Golden Boxer

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
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The Golden Retriever is well-known for being mellow and friendly, while the Boxer has a reputation for being a bit of a mischief maker. Both were originally kept as working dogs but are now some of the most popular family pets out there. Breeding them together has created the attractive Golden Boxer – a hybrid that is slowly becoming more recognised worldwide.

Golden Boxers often inherit the shorter coat of their Boxer parent and are known to shed quite a lot. They have a muscular body and are relatively athletic, though most prefer to play about than to go on long, intense hikes. They forge close relationships with their family and some individuals may become overly attached.

About & History

While both the Golden Retriever and the Boxer have plenty of history to their names, it is thought that the Golden Boxer has only been around for a handful of decades. As time goes on, they will inevitably establish their own history but for now, we need to take a closer look at each parent breed to get a better understanding of their past.

The Golden Retriever

Practically everyone (even those strange people who don’t love dogs!) can recognise the Golden Retriever and they nearly always appear in The Most Popular Dog Breed lists that circulate around the world. They are perhaps best known for their stunning golden fur, as well as their docile temperaments.

It was during the 1800s within Scotland that the first Golden Retrievers were bred and they were kept for the purpose of hunting, both in water and on land. A number of breeds contributed to their genetics, including the Irish Setter and the Flat Coated Retriever. They were officially recognised by the Kennel Club at the start of the 20th century and were placed within their Gundog Group.

The Boxer

Boxers have a rather unique look with their lean physique, shortened skull and dark brown, almond-shaped eyes. They are also a European breed, having been developed within Germany as a multi-purpose dog who could not only hunt but also served as a guard dog and a messenger dog, amongst other roles.

During World War One, they were used extensively for military work, earning them a lot of respect among the local people. They are ancestors of the English Bulldog, a British breed that is significantly shorter and stockier than the Boxer. The Kennel Club recognise them within their Working Group, though most are kept exclusively as companion animals today.


A classic ‘doggy’ dog, the Golden Boxer has a handsome face, a well-muscled body, powerful limbs and a good-sized tail. They are medium in size and are built in good proportion. They have a rather flat forehead and pendulous ears that are spaced well apart. Their brown eyes lend them a pleading expression that can be rather hard to ignore. They have a large, black nose and a powerful jaw.

Reaching heights of between 50cm and 61cm and weights of around 25kg to 30kg, the Golden Boxer is a medium-sized breed. While it is possible for the Golden Boxer to have long fur like their Retriever parent, most will have the short, straight fur of the Boxer dog. Though their coat is not long, they do shed quite a lot all year round. Coat colours include golden, brown and black and many individuals will have a dark facial mask.

Character & Temperament

An absolute pleasure to be around, the Golden Boxer is not only loving and affectionate but is also a real character that enjoys playing the clown and joining in on any game the children are playing. They get along well with people of all ages and are particularly tolerant of children. While their love of humans is certainly a plus, some individuals can become over-reliant on their family to the point where they do not like being left alone and can develop separation anxiety.

A perfectly adequate watch dog, even without being told to do so, the Golden Boxer will guard its territory and make sure their family knows when someone new has arrived. As their bark can be quite loud, they are not always seen as good apartment dogs and may do better in rural environments. This is also true because they enjoy having their space and relish having a big back garden to run around in.

Most Golden Boxers can get along well with other animals though can retain their prey drive so require particularly good socialisation if they are to be homed safely with smaller animals.


Given the size and potential strength of the Golden Boxer, it is only sensible to ensure they are well trained from a young age. They are usually quite willing to learn and can pick up new cues quickly, thanks to their working background.

Smart and somewhat sensitive dogs, these guys do best when their trainer is on their side and reinforces good behaviour with lots of praise. Punishing bad behaviour is unlikely to be an effective training method, as it will simply result in a dog that is no longer keen on participating in training sessions when asked.


There are a number of health conditions that both the Boxer and the Golden Retriever can be prone to. Golden Boxer breeders have the ability to reduce the incidence of these diseases within the population by screening parents and only mating those that are proven to be free of these inherited diseases.


When the circulating thyroid hormone is low, the metabolism slows and an affected dog will display a range of symptoms. Many will confuse these symptoms with the normal aging process, as they can come on insidiously and are non-specific. Common signs of an underactive thyroid include heat-seeking behaviour, sluggishness and weight gain.

Luckily, this endocrine disease is relatively easy to diagnose with a series of blood tests and can be treated with daily medication. Long-term, dogs have a good prognosis but do require frequent monitoring and will never be ‘cured’.

Hip Dysplasia

It tends to be larger pedigree dogs that are affected by hip dysplasia. Though there are environmental factors that can contribute to the condition, it has been proven that there is a definite genetic link.

Any breeding Golden Boxer should have their hips screened to ensure they are free from hip dysplasia, making it far less likely their progeny will be affected with this potentially life-limiting and painful orthopaedic condition.

Aortic Stenosis

A cardiac disease, aortic stenosis is the narrowing of the aortic valve, restricting blood flow as it exits the heart. The heart thus has to work harder than it should to pump blood around the body, which can eventually result in heart failure.

As both the Boxer dog and the Golden Retriever have been proven to be prone to this condition, it is quite possible that the Golden Boxer would be equally predisposed.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Though quite a big and active dog, many Golden Boxers do not need as much exercise as one may think, and a solid hour each day should suffice for most. Many will prefer to let off steam in short bursts of energy, making activities, such as agility and flyball, a good choice.

Those that have been well socialised tend to do well in dog parks and enjoy the opportunity to make new friends whilst being active. Allowing them time off lead not only helps them to build their independence but can also burn lots of calories!


Grooming requirements will depend on which fur type is inherited but as these dogs are notorious for the amount of fur they shed, it goes without saying that they should be brushed at least a few times a week. Many owners will opt to do this outside of the home to limit the time spent vacuuming indoors!

Given the shape of their ears, the Golden Boxer is prone to otitis externa. It’s important that ear canals are dried out after every bath or swim and that they are monitored frequently for the first sign of infection. Ears that are red, very waxy and/or foul-smelling warrant a check-over from the vet. The sooner an ear infection is treated, the better the prognosis, so delaying the vet visit is never a good idea. Dogs who are prone to waxy build-ups often benefit from weekly ear cleaning.

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