Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Boxweiler
Michael /

Two of the most quintessentially German dogs, the Boxer and the Rottweiler have been bred together to create a good-looking, confident canine known as the Boxweiler, or Boxerweiler. An intimidating hybrid that can be protective of its owners and suspicious of strangers, many will employ the Boxweiler as a guard dog. They require firm training and an experienced owner who is used to having a powerful, willful breed.

Muscular and imposing, the Boxweiler is a sturdily built individual with a charismatic face. Despite reaching weights upwards of 40kg, most will be lean and athletic. The moderate wrinkling on the face and the droopy jowls help to add character. While most are brown or black, some will have a brindle coat and white patches of fur may be seen.

About & History

It is believed that the Boxweiler was first established towards the end of the 20th century and, though one may assume that the first puppies were bred within Germany, there is no solid proof of this. While both parent breeds are popular pet choices around the world, the Boxweiler has yet to make much of an impression and this is a rare cross-breed as of now.

The Boxer

Boxers are unique looking dogs with distinctive personalities and many owners who own Boxers say they could never own another breed after! Known for their love of children and playful personality, they make great family pets.

The Boxer dog is a descendant of the Bulldog and was initially bred during the late 1800s in Germany. It was first shown in Munich in the year 1896. Roughly ten years later, the first breed standard was written and the rest, as they say, is history. They were commonly used for military work and employed as guard dogs. Today, they are recognised within the Working Group of the Kennel Club and are found in large numbers all over the world.

The Rottweiler

The Rottweiler is a short-furred, black and tan dog with a big reputation. While many assume that these dogs are ferocious beasts never to be trusted, the truth is that with proper socialisation they can make superb family pets and are extremely loyal. A versatile breed, in the past they would have been used to drive cattle and guard property.

As with the Boxer, these dogs were used in the military. However, the Rottweiler did not just remain in Germany and was exported to countries such as the United States where they quickly developed a large fan base. They also belong to the Kennel Club’s Working Group. Many countries, including Romania and Portugal issue laws controlling the ownership of these breeds as there is a public welfare concern due to their potential for aggression.


Boxweiler Large Photo
Michael /

The Boxweiler is the offspring of two strong and solidly built dogs, giving them an impressive body shape. Their square skull is large and often has more in common with the Boxer, thanks to the wrinkled forehead and loose lips. Their medium-sized ears are set high and well-spaced, hanging close to their head. They have soulful, brown eyes that appear small within the setting of their enormous skull. Their thick neck leads down to a broad chest and rectangular-shaped body. They have long, straight limbs and a slender tail that reaches almost to the hocks when held down.

At heights of about 55cm to 65cm and weights from 30kg to 45kg, this is a medium to large breed. Typically, males will be stockier and heavier than females. The short and straight coat of the Boxweiler is often black and tan but other coat colours exist, including brindle and white. White patches may be visible and are usually found on the chest.

Character & Temperament

With their own family, the Boxweiler shows a great deal of dedication and is protective, even when not trained to be. For some, this is an attractive trait, however, it can make for a difficult dog. Some individuals will have more of a tendency towards being dominant and aggressive than others. Those that take more after their Rottweiler parent will be reserved with new people, while those with more of a Boxer personality may accept strangers more readily.

Canine to canine aggression can be an issue, particularly in uncastrated males. It is essential that the Boxweiler is thoroughly socialised with other dogs of all shapes and sizes when young. These interactions should be positive and rough play should not be encouraged.

Many will have a playful streak and will be keen to join in on any family activities and to have a game of fetch or football in the park. They are intelligent dogs who dislike being idle so, as well as ensuring their exercise needs are met, owners must spend time stimulating their minds. This can mean feeding their dinners from food puzzles, using interactive toys and encouraging scenting games, such as ‘find the treat’.


Photo of Boxweiler puppy
Michael /

As both parent breeds have been used by the military, it’s hardly a surprise that this is a highly trainable dog. Confident and quick to learn, the Boxweiler has no issue whatsoever following even complex training cues. They enjoy working with their trainer and don’t tend to question their authority.

For these dogs, training is not optional as they require some form of discipline in their lives if they are to grow up to be manageable pets. Puppies and adolescents can sometimes test their boundaries so it is important for owners to remain calm and consistent during training sessions.


There are quite a few serious health conditions that are known to affect both the Boxer and the Rottweiler so we must be cautious when choosing breeding stock for the Boxweiler. Screening tests must be carried out whenever possible and only the healthiest Boxweilers should subsequently be bred from.

Hip Dysplasia

Typically, dogs with hip dysplasia are affected in both hips, though one may be worse than the other. While the diagnosis may be suspected based on symptoms alone, an x-ray is required to confirm the presence of hip dysplasia. There are several surgical treatments available, though they may not be appropriate for every patient. Many older dogs will be managed with a combination of pain relief, anti-inflammatories and lifestyle modifications.


A malignant cancer of the cells that line blood vessels, it is typically the spleen that is affected. Those with splenic tumours may not show any symptoms until the day that the spleen ruptures and the animal suffers a serious internal bleed. Dogs may collapse and appear pale. Removing the spleen and offering supportive care can keep an animal alive, though the cancer has often spread by this stage.

Aortic Stenosis

A disease of the heart whereby the passageway from the left ventricle to the aorta is too narrow, the heart has to pump harder than usual and can eventually fail. A murmur will typically be detected on physical exam. Symptoms can include collapse and a reluctance or refusal to exercise. Those affected are treated with medication which can help reduce symptoms and prolong life.


It is often the larger breeds that are affected with this hormonal disorder. Hypothyroidism can either be caused by lymphocytic thyroiditis or idiopathic thyroid atrophy. However, differentiating between the two causes is academic as the management and treatment is the exact same regardless of the underlying cause.

Symptoms of an underactive thyroid gland can include heat seeking behaviour, a tragic facial expression and a reduced ‘joie de vivre’. Blood tests can confirm the low circulating hormone and those affected will be medicated for life.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Most breed members are content with one to two hours of exercise each day, which should be varied and consist of a mix of hikes, runs and swims. They like to explore new areas and relish any opportunity to be allowed off lead.

Not suited to an apartment or small home, these dogs like their space. A fenced-in back garden is appreciated but should not be seen as a replacement for walks and other structured exercise.


As the fur of the Boxweiler is very short, they have minimal grooming needs. They do need their ears examined regularly for any sign of infection, and many will benefit from having the wax cleaned out too.

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