Pitbulls vs. Boxers - The Main Similarities and Differences

While Boxers and Pit Bulls (popularly known as American Pit bull Terriers) might look different, they are quite similar when it comes to their temperament. 

Both dogs are energetic and will always try to entertain and please their owners. These dogs are great family companions since both have a lot of love to give.

This article will show some of the main similarities and differences between the two breeds.


While both dogs are bred to become hunting dogs in the past, they have differing histories. 

Pit Bulls were the result of combining Old English Bulldogs and Terriers during the bull-baiting era in the 19th Century. When the cruel bloodsport was outlawed in 1835, these dogs were converted into farm dogs helping farmers in herding cattle and guarding the farm against wild animals. 

During the world war, Pit Bulls became the symbol of patriotism, loyalty, and courage.

On the other hand, the Boxer came from a more giant but now extinct breed known as the ‘Bullenbeisser.’ 

Because they are powerful dogs, they were used for hunting bull and wild boar in the late 19th Century in Germany. However, when the German wanted a more slender and agile dog, the Bullenbeisser was crossed breed to an undocumented dog, so the Boxer was born. 

They were named Boxers because of the way they use their front limbs to defend themselves in a fight, very much like a boxer does!


When it comes to their appearances, it is easy to tell the difference between these two dogs.

The average male Pit Bull will measure between 18 to 21 inches in height, whereas the average male Boxer will measure between 23 to 25 inches. 

Since Pit Bulls are smaller, their weight has a huge difference. The average male Pit bull weighs between 35 to 65 pounds, whereas the average male Boxer weighs between 65 to 80 pounds.

Both breeds have similar thick and square-shaped bodies. 

Having said that, it makes it easier for owners to put on dog clothes or Cuban dog collars. Both have a deep barreled chest and a skinny waist. However, the Boxer has bigger ears than Pit bulls. 

The Boxer’s face is rounder, while the Pit Bull has a squarer face with a longer muzzle. The Boxer’s lower jaw is much longer than his upper jaw, giving the dog a unique facial appearance.


As mentioned earlier, both dogs have similar temperaments. 

Both are incredibly friendly dogs, which makes them great family pets. They love to travel and play outdoors since both of them are very bouncy and highly energetic. 

Pit bulls are known for being gentle to children. In fact, Pit bulls are also popularly known for being the ‘nanny dog.'

Boxers, on the other hand, are very protective of their owners, especially when strangers are around. Sometimes, Boxers will be suspicious and bark at strangers until their owners welcome them. 

Having said that, Boxers are better guard dogs than Pit Bulls. 

However, it is also important to remember that both Pit Bulls and Boxers will chase unknown animals, such as squirrels, due to their higher prey drive.


Boxers are incredibly headstrong dogs. They can be very stubborn and take a while to respond to training sessions. 

a brown and white boxer dog sitting on the grass


Because of their headstrong character, it’s important to start them at a young age. Basic commands like sit, stay, and fetch can be learned from about 8 weeks old.

As adults, they respond extremely well to positive reinforcement and will react well to longer training sessions.

Pit Bulls are much easier to train than other breeds. They are eager to please their owners and have the ability to focus on specific tasks for an extended period of time.

They’re pack leaders, asserting their dominance whenever they can. So socializing this breed and getting them used to basic commands is very important.

Both these breeds have a lot of energy and love being around other dogs. So start them on leash training from an early age, getting them used to walking and being around other dogs from an early age.

Invest in either an anti-pulling harness or a tactical collar for either breed. It will make the experience of walking your dog much more pleasurable.


Boxers are a healthy breed and under optimal circumstances enjoy a lifespan of 11 to 13 years.

As with other dog breeds, Boxers do face a series of potentially life-threatening health issues as they get older.

Some of these health issues include Hip dysplasia, Bloat, Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), hearing loss, cancer, and skin problems.

a brown and white pit bull


Similar to the Boxer, the American Pit Bull is a healthy breed. They can live up to 15 years of age and only start suffering from chronic illnesses later in life.

Some of the most common health concerns for pit bulls are hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, and kneecap dislocation. Less common issues can include thyroid and congenital heart defects.

Both the Boxer and Pit Bull have short coats and are thus prone to skin problems or skin allergies. 

If you notice redness or dry and flaky skin, consult a vet for medical advice.

Both Boxers and Pitbulls require a balanced diet with high-quality protein sources and essential nutrients. A diet specifically formulated for their breed can meet their nutritional needs. Raw bones or domestically-produced beef bones are safe for dogs to chew. These bones are soft and large enough to minimize the risk of fracturing into harmful pieces, and dogs can typically digest them easily. However, it's important to supervise your dog while they chew on the bone to ensure their safety.


Both Boxers and Pit Bulls are single-coated dog breeds.

This means that they don't have a short underlayer protecting them from the cold with a longer outer layer of fur to act as a raincoat of sorts.

Single-coated dogs shed seasonally with the change of season as a way of getting rid of dead and unwanted hair.

It’s a natural process that unfortunately can leave your home full of fluff, and keeping the couches clean can be a real pain if you have an inside dog.

While not the heaviest of shedders, both breeds do shed a significant amount and thus need  regular bathing and brushing.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier


So where does the American Staffordshire terrier fit in?

Although these breeds share similar traits, the Staffy is a breed on its own.

The American Kennel Club recognized the Staffordshire terrier, or Staffy as an independent breed in 1936.

While some people confuse them with both the American Pit Bull Terrier and Boxers, they have different personalities and physical traits that set them apart from these two breeds.

For one, they’re smaller in stature. Whereas Boxers and Pit Bulls stand 25 and 21 inches tall respectively, the Staffy most commonly reaches around 19 inches at the shoulder.

They too make great family dogs and play well with younger kids.

Final Thoughts

While Boxers have a welcomed reputation for being happy dogs, always ready to play and act foolish, Pit Bulls have the unfortunate reputation of being used in unwholesome sports like dog fighting.

And admittedly, they do look the part. With their stocky build and ears cropped they can look quite intimidating.

But don’t let appearances fool you. With proper training, your Pit bull can be a firm pack leader, a fearless guard dog, and a great family pet.

So if you’re considering getting either one of these dogs as a family pet, make sure that you give them all the love and attention they deserve. 

They thrive in family units and really enjoy a good run around. So if you have active children of your own, why not get them one of these puppies to grow up with?