Boxer Vs German Shepherd – Which is Better? Dog vs Dog
The German Shepherd and the Boxer, two German
dog breeds that other than their shared Motherland
seemingly have little in common.
Both are very distinct, yet well-known dog
But, which makes the better pet?
Let’s jump in.
This choice is not going to be easy.
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In the 1800s in northwest Europe (Belgium,
Germany, Netherlands) the most common dog
used to herd sheep and protect the homes was
the so-called “continental shepherd dog”.
These dogs looked very similar at that time.
It was around 1890 that the three breeds (Belgian
Shepherd, German Shepherd and Dutch Shepherd)
went their separate ways.
During the 1850s, attempts were being made
to standardize dog breeds.
Dogs were being bred to preserve traits that
assisted in their job of herding sheep and
protecting their flocks from predators.
In Germany this was practiced within local
communities, where shepherds selected and
It was recognized that the breed had the necessary
skills for herding sheep, such as intelligence,
speed, strength and keen senses of smell.
The results were dogs that were able to do
such things, but that differed significantly,
both in appearance and ability, from one locality
The modern German Shepherd Dog descends from
the work of an ex-cavalryman and former veterinary
student by the name of Max von Stephanitz,
who believed that dogs in the now more industrialized
Germany should be bred as working dogs.
He recognized the attributes of Germany’s
herding dogs, but was unable to find a breed
that checked all the boxes for a working dog.
With a dog he found at a dog show, he created
the Society for the German Shepherd Dog, which
crafted the breed we know so well today.
Also a working dog, the Boxer is descendants
of now extinct bullenbeisser breeds crossed
with Mastiffs, Bulldogs and possibly Great
Danes and even a terrier.
Like the German Shepherd, they were also developed
in Germany in the 19th century, initially
as bull baiting dogs and later as butcher’s
helpers, controlling cattle in slaughterhouses.
Some breed historians say boxers are named
from the German word boxl, their slaughterhouse
Other fanciers contend the name boxer comes
from the characteristic way that they use
their forepaws to play, sparring much like
a human boxer.
Boxers were one of the first breeds employed
as a police dog, and like German Shepherds
they have been used as seeing-eye dogs.
But they are also bred to be companion and
guard dogs, perhaps best known for being loyal
family pets that are especially fond of children.
Neither breed was imported to the United States
until after World War I.
After 1940 they both rose to become among
the most popular in America.
Appearance and Size
There is little chance you will ever confuse
these dogs with one another.
Their both very distinctly different dogs.
According to the American Kennel Club, the
ideal Boxer is a medium-sized, square-built
dog with short back, strong limbs, chiseled
head, and short, tight-fitting coat.
Its well-developed muscles are clean, hard,
and appear smooth under taut skin.
The broad, blunt muzzle is the distinctive
feature, and great value is placed upon its
being of proper form and balance with the
The Boxer weighs in at between 65 and 80 pounds
with a height of between 21 to 25 inches.
The German Shepherd is a more wolf-appearing
dog than the short-faced and stocky Boxer.
The GSD has a double coat, which is comprised
of a thick undercoat and a dense, slightly
wavy or straight outer coat.
Its hair, usually tan and black, or red and
black in color, is medium in length and is
shed all year round.
Other rarer color variations include all-Black,
all-White, liver and blue.
The German Shepherd’s body is long — generally
between 22 and 26 inches — in proportion
to its height.
This gives the dog strength, agility, elasticity
and long, elegant strides.
The German Shepherd weighs between 49-88 pounds.
Who’s got the better personality?
That depends on what you are looking for in
a dog companion.
Both are intelligent dogs who’ve used their
cunning to get to the top of the working dog
However, they use their intelligence in different
The German Shepherd is very protective and
devoted to its family and home, maintaining
a suspicious and aloof demeanor around strangers.
It can be dominating and assertive towards
dogs, though it is normally friendly with
other pets in the home.
The German Shepherd is an immensely versatile
dog, displaying a keen intelligence while
dutifully performing its tasks.
However, the German Shepherd Intelligence
comes with no small amount of stubborness
as we’ll find out later when we discuss
They are quick to bark and are top of the
class guard dogs.
They also are a bit of a velcro dog.
You’re not going to have much alone time
with a German Shepherd in your home.
