The Boxer is a breed of stocky, medium-sized, short-haired dog with a smooth fawn or brindled coat and square-jawed muzzle. Boxers are brachycephalic, and have mandibular prognathism (an underbite), very strong jaws and a powerful bite. They are part of the Molosser group of dogs, bred from the extinct German Bullenbeisser and the Bulldog.
Based on 2006 American Kennel Club statistics, Boxers are the seventh most popular breed of dog in the United States??”a position they have held since 2002??”with approximately 35,388 new dog registrations during the year..
The ancestors of this breed were the German Bullenbeisser, a dog of Mastiff descent, and the Bulldog. The Bullenbeisser had been working as a hunting dog for centuries, employed in the pursuit of bear, wild boar, and deer. Its task was to seize the prey and hold it until the hunters arrived. In later years, faster dogs were favored and the Bullenbeisser grew smaller and was then called the Brabanter.
In the late 19th century, the Brabanter was crossed with a Bulldog to start the line that would become the modern Boxer. In 1894, three Germans by the name of Roberth, Konig, and Hopner decided to stabilize the breed and put it on exhibition at a dog show. This was done in Munich in 1895, and the next year they founded the first Boxer Club.
The breed was introduced to other parts of Europe in the late 1890s and to the United States around the turn of the century. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the first Boxer champion in 1915.
During World War I, the Boxer was co-opted for military work, acting as a valuable messenger dog, pack-carrier, attack dog, and guard dog.
It was not until after World War II that the Boxer became popular around the world. Boxer mascots, taken home by returning soldiers, introduced the dog to a much wider audience and it soon became a favorite as a companion animal, as a show dog, and as a guard dog.
The German citizen George Alt, a Munich resident, mated a brindle-colored bitch Brabanter imported from France named Flora with a local dog of unknown ancestry, known simply as "Boxer", resulting in a fawn-and-white male, named "Lechner's Box" after its owner.
This dog was mated with his own dam Flora, and one of its offsprings was the bitch called Alt's Schecken (registered as a Bierboxer or Modern Bullenbeiser). George Alt mated Schecken with a Bulldog named Tom to produce the historically significant dog Flocki, the first boxer to enter the German Stud Book after winning at a Munich show for St. Bernards, which was the first event to have a class specific for Boxers.
The white bitch Ch. Blanka von Angertor, Flocki's sister, was even more influential when mated with Piccolo von Angertor (Lechner's Box grandson) to produce the predominantly white (parti-colored) bitch Meta von der Passage, which, even bearing little resemblance with the modern Boxer standard (early photographs depicts her as too long, weak-backed and down-faced), is considered the mother of the breed. John Wagner, on his The Boxer (first published in 1939) said the following regarding this bitch:
- "Meta von der Passage played the most important role of the five original ancestors. Our great line of sires all trace directly back to this female. She was a substantially built, low to the ground, brindle and white parti-color, lacking in underjaw and exceedingly lippy. As a producing bitch few in any breed can match her record. She consistently whelped puppies of marvelous type and rare quality. Those of her offspring sired by Flock St. Salvator and Wotan dominate all present-day pedigrees. Combined with Wotan and Mirzl children, they made the Boxer."
The name "Boxer" is supposedly derived from this breed's tendency to begin a fight by standing on its hind legs and "boxing" with its front paws. According to Andrew H. Brace on his "Pet owner's guide to the Boxer" this theory is the least plausible explanation. He claims "it's unlikely that a nation so permeated with nationalism would give to one of its most famous breeds a name so obviously anglicised".
German linguistic sciences and historical evidence date from the 18th century the earliest written source for the word Boxer, found in a text in the "Deutsches Fremdw?¶rterbuch" (The German Dictionary of Foreign Languages), which cites an author named Mus?¤us of 1782 writing "da?? er aus Furcht vor dem gro??en Baxer Salmonet ... sich auf einige Tage in ein ger?¤umiges Packfa?? ... absentiret hatte". At that time the spelling "baxer" equalled "boxer". Both the verb ("boxen") and the noun ("Boxer") were common German language as early as the late 18th century. The term "Boxl", also written "Buxn" or "Buchsen", in the Bavarian dialect means "short (leather) trousers" or "underwear". The very similarly sounding term "Boxerl" is also Bavarian dialect and an endearing term for "Boxer". More in line with historical facts, Brace states that there exist many other theories to explain the origin of the breed name, from which he favors the one claiming the smaller Bullenbeisser (Brabanter) were also known as "Boxl" and that Boxer is just a corruption of that word.
In the same vein runs a theory based on the fact that there were a group of dogs known as "Bierboxer" in Munich by the time of the breed's development. These dogs were the result from mixes of Bullenbeisser and other similar breeds. Bier (beer) probably refers to the Biergarten, the typical Munich beergarden, an open-air restaurant where people used to take their dogs along. The nickname "Deutscher Boxer" was derived from bierboxer and Boxer could also be a corruption of the former or a contraction of the latter.
