The Pit Bull (American Pit Bull Terrier) and the Boxer seem, on the surface at least, very similar dog breeds in all but appearance. Both dogs love their respective families, have the energy of two dog breeds rolled into one and bring years of joy and laughter to every household they call home. Because of their excessive energy, both these dogs need sufficient exercise every day, or they will soon become frustrated.
Boxers have more genetic health problems and typically don’t live as long as the Pit Bull, but he’s not seen as vicious or an unfriendly dog, even allowing for his large size. The Pit Bull does have a reputation for attacking and biting humans, which on so many levels is unfair to the Pit Bull himself. However, both breeds’ owners will tell you how loving and family-oriented both dogs are, providing they have proper training, socialization, and a firm pack leader.
But if you are thinking about adopting one or the other of these two dogs, there are some genuine differences, which is why a Boxer Vs. Pit Bull article is an interesting comparison. If we take a quick look at the significant differences between each breed, we can highlight some of those crucial distinctions later in the article.
Both the Boxer and Pit Bull should live about the same number of years, but in reality, that’s not the case; there is a disparity between the two dogs. Because of genetic disorders, Boxers live between eleven and fourteen years and the Pit Bull between eleven and twelve years. There’s a higher probability a Boxer will die younger than he should.
There are also differences in the type of exercise both dogs require. The Boxer enjoys more play exercise with his more clownish behavior, romping and frolicking about until he’s too exhausted to carry on. Whereas Pibulls want the more traditional type of activity, long walks on the leash; that’s not to say he doesn’t like to run-free off-leash now and again.
Training is another area where they differ. Both dogs are intelligent and can be stubborn over training. But of the two, the Boxer is the easier one to work with. Pit Bulls have this reputation to live with, so owners need to take time out to work with a Pit Bull more closely, needing to train and socialize them much more carefully. You can treat training with a Boxer as a fun game, with lots of praise and treats; the Boxer will look at this as a fun time and at the same time be learning. First-time owners can cope with a Boxer, but I wouldn’t say that’s true for a Pit Bull.
Boxer Vs. Pit Bull History
The consensus is that the Boxer’s ancestors were the Bullenbeisser from the northeast part of Belgium. The Bullenbeisser was a hunting dog for chasing down wild boar, deer, and even bears; hunters expected the dogs to hold the prey until their arrival on the scene. But it wasn’t until the dog went to Germany and was bred with the Old English Bulldog that the outstanding Boxer came into being.
Breeders introduced Boxers into Europe in the latter part of the 19th century and the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. During World War 1 the military co-opted Boxers into their ranks using them as messenger dogs, pack carriers, and guard dogs.
Rumor has it the breed name “Boxer” comes from the dog’s habit of standing on his hind legs and fending off attackers or fighting them using his front pa, similar to a boxer. It’s cute but doubtful that’s the real reason his name came about; why would German breeders choose an English name for one of their dogs.
Since his early beginnings, the Boxer has rapidly grown in popularity; the AKC (American Kennel Club) now ranks him number 11 of 197 popular breeds in the United States. Of course, it’s not just the US where he’s popular; many other countries, especially in Europe, have taken this lovable clown into their hearts.
Pit Bull describes four distinct dog breeds; the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Bulldog. Pit Bull also describes any cross-breeds that share similar characteristics to any of the breeds mentioned above.
Their unfortunate reputation stems from their use as fighting dogs dating back to early 19th century England. It’s thought these dogs came from crossing the Old English Bulldog with the Black and Tan Terrier. Dog owners used these dogs for bull and bear baiting until the “sport” was outlawed in 1835. These laws didn’t deter the dog owners; they simply switched sport to ratting. Dogs were put into specifically designed pits with rats and timed to see how many rats they could kill.
Never one to turn down an opportunity to exploit these dogs, the so-called owners turned to dogfighting. Breeders began taking their dogs across the sea to the United States to continue their horrendous sport over there, and dog-fighting became a popular pastime there as well.
Refused entry to the AKC, the dog’s breeders formed their rival kennel club, the United Kennel Club. But by 1930, the AKC was under pressure to admit an American dog with a thirty-year history. It wouldn’t do to allow a dog with such a fighting history into the ranks, so a new breed was established and called Staffordshire Terriers.
To prevent any confusion with a British dog of a similar name, the AKC changed the American dog’s name to American Staffordshire Terrier. The AKC does not recognize the dog breed American Pit Bull Terrier; however, the United Kennel Club and the ADBA (American Dog Breeders Association) do.
Boxer Vs. Pit Bull Breed Comparison
While the two breeds share some personality traits, they look nothing alike; telling the difference is straightforward. Of the two breeds, the Boxer is a few inches taller than the Pit Bull; Boxers grow to twenty-five inches, whereas Pit Bulls rarely get above twenty-one inches.
Male Pit Bulls weigh between thirty-five pounds and sixty-five pounds; the Boxer between sixty-five and eighty pounds. Both of the dogs are muscular and strong, with deep chest cavities. The Boxer is taller and has longer legs. Pit Bulls are shorter but appear to be blockier and more squat looking.
Their head and facial features are very different. Boxers are one of the brachycephalic breeds (short-head) with an undershot jaw and short muzzle; they have a square-shaped head. If you have needed a more in-depth explanation of what square means: the Boxer’s muzzle is 1/3 the distance of his head (measured from the tip of the nose to the back of the head) and 2/3 the width of the head.
