I have known Frazier, Ali, and Lennox-Lewis. Most recently, I have met Tyson, who is pictured at the top this column.  And the world recently learned about another example: Buster, who featured in the latest John Lewis advert. Of course, I am not talking about human boxing champions. I am talking about a wonderful breed of dog known as the Boxer.

Boxers are like a different species compared to other breeds

Boxers are so different to other dogs that they are almost like a separate species. They are short-nosed, square-headed dogs, with a stubborn, self-confident personality. They are big, strong, muscular animals, and they do need to be well trained, so that their natural exuberance is kept under control. People who own a Boxer tend to fall in love with the breed, and often they choose Boxer after Boxer after Boxer, and they end up enjoying an entire human life-time of Boxer-keeping.

Are they called Boxers because they can, literally, box?

Why are they called Boxers? Nobody knows for sure, but I know that the breed can seriously box, like a human boxer. They have supremely strong front legs, and they use them to push you from side to side when they are playing with you. A Boxer in a playful mood can literally box you into a corner with his strong front feet.

Boxers tend to be intelligent, playful creatures

The character of the Boxer is the most appealing aspect of the breed. They have bright, beady eyes, and when they look at you with their steady gaze, they always give you the impression that there is a hint of mischief lurking in their minds. They have a remarkable love of life, and they always seem to be in joyfully happy good form. They are always ready for a game, and they love to play. They tend to be affectionate to children, and they can be wonderful watch dogs, and terrific guardians of the whole family. They’re very intelligent animals, and they can be trained for obedience, agility and even as working dogs. They have been used as police dogs in some parts of the world.

Boxers are prone to a number of serious health issues

Physically, they tend to be healthy dogs. They have short, fine coats. An occasional quick brush is all that is needed to keep their coat clean and shiny. Like all pedigree breeds, they do have their own in-built genetic weaknesses. Boxers are prone to a number of conditions, including heart murmurs, digestive problems, and some specific skin tumours. Most Boxers do not suffer from these problems, but it is sensible to take two simple precautions. Firstly, buy a puppy whose parents are fit, healthy, good-natured dogs, and secondly, take out pet insurance that will pay the vet’s fees if your pet does fall ill at any stage in their life.

Boxers do not suit everyone as a pet

Are Boxers the ideal dog? The truth is that every breed is ideal for somebody. An elderly lady living alone would not appreciate the muscular bounciness of a large Boxer. A young couple living in an apartment could not leave a Boxer at home while they go out to work all day. But a family with children old enough to deal with a strong, energetic dog may find that a Boxer is the answer.

If you are thinking about getting a Boxer, make sure you talk to a Boxer owner first

Good training is the key to successful Boxer ownership, and it’s much easier to train a dog well from the start, rather than allowing bad habits to develop that can be difficult to correct later. It is particularly important that large, strong dogs like Boxers are well trained. If a small terrier is disobedient, it can be irritating, but if a seven stone well-muscled dog is out of control, the situation could even become dangerous.

Boxers are charming, fascinating characters. If you have never known one, go to a dog show and meet one. But beware – you too could become addicted to the breed.