at least one attribute unique to it. If you can identify these, then you will be able to distinguish them:
|Tallest, has no wrinkles and normally has cropped ears and a docked tail.||Smallest, athletic body. Has small feet and high knuckles.||Stockiest with the most muscle mass and bone density. Longer muzzle than the American and English.|
An American Boxer is the tallest out of the three. It is slim, like a United Kingdom Boxer, but its most distinguishing feature is a lack of wrinkles. This is because it has tight skin over its well-muscled body. The American’s coat will look sleek and shiny.
The American Boxer also has the widest muzzle, and most often you will find it with cropped ears and docked tails.
German Boxers have a larger build because they were hunting dogs bred to catch big game like bears and boars. Its thighs are wider and it generally tends to be heavier than the other two types.
The German Boxer is the stockiest of the three, it has the most muscle mass and bone density.
Another unique feature to the German Boxer is its perfect 1:2 ratio of its muzzle to skull size. This means they have a longer muzzle than the American and English.
The English Boxer tends to be the smallest. Its slender, athletic body is great for agility competitions.
It is often described as the most “stylized” and elegant of the three boxer dogs.
The American Boxer is similar to the English as they are both small and handsome. However the American is easy to spot as it does not have wrinkles on its body. The English Boxer also has the unique feature of having small feet and high knuckles.
The Boxer is one of the most popular dogs in the world. They can be a hard-working gun dog, a protective and loyal guard dog, and a loving and funny family pet. They are the perfect family dog as they can double as playful lovebugs and guard dogs.
There is only one Boxer breed, but there are three different bloodlines. The bloodlines are due to different Kennel Club breed standards around the world:
- The American Boxer follows the American Kennel Club’s breed standard. Its most distinctive feature is the lack of wrinkles over its body.
- The UK Boxer followers the standard set by the Kennel Club. It is famous for its small feet and high knuckles.
- The German Boxer’s appearance is defined by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale. It is the burliest and stockiest of all the Boxer dogs
All Boxer dogs have the same temperament and personality. This is because they all descend from the same ancestor. They will all be friendly, affectionate, loyal, intelligent, and silly.
No matter which type of Boxer you choose, you will not regret it. They are all beautiful and special in their own way.