Loving, loyal and plain silly at times! The Boxer is a breed that grabs attention with its looks and personality.
History of the Breed
It is believed that the Boxer breed originated from the Brabanter Bullenbeisser which can be be traced back to Belgium. This dog was described as a strong and agile dog, much as the Boxer is today. The Brabanter Bullenbeisser was used by elite individuals in Germany to help in the hunting of wild boar. The dog’s ears were cropped to prevent any potential injuries and tears from encounters with the boars.
As time moved on the Brabanter Bullenbeisser came to do work with cattle dealers and by the 1800’s was considered a working class dog. When not working the Brabanter was an excellent family pet always eager to please its owners. Around the year of 1830 it is believed that an early form of the English Bulldog was crossed with the Brabanter Bullenbeisser and thus the Boxer breed was born. The crossed dogs were white in color, much like the white Boxers today that are banned from confirmation shows and not accepted as a proper color.
The development of the Boxer breed started to flourish with the start of the German Boxer Klub in 1860’s. Although the breed started to flourish it was given an English name that many believe relates to the dogs instinct to use it’s front paws when at play and fighting.
By 1895 the Boxer Klub was formally organized and a breed standard was described to help define what the Boxer should look like. In the majority of pictures from this era of the breed the Boxer is shown white in color. In 1925 the white Boxer was no longer accepted as a proper color for the breed. Most believe the reasoning for this change is that if the Boxer was to be used for police work it would need to be of a darker color as to not be seen at night.
The Boxer was introduced to the United States around the turn of the century and shortly after, in 1915 the first Boxer Champion was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). To the surprise of no one the first champion was from Frau Stockman’s kennel that had done so much for the breed in the early years.
It was not until 1949 that the Boxer started to really make headlines in the U.S. In this year Bang Away was born to Sirrah Crest and went on to become the winningest Boxer of the century. The first win for Bang Away came at the age of 2 and a half months as it was selected by Frau Stockman as Best in Show. Bang Away went on to win the most highly coveted dog show the Westminster along with 121 other Best in Show wins over a six-year period.
Many changes have been seen in the Boxer over the years and more will most likely come. Some of the hottest issues in recent years is the addition of the white Boxer into the breed standard and if natural tails and ears should be standard. No matter what the future holds for the Boxer it will always remain a family favorite.
The ideal Boxer would be described as a medium sized, well-muscled dog. The Boxer is a square built dog with a short coat. The muscle tone of the Boxer is one of its distinguished features and should be clean and well defined. The gait of the Boxer is one of pride and courage as its strides are firm.
The Boxer’s expression should be alert and exert a penetrating gaze from the eyes. As with most breeds the shape and proportion of the Boxer’s head is of the up most importance. The skull should be well proportioned with a broad muzzle.
Proportion and Size
The Boxer is a medium built breed and males should measure 22.5 – 25 inches in height and the female counterpart should be a height of 21 – 23.5 inches. The breed does not have a size disqualification but it is undesirable for males to be below the minimum or females above the maximum. When size is considered the most important aspect is proper balance of the dog.
The proportion of the Boxer is a square body in that the distance should be of equal length when measured horizontally from the front of the chest to the back thigh and the vertically from the withers to the ground.
The Boxer is accepted in two distinct colors, Fawn and Brindle. The fawn can vary from a light tan to a dark almost red color. The Brindle color looks similar to a tiger stripe in that the fawn background is marked with black stripes. The Brindle can range from a few well-defined lines to an almost reversal of color where the fawn background is barely seen.
The Boxer may have white markings in a way that they are beneficial to the appearance of the animal. White markings exceeding one third of the total body is considered a fault. There have been many debates recently of the acceptance of the all white Boxer for the breed and allowing them to compete in confirmation shows.
Temperament and Personality
Energetic, Playful, Loyal, Family Oriented. If owners of this fun loving breed were asked to describe a Boxer these are just a few examples that would be used. The Boxer was originally bred for work but also makes an excellent choice when looking for a family pet. Although no two Boxer dogs are alike, there are common characteristics that a Boxer should display.
If a poll conducted amongst all Boxer owners for choosing one word to describe this breed the overwhelming choice would be Playful. The Boxer is an amazing breed in its youthful exuberance is shown from the puppy stage to the senior years. A Boxer that is not playful, is just not a Boxer. With their uncanny knack for always-making owners smile, a Boxer household is one that is constantly filled with joy and laughter.
If a single profession could be chosen for the Boxer most owners today would say a clown would be the most fitting. Whether wiggling or wagging, the Boxer is constantly entertaining and one cannot help but smile even when in the worse of moods. The Boxer has a variety of tricks to make us laugh. One of the most common is “kidney beaning”. This is a dance a Boxer does when it is excited. It involves the dog turning itself into a semi-circle (similar to the shape of a “kidney bean”, hence the name) and turning in a circle. This is one of the best benefits of the Boxer because who would not love to see this each day when coming home from a tiring day of work.
Another trick of the trade for the Boxer is the elusive “woo-woo”. This is the sound they make when they want something or are excited. It is not exactly a bark, but similar. If you have heard a Boxer “woo-woo” you would know as it is such a unique sound and it sounds as if they are saying “woo-woo” look at me!
