What Is the Difference Between the American Bulldog & a Boxer?

by Jane Meggitt Google
    According to the American Kennel Club, the boxer is America's seventh most popular breed.

    According to the American Kennel Club, the boxer is America's seventh most popular breed.

    George Doyle & Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    You'd never mistake the athletic American bulldog for the couch potato English variety. They are completely different breeds and types. You also wouldn't confuse the boxer and the American bulldog, although they do share common ancestry. The latter resembles the Staffordshire terrier in head and body type. The boxer is the one with all the wrinkles.

    Both the boxer and the American bulldog share ancestry with the original bulldog, a breed used for bull-baiting, a practice was banned in 19th-century England. After that, some breeders deliberately bred the brutality out of the dog, resulting in the friendly and distinctly non-athletic English bulldog. British immigrants to the American South took their bulldogs with them, and the working American bulldog evolved from those canines. The boxer dates back to late 19th-century Germany, where its bulldog and mastiff blood was mixed with that of terriers.

    The boxer is recognized and registered through the American Kennel Club, while the American bulldog is not. The American bulldog is registered with the United Kennel Club, however, and individual American bulldog clubs also register dogs and compile pedigree information. American bulldog aficionados concentrate on the breed's working abilities, rather than a show standard.

    At maturity, male boxers stand between 23 to 25 inches tall at the shoulder, with females ranging between 21.5 and 23.5 inches high. The AKC boxer standard doesn't specify a weight range, but many boxers weigh about 70 pounds, with males larger than females. American bulldogs are larger, with males standing between 23 to 27 inches tall, and females between 21 to 25 inches high. Male American bulldogs should weigh between 75 and 120 pounds when full-grown, with females weighing between 60 to 90 pounds.

    While both breeds have short, easy-care coats, the color differs considerably. Boxer standards permit only fawn, which can range in shade from pale tan to a darker mahogany, and brindle. The latter consists of black striping on the basic fawn coat. Boxers might have white marking on the face, feet and chest. The total amount of white on the dog can't exceed a third of the coat. American bulldogs might be completely white, bi-colored or as much as 85 percent a solid color, including red, brown or brindle. Black or tri-colored dogs are not permitted.

    While the boxer can excel at obedience, agility and other canine sports, as well as take on the role of therapy dog, few modern boxers are still working dogs. Their primary role today consists of companion and watchdog. While American bulldogs are also kept as pets, many function as working canines, either catching hogs and cattle on ranches or farms or performing serious guard dog duties.

    Photo Credits

    • George Doyle & Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, her work has appeared in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.

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