If you can't decide whether you'd rather have a golden retriever or a boxer, perhaps a golden boxer is the dog for you. This cross between golden retrievers and boxers is not recognized by the American Kennel Club, so there aren't breed standards. However, this mix has certain general attributes.
Since the parent breeds are similar in height and weight, golden boxers average about 23 inches in height and 65 pounds in weight, with males larger than females. The typical golden boxer appears fairly muscular.
Short-coated boxers require little grooming, while the longer coat of the golden retriever needs regular brushing. With this mix, the coat type can go either way.
Breeders specifically going for this cross -- as compared to an "oops" breeding -- generally breed a male boxer to a female golden retriever. The resulting puppies vary widely in appearance, with some greatly favoring one parent. While the name "golden boxer" implies a gold coat, that is not necessarily true. The pups may be gold, brown, fawn - the yellowish-brown color of a baby deer - - or even black, with or without white markings on the face and legs. Brindle, a dark striping pattern over a lighter brown coat, is also found in golden boxers. Even though neither boxers nor golden retrievers have black coats with tan points, this coloring might appear in their offspring.
If you decide to purchase or adopt a hybrid dog, consider the health problems of both breeds. Certain genetic diseases are prevalent in particular breeds, and these diseases can still affect the hybrid. Both golden retrievers and boxers have high rates of cancer, so the golden boxer is at increased risk from both parents. Both breeds suffer from increased risk of lymphoma. Heart disease also commonly affects both breeds, as does hip dysplasia. If possible, get information about the genetics and health of both parents before buying your golden boxer.
Both breeds are listed on Time Magazine's 2012 list of America's most popular dogs, with the golden retriever coming in fourth and the boxer in seventh place. The AKC considers the golden retriever a member of the sporting group, originally bred for hunting. It describes sporting group dogs as "likeable, well-rounded companions." The boxer, a member of the AKC's working group, was bred to perform jobs such as guarding. It was also bred to hunt large game. The AKC states that one of the boxer's most notable characteristics is its desire for human affection, especially from children. With this heritage, the golden boxer should have the right temperament to suit families with children, while also being protective of them. Since both breeds are quite active and require regular exercise, these are traits the golden boxer will likely inherit.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published 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.