Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Boxane
Buddy the Boxane (Photo thanks to Ralph Jenny)

A strikingly handsome dog with a proud and noble temperament, the Boxane is a combination of the impressively tall Great Dane with the muscular Boxer dog. Dogs will be shorter and boxier than the Great Dane but somewhat lankier and with longer limbs than your typical Boxer. Their fur is short and easy to take care of and they come in several shades of brown, though brindle and black coats are also seen.

Boxane dogs are really quite active, so require a home that has enough space for them and an owner that is willing and prepared to provide them with a good deal of varied exercise on a daily basis. This is a breed that will quickly bore of the same walk each day and lives by the saying ‘variety is the spice of life’.

About & History

As is the case with so many hybrids, the history of the Boxane is a little fuzzy and all we really know is that they were created some time during the last handful of decades. While we may not know a lot about their past, there is plenty of information available on both of their parents: the Great Dane and the Boxer.

The Great Dane

Great Danes were originally bred as a hunting dog and would use their height to their advantage, chasing quickly after larger prey such as boar and deer. They descend from large Mastiff type dogs that were found all over the world. However, it was not until the 17th century that they were refined into the dog that we know and love today.

While one may assume they are Danish thanks to their name, they are actually a German breed. The Germans did request that they be called Deutsche Dogges but this name has never really caught on. They were popular amongst the European royals and higher classes and would have been used as both carriage dogs and guard dogs. Despite their working background and colossal size, they make a wonderful family pet and are both calm and docile when in the home.

The Boxer

Boxers are also a German breed that were used for hunting, so these two parent breeds have more in common than it may seem. Some sources state that the Great Dane (as well as the Mastiff and Bulldog) were used in the creation of the Boxer.

They had a number of roles throughout the years, including as bull baiters and as dogs who would control the cattle in slaughterhouses. On top of this, they were employed by the army during both World Wars as messengers as well as guard dogs.


Boxanes are a large and strong breed with an impressive amount of lean muscle. They have a deep and wide chest, as well as long, powerful limbs. Their skull is not overly large and their forehead is both wide and flat with some wrinkled skin. Their medium-sized ears are widely set apart and will flop forward. They have quite loose jowls and a muzzle that may be slightly snubbed thanks to their Boxer heritage. Their almond-shaped eyes are a deep brown and they have a jet-black nose.

The shiny coat of the Boxane is short and straight. It should not be too dense and dogs will shed quite a lot, especially during the summer months. Most dogs will be white and tan but there are a number of other potential colour combinations that can include black, grey, brindle and a darker brown fur. An adult Boxane measures from 60cm to 70cm and weighs between 30kg to 45kg. They don’t tend to reach the impressive heights of their Great Dane parent but are substantially large dogs, nonetheless.

Character & Temperament

In spite of the working background of both parent breeds, the Boxane is well suited to family life and forges strong relationships with their family. They will be fiercely protective of all family members, as well as their property, and may become defensive if new people come to visit. Due to this, owners must ensure that they are carefully socialised as early as possible.

Most owners find that their Boxane gets on well with children and has a playful side but they need constant supervision, as they are so large and could inflict a lot of damage with even a warning bite. They enjoy companionship and do best in a home where there is always someone about.

Some individuals will be sensitive and can require a compassionate and understanding owner to get the best out of them. Those who show patience and act calmly in their presence tend to be most respected by these dogs.


The Boxane has the ability to excel in a variety of tasks and to learn quickly. They are keen to please their master and will respond promptly to cues. Training cues should be straightforward and they learn best when rewarded instantly for good behaviour. While it may be tempting to tell them off for unwanted behaviours, this can make them overly sensitive during their training sessions.

Teaching manners from puppyhood is vital as these large dogs can easily get up on furniture and steal food from surfaces. Similarly, they need to learn their boundaries and to not jump up on people or run at them. Teaching them these things from the moment they arrive in the home is strongly advised (as tempting as it may be to cuddle them on the sofa when they are tiny!).


The Boxane is prone to a number of health issues so it is recommended that we only breed from the healthiest stock in order to protect the future of this hybrid.


When a dog develops bloat, the symptoms come on remarkably quickly and it will be obvious to any owner that there is something wrong. Their dog will have a visibly bloated abdomen and will usually gag, retch and drool. Time is of the essence here and the quicker a dog is treated by a vet, the better their prognosis.

When treated promptly, most dogs go on to make a full recovery. During the surgery to resolve the bloat, many surgeons will also perform a ‘gastropexy’ whereby the stomach is tacked down, preventing it from rotating again in the future.

Hip Dysplasia

We can test for hip dysplasia once a dog has reached one year old and they will be x-rayed under a general anaesthetic. They will be assigned a score and those with poor hip scores shouldn’t be kept for breeding purposes. Hip dysplasia leads to arthritis and chronic pain, dramatically reducing the quality of life of those affected.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)

DCM is a cardiac condition whereby the chambers of the heart dilate and the heart becomes a weak and ineffective pump, eventually leading to heart failure. This condition can be diagnosed with a heart scan (echocardiogram) and while it can’t be cured we can manage symptoms for some time with medication.


A number of cancers are thought to affect this breed with greater frequency than the average canine, including osteosarcomas, lymphoma and haemangiosarcomas. While there is not much we can do to prevent this, owners should be on the lookout for any signs and have their dogs assessed as soon as they suspect something is not right.

Exercise and Activity Levels

The average Boxane will need about 60 to 90 minutes of solid exercise a day. They enjoy scent work, hiking on trails and jogging. Taking them on different routes can help to prevent boredom from setting in.

As this is such a large dog, Boxanes need to be exercised with caution until they have fully developed. Overdoing exercise when young can lead to serious joint issues, which will adversely affect them for the rest of their lives.


Thankfully, the short fur of the Boxane is very easy to maintain and only needs a brush down once a week. Owners should be sure to keep their claws trimmed short and to clean their ears as needed.

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