"Boxer" is also the name of a dog owned by John Peerybingle, the main character on the best selling 1845 book The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens, which is evidence that "Boxer" was commonly used as a dog name by the early 19th century, before the establishment of the breed by the end of that same century.
The name of the breed can also be simply due to the names of the very first known specimens of the breed (Lechner's Box, for instance).
The head is the most distinctive feature of the Boxer. The breed standard dictates that it must be in perfect proportion to the body and above all it must never be too light. The greatest value is to be placed on the muzzle being of correct form and in absolute proportion to the skull. The length of the muzzle to the whole of the head should be as 1:3. Folds are always indicated from the root of the nose running downwards on both sides of the muzzle, and the tip of the nose should lie somewhat higher than the root of the muzzle. In addition a Boxer should be slightly prognathous, i.e., the lower jaw should protrude beyond the upper jaw and bend slightly upwards in what is commonly called an underbite or "undershot bite".
Boxers were originally a docked and cropped breed, and this tradition is still maintained in some countries. However, due to pressure from veterinary associations, animal rights groups and the general public, both cropping of the ears and docking of the tail have been prohibited in many countries around the world. In the United States and Canada as of 2007, cropped ears are still more common in show dogs. In March of 2005 the AKC breed standard was changed to include a description of the uncropped ear, but to severely penalize an undocked tail.
An adult Boxer typically weighs between 55 and 70 lbs (25 and 32 kg). Adult male Boxers are between 23 and 25 inches (57 and 63 cm) tall at the withers; adult females are between 21 to 23?? inches (53 and 60 cm).
Boxers are typically either fawn or brindle, often with a white underbelly and white on the front or all four feet. These white markings, called flash, often extend onto the neck or face, and dogs that have these markings are known as "flashy". "Fawn" denotes a range of color, the tones of which may be described variously as light tan or yellow, reddish tan, mahogany or stag/deer red, and dark honey-blonde. In the UK, fawn boxers are typically rich in color and are called "red". Some brindle Boxers are so dark that they give the appearance of "reverse brindle", fawn stripes on a black body; however, the breed standards state that the fawn background must clearly contrast with or show through the brindling. The Boxer does not carry the gene for a solid black coat color and therefore purebred black Boxers do not exist.
Boxers with white markings covering more than one-third of their coat - conventionally called "white" Boxers - are neither albino nor rare; approximately 20-25% of all Boxers born are white. Genetically, these dogs are either fawn or brindle, with excessive white markings overlying the base coat color. Like fair-skinned humans, white Boxers have a higher risk of sunburn and associated skin cancers than colored Boxers. There are studies concluding they are more prone to congenital deafness caused by lack of pigmentation in the inner ear. It is estimated that 18% of white Boxers are deaf in one or both ears, though shelters and rescue organizations see about double this rate. There is no evidence that blindness or other health problems are related to excessive white markings in Boxers. In the past, breeders often euthanized white puppies at birth; today, most breeders place white puppies in pet homes with spay/neuter agreements. White Boxers are disqualified from conformation showing by the breed standard, and are prohibited from breeding by every national Boxer club in the world. They can compete in non-conformation events such as obedience and agility, and like their colored counterparts do quite well as service and therapy dogs.
The AKK Boxer Breed Standard of 1938 states that:
- "The character of the Boxer is of the greatest importance and demands the most solicitous attention. He is renowned from olden times for his great love and faithfulness to his master and household. He is harmless in the family, but distrustful of strangers, bright and friendly of temperament at play, but brave and determined when aroused. His intelligence and willing tractability, his modesty and cleanliness make him a highly desirable family dog and cheerful companion. He is the soul of honesty and loyalty, and is never false or treacherous even in his old age."
Boxers are a bright, energetic and playful breed and tend to be very good with children. It's best if obedience training is started early since they also have a strong personality and therefore can be harder to train when older. This, in addition to their strength, might present a challenge for a first-time dog owner. Boxers have earned a slight reputation of being "headstrong", which can be related to inappropriate obedience training. Owing to their intelligence and working breed characteristics, training based on the use of corrections often has limited usefulness. Boxers often respond much better to positive reinforcement techniques such as clicker training. It is also true that Boxers have a very long puppyhood and adolescence, and are often called the "Peter Pan" of the dog world. They are not considered fully mature until two to three years of age, one of the longest times in dogdom, and thus need early training to keep their high energy from wearing out their owner.
The Boxer by nature is not an aggressive or vicious breed, but needs socialization to tolerate other dogs well. Their sometimes over-protective, territorial and dominating attitude, often most intense in males, can be problematic. . Boxers are generally patient with smaller dogs but can be dominant with larger dogs of the same sex.
