Boxer

The Boxer is a powerful, squarely built dog of medium size, easily recognized by its distinct muzzle and face. The head is clean, with a noticeable stop and wrinkles on the forehead and the sides of the muzzle. Ears are set high on the sides of the skull, long and generally cropped. The eyes are dark and, along with the forehead, primarily responsible for giving the Boxer an intelligent, highly expressive visage. The muzzle is blunt and broad, and topped with a nose that is wide and black. The Boxer’s bite is undershot and very strong. The neck is round, muscular and long, and flows smoothly into the back, which is short, powerful and sloping toward the back. Overall, the body gives the impression of efficient strength and power. The dog’s coat is short, lying close to the body with a smooth sheen. The Boxer’s color is either brindle or fawn, often with white markings; these markings can appear on the chest, legs, feet and face, but should not take up more than one third of the coat. The face has a black mask.

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Fast Facts

Working
8 - 10 years
Germany
19th century
65 - 80 lb
50 - 65 lb
22 - 25"
21 - 24"
Boxter, Boxxer, or Bockser
None

Boxer Temperament

An exceedingly versatile dog, the Boxer is many things to many people, and it is difficult to describe his personality precisely....

The Boxer is energetic, playful, intelligent and curious. This dog is always ready for a game or adventure, and tackles challenges with gusto and joy; the Boxer is often said to be an “eternal puppy,” in that it does not begin acting like an adult until two-and-a-half to three years of age. However, the other half of the Boxer’s personality is very serious and deliberate, and harkens to the breed’s working dog history. The Boxer is heroically brave and uncommonly devoted to its family, and though the dog is not inherently vicious or aggressive, it will repel a perceived attack against its masters with brutal tenacity. For this reason, proper socialization is imperative. The Boxer is neither overtly friendly with nor aggressive toward strangers; if the dog detects that its master approves of the stranger, it will take on an accepting and slightly guarded attitude toward the newcomer. This response is also common with strange dogs, though the Boxer tends to be a bit more aggressive in this area. The Boxer is respectful of other pets and playful and protective with children.

Caring For a Boxer

In order to stay happy and healthy, the Boxer needs physical and mental exercise every day....

A challenging game in the park or a good jog are usually sufficient. The Boxer should have a yard to play in, but it prefers to sleep indoors and does not do well in either hot nor cold climates; particularly in the heat, the short-muzzled Boxer can have difficulty breathing and keeping cool. Coat care is very basic and entails a weekly or biweekly brushing; Boxers are very clean and tend not to smell. Major health concerns for the Boxer include subvalvular aortic stenosis, boxer cardiomyopathy, and canine hip dysplasia. Other health concerns in the breed include colitis, low thyroid, corneal erosion and gastric torsion (Bloat).

Boxer History

A Brief History of the Boxer

The modern Boxer is essentially a refined and modified version of a now extinct German breed called the Bullenbeiser, or Bull Biter....

The Bullenbeiser was used to hunt large game such as boar, deer and bear cubs. Its method of attack was to chase down prey and latch onto it, stopping or slowing the animal so the dog’s master could dispatch it. For this, the Bullenbeiser’s broad, powerful jobs and recessed nose were valuable traits, as they allowed the dog to maintain its grip while still being able to breathe. These same qualities were also desirable in the blood sport of bull baiting, in which dogs were loosed upon enraged bulls, and beginning in the 1820s German Bullenbeisers were crossed with mastiffs, terriers and English Bulldogs in an attempt to create a more specialized bull baiter. The result was a dog of considerable size and toughness, with a face that bears a keen resemblance to that of a Bulldog. The dog did not see much action in its intended profession, however, as bull baiting became increasingly outlawed throughout Europe. But the resilient Boxer soon found other uses, and it was not long before the Boxer was working throughout Germany as a guardian, policeman, soldier and all around work dog.Toward the end of the 19th century the Boxer began to spread throughout Europe and eventually the United States. The Boxer Club was founded in Munich, Germany in 1895, and the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1904. The Boxer did not immediately catch on in the United States, but beginning shortly after World War II the dog began to steadily rise in popularity. Today, the Boxer is perennially among the top ten registered breeds in the United States.There is still some debate as to the origin of the Boxer name. Some contend the name comes from the dog’s tendency to approach its prey by rearing on its hind legs and “boxing” with its front paws; the words box and boxer are the same in English and German. Others believe the name comes from the German word Boxl, which is what the dogs who worked in slaughterhouses were called.