German Shepherd vs Boxer: Differences, & Comparison

In the guide below, we compare the German Shepherd vs the Boxer dog breeds.

We outline what the main differences between them might be, and provide other important information on each breed.


(NOTE: the information in this guide is general information only. It is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. See a qualified vet or animal expert for an expert opinion in regards to your pet/s)


German Shepherd vs Boxer: Differences, & Breed Comparison


German Shepherd vs Boxer – Origin/History

German Shepherd

German Shepherds were first bred in Germany around 1899.

They were bred from different Shepherd breed dogs in Germany at the time (reportedly a sheep type dog, and also a service type dog), with the intention of having ideal working dog traits and working ability.

GSDs as a breed belong to the ‘herding dog’ category.

Today, GSD’s are used in a range of working fields, compete as show dogs, and are also pets & family dogs.



The Boxer was originally bred in Germany around the 1890’s.

They were bred from the now extinct dog breed, the Bullenbeisser (which comes from the Mastiff and Bulldog, and was used for baiting and hunting).

Some reports indicate the Bullenbeisser was bred with an Old English Bulldog to create the Boxer.

Boxers were bred for bull baiting and hunting, but also helped control cattle in slaughterhouses.

They later transitioned to police work and other working fields.

Today, they are used as show dogs, and are also pets & family dogs.


German Shepherd vs Boxer – Size 

German Shepherd

German Shepherds might be classified as a large breed of dog

Males might average 24-26 inches in height (60-65 cms), and 66-88 lbs in weight (30-40 kg)

Females might average 22-24 inches in height (55-60 cms), and 49-71 lbs in weight (22-32 kg)



Boxers might be classified as a medium to large sized breed

Males might average 22-25 inches in height (56-64 cms), and 66-70 lbs in weight (30-32 kg)

Females might average 21-24 inches in height (53-61 cms), and 55-60 lbs in weight (25-27 kg)


German Shepherd vs Boxer – Lifespan

German Shepherd

German Shepherds might have a lifespan of around 9-13 years on average

Although, some reports indicate some GSDs may even live up to 15 years of age



A Boxer might have an average lifespan of anywhere between 9-12 years.


German Shepherd vs Boxer – Popularity

Every year, the American Kennel Club publishes a list of the most popular dog breeds based on dog registration data.

The 2021 list shows:

– German Shepherds as the 4th most popular dog breed

– The Boxer as the 14th most popular dog breed


Of course though, this is only one rankings list, from one organisation, in one country.

Other lists in other locations may look different.


German Shepherd vs Boxer – Appearance, Features, & Colors

German Shepherd

German Shepherds might commonly be known for the following appearance and physical features:

– Black and tan, or sometimes black and red coat color and saddle pattern (although other colors exist too)

– Erect ears/ears that stand up

– An angulated back and dropped hips (although body shape differs between the individual lines of GSDs)

– Generally medium length hair/plush coat, with a double coat (although, short and long haired GSDs exist too)


Having said that though, different German Shepherds have different physical features and appearances.

You can read about the different variations in German Shepherds, such the different lines, colors, and coat lengths/types here.



Boxers might commonly be known for the following appearance and physical features:

– The main coat color and pattern found on Boxers might fawn, with a black face, and white chest. However, brindle, and also white colored Boxers also exist

– Floppy ears. Although, some Boxers get their ears cropped

– A stocky, muscular body, with a square/compact head

– Generally a smooth and short coat length, with a single coat


German Shepherd vs Boxer – Temperament

Ultimately, a dog’s personality or temperament might be influenced by a range of factors, with genetics and breeding being key factors

So, this is why the temperament and personality of individual dogs don’t always match the general temperament descriptions found online

However, a generalized description of the temperament of each dog breed, according to either parts of the standard for each breed, or, what they were originally bred to be, might be:


German Shepherd

Intelligent, obedient and easier to train, loyal, confident, protective, and may be slightly aloof (without being aggressive)

May have the general temperament of a working breed dog or herding dog

Read more about what temperament GSDs were originally bred for, and what some breed standards outline for temperament and personality in this guide



Energetic, playful, loyal, and alert. Loving with family/owner, but also instinctively protective of them


German Shepherd vs Boxer – Intelligence

Intelligence testing for dogs can test for different things, and can also have limitations.

So, intelligence rankings for different breeds might be viewed as a guide only, and not definitive

One online ranking indicated that German Shepherds rank as the 3rd most intelligent dog breed

The same ranking report indicated that Boxers rank as the 90th most intelligent dog breed


German Shepherd vs Boxer – Bite Force

The bite force of different dog breeds might be a generalized measurement only, and not definitive or comprehensive.

We list some of the reasons for this in a separate guide.

However, when referencing one ‘strongest dog bite force’ list, where bite force is expressed in psi (pounds of force per square inch), the bite force of each of these two breeds might be:

– German Shepherds might have a bite force of 238 psi 

– A Boxer might have a bite force of 230 psi


German Shepherd vs Boxer – Cost/Price

The cost to buy a specific breed of dog depends on the country it’s bought from, along with a wide range of other factors.

Some general information on buying each breed though might include:


Buying From Breeders

According to different online information at the time of publishing this guide, the general cost to buy each of these breeds from breeders in the US might be:

– German Shepherd

Anywhere from $800 up to $10,000+ (for the highest quality dogs), with the average for a regular puppy potentially being around the $800 mark


– Boxer

Anywhere from $500 up to $10,000+ (for the highest quality dogs), with the average for a regular puppy potentially being around the $1000 mark



Buying from a breeder may not be the only option to own each of these dog breeds.

Adopting or rescuing may be other options too.

The cost to adopt or rescue a dog can be significantly cheaper than buying from a breeder in some instances, although there’s usually still a basic cost to adopt/rescue a dog.



Buying a dog that is being re-homed might another option to buy a dog.

The cost for rehomed dogs can vary.


More Information On German Shepherds

It’s worth noting that some of the information in the guide above about German Shepherds comes from our ‘German Shepherd Breed Information Guide‘, which also has additional information about the German Shepherd breed.



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