Are Boxers Related To Pit Bulls? – 7 Things To Know

Boxers and Pit Bulls are amazing, loyal, loving, and high energy dogs with a zest for life that is hard to miss. Some people might cross the street when they see a Boxer or Pit Bull coming down the sidewalk, others may cross the street just to meet them. They are large, powerful, and somewhat menacing looking dogs to some in appearance. So are Boxers related to Pit Bulls?

Are Boxers related to Pit Bulls? As a whole Boxers and Pit Bulls are related through an ancestor called the Molosser. An ancient Greek dog group that is dated back some 2500 years. Boxers and Pit Bulls both share hunting backgrounds and are very similar in size and athletic ability, though each dog has become a separate breed.

Coming from this same ancestor has established a number of overlaps in what we know as the Boxer and Pit Bull breeds of modern day, and there are a number of similarities that can be noted as a result. However, as mentioned, these dogs also branched off into separate directions presenting a number of distinctions. Let’s dive a little deeper with some fun facts.

Are Boxers Related To Pit Bulls?

If we are going to talk about how Boxers and Pit Bulls are related, we must first talk about their common ancestor. 

The Molosser group dogs were an ancient Greek war dog that were also kept as guard dogs and flock protectors by the Molossian people of the Epirus sub-region of ancient Greece. The name comes from King Molossus. Who the heck is that you ask? He was the grandchild of the famous Achilles

are boxers related to pitbulls

The Molosser dogs were renowned for being fierce, loyal and brave dogs that would often sail with their masters on conquests. One of these masters was Alexander the Great who brought along Molosser dogs in his conquests to expand the empire.

Both Boxers and Pit Bulls lineage are rooted in these ancient Molossers. Showing broad muzzle, strong bones and pendant ears that are commonly seen in the Boxer and Pit Bull. Mastiff are what the ancient Molossers were also called, and are very similar in appearance as well.

Short History Of The Boxer

The Boxer is a descendant of a Mastiff type dog from German called the Bullenbeisser (or German Bulldog), which translates to “bull-biter”. Bullenbeissers were known for their strength and agility as fighting dogs and game hunters. They eventually began to breed Bullenbeissers with the Old English Bulldogs, giving us the majestic Boxers we know today.

Short History Of The Pit Bull

Pit Bulls have a similar but different story, as their history began as a result of the “bull and terrier” breed that began a few hundred years ago. Bulldogs and terrier type dogs were bred to create an agile, tenacious and incredibly strong dog, and that eventually became the Pit Bull.

So what does that have to do with Molossers? The Bulldogs are descendants of Molosser dogs as well, and those same attributes have been passed down to Pit Bulls.

Now when it comes to how Boxers and Pit Bulls are related that is the common link between them, as watered down as it may be now, it all started with the Molosser group dogs. There is no more of a direct connection beyond that heritage. 

These breeds were not used to develop the other. There was no cross-breeding taking place in the development of these two dogs. There is no Boxer in Pit Bulls, nor Pit Bull in Boxers, just a moderate to significant portion of Bulldog in both dogs.

Is A Boxer Considered A Pit Bull?

I feel this might be a good time to first define our terms when it comes to “Pit Bull” as this can be often misconstrued between what is known as the American Pit Bull Terrier, a specific breed recognized by the UKC and ADBA, and Pit Bull as used by the term to define “bull and terrier” type dogs that includes the breeds American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

When asking if the Boxer is a Pit Bull, in either case of the definition the answer would be no. Boxers are not considered Pit Bulls as a breed, or in the broad sense of the word. Though they are descendants of the Bullenbeisser which was a fierce game hunter, they do not share the same fighting history as the “bull and terrier” breeds.

So why are they called Boxers if they aren’t fighting dogs? Well if you have ever watched a Boxer play fight they have a tendency to rear up on their hindlegs and use their front paws to swat, or start “boxing” with their playmates.This is believed to be one of the ways they got their names.

The Boxer is however considered to be a Bully breed dog, along with the Pit Bull type dogs. This is a common thread between the two when it comes to group labels.

boxer head tilt

Are Boxers Considered A Bully Breed?

Boxers are in fact considered to be a part of the Bully breed group as they are descendants from the Molosser type dogs, and have a fair amount of mastiff and bulldog in their bloodline. Both the Bullenbeisser and Bulldogs that came together to create the Boxer brought with them that fierce, big chested, large muscle appearance that is commonly associated with all of the Bully breeds.

Now just because Boxers don’t have the word “bull” anywhere in their name, like the Pit Bull, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Bully, Bulldog or Bull Terrier, does not mean they can’t be part of the Bully breed pack. There are a few other bully breeds that fall into this category, and some may surprise you, but all have at least one thing in common. The Molosser.

What Is Considered A Bully Breed?

When you first hear the term “bully” you may associate that with a dog that pushes its weight around and perhaps picks on other dogs, like that bully in middle school, but this is not the case. You might then think, well it’s because the dog breed has the name bull in there, and though this is true for many breeds in the bully breed group, it’s not the main factor. What is considered a bully breed then?

The one common factor is the Molosser dog ancestry, and there are many dogs that have this dog in their history. Every breed from Pit Bulls to Pugs that have the Molosser as their ancient relative are considered to be a Bully breed dog. Boxers, Boston Terriers, French Bulldogs, American Staffordshire Terriers, all part of the Bully breed group.

The Molosser was a large, fierce dog often used in battle, and as a guard for the local livestock. As time went one and other breeds were mixed with the Molosser we began to have a divergence and a growing variety of what we call Bully breeds. Some dogs were bred, unfortunately, to be fighters, others were bred as companion dogs, but all share the same barrel chested, big head features of the Molosser origins.

