How Smart Are Boxers? Everything We Know About Their Intelligence

Written by Alyssa Shea
Updated: August 12, 2023
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A boxer is one of the most loving, athletic, and loving dog breeds! They can be an excellent fit for any home if you’re consistent with their training and properly socialize them. Find out all about their personality traits and how intelligent they are in this article!

Brindle boxer standing by bush with head tilted to the side

Brindle is one of the original colors of boxers.


Exploring the Intelligence of Boxers

This fiercely loyal dog breed is more intelligent than you might think! One canine psychologist named Stanley Coren noted that they’re the 90th smartest dog breed, marking them as “average” in terms of this list. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, either! So how does one go about measuring the intelligence of a boxer?

Coren measured how fast a dog learns commands based on only one dimension of canine intelligence called working intelligence and obedience. He and members of the American Kennel Club (AKC) decided that the number of repetitions necessary for a dog breed to learn a brand new command, as well as the success rate that a dog breed will obey a known command on the first attempt, are the two markers of an intelligent dog. Boxers could learn a brand new command within 25 to 40 repetitions!

The Cognitive Capabilities of Boxers: Understanding Their Problem-Solving Skills and Brain Size

One thing to keep in mind about boxers is that they can get bored with repetitive situations. Once you learn how to focus their boundless energy, you will find that their problem-solving skills are most impressive. There’s a reason why these dogs are chosen so often for agility sports!

A dog’s brain size is about 1/125 of his total body weight. As a larger breed, this means that boxers will have a somewhat larger size. However, size isn’t necessarily what counts when it comes to intelligence! It is crucial to note that breeds with bigger brains had better short-term memory and better self-control than smaller dogs.

boxer side profile

Boxers have an almost regal look, but these dogs have the common touch, especially when it comes to children.

© nik174/

Boxer’s Learning Aptitude: How Quick and Adaptive Are They?

As stated before, Coren and the AKC noted that boxers can learn a new command within 25 to 40 repetitions. But how adaptive are they as a breed? If you’re the type of family that likes to do new things and explore new places, then a boxer is the right dog for you! It’s been noted that this breed has extremely high adaptive intelligence levels.

Intelligence Ranking: Where Do Boxers Stand among Other Breeds?

Most professionals agree that boxers are middling when it comes to intelligence rankings. Which breeds made the top ten list? Check it out below!

RankDog Breed
1Border collie
3German Shepherd
4Golden Retriever
5Doberman Pinscher
6Shetland Sheepdog
7Labrador Retriever
10Australian Cattle Dog

Unlocking a Boxer’s Intelligence Potential: Training Techniques and Mental Stimulation

The boxer breed can be stubborn, and many have found that they respond best to reward-based positive reinforcement training. Check out these helpful tips!

  • Use structured playtimes.
  • Discover what type of reward your dog likes.
  • Use the 3-second rule, only allowing them to meet new dogs for three seconds, and then they are called away.
  • Stay consistent.
  • Don’t focus on their negative behaviors, be overly exuberant when they follow commands!

When it comes to mental stimulation, try this advice:

boxer on hind legs

The most popular theory behind the Boxer name has to do with how the dogs stand on their hind legs and sometimes hit other dogs with their paws.

©Peter Roslund/

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Lyubov Timofeyeva/

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About the Author

I'm a 36-year-old mother of 2 and military wife. I have 2 dogs and a cat that I'm thoroughly obsessed with. When I'm not writing for work, I'm writing as a hobby. You can find me knee deep in a pile of books or way too invested in a video game.

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