This breed originated in Germany and descends from the German bullenbeisser, a mastiff-like dog used for hunting bear, dear and boar, and the old English bulldog. This dog was responsible for seizing the prey and holding it down until the hunter’s arrival with his distinctive muzzle. Years later, there was a need for a lighter, faster dog so a smaller Bullenbeisser was developed in Brabant, Belgium.
The boxers as we know them today are molossers that were developed in the late 19th century when Georg Alt bred a brindle Bullenbeisser going by the name of Flora with a local dog with a mysterious origin. Among the puppies born, was a fawn-and-white male called Lechner’s Box that may have contributed to the origin to the boxer breed. During World War I, several boxers were utilized as messenger dogs, means of trasportation for carrying packs and guardians. Around 1903, the first specimens landed on US soil, but the breed became more popular in the 1940s when soldiers brought them along after the war. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1904 and is now categorized under the working group.
How did the breed get its name? There’d belief that it comes from the breed’s tendency to play with its paws up just like a boxer, but this theory seems a bit improbable. Especially, since this breed seems more apt to muzzle punch with his head. It could be the name refers more to this breed’s fighting ability than its technique, suggests Milo G Denlinger in his book: ” “The Complete Boxer” Another theory has it that the name came from one of the first influential specimens of the breed: “Lechner’s Box.”
These are muscular, medium-sized dogs with an imposing look that is quite masculine. The chiseled head gives them their unique look. They have nice shiny coats that comes in fawn or brindle (basically, black stripes present on a fawn coat ) with striking white markings. Some boxers are so heavily brindled, that they appear as fawn stripes on a black background, in these cases they are known as “reverse brindles”. This however is a disqualification as the standard calls for a clearly contrasting fawn color. You may occasionally stumble on white boxers, but consider they are prone to deafness, sun burn and skin cancer. The ears are often cropped short and the tails are docked, but more and more owners are discovering the beauty of natural ears and tails. A bobtail line of naturally short-tailed Boxers was developed in the UK when there was a possibility for a tail docking ban. Boxers typically stand between 21 to 25 inches at the withers and may weigh between 60 and 70 pounds. White markings that encompass more than one third of the body are considered a disqualification in the show ring because of the health concerns associated with a white coat. About 20 to 25% of Boxers are born white due to the extreme piebald gene . In a well-bred boxer the white markings are mostly seen in the underbelly area and on the feet. Many also have them on the neck and face and specimens with them are known as “flashy.”This breed has an underbite, meaning that the lower jaw protrudes beyond the upper jaw.
Did you know? It’s impossible to have a purebred black boxer because the gene for a black coat is non-existent in this breed. See http://www.allboxerinfo.com/black-boxer-dogs
These dogs are full of life and love, love, love to play. Their puppy-like behavior that persists despite the years,(this breed isn’t fully mature until it reaches 3 years of age) earned them the title of ” the “Peter Pan” of the dog breeds. This is a friendly dog that is alert and has the potential to make an excellent watchdog, even though some may invite strangers with an enthusiastic greeting display. They are a bit aloof towards strangers at first. With their family, they are loyal companions that think to be lap dogs and want to just stay as close to you as possible. They often use their paws a lot either to paw at their toys, food bowls or their owners. When they greet their owners, these dogs like to curve their bodies in a “kidney-bean” like fashion and turn in a circle. They like to ask for attention by making a “woo-woo” sound. Expect them to greet you in a very exuberant manner as if he hasn’t seen you for a year. And be prepared to hearing him snore the night away.
Yes, this breed is easy to train, but he also has a stubborn streak, that makes him headstrong at times. Invest in positive training methods to make him collaborative and motivated. Skip harsh methods that will only make him shut down. Take advantage of their predisposition to play to train them good manners. Enroll them in some fun activities such as obedience, agility, and schutzhund .Socialization, as with other dogs is a must, especially since this breed tends to be initially aloof towards strangers.
The Ideal Household
This breed is friendly, playful and easy to train, but you’ll need to make sure to get rid of his excess energy to take the edge off. Don’t forget about mental stimulation as well, which is also a great way to drain him. Make sure you can commit to this, as an under exercised boxer can wreck havoc in your home if you don’t provide outlets for his energy. Also be aware that this breed is prone to Snorting, wheezing and snoring.
This breed has loads of patience which makes him an excellent companion for children, and he is even protective of them. His excessive bounciness when young though may easily knock down a small toddler, the elderly and the infirm people. He may do better with older children. Always supervise any interaction between boxer and child. With other dogs and pets, this breed may do well if introduced from an early age. Some boxers may not get along with other dogs as they mature,especially those of the same sex.
This breed can live in an apartment as long as you work on getting rid of that pent up energy. Kept outdoors, many boxers make excellent watch dogs, but some take the task too seriously. Others though may not excel in the task. While this breed isn’t yappy by nature be ready for many boxer vocalizations including grumbling, grunting, snorting, snuffling and snoring. They do not do too well outdoors, especially since their brachycephalic features, makes them prone to heat problems when it’s hot and humid. On the other hand, in the winter, their short coat doesn’t do a good job in keeping them warm as needed. Keep them in moderate climates. For this reason, it’s best to keep your boxer indoors at a temperature between 72 and 74 degrees.
With a short coat as such, this breed is not very needy in the grooming department. He does shed the most during spring though. This breed is over all clean, and this dog does a good job cleaning himself, almost like cats do.Make sure to be prepared to see the occasional slobber after he drinks, when he sees food or when he gives you some doggy kisses. Clean up their skin folds to prevent infections.
Boxers are prone to certain health conditions such as cancer, Aortic stenosis, boxer cardiomyopathy, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, corneal dystrophy, Demodectic Mange, bloat, troublesome birthing, flatulence (fro ingesting air due to their short noses), sensitivity to acepromazine and allergies. White boxers are prone to sunburm skin cancer and deafness (about 20 percent of white boxers are deaf) Sadly this breed has a short lifespan, averaging 9-to 10 years.
A boxer holds the record of the longest tongue, with a tongue measuring well 17 inches!
Where to get one:
American Boxer Rescue Association
Bay Area Boxer Rescue
Boxer Angels Rescue
Boxer Buddies Rescue and Adoption
Boxer Rebound, Inc.
Heart of Ohio Boxer Rescue
Second Chance Boxer Rescue
Wiggle Buttz Boxer Rescue
American Boxer Club, Inc.