Boxers have ear flaps that fold over; however, they typically have their ears cropped, so they stand erect. Many breeders and dog owners are now opting not to have this procedure unless the puppy is specifically for the show ring.
That’s the same story with the Boxer’s tail; you are now starting to see many boxers with natural tails rather than docking them. Pit Bulls have a more angular face with a long muzzle and broad between the ears. Their eyes are round and appear relatively small, and set well apart. One feature that stands out is the broad, muscular, and powerful-looking neck.
1. Boxer Vs. Pit Bull Temperament Comparison
These breeds are ‘family dogs’; both are good with children and love being in, around, over, literally anything to do with their family, and they both want total involvement. There are some noticeable differences, though. Boxers make the better watch or guard dog because, typically, they can be wary around strangers. However, they aren’t aggressive, and when they see the stranger is friendly, they’ll warm up to them.
Pit Bulls, irrespective of their reputation, are very friendly towards all humans, strangers, or not. For this reason, they make terrible guard dogs. This description is a generalization, and many factors will influence how any dog will grow and mature. The breeders’ quality, hereditary factors, and how well the dog is trained and socialized; both dogs need early socialization and training.
Pit Bulls and Boxers are super family pets; while the Boxer has to warm up to strangers, the Pit Bull takes all comers to his heart; however, both are prey-driven dogs, unless they have grown up with family pets, small furry animals are at risk from these dogs. Albeit the Boxer might not be quite so prey driven as the Pit Bull.
The proper training of both these dogs is vital; they are both powerful dogs, the Boxer is bigger, but the Pit Bull is tremendously strong. Without early training from when they are easily controlled puppies, they are both more than a handful.
These dogs are intelligent animals and will push and probe to see what they can get away with; it’s in their nature. Training must be thorough, and more than anything, consistency is key; if you let them get away with an inch, they’ll take a mile, and before you know it, they’ll both be the boss.
2. Boxer Vs. Pit Bull Exercise And Care
Both Pit Bulls and Boxers have short, smooth single coats of medium density. Pit Bulls’ coats come in several colors-red, brown, black and white, brindle, and blue. Boxers’ coats typically are fawn or brindle and can be with white markings. The brawn varies from a dark brown to a light beige. White shouldn’t appear over more than one-third of his coat. Boxers also have a black mask with white appearing between the eyes and running down almost to the nose.
Neither dog needs a lot of grooming, and both dogs do shed. A weekly brush will suffice for these dogs to remove any excess loose hair and to move their body’s natural oils.
Don’t over-bathe these dogs; once every couple of months is more than enough unless they roll in something very unpleasant, which some dogs seem to enjoy. Expect to exercise both the Pit Bull and Boxer every day for the very least an hour each day. If you can give them longer, they’ll be all the better. Boxers are more likely to enjoy play exercise than Pit Bulls.
3. Boxer Vs. Pit Bull Health Issues
Most dogs have health issues of one kind or another, either through genetic weakness or terrible breeders that think about the money they make and not the welfare of their dogs and puppies. The Boxer has more health issues than the Pit Bull because he’s brachycephalic, which brings its own problems to dogs.
Pit Bulls are typically healthy, yet they are still susceptible to specific health issues; the good news is not all Pit Bulls will succumb to these conditions:
Hip Dysplasia: several dog breeds have problems with this health condition, not just Pit Bulls. Hip Dysplasia is a hip deformity occurring during the dog’s growth.
Hypothyroidism: This an underactive thyroid gland causing bodily functions to slow, inducing lethargy, hair and skin changes, and weight gain.
Heart Disease: aortic stenosis being the most common in Pit Bulls, is a genetic condition that narrows the aortic valve.
This list of health conditions Boxers may get is more extensive than a Pit Bulls, but as we mentioned, it doesn’t mean that all Boxers get these conditions.
Cancer: There is sufficient history to suggest that Boxers are susceptible to certain types of cancer. Boxers having a lot of white in their coat may be at risk of skin cancer, so it pays to use sunscreen on exposed areas such as the nose, ears, and coat when they will be outside for any length of time on mainly sunny days.
Aortic Stenosis: Similar to the Pit Bull, this is a heart disease seen in Boxers.
Boxer Cardiomyopathy: this is an inherited condition, and proper health checks can mitigate this condition via the breeder.
Hip Dysplasia: is another genetic condition that you can also rule out if reputable breeders carry out proper health checks.
Hypothyroidism: If found in a dog, the vet can control the condition by medication. Boxers with this condition need to be on medication for the rest of their lives.
Corneal Dystrophy: another of those genetic conditions.
Gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV), a more common name for this condition, is bloat. This illness does seem to be a genuine concern for large, broad-chested dogs. Because of this disease’s risk, it’s advisable to feed Boxers two or three times each day rather than allow them to eat one large meal.
Bottom Line – Boxer Vs. Pit Bull
The Boxer and Pit Bull are both fantastic family dogs; both are over-sized lap dogs. Boxers typically are a little wary of strangers but will soon turn friendly when they are sure there’s no threat; Pit Bulls will welcome everyone.
Both the Pit Bull and Boxer need a family that leads an active lifestyle because exercise is a massive factor if you choose these dogs.