History of the Boxer Breed
While there are many theories as to the origin of the boxer, the breed is said to have reached its perfection in Germany within the past century. Most believe that the boxer comes from European line of dogs that have been around since the 16th century. Some evidence suggests that the boxer is one of the many descendants of the old fighting dog found in the high valleys of Tibet. It is also accepted that this breed is a cousin to just about all breeds within the bulldog type. The Dogue de Bordeaux of France is a breed that is similar in appearance and size to the old Tibetan Mastiff. The Bouldogue de Mida (found in the south of France) was apparently developed from the Dogue de Bordeaux, and it shares many of the same characteristics of the boxer. While it is generally believed that all the European breeds previously mentioned are in some way related to the boxer, this favorite breed of Germany was developed to retain all of its older qualities with a more attractive look. Other sources claim that the boxer was derived from two breeds of dog found in central Europe that no longer exist: the Danziger bullenbaiser and the Brabenter bullenbaiser. In this account, it is believed that in the 1830s German hunters tried to create a new breed by crossing the bullenbaisers with mastiff-type dogs and bulldogs. This resulted in a tough yet agile dog that featured a streamlined body and a strong grip. This origin states that by 1895, the new breed, called the boxer, had been established. The exact origin of the name boxer is rather obscure, but it may have taken from the German boxl. In addition to being related to the Bulldog, it is said that the boxer is also influenced by a strain of terrier. Others think that there is reason to believe that English Bulldogs were imported into Germany at one time, as evidenced by Reinagle's Bulldog, which was done in 1803. This work of art depicts a bulldog that is very similar in appearance to the boxer. One of the first dogs to be used in military and police work, the boxer became better known as a family pet and show dog by the 1900s. The boxer was first registered with the AKC in 1904, but the first championship did not take place until 1915. It was about 1940 before Americans showed interest in this breed, a time when the boxer won in Group and Best in Show.
Size and Appearance of the Boxer Breed
Square in proportion and consisting of good substance and musculature, the boxer features long, sloping shoulders and straight, firmly-muscled front legs. The back legs are strongly muscled and have broad, curved thighs. The compact feet offer well-arched toes. The head of this breed is clean and without deep wrinkles. Wrinkles are usually found on the forehead when ears are erect. The dark brown eyes offer an intelligent and alert expression. The ears are usually cropped, but if left natural, the ears are thin, flat-lying and moderate in size. The well-proportioned muzzle features a broad, black nose, and the typical bite of the boxer is undershot. Muscular and clean, the neck of this breed is distinctly arched and blends smoothly into the body. The short, straight back is firm and smooth. Usually docked, the tail is set high and normally carried in an upward position. The gait of the boxer is described as powerful and smooth. The smooth-lying coat of the boxer is short and shiny. The coat can be found in fawn and brindle. The fawn shades range from light tan to mahogany, and the brindle pattern varies from sparse to heavy concentration of black on a fawn background.
Playful and inquisitive, the boxer is an attentive, exuberant companion for the family. It is a devoted and outgoing dog that tends to be very patient and gentle with children. While it may have a tendency towards being stubborn, this breed is sensitive and responsive to training. It has been known to be aggressive towards strange dogs, but usually the boxer is good with other family dogs and pets. This breed bonds closely with its family. The playful spirit of this dog is seen when it paws at food or water dishes when they are empty and by its love of jumping. Boxers need a lot of human companionship, and an active family is best. Firm and consistent training from a young age is highly recommended.
Boxer Recommended Maintenance
Easily groomed, the boxer's smooth, short coat should be occasionally brushed with a firm bristle brush. Bathing should only be done when absolutely necessary, because it removes the natural oils found in the skin of this breed. The boxer is considered to be an average shedder, and it is a very clean breed. Most will groom themselves as cats do. Daily mental and physical stimulation is important for the boxer breed. While this dog enjoys a good run, its exercise requirements can be met with a long walk on leash. Note that this breed does not do well in hot or cold weather. If provided with enough exercise, the boxer will do fine in an apartment dwelling. An average-sized yard is suggested. This dog is very social, and it should given plenty of time with the family.
Life span: 8 - 10 years
Major concerns: cardiomyopathy, SAS, CHD
Minor concerns: gastric torsion, tumors, intervertebral disc degeneration, corneal erosion, colitis
Occasionally seen: none
Suggested tests: cardiac, hip
Note: sensitive to heat and anesthesia; white boxers may be deaf.