- See also: Dog health
Boxers are prone to develop cancers, heart conditions such as Aortic Stenosis and Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (the so-called "Boxer Cardiomyopathy"), hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, and degenerative myelopathy; other conditions that may be seen are gastric dilatation and torsion (bloat), intestinal problems, and allergies (although these may be more related to diet than breed). Entropion is occasionally seen, a malformation of the eyelid requiring surgical correction. Responsible breeders test their breeding stock before breeding and in some cases throughout the life of the dog in an attempt to minimize the occurrence of these diseases in future generations.
Boxers are an athletic breed, and proper exercise and conditioning is important for their continued health and longevity. Care must be taken not to over-exercise young dogs, as this may damage growing bones; however once mature Boxers can be excellent jogging or running companions. Because of their brachycephalic head, they do not do well with high heat or humidity, and common sense should prevail when exercising a Boxer in these conditions.
Boxers are friendly, lively companions that are popular as family dogs. Their suspicion of strangers, alertness, agility, and strength make them formidable guard dogs. They sometimes appear at dog agility or obedience trials and flyball events. These strong and intelligent animals have also been used as service dogs, guide dogs for the blind, therapy dogs, police dogs in K9 units, and occasionally herding cattle or sheep. The versatility of Boxers was recognized early on by the military, which has used them as valuable messenger dogs, pack carriers, and attack and guard dogs in times of war. Boxers have an average lifespan of 10-12 years.
- Deego Aegis an anthropomorphic boxer humanoid in Rogue Galaxy.
- Wilson from Good Boy!.
- Boxer dog footage, 1901 (file info) ??” Watch in browser
- Video footage from 1901 of "Miss Laura Comstock's Bag Punching Dog, Mannie." (16.9 MB, ogg/Theora format).
- Problems seeing the videos? See media help.
Clubs, Associations, and Societies
- Legacy Boxer Rescue - TX, USA
- Carolina Boxer Rescue - NC,SC, USA
- New Jersey Boxer Rescue - USA
- Mikes Dog House Bull Breed Rescue
- Almost Home Arizona Boxer Rescue - AZ, USA
- Blue Ridge Boxer Rescue - NC,SC, USA
- Boxer Orange County Animal Rescue
- Boxer Rescue Los Angeles
- Lousiana Boxer Rescue - LA, USA
- Middle Tennessee Boxer Rescue - TN, USA
- Rockin' P Rescue - AL,GA, USA
- Green Acres Boxer Rescue - GB,WI, USA
- Central Indiana Boxer Rescue - IN, USA
- HO-BO Care Boxer Rescue - CO, USA
- Florida Boxer Rescue - FL, USA
- Boxer Rescue Ontario (Canada)
- Legacy Boxer Rescue Express - TX, USA
- ^ American Kennel Club. Registration Statistics.
- ^ Baggley, David (2000). History of the Boxer Dog. ukboxerdogs. Retrieved on 2006-08-08.
- ^ a b Brace, Andrew H. (2004). Pet Owner's Guide to the Boxer. Interpet Ltd. ISBN 1-86054-288-3.
- ^ Wagner, John (1939). The Boxer.
- ^ Wagner, John (1950). The Boxer, 47.
- ^ Strauss, Gerhard; K?¤mper-Jensen, Heidrun ; Nortmeyer, Isolde (1997). Deutsches Fremdw?¶rterbuch Bd. 3. Berlin: de Gruyter; Auflage: 2., vollst. neubearb. Aufl., 468. ISBN 3-11-015741-1.
- ^ a b Institute for the German Language, Mannheim and University of Osnabr??ck, Institute for Linguistic and Literary Sciences.
- ^ Chronik des Boxer-Klub E.V. Sitz M??nchen. Boxer-Klub E.V. - Sitz M??nchen - Deutscher Boxerklub. Retrieved on 2006-08-17.
- ^ The Worldwide Boxer. The Boxer Head.
- ^ American Boxer Club Illustrated Standard. The Boxer Bite.
- ^ Boxer Club of Canada Code of Ethics.
- ^ Cattanach, Bruce. White Boxers and Deafness. Retrieved on 2006-09-05.
- ^ 1938 AKC Boxer Breed Standard.
- ^ Boxer Disposition and Temperament. Boxer-dog.org (2003-05-24). Retrieved on 2006-06-09.
- ^ American Boxer Club. Boxer Health Information. Retrieved on 2006-09-05.
- ^ American Boxer Club. Genetic and Suspect Diseases in the Boxer. Retrieved on 2006-09-05.
- ^ American Boxer Club. Recommendations for Health Screening of Boxers in Breeding Programs. Retrieved on 2006-09-05.