Other breeds have pronounced specialized talents….but for a combination of the outstanding virtues of many with the faults of a few, our Boxer is the most gifted of canines…. No other dog is more individual in appearance, more keenly intelligent or sanely even-tempered…. The Boxer has a faculty of worming his way into the good graces and hearts of an entire household…. He fairly effervesces with cheerfulness and the joy of living…. Yet, all these things are secondary, or possibly just co-incidental to his greatest asset, that of remarkable intelligence…. If this analysis seems too glowing in its tribute to our dogs, we plead fundamentals…. Just scratch the surface and every blessed Boxer owner will tell the same story…. As an all-round dog the Boxer has no equal…. A vital dog, a great character, a magnificent friend…. Give him a chance and he will surely add you to his rapidly growing gallery of admirers.
~John Wagner, The Boxer
The Boxer’s origins are ancient, dating back as far as 2500 BC. But it was Germany in the 19th century that refined and developed the breed as we know it today. The Boxer was used on the ducal estates to run down and hold large, fierce game – wild boar, bear and bison – until the human hunter could approach and dispatch the quarry. To that end, the Boxer was bred to be a powerful, muscular dog with the wide undershot jaw for maximum holding power. Though he is not used any longer for such pursuits, the Boxer of today should be able to perform the duties for which he was bred.
Beauty and Brains
The Boxer’s most notable characteristic is his desire for human affection. Though his spirited bearing, square jaw, and cleanly muscled body suggest the well-conditioned middleweight athlete of dogdom, the Boxer is happiest when he is with people – especially children. He is truly a "dog for all seasons," suiting the need for household guardian, attractive companion, playmate, and loyal friend.
The Boxer is a hearing guard dog, ever alert to protect his family but tolerant of any stranger once he knows there is no danger. He is a happy, exuberant dog who delights in children and is eager to play long after he has left puppyhood behind. The mood-mirroring quality of his expression and his overall sweet nature have endeared him to generations of Boxer owners. He is a natural show-off, and many Boxers excel at Conformation, Agility, and Obedience events held in conjunction with AKC shows. The well trained Boxer is a glorious sight to behold.
The Boxer is a medium sized dog ranging from 21.5" in height for a smaller female to 25" and sometimes more for a taller male. Adult weight may reach 65-80 lbs. in the male with the females about 15 lbs. less. There are no giant or miniature varieties. The short, close-lying coat comes in two equally acceptable colors – fawn and brindle. The fawn may vary from a tawny tan to a stag red. The brindle ranges from sparse, but clearly defined black stripes on a fawn background to such a heavy concentration of black striping that the essential fawn background color barely, although clearly, shows through – creating the appearance of "reverse" brindling. White markings should be of such distribution to enhance the dog’s appearance, but may not exceed 1/3 of the entire coat. It is not uncommon to have an entirely white Boxer born in a litter, or one with predominately white background known as a "check." Because of a higher incidence of genetic deafness, the Boxer Club members are pledged not to use these "whites" for breeding. They may not compete in Conformation classes but are eligible for Performance events.
Care of Your Boxer
The Boxer requires relatively little grooming, but ownership of any dog is a definite responsibility. He must not be allowed to run loose. Exercise within a fenced area or on a leash will be adequate. Death from automobiles, poisons, or other hazards await the Boxer who is allowed to roam. While he is learning to be a responsible member of the household, especially while still a puppy, a crate is very advisable. It will protect him from household temptations and dangers while you are away. In addition, it is a great aid in housebreaking – your Boxer will rarely soil his crate. Be sure to use a collar with care. They can and do snag on the most unlikely objects with tragic consequences. Your Boxer should not be left alone with a collar around his neck – or while playing with canine friends. The Boxer has a natural tendency to keep himself clean, but it is the owner’s responsibility to keep his nails trimmed to a reasonable length, and to keep his teeth clean as he ages. An occasional bath and/or currycombing should be all that he requires.
Exhibiting the Boxer
Many Boxer owners become involved in the world of showing dogs and enjoy a lifelong passion for this sport. Showing may involve Conformation, Agility, Tracking, and/or Obedience pursuits. The Boxer has proven to be a great success in all avenues of formal exhibition. The bond that develops when the owner trains his dog in these disciplines only adds to the mutual love and respect of man and canine. The American Kennel Club or the American Boxer Club will prove helpful in giving you advice and guidance in these pursuits.
The Boxer is not overly tolerant of extreme conditions of either heat or cold. He should definitely be kept in the house as a beloved member of the family, and enjoy safe climatic conditions. Never leave him in a closed car in hot weather, or even with the windows slightly open – the temperature may reach dangerous and even deadly levels in a very few minutes.
Occasionally, Boxers are especially sensitive to certain forms of both local and general anesthesia. Certain tranquilizers are contraindicated. Always discuss anesthesia protocols thoroughly with your veterinarian. The breed is relatively tolerant of mild discomfort, and most Boxers can have common skin tumors, should they develop, removed using local anesthesia alone.
Especially as he ages, some Boxers may fall victim to cancers in various forms, as well as to heart disease. The Boxer who faints or seems unsteady on his feet should see a competent veterinarian immediately, as these symptom are often warnings of cardiac arrhythmias. Hopefully, with competent veterinary care and regular immunizations, your loving, devoted Boxer will live a rich and full life.
Copyright © 2001, American Boxer Club