The general movements of the Boxer at times while running can be a very enjoyable experience to walk. A healthy, happy Boxer is a treat to see run free as they have a glow and you can feel the happiness they are experiencing. When the Boxer runs also are on the lookout as many will also jump, twist and even summersault end over end for your viewing pleasure.
The Boxers personality is a unique and very enjoyable for most owners but new owners should be weary that the Boxer is not for everyone. They are high-energy dogs and require lots of attention. This is not a breed that is going to lie at the foot of the bed and sleep most of a day away. If the Boxer is not properly exercised and challenged, they can become destructive, as they will find ways to entertain themselves (read chewing your shoes!). The Boxer should be walked or jogged at least two times a day and also provided with mental stimulation. An excellent source of mental stimulation is obedience training. Obedience training is a must for any Boxer owner due to their strength and size. If not properly trained the Boxer can be a handful to take on a walk as they will pull every which direction if not given proper direction. Obedience training is a win-win situation for the Boxer and owner. The Boxer gets to be mentally stimulated, which they desire and it allows the owner to set boundaries for the dog. Placed in the proper home where they can be exercised and mentally challenged, the Boxer makes most owners an excellent pet.
The Boxer by nature is not an aggressive or vicious breed. Many uneducated about the breed assume because of the tough look and sturdy structure of the breed that they are aggressive animals. The Boxer naturally prefers to play and work. They do make excellent watchdogs in that they will bark at strangers and protect their family if need be. In fact, the most difficult of Schutzhund training for the breed is passing the required attack sequence of the training where the Boxer must attack a trainer poised as an attacker.
With its youthful exuberance and affection the Boxer makes an excellent pet for families with children. From personal experience, the breed seems to have a sense of gauging the size of a child and toning down its level appropriately. Although in most cases the Boxer makes an excellent pet for children, a potential owner should always research the breed before deciding on the proper breed for their family. For instance the Boxer is a large dog and could cause problems for infants and young children by knocking them over by accident.
The Boxer is not an outside dog and does not adapt well to extreme heat or cold. The Boxer is not suited for cold conditions because of its short coat does not provide much barrier from cold winds. On the other extreme the Boxer has a short nasal cavity, which can make breathing very hard in extremely hot conditions. For these reasons, potential owners should be prepared to make adjustments and space in their house for a Boxer if they choose the breed. Most owners say the Boxer prefers mild 70 to 72 degrees controlled living environment, much as we would all prefer!
If you do not like a “lap dog” and think by getting a larger breed you will avoid a dog wanting up in your lap the Boxer is definitely not right for you. The Boxer is a “lap dog” and feels the need to be with its owners. Although it is sometimes hard to imagine a 75-pound dog as being cuddly, the Boxer fits this description. Potential owners should be prepared to give their Boxer lots of time with them and know that the Boxer will follow their owner throughout the house.
The Boxer is a very intelligent breed, which has many benefits when training but also drawbacks. The benefits are obvious in that they learn quickly and are eager to further their training education. The downside to working with such an intelligent breed is that they also can and do think on their own. Potential owners should be prepared for many occasions in which the Boxer will plain out not listen to commands. The owner and dog both know exactly what is being commanded and what is suspected. It is just a characteristic of the Boxer to be stubborn from time to time. This can be frustrating but remember to always be patient and the Boxer and trainer will both benefit.
A common example of the Boxer’s stubborn streak is easily observable many times when traveling and it comes time to load up into the car to leave. The Boxer cannot be more excited and has been jumping around all morning looking forward to a ride. When it comes time to physically get into the car, the Boxer will act as if it all of the sudden has lead in it’s feet and not being able to jump into the car. The dog and owner both know the Boxer can get into the car and the Boxer has displayed this ability on many occasions. On this particular day, the dog has decided he wants pampered and needs the owner lift it up into the car. This is just a small example to detail how the stubborn streak can come out and to forewarn anyone considering the breed.
The Boxer is an energetic dog. If an owner is looking for a dog to just lie around, this is not a good breed. Although they do have lots of energy, they are not hyperactive and their energy can be easily managed. Daily walks or runs are a must to keep a Boxer feeling their best. Also, the Boxer needs a lot of mental stimulation. If the right amount of exercise is not given, look out because a Boxer will find a way to entertain itself (read chewing shoes, sofas etc…).
The Boxer has a short coat but will and does shed. Many often are surprised at the amount of hair that the Boxer does shed. With regular brushings the shedding problem can be held to a minimum. Often a shedding blade can be used to remove the majority of the hair. If using a shedding blade, careful strokes should be taken around the Boxers leg because of the possibility of tearing a tendon or hurting the dog.
The Boxers name originates from the dog using its front paw when fighting or playing.
The Boxers ears were originally cropped because it was used for police work and some hunting. By cropping the ears it prevented possible tears while fighting.
The Boxer is known as the “peter pan” of dog breeds because of its youthful mannerism throughout its life.
Although not right for everyone, the Boxer can make most a loving addition to their family and provide years of joy. The key is to properly socialize and train the Boxer at an early age and set limits for your Boxer baby. If these simple guidelines are followed, you can look forward to one of the funniest, loyal family member you could imagine.
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