Boxers are intelligent, high-energy, playful
dogs that like to stay busy.
Their temperament reflects their breeding.
They prefer to be in the company of their
owners and are loyal pets that will fiercely
guard their family and home against strangers.
Few boxers bark excessively.
If a boxer barks, chances are there is a good
Many boxers are vocal, however, and make a
growling noise that’s really just the dog’s
way of talking.
Boxers are ideal for people who want a canine
companion with them most of the time or for
larger busy families with homes that are often
occupied by someone.
Boxers are especially fond of children and
perhaps a bit more dog-friendly than the average
Boxers are extremely trainable, and are highly
interested in treats and playtime as rewards.
They tend to be bright, attentive, and trainable
– albeit a bit excitable.
They do very well when told what to do and
given a job.
Many boxers excel at competitive dog sports
such as agility, and obedience.
These dogs benefit from careful socialization
to ensure that they don’t become overly
suspicious of – or aggressive towards – strangers,
kids, other dogs, and new situations.
An under-socialized Boxer can easily become
a fearful or aggressive boxer.
With a bark and stature like theirs, it’s
important to avoid this for the comfort of
The German Shepherd is considered more intelligent
than most dogs, at least according to Dr.
Stanley Coren in his book “The Intelligence
But, despite being able to learn a myriad
of complex commands is not “user-friendly”
when it comes to training.
The German shepherd has all of the tools necessary
to be an efficient learner.
They are smart, hard-working, and capable.
It is no surprise, then, that this breed is
used in some of the most important canine
They are commonly used as service dogs, drug
dogs, bomb dogs, security guards, and even
serve in the military and law enforcement.
GSDs have the capacity to do so much, it is
a shame when they do not receive adequate
If they are not asked to use their brains
in a constructive manner, they may begin to
Thankfully, this can be avoided by participating
in fun and interactive activities.
Many GSD excel in agility and showmanship.
It is best to initiate early training with
a confident, calm person.
This allows puppies to begin socialization
and obedience exercises before developing
They also appreciate the stability of learning
from a partner they trust.
Like all dogs, German shepherds respond best
to consistent reward-based instruction.
Energy and Exercise
Get your workout shoes on, both of these dogs
need lots of exercise.
When it comes to energy and intensity, the
German Shepherd cranks everything to 10.
A German Shepherd who’s under-exercised and
ignored by their family is likely to express
pent-up energy in ways you’re not going
Playful, energetic, and bright, the Boxer
is a fun dog for sure!
The majority of Boxers are natural athletes.
They’re happy to use their long legs and
muscled bodies for rough-and-tumble play,
especially wrestling and tug-of-war.
That said, some lines of the Boxers have been
bred with ultra-short noses, which makes breathing
Dogs like these should be carefully monitored
during exercise to avoid overheating.
Health and Lifespan
Over the years, indiscriminate breeding practices
of German Shepherds have lead to hereditary
diseases such as hip and elbow dysplasia,
blood disorders, digestive problems, epilepsy,
chronic eczema, keratitis (inflammation of
the cornea), and flea allergies.
Prudent breeders have started working through
these genetic disorders, but they should be
The German Shepherd is also prone to bloat.
Bloat is a condition where a dog’s stomach
produces excessive gas and enlarges severely
enough to cause death without immediate treatment.
Common health problems for Boxer dogs include
cancer, colitis, bloat, canine hypothyroidism,
respiratory problems and canine heart disease.
Two additional potential health issues to
be aware of are arthritis and canine hip dysplasia.
As with any dog breed, the best scenario is
to learn about their potential health issues
and their associated symptoms so you can spot
them if your dog begins showing symptoms.
Both breeds live about 9-13 years, about average
for larger dog breeds.
There is one thing these two breeds have in
common, they are Power Chewers.
With their strong jaws and immense energy
they destroy almost any toy presented to them.
Bullymake offers a solution to replacing destroyed
dog toys every time you blink.
They have a subscription service that provides
strong, almost indestructible toys to your
door once a month.
My dogs, especially my German Shepherd, love
their Bullymake toys and I’m sure yours
There’s a link in the description.
Check ‘em out.
So, which of these amazing breeds best suits
Do you prefer one or the other?
Let us know in the comments.
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