Related Article – What Is A Bully Breed? – The 22 Popular Bully Breed Dogs

The Bully Breed Dogs

The Bully breed dogs can get a bad reputation as a result of the careless ownership of people who raise these dogs either intentionally or not, to exhibit bad behaviors.

This can be the case with any breed of dog in the wrong hands. Bully breeds are no exception. Because of some of the larger Bully breeds, muscular, and intimidating features, this can invite the wrong type of person into owning one, and using them as a means to make themselves seem tough or intimidating.

The Bully breeds are a beautiful group of dogs, and among them are some of my favorite breeds on the planet. Whether it be a Boston Terrier, Boxer, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Mini Bull Terrier, French Bulldog or American Pitbull Terrier, all of these dogs are loyal, loving, and affectionate pets when raised in a loving environment.

bully group

Bully breeds are renowned for their tenacious spirit, courage, zest for life, and sometimes stubborn demeanors. Having a Bully breed like a Boxer or Pit Bull in your home can be a truly wonderful experience.

Are Boxers Bigger Than Pit Bulls?

Boxers are bigger than Pit Bulls believe it or not. If we are strictly referring to the American Pit Bull Terrier, Boxers are tall and weigh more on average. 

Other Pit Bull type dogs like the Staffordshire Bull Terrier are much smaller, as they are what I like to call “pocket pitties”. The American Staffordshire Terrier can rival the Boxer in weight, but not height, and the short and stocky American Bully is much shorter, but they are thick, or thicc as the kids say, and can weigh more than a Boxer.

What is the average size of a Boxer dog, and Pit Bull type dogs?

DogAvg. HeightAvg. Weight
Boxers23-25 inches (male), 21.5-23.5 inches (female)65-80 lbs
American Staffordshire Terrier18-19 inches (male), 17-18 inches (female)55-70 lbs (male)
40-55 pounds (female)
American Bully13–20 inches66–88 lbs
Staffordshire Bull Terrier14-16 inches28-38 lbs (male)
24-34 lbs (female)
American Pitbull TerrierMale 18–21 inches
Female 17–20 inches
35–60 lb (male)
30–50 lb (female)

Is A Boxer Considered A Dangerous Breed?

The Boxer comes from a background in game hunting back in the early 1800’s Germany and is a descendant of the now extinct, larger more aggressive Bullenbeisser dog. Boxers are agile, strong, and fast animals with fairly large and powerful jaws, but are Boxers considered a dangerous breed?

In short, yes they can be, like any other large breed dog, the Boxer can do some significant damage to someone, or something, under the right circumstances. Though they are companion animals now, and are naturally loving, affectionate goofballs, they can be very protective.

It should go without saying that any dog can be dangerous if the proper training and socialization is not happening from an early age. Sure a Yorkie can’t do as much damage as a Boxer could, but they are not naturally more likely to attack than many of the smaller breeds.

Boxers Are Great Family Dogs

Boxers are excellent with children for example, but because of their large size can easily knock down a small child and cause injury. It’s important to monitor play time with both children and Boxers to ensure everyone is safe from accidents, and both parties know what is the proper way to play.

The natural guard dogs instincts can make Boxers a little wary of strangers, and out of the ordinary behavior from humans. This can be an asset to your family in terms of a home security deterrent, but can also be trained away through proper socialization at an early age.

When it comes to other animals the Boxer can be on the dangerous side if not properly socialized from a very early age. They are natural born hunting dogs with a strong prey drive that can lead to chasing cats, squirrels and small dogs if left unchecked.

Dogs of the same size and gender can be a problem at times, especially among males, and ESPECIALLY intact males. I don’t want to sound like a broken record here, but one of the solutions again is early socialization and training to lessen the chance of a confrontation. In the case of intact males, it’s best to keep them away from each other if you insist on keep them intact.

In general though a properly socialized and trained Boxer can be a kind and gentle creature that poses no intentional risk to anyone. They are big, goofy, and occasionally clumsy, so accidents can happen, but in terms of malicious attacks on family or people, it is a very rare occurrence among Boxers raised in good environments.

Are Boxers More Aggressive Than Pit Bulls?

This question can often arise when comparing Boxers and Pit Bulls to one another, and for me it is an unfair question to ask. Unfair because of the biased and misconstrued nature of the Pit Bull as a mean, aggressive dog, used as a yardstick of comparison when it relates to Boxer dogs in this case.

Boxers and Pit Bulls are very similar in temperament. They are loving, loyal, and affectionate pets, with a high drive to please their family members. A Pit Bull is not naturally aggressive, most especially towards humans, and neither is a Boxer. They can be raised and trained to be that way, but so can every dog on the planet.

Boxers are not more aggressive than Pit Bulls, because in my opinion Pit Bulls are not aggressive dogs by nature. Both breeds are great with children, and in fact Pit Bulls have earned the name of the “Nanny Dog” as a result of their kind and loving affection towards children. 

Boxers can be slightly more wary and mistrusting of strangers than Pit Bulls, and as a result may be a light more standoffish, but by no means aggressive if raised in a loving home and provided with lots of socialization from an early age. The Boxer does make a far better guard dog than a Pit Bull however.

Both Boxers and Pit Bulls are a tenacious and high energy breed. They can often be found jumping, bounding, and prancing around the house and yard because of this energy, but they are much more inclined to play than get into a conflict.

boxer and pitbull sleeping


The Boxer is related to the Pit Bull as we have discovered, both through the Molossar bloodline, but also through group classifications as Bully breeds, and shared commonalities in temperament, size, and appearance. The Boxer and Pit Bull are very unique but similar breeds that share the love of family, children, and a good amount of play time. They make excellent pets for those willing to take the time, and spend the energy,  to train and socialize them from an early age. The rewards are endless if you follow those simple steps.

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