Boxer breed profile

The boxer is a dignified and yet playful dog. Often wary of strangers, they inspire incredible loyalty among those who have had one. This easy to maintain, smooth coated dog loves his people. He is highly trainable and wants to please, and like many active breeds is best kept busy to prevent problems.

The boxer is another German based breed. They are lively and can be high energy dogs. Each is uniquely and individual and although now not as popular as in the past, they hold a special spot in American history also.

Going back in history the breed traces to the 16th-17th centuries in Tibet. It is thought the Boxer traces to dogs referred to as the Bullenbeisser while other sources mention a dog called Bouldogue de Mida. They were used to hunt wild boar, and their ears were cropped to keep the pigs from grabbing the dog’s ears. A family pet when not pursuing this activity, they were bred with the early English Bulldog, creating the first Boxers in the early 1800s. They were once used for bullbaiting. Some of these dogs were all white, a color that is banned from conformation shows today and by the standard not an accepted color.

At the turn of the century they were brought to the US, having been established as a working and police breed. The AKC recognized the first Boxer champion in 1915 but it was 34 years later until the breed really gathered the country’s attention. For a time in the 1940s and ’50s dog shows were covered by sports magazines and others. Popular dogs were noted and followed and in the late 1940s Bang Away made a splash when selected as Best In Show at 2-1/2 months old. He won at Westminster and 121 Best In Show wins over six years. It is documented that at one show a questionable loss by the Boxer resulted in a riot.

Today by the standard these dogs are up to 23-25 inches with females slightly smaller. Balance is essential the the dog is presented as a well muscled athlete. They are fawn or brindle and can have white markings, provided not more than 1/3 of the coat is white.

The Boxer is an active dog both physically and mentally. Keeping them busy with games, regular exercise and play is essential. They’re nice dogs for families as well as single people. Some tend to be aggressive with smaller pets, especially cats, so it is worth putting special training into the puppy if you have other pets. They are intelligent dogs that love to learn. They can be somewhat independent thinking, and it is worth noting to balance insisting on obeying with picking your battles in training issues.

The Boxer is a beautiful, athletic dog with a great combination of gentleness yet the ability to rise to defend his family if need be. The unique way he uses is front feet when fighting (or playing!) gave the Boxer his name. This is a breed that can get 65-80 pounds, so it’s worth noting that training from early on is needed.

Health problems that can affect Boxers include hip dysplasia, aortic stenosis (a heart defect), Boxer cardiomyopathy, thyroid disorders, corneal dystrophy, demodectic mange (which is easily treated but indicates a weakness in the immune system), cancer, bloat, allergies and, in white Boxers, often deafness. Fortunately, many of these can be tested for and rule out genetic passing on of the defects. For those dogs that are affected, serious problems can result and it is best to know and deal with the health problems as soon as possible.

It is also worth noting that like many short nosed breeds, the structure of their head can lead to problems in high heat and humidity. For this reason particular attention should be paid to keeping the dogs cool and not exercising them when it is dangerously hot outside.

From a breeding standpoint a typical litter size is six puppies. Because of the health problems in the breed, health testing should always be done before breeding to insure you aren’t passing along traits that condemn the puppies to a bad (and short) life.

Boxers are still used for police K-9 work. They have the friendly nature, prey drive and power to effectively work in the sport of Schutzhund as well as for obedience, agility, or personal dogs. He’s been used as a war dog and a seeing-eye dog. They’ve been used as messengers and sentries, search and rescue and detection work. Some have been used for flyball competition and therapy dogs.

The Boxer has a tendency to love life – they will put all their energy into whatever they are doing. They can be incredibly persistant if they want something badly enough! They are affectionate and sometimes forget their manners and size when they get excited to see a friend.

Boxers with good care can live well into their teens. Grooming is minimal – occasional baths, trim toenails and general care. Being short haired an occasional brush down can help shine the coat and remove old hair and dander but the Boxer is for the most part a low-maintenance dog as far as grooming.

One unfortunate thing to consider is the advent of breed specific legislation in many areas. Even though it often doesn’t directly include the Boxer, many people with breeds that are affected have now taken to calling them “Boxer crosses”. The kick to that can come much later, as good Boxers have a tractable temperment but can be accused and grouped in with other dogs based on appearance. It’s worth making sure you have proof your dog is a *Boxer* depending on where you live and the local laws, which seem to change on a regular basis.

Famous owners reported to have had Boxers include Jodie Foster, Carroll O’Connor, Robin Williams, George Clooney, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Charlton Heston, Sylvester Stallone, Humphrey Bogart, Nat King Cole, Lauren Bacall and Shirley MacLaine.

In city popularity they are the dog of choice in Knoxville and second in DesMoines, Kansas City, Louisville and Omaha. They hold the third spot in Baltimore, Charlotte, Cleveland and Memphis and made the top five in a host of other cities. Nationally on the AKC list thay ranked sixth in 2007.

If you’re looking for a dog that can combine seriousness with a clown – active with a house dog personality – and gentleness with a willingness to protect his family whatever the odds, consider a Boxer. They are never dull and we could learn something from them in the zest for enjoying life! If you have a little room for a larger dog and an active lifestyle to keep them busy, consider a Boxer for your next pet.