Boxers - Breed Introduction
A member of the working group of dogs, the Boxer can make a good therapy or service dog, and does well in obedience and agility competitions. Originally used for hunting and bull-baiting, today Boxers are considered loving family pets.
They are full of life, and thrive in busy households, making playful and loyal companions to both the young and the young-at-heart.
The boxer is typically 21 to 25 inches (53 to 64 centimeters) in height and weighs from 55 to 75 pounds (25 to 34 kilograms).
History of Breed
The Boxer’s ancestry can be traced back to the mastiff-type dogs used to hunt bear, boar, and deer in the Middle Ages. When bull-baiting became a sport, Boxers were used in this arena as well. In the mid 1800s, Germany was said to be in the business of creating what some refer to as “designer dogs,” and the Boxer was one of the results of that trend.
A descendant of the Bullenbeisser, a dog once employed in deer and boar hunting in Germany and the Netherlands, the Boxer is a cross between the Danziger and Brabanter Bullenbeissers and other Bavarian and foreign breeds. Boxers have been very popular in both Europe and America since the early 20th century.
Color and Coat
The coloring of Boxers typically ranges from red to fawn. They may be brindled, giving the coat a striped appearance, and their coats are accented by white markings. They may also be solid white in color. The coat of the Boxer is short-haired and smooth, and lies close to the body.
Personality and Temperament
This wiggly, wriggly companion is boisterous, attentive, fearless, and self-assured. Perhaps to the chagrin of some, the Boxer seems to be a perennial puppy. Given his large size and exuberance, he may unwittingly wreak household havoc, though he will mellow some with age. Although strong and courageous, the Boxer is a softie at heart.
The Boxer is an intelligent breed and a quick learner, but may be strong-willed. As such, he needs firmness and the assurance of a dominant trainer to learn good manners.
Not for the slow-moving, boxers are energetic and require two or more hours of exercise daily. Boxers love to go charging around wide open spaces, and they delight in a good game of chase.
The Boxer’s strong and somewhat intimidating appearance and deep bark may serve as a deterrent to would-be intruders, making the breed a respectable watchdog. Though not one to pick a fight, the Boxer is wary of strangers and perfectly capable of defending himself and his loved ones if the situation warrants it.
Looks can be deceiving, however, as this breed is exceptionally gentle with children, displaying patience and devotion in their presence. Boxers generally get along with other animals in the household as well, though males, in particular, may exhibit a tendency to want to establish dominance.
Boxers are not well suited to extremely hot or cold climates. Aside from this, however, they’re happy both indoors and out. The ideal environment allows them to divide their time between house and yard.
Boxers enjoy human contact and appreciate strong-minded owners. They’re equally happy living with an individual owner or a big family; however, they’re not a good match for the frail or elderly, who may find them a little too overpowering.
Boxers sport a well-muscled, square build. Their backs are short and straight, with a slight downward sloping. The Boxer’s deep chest extends all the way down to the dog’s elbows. All colorings except for solid white are desirable in the show ring.
They have a short muzzle and a slightly upturned chin. The head and muzzle have wrinkly skin, and the wrinkled brow may seem to give the Boxer a worried appearance or one of deep concentration, depending on one’s point of view.
The Boxer wears a dark mask around the eyes and muzzle, providing contrast to the rest of the dog’s coloring. The nose is black, and takes an upturn at the tip. The eyes are dark brown, with a lively and intelligent expression.
The upper lip is thick and padded, while thelower lip droops slightly. The ears are set high and wide apart. The tail is set high and usually docked. If undocked, it should not curve over the back.
Typical Health Concerns
The Boxer’s lifespan may unfortunately be cut short by cancer in the dog’s later years, although breeders have been working diligently to overcome this.
This breed is also susceptible to hip dysplasia, allergies, and heart murmurs. Rich diets should be avoided, as these can cause unwelcome flatulence.
The Boxer is about as maintenance-free as a dog can get, requiring little more than a once-a-week brushing. Rubber grooming mitts also work well. Shedding is minimal and seasonal.
Country of Origin
The Boxer was developed in Germany.
Average Life Span
The typical life expectancy of the Boxer is 8 to 12 years.