About the Breed
Boxer is one in a long string of dogs developed in Germany. His ancestors are from the Molosser group of dogs, and by the 1700s this group had three main types of dogs: the heavy Bullenbeiser (formed the Mastiff), a larger hound (formed the Great Dane), and the smaller Bullenbeiser (formed the Boxer and English Bulldog).
Prior to the 1800s, the Bullenbeiser was a hunting dog used to hunt a variety of game and prized by noblemen for his hunting style, but as the 1900s approached, a Boxer club had been formed in Munich, and the former Bullenbeiser was more refined into today’s Boxer. He transitioned from a hunter into being more known as a nice family dog and guardian.
The Boxer is a large, muscular breed of dog that is approximately 21-25 inches tall and weighs on average 55-70 pounds. The breed is very balanced appearing and is not heavy in structure.
His head is distinctive and very recognizable as Boxer. He has a shortened muzzle in comparison to the whole of his head at a ratio of about 1:3. One can also notice by looking at a Boxer’s profile that his muzzle is also slightly upturned because his lower jaw extends slightly beyond his upper jaw.
The Boxer has a very short coat that lies flat and tight against his body. He comes in two recognized colors: fawn and brindle. White markings are also highly characteristic with it being located on the feet, face, chest, and underbelly. The white is referred to as ‘flash’ so that one may call a dog a flashy fawn or flashy brindle if he has white.
All white Boxers, although popular with many, are not a desirable coloration. Deafness is an associated risk with Boxers that have a high percentage of white as a color.
In the United States, cropping of ears and tails is customary, although many Boxers are seen with natural ears. In countries outside of the States, he is seen with natural dropped ears and natural tail.
Boxer is regarded as a wonderful family companion and generally enjoys the company of children a good deal. He loves to play games and is an active breed of dog that requires a fair amount of exercise. He can overheat in hot or humid conditions due to his shortened muzzle, so care should be taken.
The Boxer is a goofy, fun natured kind of dog that is intelligent. Although some can be seen in competitive sports, there are not as many. Instead, many owners prefer to spend time doing other enjoyable activities.
The Boxer is a rough playing dog with other dogs. He tends to play in a style that not all other breeds appreciate. Boxers like to pounce or jump at other dogs and climb on their neck or shoulders, often punching with their front feet or clasping the other dog with the feet. Many refer to this as ‘boxing.’ While he can do well with other dogs, he does better with opposite sex dogs. How well he does with other dogs is individually based as some are better with other dogs than others.
The breed is a natural guardian and family protector. While not an aggressive dog, he makes an excellent alerting dog and can be called upon to protect his family. He is more reserved with strangers until he considers them a friend.
The breed is not generally regarded as a natural breed for obedience, and they are not represented as heavily as other breeds in competitions. Many Boxers have a tendency to become distracted, so training your Boxer to focus and work in different environments is key.
Many dogs also pull heavily on the leash during walks, so training how to correctly walk on leash is imperative for an enjoyable walk. Positive reinforcement training methods work best with the breed as some members can be headstrong.
Early and ongoing socialization also helps immensely with the Boxer’s behavior around other dogs as well as people.
Shedding & Grooming
The breed has a very short coat, but it does shed. For routine maintenance, a grooming glove or rubber brush will suffice, but you will need a brush for those seasonal shedding periods where more hair will fall out. A weekly brushing is normally enough except you may need to brush more during the heavier shedding.
He doesn’t require frequent bathing and is a fairly clean breed. You can use bath wipes or a moist towel to lightly wash him off if he gets dirty in between baths. Otherwise, routine nail trims and toothbrushing are the primary things to do.
If your boxer has natural ears, make sure to regularly check them for excess wax, redness, or odor as dropped ears can hold moisture and develop infections in some dogs.
Health & Life Expectancy
Boxer has an average lifespan of 10-12 years, but he does have a wide variety of health issues. Some of the issues that might be encountered with a Boxer include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Thyroid problems
- Aortic/subaortic valvular stenosis
- Degenerative Myelopathy
- Sensitivity to the drug acepromazine (should not be given to Boxers)
- Deafness (in white boxers)