Can a Boxer be a Hunting Dog? (Explained)

Boxers are a versatile dog breed that can be trained to do a variety of tasks.  Boxers are known for engaging in “teamwork” with their owners and are fiercely obedient and loyal dogs. 

So if they are easily trained, can a boxer be a hunting dog?  Yes!  Boxers can make great hunting dogs.  The breed originates from the Brabanter Bullenbeisser from Belgium, which was crossed with an English bulldog.  These boxer ancestors were the hunting dogs of choice during the 19th century and could take on just about any prey animal.  The boxer eventually replaced the Brabanter Bullenbeisser as it was easier to train.

While the boxer’s famous hunting ancestor is now extinct, the breed still retains several traits that make it a good choice for a hunting dog.

can a boxer be a hunting dog
Can a Boxer Be a Hunting Dog?

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Boxer traits

Boxers are not aggressive or vicious dogs by nature, but they do become very attached to their families. This strong bonding leads to instinctive guarding behavior.  As with all dogs, boxers require proper socialization as puppies to avoid developing fear and aggression.  Most boxers are naturally patient with small puppies and enjoy companionship with humans and canines alike.

A boxer’s most distinctive feature is its head.  Breed standards dictate that the head must be stocky and in a specific proportion to its body.  The muzzle also has to be in perfect proportion to the skull, with a length ratio of 1:3.  Folds are always present on the sides of the nose.  For hunting purposes, a boxer’s lower jawbone should extend past the upper jawbone and curve upwards.  In human terms, this is referred to as an “underbite.”

The Boxer retains several hunting traits from their ancestral Bullenbeisser breed, but they are easier to train, a trait they received from their other ancestor, the old English bulldog.  Boxers cooperate well with their owners and other dogs and are known for being respectful and faithful to their owners.

Since boxers work well with other dog breeds, they could be the best choice for a hunting dog.  Their strong physical ability and dominant personality provide a helping hand no matter what game you are hunting.

This dog breed has a powerful build that helps them to excel in tracking, chasing, and capturing prey animals.

There is one type of hunting that boxers won’t excel at, and that’s the retrieval of waterfowl.  While a boxer can certainly be taught to retrieve game birds, they can’t swim.  Their flat muzzles make it difficult for them to breathe while moving through the water.

As a hunting dog, boxers are best used for hunting large game animals.

Why boxers make good hunting dogs

  • They’re team players – Boxers listen and work well with their owners, as well as other dogs.  Since hunters frequently use more than one dog to track prey, this makes boxers a good fit.
  • They’re muscular but agile – Boxers are hardy, athletic dogs who are equipped for hard work.  Despite all their muscle, they are incredibly agile and excel at canine sports.
  • They have loads of energy – Boxers are high-energy dogs who require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation.  This is a great trait for a hunting dog as the sport requires physical fitness and energy.  Hunting can be a great outlet for boxers as it tires them out both mentally and physically.

Downsides to using boxers as hunting dogs

  • They can be stubborn or hard to train – As a notoriously headstrong breed, this personality trait comes out during training.  If you want to use your boxer for more specific jobs beyond deer or hog tracking, he will need special training.  Boxers aren’t the most intelligent dog breed either.  It takes them an average of 25 to 40 repetitions to obey commands 50% of the time.
  • They’re poor swimmers – As stated above, Boxers can’t swim well due to their short, flat muzzle.  On top of that, their muscular build doesn’t allow them to float well in the water.
  • Boxers aren’t weather resistant – Their flat face makes them inefficient at panting to cool themselves down in the heat, putting them at greater risk of heatstroke.  They don’t do much better in the cold.  A Boxer’s coat is short and doesn’t do much to keep them warm, so depending on the conditions you’re hunting in, your Boxer might need help regulating their body temperature.
boxer dog hunting
Boxer dog hunting

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Do boxers enjoy hunting?

Boxers enjoy hunting very much!  Even though they’re not equipped for all types of hunting, most boxers are more than happy to try.  It’s a great way to help your dog get the physical and mental stimulation they need to stay healthy and happy.

stuart and his dog

Family Dog Expert Author

Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.